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JÁTÉKOK

East

 

Neo-Prog

3.53 | 57 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars A few weeks ago my dear friend Zsolt Enyedi, keyboardist from the excellent band "Yesyterdays" sent me a whole bunch of albums from Hungarian and Romanian bands, including "Játekók" by EAST.

Lately I've been interested in post "fall of the Berlin wall" Eastern Europe bands because of the excellent blend between Prog and their ethnic roots, but it's interesting to listen what the pioneers of this part of the world were doing back in the 80's.

The first thing that surprised me is that due to the year of formation and how are they catalogued, I was expecting some sort of Neo Prog, but I forgot that musical eras didn't reached the whole world at the same time, much less in countries were artistic expressions as Rock didn't exactly received support from the state.

Instead of Neo I found a blend of various styles, from Symphonic, to Electronic, passing by Hard Rock, very interesting fusion coming from Hungary in 1981.

The album starts with "Nyitány ~ Overture" which begins with a very pompous and even martial percussion oriented intro and then out of nowhere a very fast keyboard changes the mood to some sort of light Symphonic with Hard Prog echoes, seems as if the band had horror to silence, because every second on the track is filled with sounds, no time to rest.

"Messze a Felhőkkel ~ Far Away with the Clouds" is a different song, very melodic, much more simpler, I would dare to say with some TOTO influences, but then we find a radical change, the band starts to really rock, they add lush keyboards and distorted guitars, maybe they abuse a bit of this "Heavy" sound but sill a good track.

"Szállj Most Fel ~ Fly up now" starts as an Aorish track sung in Hungarian, again the TOTO influence can be heard clearly, predictable and a bit boring, not worth of further comment.

"Kék-Fekete Látomás ~ Blue-Black Vision" starts very electronic oriented, reminding me of Vangelis Albedo 0.39, spacey keyboards as expected but with a jazzy guitar a la Mc'Laughlin and then.a sudden change takes us into a different territory, this time closer to Pink Floyd but with melodic vocals in Hungarian, very interesting track.

"Gyémántmadár ~ Diamond Bird" takes us again into electronic territory, soft keyboards, spacey sound effects a dreamy bass in the background, don't expect many changes, flows gently from start to the middle where the whole band attacks with everything they have in a clearly PINK FLOYD inspired style, not my cup of tea, but must recognize this guys know their business.

"Lélegzet ~ Breath" is another song that abuses of sound effects and spacey noises, seems like a filler, so lets jump to "Nézz rám ~ Look at Me" which starts more promising, faster and more elaborate, but soon falls in the predictability that seems the heaviest burden EAST carries, I believe they have good ideas but have problems developing them, not even the good guitar and bass duet is enough to rise the song from a less than average level.

"Üzenet ~ Message" wakes me from my daydreaming with it's pompous and strong introduction that leads to a vocal passage, this time at least we have some radical changes that help to maintain the interest, despite this, another predictable song.

A Baroque Hammond intro? Yes, it's "Epilóg ~ Epilogue", at last a healthy change that captures my interest immediately, it's evident that Géza Pálvólgyi has a solid keyboard formation, sober and pompous creates suspense while the organ solo keeps increasing in intensity and morphs into the closer "Remény ~ Expectation" another electronic oriented track, but this time more dynamic and versatile than the previous, the band at last (a bit late) let themselves go and hit us with everything they have, very sttrong finale.

Now the big problem. How to rate Játékok? Not remotely a masterpiece, not even close to essential, but the guys know what they are doing, being that is clear that this release is over the average, so I will give three stars to the album that could maybe be 3.5.

Will try with their later albums to see if my opinion changes, it would be unfair to qualify a band by their debut exclusively.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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