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Daniel Eliseev Project  (D.E.P.) - Night Shadow CD (album) cover

NIGHT SHADOW

Daniel Eliseev Project (D.E.P.)

 

Heavy Prog

3.95 | 20 ratings

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TCat
4 stars First of all, thank you to Daniel for sending me his CD to preview.

The Heavy Prog band know as "Daniel Eliseev Project" (or d.e.p.) was founded by Daniel Eliseev from Bulgaria in 2017, during which time he got together a line-up of musicians to help him record his first album called "Night Shadow", which was released in 2018. The album consists of 8 tracks which all span a total time of 44 minutes. Daniel provides most of the guitars, some keyboards and some backing vocals throughout the album, but also utilizes other musicians on various tracks. Most of the lead vocals go to Konstantin Djambazov who also plays some of the keyboard solos. Most of the drums are handled by George Varamezov. Other musicians appear on other single tracks also.

"Alter Ego" begins with a definite heavy sound mostly driven by guitars and keyboards. The sound is complex, yet melodic with definite progressive elements. Vocals start after a minute with a melody that jumps around in a wide range while a the background alternates to a softer sound to a heavy sound, yet melodically remaining complex and some very nice and different harmonies through the layered vocals and instruments. The guitar work is a s great as you want it to be with the right amount of heaviness. The title track "Night Shadow" comes next. This one has a nice progressive jazz/fusion feel to it. Again the vocals jump around in a crazy wide range with non-standard melodies. Some of the background vocal layers are processed with nice effects. At 4 minutes, progressive passages take us into a guitar solo with a faster, yet still smooth tempo.

"Pandora and Epimetheus" is a much more complex and progressive track with a combination of male and female vocals, tricky rhythmic patterns and changes in tone, meter and structure. There is a really nice synth solo at the 5 minute mark that morphs into a guitar solo. "Awakening" is a short 2 minute track that features an acoustic guitar and chirping birds. Later, a viol (or viola da gamba) and violin join in to make a nice sound. "Broken Consciousness" continues with a mellower, acoustic sound with laid back vocals and some nice harmonics in the background vocals. The melodies are still progressive and there are some short, heavier passages, but it mostly stays in a laid-back mood until a more upbeat guitar solo takes over.

"Hidden Voices" utilizes an electronic, almost droning sound and processed vocal layers that bounce all over the place in a playful manner, sounding very much like "Gentle Giant" including the progressive folk style. It's actually quite a nice surprise. "A Song for You" features Anilia Toteva on lead vocals. Starting with a pensive, acoustic guitar introduction, her vocals are a nice switch up to add to the variety on this album. The music continues with it's sparse guitar and voice sound with occasional harmonic vocals. The melody still remains on the complex side, staying away from any standard style. The album ends with "The Journey Along", the longest track at almost 10 minutes. It begins with atmospheric synths supporting a slow guitar solo, first electric, then switching quickly to acoustic, and then to a heavy guitar riff that brings in the other instruments. The tone switches back and forth, complex vocals finally come in and the Heavy Prog sound is back. It takes a special vocal talent to sing these complex melodic lines that have some crazy intervals. Next, there is a great solo section that alternates between guitar and synths, then a music box sound from a glockenspiel takes center stage until the bass brings the vocals back in. After a while, the heavy sound comes back in, things intensify, and the vocalist continues with his vocal acrobatics. Again, this track has quite a variety of moods throughout, but it till sounds concise.

This is a surprisingly great album for a debut effort, and lovers of not only the heavier prog sound should listen to this, but also those that love music that is a little challenging, that don't mind some variety. Those that loved the Gentle Giant sound should also check this out as the music ventures into complex progressive folk from time to time. This album proves that Daniel is not a one trick pony when it comes to his guitar playing, there are many styles here, and they are handled quite well. He's got some amazing compositional skills also. The constants here are top-notch musicianship, complex melody lines, progressive non-standard rock, and crazy vocal intervals that would throw off even some of the most talented singers. This is definitely an album worth checking out. 4 bright stars.

TCat | 4/5 |

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