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After Crying - Megalázottak És Megszomorítottak CD (album) cover

MEGALÁZOTTAK ÉS MEGSZOMORÍTOTTAK

After Crying

 

Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 156 ratings

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Peter
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I really liked this 1992 debut from Hungarian progressive outfit After Crying the first time I heard it, and now, some ten or twelve listens later, I like it even more. While this moody, magnificent music may not appeal to listeners who like their prog to fall on the "rockier" side of the equation, those with a taste for the truly symphonic and lovely in progressive should find plenty to please them here. (It is worth mentioning that my wife -- whose tastes in prog rarely extend beyond some classic Yes, Genesis, and Rush -- also quite likes this one, though it bears little resemblance to the work of those prog heavyweights.)

The first of the album's five tracks, the twenty-two minute long "A Gadarai Megszallot," is perhaps the single best piece of latter-day prog that I've yet had the good fortune to hear. After a gentle intro of keyboard "atmospherics," birdsong, and piano that puts me in mind of early-morning mist rising from the ground, the song "proper" opens to the haunting strains of that most expressive of bowed instruments, the cello, and the stately grandeur continues to build from there. The nearest comparison that comes to mind within the prog genre is King Crimson's oft-maligned, understated "Islands," but fans of classical (the band is classically trained, and it certainly shows), new age, or just plain beautiful, soothing music should also love this piece. The restrained vocals (no screaming or growling here!), all delivered in Hungarian, are of a very high quality -- they add to the overall exotic, eastern-European feel, and compliment the music wonderfully. Instrumentation includes the aforementioned keyboards, piano and cello, with the addition of trumpet and restrained drums (the snare is particularly effective), that again reminds me of LIZARD/ISLANDS-era Crimson. At around the seventeen minute mark, a spoken female voice prefaces a brief, comparatively frantic section, replete with wailing brass, that favourably evokes Crimson's "Pictures of a City," before a magnificent trumpet theme emerges, and the birdsong again gently rises from the mix for the fadeout. Absolutely superb stuff!

Track two, "A Kis Hos," is a shorter mood piece that serves up more cello, some nice female vocals, tasteful viola, and some male vocals that are reminiscent of monastic chanting.

The third track, the aptly-named "Nokturn," is another shorter number that showcases a somewhat mournful keyboard, a solo male voice, and a bassoon. Guaranteed to restore jangled nerves, and set you gently adrift upon sublime seas of slumber or contemplative meditation; the only fault I can find with this one is its just under two-minute duration -- too soon to be torn from the comforting arms of Morpheus!

"Megalazottak Es Megszomoritottak," at a trifle less than twelve minutes, is another longer, fully-realized suite, and the most varied offering of the session. An opening, up-tempo section contrasts with a second of sad, stark beauty, and the masterful, sparing use of snare, trumpet and piano once more hearken back to the prettier moments of KC's ISLANDS. (Sorry to repeat myself, but for me, at least, the musical kinship is obvious, and welcome.)

The final song, "Vegul," is yet another only-too-brief offering that starts off with a lonely viola, before an exotic Middle-Eastern flavour is imparted, courtesy of an acoustic bass. Next come some jazzily-soloing drums, and a gentle synth fadeout that brings our Hungarian journey to a close, but leaves me longing to return to After Crying's magical musical realm.

A truly superb disc! I award it four well-justified stars -- only withholding the fifth because of the almost jarring briefness of three of the five tracks. No, this will not appeal to everyone -- adherents of "progressive metal," in particular, should probably stay away (they'd likely find it "boring") -- but all others with a taste for the beautiful and exotic are strongly urged to check this one out. I love it!

Peter | 4/5 |

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