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5 stars Come on, cool down.They have deserve these 5 stars - just look the feedbacks in the Forum!And check the interview!

Another new gem on Russian Prog-rock scene, APPLE PIE plays very SPOCK'S BEARDian type of Prog Rock, both complex and accessible, from radio-ballads ("Still got my Faith in You") and funky stuff (the one I kinda a bit dislike here - sorry guys - "Temptation") to Symphonic Heavy Prog epics ("Escape", "Final"). CROSSROAD is APPLE PIE's SFAM - a concept story about doubts and choises, filled with wonderful melodies (Russia seems to be a birthplace of a melody as a phenomenon ;) ), tight musicianship, sincere lyrics and rather sane approach. Don't get me wrong - I like the weird stuff sometimes, but it's more enjoyable for me to spin a CD like this one instead of pushing down my throat another noisy pseudo-masterpiece ;)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Melodic Prog/Symphonic Prog/Neo Prog/Heavy Prog fans and others who interested. Looking forward to experience something new!

Report this review (#118505)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not being a fan of SPOCK'S BEARD, I must admit I had prejudices before listening "Crossroads" by APPLE PIE due to the references that mentioned them almost as clones of the USA band, but it is obvious that it's a pretty good album (And much enjoyable than any release of "Neal Morse" and company), the main problem is that seems the guys from Russia are still trying to find their personality.

The album crosses (As the name implies) from light Symphonic to Neo Prog, a bit of Hard Rock plus, some Funk and cute ballads, so I find "Crossroads" uneven, and missing some energy, they seem solid through extended passages but a few tracks ruin a good percentage of their achievements.

Most of the songs are obviously inspired in SPOCK'S BEARD but not enough to be called clones, because there's originality and freshness in the sound.

The main problem relies in a couple of weak tracks like "Temptation" which sounds as a failed James Brown impersonation and the two cute but extremely naïve ballads "Sunrise" and "Nothing" the last one makes me remember to a weaker version of PENDRAGON.

Also weak but already better is "Escape", which sounds like a very light Neo Prog track with some reminiscences of KING CRIMSON but without the brilliance. The rest of the songs are very solid and the vocals are good but not outstanding.

No way it's an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock but if it wasn't for this tracks and mainly because "Temptation" I would had taken the chance for 4 stars, sadly this song ruins a good part of the many valuable moments of the record.

Three solid stars for an album which is over the average, and a lot of hope for the next release of a band that I'm sure will be much better if they decide what path and style to make their own trademark instead of wandering through different sounds and influences.

If you are able to buy it don't hesitate, despite the weaker tracks it's worth now and almost sure it will be more valuable as a collection item when they release more albums, but please stp copmparing them with other bands, they need an own personality and not to be known as SPOCK'S BEARD clones which is not the case.

Report this review (#118624)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
3 stars Russian Apple Pie for the masses ...

Nice debut from another new russian band - it seems this country actually is revealing a never ending stream of new progressive bands. 'Crossroad' is crossover consisting of 10 songs which were recorded in 2006. Neo Prog, Symphonic, Prog Related and Hardrock with a mix of ballads and rocking parts. I would say only half of the production really can be categorized as Prog. The band collects many ingredients from bands like SPOCK'S BEARD, TOTO, DREAM THEATER for example. This is skillful without a doubt.

The Beginning, Crossroad and Nothing Comes Everything are very convincing tracks in my opinion. The only weak point is: this Apple Pie tastes not very unique yet. The band sounds very british (respectively american) - english vocals are perfect. What I'm missing is the special russian note.

With all my respect for the musicians I hope they are getting a more independent profile for the future.

Report this review (#119362)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've this album for about a week. It is a friend who recommended me "Crossroad" and it is in my turn to suggest it to you hard. That's true similarities with Dream Theater and Spock' s Beard are sometimes obvious however them do not upset.

Habitually I listen to my cds with headphones to be concentrated well on music and "Crossroad" did not disappoint me. The strong instants are Overture / Once Upon a Time (8:21) - Sunrise (9:17) - Crossroad (7:57) - Escape (10:30).

Great first album.

