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Aton Five - Solarstalgia CD (album) cover

SOLARSTALGIA

Aton Five

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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4 stars "WOW!"

Aton Five is a Russian band, rooted in 2014 and located in the capital Moscow. The four members wanted to make prog in the spirit of the Seventies. After the live studio EP Live At Mars from 2017 and the own production debut album SolarstaLgia from 2018, in February 2019 the label R.A.I.G. Records released SolarstaLgia as a CD reissue, with two live bonustracks, from the Live At Mars EP. I discovered Aton Five on the Dutch Progstreaming, and I am blown away, what an exciting tribute to the Seventies!

The music alternates between slow and hypnotizing rhythms, catchy mid-tempo beats and heavy and bombastic climates, very dynamic and compelling, these guys in their twenties pay tribute to the Seventies in a very exciting way, many times I was blown away or got goose bumps. The great element on this album is the colouring by the guitar and keyboards: the one moment soaring psychedelic organ, spacey synthesizer flights or moving electric guitar, the other moment heavy guitar riffs, fiery and biting electric guitar soli, lush Hammond and spectaculaar, pitchbend driven synthesizer soli. I was told by the band that the keyboard player loves Rush and Kansas, and the guitarist Deep Purple and Ritchie Blackmore. Well, that is obvious but both musicians succeed to add an own flavour into the sound of their heroes. My highlights.

The Dreadnought (6:33) : The intro contains experimental sounds, spoken words and a growling bass. Then a slow and hypnotizing rhythm with a heavy sound featuring exciting rock guitar and spacey synthesizer flights, soon a psychedelic inspired organ joins. Halfway a raw guitar solo and finally a bombastic ending with compelling organ and synthesizer runs, fuelled by powerful drum beats, back to The Seventies (Pink Floyd, Rush), and I love it.

Time (9:24) : It starts with a slow rhythm featuring moving electric guitar and powerful bass, then organ waves and fat and flashy pitchbend driven synthesizer work, wow. Halfway a break with a strong build-up, from hypnotizing to bombastic delivering a wonderful organ sound. In the end another howling and fiery guitar solo, in the background soft Fender Rhodes piano and organ runs.

A Chain Of Events (5:42) : High energy with a bombastic up-tempo climate that contains a lush Hammond sound and compelling guitar work, to me it sounds like psychedelic bluesrock. Then an accellaration with sensational synthesizer flights, followed by a heavy guitar solo (evoking Blackmore), it really rocks and the band is now totally in the mood! Finally a slow rhytm with moving guitar, this guy knows how to push the right buttons on the guitar.

Milky Way Incident (13:25) : My absolute highlight! The intro contains spoken words, an ominous atmosphere, then an up- tempo with heavy guitar and thunderous drums, followed by sensational work on synthesizer with pitchbend. Now the music turns into a catchy beat with Jon Lord sounding organ (Made In Japan era), fuelled by powerful bass runs, and followed by a spacey guitar solo with echo. This culminates in an exciting duel between the guitar and synthesizer. Halfway a catchy beat and heavy guitar solo, then spectacular a synthesizer solo, again with pitchbend, fuelled by powerful drum beats. Finally a heavy guitar solo, and thunderous drum beats. If you like the unsurpassed Heavy Prog sound of Made In Japan from Deep Purple, this one is yours, and Aton Five again succeeds to add an own touch to their beloved Seventies sound, wow!

The Endless Desert (17:37) : First spoken words and freaky sounds, then a strong beat in a hypnotizing psychedelic climate, like the Pink Floyd At Pompeii sound, with awesome spacey synthesizers flights, goose bumps, how compelling! Then howling electric guitar with a sultry Arabian flavour, what a captivating sound. This is followed by a spacey synthesizer solo and raw, pretty heavy guitar, an interesting contrast, fuelled by pumping bass and slow beats. Finally a slow rhythm with excellent guitar sound, with powerful bass and drums in a surprising prog metal climate, and ending with a sultry synthesizer solo, so many strong musical ideas, from start to end.

The CD reissue contains the two live bonus tracks Journey (dynamic with lush Hammond and awesome Blackmore inspired guitar play) and Woods Made Of Stone (strong interplay between psychedelic organ and Arabian sounding electric guitar).

I grew up with the legendary hardrock and prog bands from the Seventies, these guys absolutely not but they have paid tribute to those bands in a very exciting and captivating way, highly recommended!

Report this review (#2231920)
Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The more I discover Russian bands the more I'm covinced that Russia is the land of the modern prog without throwing away the old. Aton Five is a band which up to now has released only two EPs and one full length album, this one, but I hope that sooner or later more will come.

This is a concept album based on a Sci-Fi concept, but honestly I don't know anything about it. The music is enough to enjoiy it even without a story behind. It starts with a sort of bolero with interludes reminding to early PINK FLOYD, I mean the Ummagumma years, but with keyboards sounding like the best Rick WAKEMAN. This track has been enough to "light my prog sensors up".

Very different the second track, with a classic rock mood and a bit of 70s funky. Musically comparable to NIACIN, but with an excellent rock guitar which NIACIN don't have. Eight minutes of pure energy.

The Crimsonian "Time" follows. Here the bass is leading and has a volume a little higher than keys and guitar. This band has clearly absorbed the standards set by the bigs in the 70s, and is able to re-elaborate them into something new without losing the connection with the past. It starts heavy but it doesn't betray the standards, so there are several changes in tempo and melody, odd signatures, keys and a crying guitar, but the reference is to early KING CRIMSON.

There isn't the voice of Ozzy Osborne, but "A Chain Of Events" could be A BLACK SABBATH song, if only WAKEMAN played with Sabbath. My compliments to the guitarist, too.

It's a characteristic of this album that every track must be different from those before. The 13 minutes long "Milky Way Incident" doesn't contain any reggae, otherwise I could have thought to QUANTUM FANTAY. There's also a sort of "dialog" between keyboards, guitar and bass which reminds to the "Made in Japan" version of Child In Time. Great guitar work throughout the whole track and a final in a clear DEEP PURPLE style.

"Death?" is just a short interlude with some background noise. A little touch of Avant which introduces "The Endless Desert", an appropriate name for a 17 minutes track. The influence of PINK FLOYD on this trak is clear. Despite the guitar sounding like Piotr GRUDZINSKI's, this appears to be very inspired to "Set The Controls For The Heart OF The Sun". The keyboards seem played by Richard Wright, but in addition to it, there's a great work from bass and drums. This is undoubtely a psychedelic track.

The album is completed by a couple of bonus tracks: the live version of Journey taken from their EP "Live in Mars" and "Woods Made Of Stone" which is not featured studio in this album. The first sounds even more '70s in this live version. The second is another heavy but psychedelic track in the vein of OZRIC TENTACLES, with arabesque riffs giving it a ethnic flavor which I have to say, reminds a little to SENMUTH, who is another musical project from Moscow.

I'd say a 4.5 stars album. Hoping that those guys decide to release a masterpiece as next effort.

Report this review (#2246327)
Posted Monday, August 26, 2019 | Review Permalink

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