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COMPASSIONIZER

RIO/Avant-Prog • Russia


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Compassionizer biography
A Russian project COMPASSIONIZER have got started gradually in the spring of 2020 as an off-shoot of ROZ VITALIS (and they say the project was named after the 2007 album of ROZ VITALIS). The trio - Ivan ROZMAINSKY (keyboards, percussion), Leonid PEREVALOV (bass clarinets, clarinets), and Serghei LIUBCENCO (guitar, doira, rubab) - have recorded material for their debut album in the "quarantine period", or from the spring until summer 2020, and the creation titled "Caress Of Compassion" was released upon September 18, 2020 via an independent label ArtBeat Music.

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COMPASSIONIZER discography


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COMPASSIONIZER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 47 ratings
Caress of Compassion
2020
4.17 | 51 ratings
An Ambassador in Bonds
2021
4.13 | 35 ratings
Narrow Is the Road
2022

COMPASSIONIZER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COMPASSIONIZER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

COMPASSIONIZER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

COMPASSIONIZER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.58 | 12 ratings
Your Gold and Silver Is Cankered
2021
4.50 | 6 ratings
An Ambassador in Bonds AEMC Remixes
2022

COMPASSIONIZER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Devolvator

5 stars The recent, fresh opus of the remarkable St. Petersburg musician Ivan Rozmainsky, with the Compassionizer project, pleases with an abundance of instruments and musical ideas from the first seconds. Is it possible to imagine an unified fusion of Gentle Giant, Henry Cow, Univers Zero and even Pink Floyd from the Meddle period? However, this is not just a fact - it is a reality revealed to the listener in the music of this unusual group. I think that the description of every separate composition is hardly a necessary exercise, because each track is a whole kaleidoscope of musical forms, but you can try to put some of them into words. For example, The Invasion of a Crying Shame is an amazing "avant-garde tango" that combines elements of jazz. Followed by Black Sky White - originates in Indian traditions, coupled with electronic meditations, wonderfully intertwined with percussion. I Need You to Help - sounds more traditional, and slightly sends us back to the worlds of early Yes & Genesis - to the best times of British art-rock, while being refracted by Andrey Stefinov's amazing wind harmonies. The title track Narrow is the Road is a pure visionary rebuke to the music of the early 20th century, correct me if I'm wrong. Something painfully from the Silver Age! It's so cool to hear references to it in prog rock. In fact, all of the above is a little that can be conveyed by listening to this wonderful album. The album is definitely for connoisseurs of music, even despite the prog-rock. The quality of performance is top notch. As I wrote in previous reviews - their music continues to grow stronger and improve, this album only confirms this formula!
 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

2 stars Wow, never expected to have a band reach out to me to review one of their new albums. That is definitely an exciting thing to notice as it can mean discovering new and interesting music from new, possibly groundbreaking artists. It is fun discovering music. Although, sometimes you might get something that doesn't work for you, and I find Narrow Is The Road, the newest release of Compassionizer, aka the band that recommended this record, doesn't quite work for me.

I do not wish to lay down all the negatives right from the get go since I do not desire to bash any band 'less I feel they deserve a high amount of criticism, so to start: I find this album's sound to be very pretty in many cases. The band merging delicate uses of folk, and classical with very prominent Avant Garde jazz that Frank Zappa or Henry Cow could make is something I am quite fond of. They are very clearly talented musicians, and their talent really does shine with songs like Black Sky White and Road. You get very soft and delicate passages for the most part, but sometimes the band can rise a bit, ever so slightly to where once you notice it, it sort of sticks with you throughout the album, which I think is great. You gotta make your music stick to your audience, and the best way to do that is to create an impression with a treatable sound. For me, this album, for the most, does deliver on a more than welcome sound.

My problem with this album lies within the lack of any real juice behind these weirder passages of music. I can tell these are very good musicians, and I highly respect their craft, but I feel as though they aren't playing with their hearts. The music here sounds rather empty, and more weird to be weird rather than being weird to make a statement, or to be funny, or just to make something off the walls in how they can break expectations away from you. I do not expect, nor do I wish for them to be as silly as The Residents, nor as chaotic as The Cardiacs, but I do want to see a little more meat and a little more bones in this work.

Songs like the title track and the big 14 minute song of Kramatorsk never really felt rewarding in their weird passages, and more sounded like background noise. It is a shame, I know, for me to call really good musicians creating generally good sounding music to be background noise, but I felt a lack of passion, or, a lack of interest within the sound they created on here. I really do wish I could like this album a lot more, but I cannot seem to fully get into it, or appreciate it.

Again, I do not wish to bash the band for making this album, but I do hope they improve as music creators and composers in their next release. They are clearly a strong bunch and hard workers as they released albums in 2020 and 2021, so I am intrigued on their next release. As it stands, though, this album is not really my cup of tea, and I feel like there are many things to improve on here. It is a unique listen, but not one I am dying to listen to over and over again.

