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The Worm Ouroboros - Endless Way From You CD (album) cover

ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU

The Worm Ouroboros

Eclectic Prog


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TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars This Eclectic Prog band named The Worm Ouroboros that hails from Minsk, Belarus was created in 2006, and has gone through several different line-up changes through the years. After releasing the album 'Of Things That Never Were', which was actually quite an acclaimed album, the band has been mostly quite until Christmas Eve of 2019 when they released their 2nd studio album 'Endless Way From You'. The line-up at this time consists of Sergey Gvozdyukevich on keys, bass, guitar, flute and vocals; Vladimir Sobolevsky also on keys and bass as well as guitars; and Mihail Knichin on drums. Joining this core line-up, there is Vitaly Appow on bassoon, Aliona Sukilyan on oboe and Alexandra Gankova on various percussive instruments including xylophone. This album has 9 tracks and has a duration of nearly 80 minutes.

It all begins with 'Cycles' (14:16), a track that starts with a soft and pastoral sound which consists of nice woodwinds, acoustic guitars, organ and eventually a straitforward beat. The music reminds me of the softer Camel vibe, music that takes its time to move gracefully along, establishing melodies and themes, changing tempo occasionally to further develop the track, but remaining somewhat plush even when it builds the theme and intensifying as it goes. The flute seems to be the main instrument here supported mostly by acoustic guitar with some electric guitar and organ solos throughout. The last 4 minutes gets quite a bit more intense and dark as tension builds and releases with repeated piano notes that take it to its conclusion.

The different styles that make this music eclectic is more apparent in the next track 'Clouds to Owings Mills' (7:27) which begins with a piano led section that borrows from the Canterbury sound with a nice mix of folk and fusion, and courses through the styles of symphonic and then heavier prog sounds, generating intensity as it goes only to release it all to a piano and flute again. The music is more distraught than the first track, taking less time to travel to different progressive realms including forays into Zeuhl territory, yet remaining instrumental throughout.

You know by this time, what you are getting into on this album, a nice eclectic blend of styles, mostly instrumental all the way through. One of the highlights is 'Quest of the Kingfisher' (7:15) which moves seamlessly from simple sounds to a long development section that effectively drives forward with a tense and dramatic section that eventually evolves and resolves into a nice lilting section that features an organ generating excitement as an electric guitar drives the music to its satisfying conclusion.

Another standout is 'The Reality You Can't Stop Dreaming' (13:20) that begins with a sinister sounding oboe that brings in a tense piano and solid bass that push it into a nice heavy, somewhat dissonant and restless sound, often building through tension, releasing it and then rebuilding it again. Interspersed with solid guitar passages and organ and piano flourishes, all of the players get fair time to thread this track through many different moods and textures. 'The Whistler Shrill' (8:03) is also an excellent pastiche of dissonant flutes and guitars that keep pulling pastoral sounds into dark and evil territory resolved by occasional vocal passages. No doubt images of 'Magma' might come to mind, especially when things turn darkly dramatic. This track is definitely an emotional masterpiece.

This one is a bit tough to assign a rating to, because there are sections and tracks that are outstanding, easily 5-star material, but there are more tracks that are lovely and a bit more wandering that take their time to move along, and there are times you might find your mind wandering off and your attention wavering a bit. However, through it all is evidence of excellent musicianship and, even though the band has seen a lot of line-up changes, the music is tight and well-performed. The standouts here are as I have mentioned before, 'Quest of the Kingfisher', 'The Reality You Can't Stop Dreaming' and especially the amazing 'The Whistler Shrill', and if all of the tracks were this immersive, then this would have easily been one of the best albums of the year. But, with a lot of time keeping in slow and easy development, there are too many parts of the album that are excellent, but don't quite engage the listeners as much as the 3 mentioned tracks. Either way, the album is still easily a 4 star affair and should be heard by those that love the sound of 'Camel' with big doses of the Canterbury sound and forays into the heavier sounds of other sub-genres. This is one of the better 4-star albums that just barely misses the 5 star mark.

