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Karda Estra - Voivode Dracula CD (album) cover

VOIVODE DRACULA

Karda Estra

 

Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 24 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Most of the comments I heard about "Voivode Dracula" were a bit disappointing , some say it's boring, dull and repetitive, so each time I had the chance to get it, I decided let it pass but about two weeks ago went to the store to get some albums and the owner offered me a copy of this album very cheap ($ 5.00) so bought just because of the low price, a decision I will never regret because the album is outstanding.

This KARDA ESTRA release is one of the most classical symphonic oriented albums I ever heard but being inspired in a Romanian legend, the Transylvanian .Bazouki and Rastrophone used by the multi instrumentalist and composer Richard Wileman, give that touch of ethnic/gypsy sound from the Carpathian Mountains required for a conceptual album about the legendary Vlad Dracul.

The name "Voivode Dracula" is hard to understand outside Romania and Slavic countries because it has no equivalent in English, being a combination of a military and nobility title between warlord and King, probably the most accurate translation of the album's name would be Lord, Master or even Prince Dracula very interesting and accurate in comparison with the limited title of Count that is normally used to describe Dracula.

The atmosphere of the album is simply perfect from start to end, dark haunting and perfectly achieved, the distant piano blends in an incredible way with the oboe, cor anglais, clarinet and cellos (All the instruments played by female performers) but the final touch is provided by Ileesha Bailey's haunting voice, specially in "Lucy Festina Lente" and "Mina" a wonderful detail but try not to listen it if you're alone in the night because it's terrifying.

Each song represents a part of Bram Stocker's novel: 1.- Voivode Dracule: The Description of the main character. 2.- Lucy Festina Lente ("Lucy Hurry Slowly"): In reference to Lucy Westenra, first victim of the vampire in London. 3.- The Land Beyond the Forest: Literal translation of the word Transylvania.. 4.- Mina: Description of Mina Harker, 5.- Kisses for us All: Quote from chapter II of the novel, when Jonathan Harker is tempted by three female vampires.

It's almost impossible to make a song by song musical analysis of the album because the atmosphere is very similar in all tracks, almost as chapters of a book which is probably the only weakness (A bit predictable) and the greatest virtue (coherence) of "Voivode Dracula".

Even when the music is strong and complex, there are no surprises, everything fits perfectly and recorded in an impeccable sequence. the sound explosions are controlled but the Orchestration is extremely beautiful, the vocals (Not lyrics, only choirs) irrupt always where expected, in other words the music and arrangements are absolutely coherent from the opener "Voivod Dracula" (Magnificent Church organ and percussion semi solo at the end) to the 13 minutes epic "Kisses for us All" that closes the album.

"Voivod Dracula" is a very well developed and solid album that combines darkness and beauty with great inspiration, don't expect dramatic changes or sudden musical explosions because there are almost none, but the delicacy and musical arrangements are impressive, reminds me somehow of Mike Oldfield but much more oriented towards Classical Romanticism with a Folkloric touch.

I believe four stars is the perfect rating, not a masterpiece (even when very close to this status) but without any doubt an excellent addition for any Progressive Rock collection, if you're a Symphonic fan, don't make the same mistake I did, get it as soon as you have the chance.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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