 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Another fantastic album from Compassionizer that really represents the sheer versatility on display from them. Rather than the more brooding atmosphere and cold, alien quality that would often shine through with the stronger use of electronics on past albums, Narrow Is The Road takes on a far warmer, more uplifting tone while maintaining a lot of the moodiness that make them so compelling. The range of instruments, while being about as diverse as before, still sound very different as a result. You'll find a lot more symphonic elements especially, with the assortment of woodwind and brass being utilised to craft an atmosphere just as compelling as past output has been. The compositions themselves feel like a bit of a step up as well, still focusing far more strongly on crafting a mood and soundscape that evokes a range of emotions that often feel rather hard to define entirely, but this time around, everything sounds that touch more dynamic and impactful. This is especially true with the way that everything flows together as smoothly as it does, to the point where you'll end up hearing certain passages and ideas being reused later on but under a different context which ends up further expanding upon and refining what was already there, positively contributing to each rendition that's performed.

The electric guitar is another favourite aspect of this to me with the way that it's almost always implemented in such unconventional ways without entirely derailing the experience. The way that The Invasion of a Crying Shame uses it is especially powerful, breaking through the rather subtle, layered composition with a wave of roaring distortion that then gets played around smoothly and almost instantly, providing a certain intensity that I am a huge fan of when used in smaller doses in the context of an album such as this. The way that Narrow Is The Road is able to have such left turns while maintaining a practically unbreakable sense of momentum is rather impressive and sophisticated, essentially hiding its more avant-garde tendencies in plain sight time and time again and making for a fantastic experience to full absorb and break down all the nuances of. I basically always feel rather excited about seeing this band make a new album since they're so consistently great and interesting in how differently they're approached. In this case, I'd say that Narrow is the Road marks the band's most conventionally prog album in how it's structured, but that doesn't make it any less great at what it does. While An Ambassador In Bonds remains my favourite album Ivan Rozmainsky is involved with at this point, fans of atmospheric prog should not ignore this one either, as it's more fantastic music that makes full use of a wide range of instrumentation to craft another album that sounds rather unique and exciting.

 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Prolific and ambitiously adventurous composer/musician Ivan Rozmainsky (of Roz Vitalis fame) is back with his new collective of virtuoso collaborators for a third album release since 2020. And it's a good one!

1. "Only One Road for the Wayward" (7:20) Ivan & co. here move more into the discordant world of avant jazz artists like JOHN ZORN and YUGEN. I think this one succeeds because of its slow, spacious pacing and "conscientious" note-making. (13.25/15)

2. "The Invasion of a Crying Shame" (3:53) starts off as if picking up where the first song left off, but then quickly becomes something different--a kind of middle school band practice session for the horn section. Interesting for how loose and sloppy the timing is for the instrumentalists engaging in the weave. (Yes, I can tell it's done intentionally.) The grating electric guitar injected into the final quarter is surprising and a little off-putting. It's as if a 2:00 AM jam of rather tired and, probably, drunk musicians is being recorded. Not quite sure of the reason or motivation for this song to be included on a publicly-released album. (8.5/10)

3. "Black Sky White" (5:25) there's a bit of a Celtic or even Acadian folk feel to this one. (It reminds me very much of the music from the QuÚbecois band, CONVENTUM's 1979 album, Le bureau central des utopies.) I like it for the predominance of acoustic instrumentation. Very nice finish. A top three song for me. (9.25/10)

4. "I Need You to Help" (5:50) built around weave of comparatively sappy melodies, Serghei Liubcenco's choice for guitar sound once again mystifies me: like using a kitchen appliance, he can sure make some noise! The scaled down interlude in the middle reminds me of MASSIVE ATTACK's "Teardrop" but then we move into Asian-infused, cheesy drum-machine-led, mediŠval weave while the wildest collection of disparate instruments somehow move forward together, as a rag-tag ensemble. Adventurous and laughable yet admirable! My final top three song. (9/10)

5. "Narrow Is the Road" (5:14) again Ivan & company bring together an ensemble of classical and jazz instruments to create a pathway that is somehow moving forward while taking turns giving up the leadership position, this causing some uncertain movement and moment--this despite the definitive title. Perhaps the road is old, less traveled, and poorly maintained. Anyway, against all odds, the band somehow pulls it together for the final quarter of the song to reveal some beautiful teamwork. The weave then turns to avant chamber jazz sounding quite similar to the work of Belarusian bands Rational Diet, Five-Storey Ensemble, and Archestra. Here are some quite lovely "traveling" melodies conveyed in the second half of the song. This is certainly one post-apocalyptic (or pre-industrial) band of road travelers that I would enjoy being with or encountering. My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