Report this review (#2300407)
Posted Friday, December 27, 2019 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Back in 2013 an unknown eclectic prog rock band from Minsk, Belarus emerged and took the prog world by storm with its own retro sounds that included some of the usual suspects such as Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Jethro Tull, Magma, National Health and Hatfield & The North among others with a touch of modern day flavors a la Birds And Buildings and a touch of avant-prog from Univers Zero, Present etc. But after proving to the world that this Eastern European band led by Sergey Gvozdyukevich (keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, flutes, vocals) and Vladimir Sobolevsky (electric & acoustic guitars) had the chops to deliver some serious modern infusion of prog styles with the debut album "Of Things That Never Were," they all disappeared into the ethers and haven't been heard from since. Until the year 2019 that is.

The old saying that real musicians have day jobs is still quite relevant well into the 21st century and such is the case with these prog stalwarts who do whatever they do all day and only have time to craft their musical visions in their spare time. Add to that the perfectionist streak that keeps musicians continuously re-recording until they "get it right" and it has taken six long years for THE WORM OUROBOROS to deliver a satisfactory followup sophomore album titled ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU. Add to that, the band's previous label, AltrOck ceased to exist and other annoying delays kept the project at bay for what seems like an eternity in the prog world as years slip into the great cosmic history books. However all is good and i'm happy to report that THE WORM OUROBOROS has delivered a satisfying stellar slab of modern prog based in the retro traditions and captures the essence of its previous album without sounding like a mere retread.

ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU is a rich sounding album with many instruments providing the tones and timbres of a classic prog rock sound. In addition to Gvozdyukevich's swirling synth swirls, bass and guitar heft, Sobolevsky's accompanying playing on the same instruments and Mikhail Kinchin's jazzy drum rolls, this album features Vitaly Appow on bassoon, Alioina Sukilyan on oboe and Alexandra Gankova on vibraphone, xylophone and timpani. The album consists of nine tracks and is just shy of the 80 minute mark which makes this a lengthy listening session with two of the tracks stretching past the 13 minute mark. The length of the album is a result of the intention of two albums that have been merged into one. The first was supposed to be a more uplifting positive vibe style of album and the other a darker bleak sounding one. The squirmy WORMS kept this album in that theme with the lighter side appearing first and the darker as the second half.

The opening track "Cycles" is composed of four segments that correspond to the daily cycles of morning / day / evening / night as well as the cyclical nature of nature. The other lengthy track "The Reality You Can't Stop Dreaming" is on the darker side and simulates the changing scenery of dreams and nightmares, the latter of which is discovered to be true after waking up. The track was inspired by horror and giallo movie composers such as Fabio Frizzi and Ennio Morricone. There is a recurring bird theme as well such as on "Quest of the Kingfisher" and "The Whistler Shrill." The band also was helped by members of Rational Diet (now Five-Storey Ensemble) to record the woodwind parts. While other tracks are shorter, many are nearer the eight minute mark. "Stone And Lydia" as well as the birdie songs all generate a series of passages through proggy instrumental workouts with clever compositional workouts that exude a classic 70s sound.

Overall this second edition of THE WORM OUROBOROS canon is a much mellower affair with less emphasis on heavier rock aspects and if you ask me this one reminds me most of classic Camel as it's light and airy with an extra helping of retro keyboard sounds. The mostly instrumental processions also add to that feeling of albums like "The Snow Goose" coming to mind. The woodwind parts instill a folky vibe to the mix but there are still plenty of guitar and bass sounds to anchor this within the greater prog universe, it's just that they play a subordinate rhythmic role in relation to the more active winds and keys. This is an excellent second coming from this fine Belarusian band from Minsk. While the playing time may be a little too long for a single listening session, there are no disappointing tracks to be heard however there is less variation on this album than the debut and tracks begin to sound quite similar. While i still feel this band hasn't latched onto a true distinguishing sound and reached its full potential, there is no doubt that ENDLESS WAY FROM YOU is a beautiful prog release that will particularly thrill any retro prog lovers who dig classic keyboard sounds.

Report this review (#2308775)
Posted Thursday, January 23, 2020 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars Initially I thought to have found a Camel inspired band. The very good 15 minutes opener full of flute and keyboard is close to the atmospheres of Moonmadness or even Rain Dances. The band is a trio with some additional guests and let me say that Cycles is a track that can stand up in front of the best Camel songs.