Report this review (#120110)
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars In the Prog Archives biography I read that this is a Russian four piece band, founded in 2000 in the city Kursk. Well, if this band had made their album in the Cold War era, I am sure the USSR government had sent them away to Siberia because of 'obviously CIA sponsored activities', what an incredibly USA sounding prog this, somewhere between Spock's Beard and Dream Theater! But seriously, I am glad that I got the possibility to listen to this new Russian band because Little Tragedies, Infront, Lost World and Aviva proove that the Russian progrock scene is very prolific and delivers lots of outstanding prog, their albums are often to be found inside my CD player the recent weeks.

Apple Pie sounds very professional, modern, dynamic and varied on their debut CD entitled Crossroads. The title points at the fact that their music is a blend of several styles. Well the first track already showcases their eclectic and dynamic approach: first a spacey intro with a lush synthesizer sound, then twanging guitars and dreamy vocals, followed by compelling bombastic prog with propulsive guitar riffs and fiery guitar runs, culminating in a prog metal atmosphere featuring spectacular keyboards and finally howling guitar, supported by Hammond organ waves and powerful and adventurous drums, what an exciting prog! The other ten compositions also deliver alternating and dynamic prog: sensational synthesizer flights and blistering guitar, heavy Hammond waves and a sensation break with sumptuous keyboards and biting guitar in Crossroad, a swinging 'big band sound' (captivating blend of brass and fiery guitar), inspired vocals and a bluesy guitar solo in Temptation, a swirling climate with heavy guitar, a bluesy Hammond solo and raw wah- wah drenched guitar in Escape, acoustic rhythm guitar with gospel-like singing in Still Got My Faith In You, wonderful sparkling piano and acoustic guitar and great work on keyboards, guitar and saxophone in the alternating Nothing Comes Everything and tasteful interplay between keyboards and guitar and a final part with howling guitar in Final. Who dare to say that the current prog is boring or not adventurous, what a splendid and exciting new prog!

I disagree with the category Neo-Progressive, to me this sounds as a band that scouts the borders between symphonic prog and prog metal, I would suggest to name it New Heavy Progressive, like Riverside, Rush and Ayreon. Highly recommended and a big hand for Apple Pie!

Report this review (#120117)
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars So What makes it a great prog rock album?

Chops? Check.

The songs are guitar driven and when there are solos, the man plays right out of his heart and not out of a Gilbert or Petrucci instructional video. With absolutely superlative phrasing and intonation this guy steals the show whenever he gets to play the solos. The songwriting is pretty ****ing smart, it doesn't give room for cliched trade-offs or jam/wankery spots when the rest of the band lays back to providing just a backing track. When there are solos here, be it the guitarist, the keyboardist or any other instruments, they're extremely melodic and are essential parts of the songs. The drummer is pretty good too, reminds me of what Portnoy was doing on his non-DT projects though without much of the ****ing around, which is a good thing all said and done.

Songwriting, melodies and vocals, the tones, sounds and the production? Big check.

F***ing epic man. Lots of moog and 70s styled keyboards but doesn't get too symphonic. On calmer moments, it's beautiful with catchy melodies ala Steven Wilson, warm acoustic guitars and fretless bass. The heavier and aggressive moments is when it sounds like a modern prog band with the prominent metal influences. It generally gets to this point when the songs peak or as a groove-kicker and it eventually adds dynamics to the songwriting. To round things off nicely, you've got superlative arrangements and warm production that allows everything to breath nicely. There are clear influences from the big 70s bands but it's also sonically close to what Spock's Beard was doing at its peak.

Is there any variety in this thing? Can it stand out as a whole album? Check.

Like any great album, you listen to this from the first track till the last one. I used the term dynamics before. This album has got so many ups and downs, mood swings and parts always resolving brilliantly. It isn't a cut and paste job of random ideas, but it's full of dynamic songs that end up working as a whole album. I'll explain.

Moving to 4th track of the album. Nothing begins with an electronic beat which goes into a beautiful acoustic/fretless-bass driven verse, then to a brilliantly phrased guitar solo before returning to the verse again. The drums come crashing-in after the second verse with an amazingly beautiful sax solo over the sweet chord progression to end the song. That's it, no extra bull[&*!#] to extend the song any further. Over to a loud jazzy funky big-band song in Temptation which also has a kickass phat-toned blues solo. Brilliant to have put the two tracks in this order then follow up with a more manic and distorted Escape and then Still got my faith in you which is a total nod to the old r&b/soul-music with just the guitar strumming and the ladies doing the backing vocals. This of course leads to three more epic-as-[%*!#] prog rock songs before the album comes to a perfect finish. One couldn't have gotten the track order better than this.