Also "Clouds to Owings Mills" travels on this kind of soundscape, with odd signatures, a jazzy mood and a guitar which may bring Andy Latimer to mind. So is it a Camel clone? Absolutely not. Even though the influence is evident, also in the skillful drumming of Mikhail Kilchin, there's much more to come in the following tracks. And, believe me, the first two tracks are already a good reason to have this album. This second track is closed by a guitar part reminding of Fripp and Starless.

"Stone and Lydia" is harder to compare. It's another instrumental showing the full belonging of the band to the prog world. On this one I like in particular the passage from slow to uptime through an organ chord sounding like a Hammond. During the 8 minutes of this track a lot is going on. There's an excelent bass base behind a flute part, I can't say if there's more Camel or more King Crimson or...well, there's a lot of Worm Ourobouros. This is the band and this is up to now the best album I've listened to in 2020.

"Quest of the Kingfisher" shows also the influence from classical music. I'm not an expert, it brings Stravinskij and Mussorvskij to my mind, but in 5/4. The more I listen to this album, the more I like it.

"Mulidaran" starts with drums and flute, it sounds between far eastern music and Claude Debussy, then becomes jazzy: bass, keys, drums and the usual flute. There's also a bass solo, very interesting because of the use of chorus and distortion on it (at least those seems the effects used to my ears).

Proceeding, the album becomes a little darker, and "Ascension" is the first real surprise: a Crimsonian start which falls unespectedly into Zeuhl in perfect Magma style. Another great track with solid arrangement, unusual signatures and skillful playing with a bolero interlude, and all this stuff in few more than 5 minutes. This is also the first track with vocals. It sounds Kobaian.

An intriguing tiitle track: "The reality you can't stop dreaming". Like the previous track it has various signature changes and a dark Zeuhl atmosphere. 3 minutes full of rhythm, a sudden stop and...flute, which seems inspired to Jimmy Hastings and Caravan this time. But this is a sort of epic which in its 13 minutes of duration offers a number of different situations. Not easy to classify, it's a kind of "the dark side of early Camel" if something like this makes sense. I can compare the structure of this track to "Lady Fantasy", but it goes through totally different ways.

"The Whistler Shrill" starts with a chamber opening that has also something medieval or even celtic inside, but still very dark. Like Art Zoyd, but more "accessible". When the vocals arrive we are again in the Magma realm. It's another complex track which has also very melodic parts.

The closer is the simplest track in terms of technicalities. The gaelic title should mean something like "grown beard" (thanks to google). Its meody is so captivating that when it end makes me wishing to restart the album from the beginning.

Before the end, I must spend some words for the three guests, in particular Alexandra Gankova whose xylopone and vibraphone add a lot to the tracks.

I'm entusiastic of this album. It's March 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and up to now this is the best album I've listened to this year.

My first 5 stars album of the year

Report this review (#2341619)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the second album by THE WORM OUROBOROS, a highly enjoyable, instrumentally oriented band from Minsk, Belarus. I'm not familiar with their debut Of Things That Never Were (2013), so let's get straight to the music on this beautiful 74-minute album. The opening piece 'Cycles' -- which is also the longest at 14 min. -- will bring a happy smile to anyone who's fond of Canterbury-flavoured CAMEL and the joyously melodic style of early 70's CARAVAN. The warm soundscape quickly grows from acoustic guitar & flute centred delicate intro into a dynamic and yet relatively mellow ensemble playing full of happy melodies reminiscent of beloved albums such as In the Land of Grey and Pink or Mirage. This is not to say that the group would closely imitate either of the mentioned bands, but I believe that they are openly influenced by them, among several other prog bands of course, to have shaped their own individual identity. Especially the flute and organ have nice solistic moments. Towards the end the going gets a bit more intense, after which piano leads us back to the elegance akin to classical music and modern chamber jazz. A lovely album opener indeed, but the whole will have more variety and edge to offer.