It didn't surprise me that such an out-and-out great album had to come from a bunch of musicians who have kept their regular jobs and released this album. The least they could do is to put up a website and let us know where to purchase their album though.

More complete review on my site

Report this review (#121794)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Images and beards.

Do not confound with Magic Pie, althought they share a taste for Spock's beard work (geez). But with Apple Pie, you have to pour a lot of Images and Words, the mythical Dream Theater album that started a new fangled way in the 90's...sigh.

Sigh, indeed...

Being a (medium) fan of the Beard and Dream Theater, does having this album is worthwhile? At first, I thought:" What a convienent way, I'll save time by not listening to the old records, since those two are mixed up!". In case you're not familiar with sarcasim, I'm kidding here. You know me, when it comes to giving a tribute to personnal heroes, I keep a keen eye because soooo many albums just reeked. It's just so boring (and disappointing) to hear a band with lots of musical potential that just regurgitates their influences. Too bad Apple Pie falls in that category because I read some really good stuff about them.

I guess that if listening to a copy of 2 prog legends don't bother you too much, this album has lots of good hooks, tasty keyboard solos and a fairly good drummer. And also, I give credit to those courageous Russians that sings without the single trace of an accent!

It's not that is bad, but once again a decent album that fails to bring a fresh sound.

Report this review (#134849)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Very, very good prog band from Kursk. For a first release this album is nothing short of excellence. Which does not mean it is perfect. In fact, most of the time this russian quartet does a fine symphonic prog rock with some beautiful melodies, intricated arrangements and a good, if not exceptional, vocalist. I surely donīt know how soeone labeled them neo prog: they are not! So forget any Rothery like guitar solo and the like. Their music is still hard to categorize since they are still struggling to find their own sound, even if they are in the right direction most of the time.

I donīt really think Apple Pie is so much like Spockīs Beard. I was nver a big fan of this american band and I really like Apple Pie much more. That said I must point out that this CD is not totally smooth, a couple of songs spoil the overall sound. Temptation is too much a funk pastiche that is clearly out of place here, while the gospel Still Got My Faith On You laois any real spirit. If they had left out those two tracks this would be a 5 star rating, since the other tracks are absolutely winners. But donīt worry: both tunes are only a little over 8 minute in total, in an album that has 76 minutes of music.

The overall production is very good and the band members are very skilled. There are some great vocals harmonies here and there that I hope they explore more in the next releases. Iīm looking forward to hear more from Apple Pie. Recommended for any prog fan.

Report this review (#142058)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Awesome. That's the first word I would like to address to this new Russian discovery. Boy, Am I glad I decided to buy this just because I heard this was supposed to be great. I remember I didn't really have time to listen to it in the store. I was actually very glad I found it because rare prog isn't everywhere around in the Netherlands. And this is the bands debut so they hadn't really made a reputation for themselves yet. So I bought it, listened a few times and it didn't matter what my mood was, you can play this any time, it just gets you in a good mood.

What's it like ? Well it's real neo prog with a touch of symphonic. The vocalist has a slightly mellow voice but absolutely not in an annoying way, it sounds really pleasant. The compositions are simply fantastic. These guys know how to write songs, perfect balance between vocals and all the instruments. It's all very melodic and that's the most important to me. (I suddenly realize there are a few songs with religious lyrics. Not hugely significant maybe but I didn't notice at first.)

This album contains at least 6 (!) terrific songs but the one that really stands out from those is Sunrise, an unbelievable superb track, that is really neo prog at its best to me. Super melodic with great guitar parts and an incredible brilliant composition. The other jewel is Final which is a grand finale a masterpiece deserves. Also Nothing comes everything, Escape and Crossroad are awesome songs. Well if that isn't enough for 5 stars I give up. Looking forward to the successor !

Report this review (#151046)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars These guys prove how much the emergent russian prog scene is inspired and skilled.

I won't tell that 90's'Russian musical scene wasn't gifted, and in fact I'm not apt to judge of it because I don't know much about it, but I have to say that the new russian groups are amazing! Along with Disen Gage, The Gourishankar, Infront, , Apple Pie represent a fresh-wave in the world prog scene. In a handful of years they have produced some astonishing albums, and Crossroads belongs to those.

It's a very innovative album, which brings a new touch to neo progressive. I can't deny it's trully neo prog with powerful keyboards, but their use of heavy guitar riffs and harsh drums breaks sometimes make me think it's prog metal. At times it reminds me a bit Arena. But on the other side they have an interesting use of saxophones that brings a jazzy touch, which I find very noticeable. Very different compositions, alternating sweet prog with accoustic guitars, hard edged and swinging jazz parts. A real effort to renew the genre for a pleasant result. Some songs are better than others, but there is nothing to drop, everything has its place in this album. I would give it a 3.5 stars but indeed it deserves a 4 stars because it's a very promising first album.

Report this review (#153961)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Crossroadīs is the debut album from the russian band Apple Pie. Itīs really nice to see that the Russian prog rock scene is producing more and more professional sounding bands. Apple Pie sounds very professional even though Crossroads have a couple of flaws that keeps it from being excellent.

The music is very inspired by Spockīs Beard and Dream Theater ( Scenes From a Memory, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and there are numerous examples throughout the album where I think I have heard the riffs before. A song like Nothing is bit too close to Dream Theaterīs Another Day with the sax solo in the end and Temptation with itīs brass arrangement smells a bit too much of the James Labrie fronted Mullmuzzlerīs Beelzebubba song from the Keep It to Yourself album. Itīs not a complete ripp-off though. The music is very well played and composed and that saves this from being a bad clone experience. I have to mention that Crossroads is a concept story and Iīm sorry to say that itīs a really pathetic seaching for the meaning in life/ praise God like story and Iīm sick to my stomach whenever I listen to the lyrics. Still got my Faith in You is the worst example here with the gospel choir in the background.

The musicians are very well playing and itīs one of the most enjoyable things about Apple Pie. They are really good musicians.

The production is very good even though I miss the bass in the soundscape sometimes.

One of the previous reviewers nailed it very good when he wrote Images and Beards as a headline to his review. If Apple Pie wants more than 3 star ratings for making good compositions and playing them with conviction they need to make original music and keep away from the most obvious influences. I was even considering a 2 star rating because this is really not more than a good clone band, but on the other hand they are really good so Iīll go for a small 3 star rating.

Report this review (#168187)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dream Theater + Neal Morse / Spock 's Beard = Apple Pie

For those who like labels, Apple Pie is a shot of the best things I ever heard in the Neo-Prog, does it sound like bands that want to imitate the keyboards of Marillion. While mixing the sound of the bands mentioned above, such as the title track (where the drummer literally copy a turn of Portnoy) and the melodies very reminiscent of some work Neal Morse, but it is a sound and enjoyable and easily digestible Swing.

Keyboards, organs, and worked with an instrumental comassos compounds always present; baladinha to a retro sound that way. Progger for a conservative would mean, for someone with more open mind, a pleasant revelation.

Report this review (#226124)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars We have lived up to that exciting moment when Russia's progressive music gradually comes out of hiding. Example of Apple Pie, I hope, will prove contagious. Published in Russia a fresh plate received excellent press in Europe and has all chances to get loose on the full program - in certain circles, of course.

Nothing is so amazing and magical staff in his attempt did not create, but their mix of classic Spock's Beard Neal Morse with the old mic stand and a Dream Theater album version of the last two 90-ies (the atmosphere, in the first place) listens well. Thus the sound of the national team does not allow her to consider a choir of clones. The musicians skillfully varied influences, moving from the classic British symphonic rock to neo-prog last wave, from hard to funk. This adds a record of lightness, airiness. So in Russia, it seems, no one has ever played. Apple Pie initially rejected the artificial complexity of the material, with an emphasis on melody and atmosphere. Very nice work, which warms the soul with their origins. Keep it up.