Flute is occasionally well present also in the next track which has more muscle so to speak. I agree with a previous review that the guitar part may remind the listener of Robert Fripp and the Crimso classic 'Starless', again without tasting like imitation. 'Stone and Lydia' has a simple synth intro (is it perhaps some old Saga song I'm thinking of?) leading the way to eclectic instrumental prog with rhythmic complexity. The electric piano nicely underlines the retro feeling. Despite all its sudden turns the piece never loses its focus. The very classic organ sound (think of Soft Machine's Third, for example) is central on many moments in 'Quest of the Kingfisher'. The composition has a strong sense of a heroic adventure.

Before I end up trying to describe each piece... I'm really fond of the way this wonderful band manages to make music that is both complex and joyfully fresh; a rare balance between surpriseful eclectism and a warm, happy, melodic atmosphere not very difficult for any prog listener to dive into. The band is basically a trio of two multi-instrumentalists and a drummer; of the guest appearances worth mentioning are especially the vibraphone (5, 6) and xylophone (8) parts of Alexandra Gankova, and Vitaly Appow's bassoon (7, 8). The 8th track, 'The Whistler Shrill', is the richest one when it comes to the arrangements. Like ART ZOYD but more accessible, just like octopus-4 says in his review. The only other track to contain any vocals is 'Ascension' in which the falsetto voice operates somewhere between Kobaia and Canterbury (Robert Wyatt!). This excellently executed album deserves 4½ stars from me, and it's a very tough choice which direction I should round it up. I firmly believe this is something one doesn't easily get bored with on repeated listenings -- there's so much going on -- but maybe my enjoyment mostly stays on the level of "wow, that's great" instead of "oh my goodness, how I love this music!", hence I'm rounding it down. A strong recommendation!

Report this review (#2343727)
Posted Friday, March 20, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Worm Ouroboros - young and already quite original band thanks to their well served and mixed music ingredients: eclectic music style combines elements from the Canterbury scene, Folk, Symphonic Prog, there's also some psychedelic overtones. "Endless Way From You" - an impressive album of refreshingly unique music that crosses many sub genres. It is hard to describe what makes this CD so good. Really cool album from start to finish! Music arrangement of the highest quality. Picking out individual tracks is not what this album is all about; "Endless Way From You" consists as one wonderful entity, captivating from beginning to end. If you like Camel albums, then chances that you like this one are high.
Report this review (#2352116)
Posted Friday, April 17, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the second album from a band who were formed in 2006 in the depths of eastern-European marshlands of Belarus, when Sergey Gvozdyukevich (keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar, flutes, voice) and Vladimir Sobolevsky (keyboards, bass, acoustic and electric guitars) who were inspired by Seventies progressive rock, decided to put forward their musical vision to the public. Over the years there have been many line-up changes, but the band is currently working as a trio with drummer Mikhail Kinchin and on this album they have been joined by guests Vitaly Appow (bassoon), Aliona Sukilyan (oboe) and Alexandra Gankova (vibraphone, xylophone, timpani). When asked to describe the album I was told it was 'organ- and guitar-based with a notable use of monotonous whine of flutes and other woodwinds as well as (obviously) the maddening beating of vile drums.'

It is unusual for bands to have such self-deprecating humour, and needless to say that endeared them to me, but I was even more impressed by the album itself. Any band who is confident enough to commence proceedings with an instrumental which is more than fourteen minutes in length are likely to produce something of import, and that is indeed what has happened here. They have obviously been majorly influenced by the likes of Caravan and the Canterbury scene, Camel, Zeuhl and Magma, and have taken a mellow approach to proceedings. There are times when it is fairly upbeat and others where it is more delicate and thoughtful (they describe it themselves as 'inconsolable lugubriousness'). It is a mostly instrumental album, and when they do wake up the guitars as on 'Clouds To Owings Mills' it is quite a shock to the system!

I have been fortunate enough to hear some amazing bands from Eastern Europe over the last 30 years or so, and for me The Worm Ouroborus are right up there with the best of them. Although this comes across as a long-lost Seventies British progressive rock album, it really is a modern piece of work which came out on Christmas Eve 2019, and is truly deserving of investigation by any self-respecting proghead.

Report this review (#2408342)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2020 | Review Permalink

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