"Crossroad" is the debut CD by Russia's APPLE PIE, which is a quartet comprising Vartan Mkhitaryan on guitars and lead vocals, Oleg Sergeev on keyboards, Andrey Golodukhin on drums and Alexey Bildin on bass (I'm just wondering, is this the same Alexey Bildin who plays saxophone in Little Tragedies?). Although the band is on the run already for seven years, all its members have full-time jobs, which explains their relatively low production. Alongside perfect (with no accent!) English vocals, the group's remarkable compositional, arrangement and technical skills are all brightly reflected on each of the ten tracks present, seven of those ranging from eight to twelve minutes. The style is a fusion of symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal, suggesting something halfway between Spock's Beard at their most intricate and hard-edged and classic Dream Theater. This is just a brilliant album, really; it's definitely worthy to be viewed in detail, but since I had to spend ten days in the health center this month, while still having more than 100 discs in my queue on average, it is beyond my powers to do any detailed reviews this time around, for which I offer my apologies to all the musicians whose recordings I have examined for this update, as well as the readers.

Report this review (#267553)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The good thing I experienced with this band was that I knew nothing about the band and what sort of music they play. Once I listened to it for the first time, the music flew nicely and naturally into my mind. I only noticed that there were many changes in style and tempo throughout the music which I did not see the booklet at all until I spun the entire album. I re-spun the CD naturally because the first experience was quite nice with me, honestly. AT the second spin I then realized the biggest influence the band had: it's Spock's Beard. But it's knid like funny to me, as I was initially not a big fan of Spock's Beard even though I like their 8th album "Octane" after the front-man Neal Morse left the band for solo works. Having known the big influence, it did not stop me to re-spun the album again and again until I found more than 5 spins in its entirety. I enjoy the music, really.

The introduction of opening track "1. a) Overture b) Once Upon a Time" (8:21) is basically unplugged thing (acoustically driven music) which sets its stage for the next segment with heavy prog style in the vein of Spock's Beard. It's quite a nice adrenalin-exploding track with its energetic style with changing tempos. The next track "2. Sunrise" (9:17) starts mellow with clear voice backed with acoustic guitar and stunning electric guitar solo. Yeah, the music is quite Spock's Beard, and I like it very well especially the one at the middle of the track where the music turns to move into heavier style with nice riffs with typical progressive metal style, combined beautifully with excellent keyboard work. The interlude is really rocking and it's hard for you who love heavy prog for not liking this beautifully crafted track.

The third track "Crossroad" (7:57) starts off beautifully with a dynamic drums work followed with energetic music in riff-based style. Yeah, you may call it still like Spock's Beard until you find guitar solo that sounds different than typical Spock's Beard music. The middle part of the song (interlude) there is a beautifulparts combining great guitar work and inventive keyboard solo. Bass guitar, as with previous tracks, play a distinctive roles during the track. It's an excellent composition. "Nothing" (3:42) is an ambient track with programming rhythm section. It brings back to an energetic - this time is NOT Spock's Beard - in "Temptation (4:40)" as the music is now using brass section with different singing style. Oh man .... This is a very nice music even though it sounds like a pop music. There is a very nice bluesy guitar work in the middle. It's so interesting!

"Escape" (10:30) sounds like a heavy prog music than a neo prog scene, much more driven with riffs and frequent tempo changes and style changes. With its long duration, I believe this one was destined to be an epic. The composition is nice and not like Spock's Beard. The interlude part with keyboard solo is really killing! " Still got my Faith in You" (4:02) is like a ballad to me, with an opening acoustic part combining acoustic guitar and vocals. The guitar work is really nice. "Solution" (7:26) starts with an energetic keyboard work that reminds me to the intro of Van Halen's "Jump". What follows is still another music with excellent composition - this time in the vein of SB even though Apple Pie has its own style.

The opening acoustic guitar solo that opens "Nothing Comes Everything" (8:06) is really cool and it's followed with beautiful piano work. This instrumental work moves the music beautifully from mellow parts in the beginning and goes into complex one. It flows seamlessly to the concluding track "Final" (13:00) with inventive keyboard work that reminds me to Gentle Giant.

Overall, I have to admit the beautiful composition these guys have made - creating an energetic music with nice harmony, frequent style and tempo changes. There are many influences from Spock's Beard. It's a highly recommended album. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#429976)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to admit that I haven't really had much experience with Russian prog bands, so I can't say how well Apple Pie represents the Russian prog scene, but their debut album (and so far only album!) Crossroad sounds as American as... well... Apple Pie! The stylings of US prog greats like Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, Salem Hill, and perhaps a little Kansas infuse the album, and whilst on the whole it doesn't quite hit the spot for me the band show a lot of potential and I'd say that if they ever get around to producing more material, they might end up creating some really neat results.
Report this review (#707491)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I heard for the first time Apple Pie, it was because I read very good comments about the band and they are from Russia, so I wanted to hear some neo prog music from that country to see the results. The outcome? Incredible, it's a very good album with excellent music passages in different styles that create a very good environment surruonding the whole album. Maybe not the level of the great bands in neo prog music such as Marillion or IQ, but definitely they deserve a good place in your collection. As it is typical in this sub-genre, the keyboard sound and the landscapes created with it are the ones that create the special landmark, the voice, trying to sound kind of retro from the 80s, and one song is a complete tribute to old swing music. Really amazing album!
Report this review (#1034537)
Posted Saturday, September 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars APPLE PIE was one of those bands that looked far away from where its members were raised. This band was formed by Vartan Mkhitaryan in the city of Kursk, Russia which is located not too far from the Ukrainian border in the southwestern part of Russia. While many bands from the former Iron Curtain have emerged since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many have adopted some of the homegrown folk elements and other styles unique to the Slavic nations however others totally looked westward for inspiration and if the name doesn't give it away immediately, it's obvious that APPLE PIE looked to the USA for its inspiration.

And by that i mean that APPLE PIE created the perfect fusion of Neal Morse era Spock's Beard with that unmistakable style of symphonic prog including Mkhitaryan's dead ringer vocal style for Neal Morse along with the occasional bombastic heft and technical wizardry of Dream Theater. In some ways on this debut release CROSSROAD, the band sounds a bit like Transatlantic which found both Neal Morse and Mike Portney cross-pollinating their respective bands' styles into lengthier knotty whirlwinds of sonic prog splendor so as i'm listening to this i keep thinking they should have named themselves Trans-Siberian Railway! But that would miss the point when your shtick is to imitate your other-side-of-the-world prog heroes!

To put it bluntly, this album is about as derivative as it can possible get. If you told me this was a long lost Morse album or even a Spock's Beard archival release, i'd totally believe it was. In fact i keep wondering if this band is just a pseudonym for a Morse project it's so convincing! I mean everything about this resembles a Morse album. It has a mutltiide of tracks that sprawl on to over 77 minutes of play time. It takes cheery pop hooks and crafts them into massive prog workouts with alternating atmospheric acoustic guitars segments morphing into heavy rock where jagged guitar riffs find keyboard antics jumping around like loose fireworks and then resolution with dreamy soft spoken bliss bombs and then a few deviations into some sort of weird unrelated style of music.

On CROSSROAD you will be treated to an amazing display of musicianship especially when the Dream Theater references are left off their leash. Vartan Mkhitaryan provides lead vocals, guitars and percussion. Alexey BIlden plays bass and saxophone. Oleg Sergeev provides keyboards and Andrey Golodukhin is the drummer. This quartet really has done their prog homework and delivers an impressive deliver of symphonic prog with a few metal elements bursting into the scene at key moments but mostly this one is on the mellower side with soft passages leading up to the noisier climaxes. In addition to the dominant Morse and Dream Theater influences, APPLE PIE does offer doses of Flower Kings, Pink Floyd and the surprising jump blues jazz of 'Temptation' which shuffles more like the Diablo Swing Orchestra minus the operatic diva, so the album's not an entire ripoff by any means.

While it's easy to be too critical of a band taking too many liberties of borrowing another band's stylistic approach to the point where it sounds like an eerie clone, i have to remember that APPLE PIE formed in a fairly isolated part of Eastern Europe and i'm positive the bands they worship have never set foot anywhere near where they are from as even Moscow is hundreds of kilometers away. It sounds like this band would be more of a treat to see in a live setting and provides the next best thing to a prog hungry part of the world that gets forgotten on all those prog festival circuits. CROSSROAD is indeed an impressive album musically speaking as all the members have mastered their craft in a most admirable way but they at this point anyway have failed to find their own identity which is a problem for me at least. Definitely a band that has a lot of potential and this album invites me to explore their second album which actually finds guest musicians like Derek Sherinian joining in. As for this one, it's really good but not what i'd call essential.

3.5 rounded down

Report this review (#2313494)
Posted Friday, February 7, 2020 | Review Permalink

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