6. "In Things Too High for Me" (8:40) the solo kalimba in this song's opening does not fool me for a minute. The music quickly shifts into an electrically-founded trapse of troubadours--which occasionally turns space alien (minute #2) and Asian (minute #3). This one sounds as if it could come from some of DAVE NEWHOUSE's zany collaborations--the Moon Men or Moon X projects. In the final third the structure becomes tight, organized, almost classical, this despite the odd mix of instruments. It's a very Paolo "SKE" Botta-like sound. Not my favorite piece but interesting. (17/20)

7. "Looking from the Dome" (5:37) concertina/organ and rock electric guitar open this one before winds and cymbals join in to create a near-klezmer weave. Banjo and strings join before wah-ed guitar takes the lead. the percussion-driven rhythm and pacing remind me very much of parts of MIKE OLDFIELD's 1979 masterpiece of four "Incantations." The final stripped down minute feels more African tribal with they now-typical odd assortment of collaborating instruments. (8.75/10)

8. "Kramatorsk" (14:32) violin announces the Russian melody theme before low winds take over. Then drums This could very much be a piece by Markus Pajakkala's UTOPIANISTI--except for the fact that it doesn't change, progress, shift, or develop as dynamically as Markus' compositions. This one drags on--rather like a New Orleans funeral procession. The addtion of heavily distorted guitar strumming in the second half does little to enhance the (lack of) interesting or pleasurable development of the song. The Psycho-like violin (and, later, synthesizer) screams in the eleventh minute are surprising and, once again, do little to enhance the likeability of the song (except if you're a lover of King Crimson or Art Zoyd at their most angular/dissonant). Again, I know not the intent or message the band was trying to convey here, but it is one that is, unfortunately, totally lost to me. I understand and appreciate the adventurousness, skill, and vision it takes to compose and perform something like this, it's just not my cup of tea. (25/30)

9. "Road" (3:42) this sounds like a cute little Baroque chamber piece--something being performed for a small private audience or as background music for a museum opening. (8.5/10)

Total Time 60:13

With this album I think Ivan and his intrepid collaborators have put together their finest effort. The sound engineering and production is excellent with great clarity of each and every single instrument. My favorite selections on the album are, of course, the more chamber-oriented pieces dominated by acoustic instruments and mediŠval-like folk sounds and weaves.

B/four stars; an excellent addition to any lover of truly adventurous progressive rock music.

 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by mhskey

5 stars I definitely estimate this work as a great one, however, as i see, some reviewers consider the album as Intended for a narrow circle of listeners. This music is proper to get contact with your conscience and to stop realizing and feeling time and all the things around. If you do not might me saying, for me personally the album is sated by such a spiritualistic energy, which makes me barely breathe. Especially it concerns the following three compositions: "Looking from the Dome", "In Things Too High for Me" and "Black Sky White". By the way, the last one is my favorite.
 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Vanamonde

5 stars Once I said many of melodies created by this talented team can act as a perfect soundtrack to a movie. I would say this album is a new stage in the artistic development of Ivan and his peers because any theme in this work IS a movie with real plot twists, suspense moments, climaxes, and endings, happy or not. All the themes are inventive, expressive, and I would highly visual. Using only the power of the sound Ivan literally paints a dynamic series of pictures (always very personal and subjective of course) like in cartoons. By its free flow of an artist's thought and impetuous and continuous change of surrealistic images this collection looks like a third season of Shivering Truth by Vernon Chapman expressed in the language of music, though more diverse in its moods and genres. Every theme is like a story. It can a fairy tale like I need you to help, or a ballad like Narrow in the Road, or sometimes even a detailed documentary, though full of cry and tragedy, like Kramatorsk. And every one is a real gem and masterpiece. A great deal of effort is felt in every component of this work. One of the best if not the best album of Ivan and his team. My congratulations!
 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Naida Regent

5 stars The album "Narrow is the Road" is more coherent than the previous two. It feels the spirit of the present time, the ongoing difficult events that have affected Ukraine and Russia this year. In every note, one can feel personal involvement of the performers and the transfer of this to the listeners. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." This gospel saying best fits the theme of the album. There are fewer things that are heavy in perception and in mood than on previous albums; rather there is a certain mood that awakens all the best inside the human mind, inside our understanding on the path of searching for the truth. The titles of the compositions are also united by one goal - the awakening of reason and mercy. Here is a musical example that shows that it is possible to speak about difficult things in a very simple language. It is not difficult to be a humanist and it is not too late to become; while you're still alive, do it faster so the world doesn't fall apart. The composer Jenkins has an oratorio titled "A Mass for Peace". The album "Narrow is the Road" can safely be called its continuation.
 Narrow Is the Road by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.13 | 35 ratings

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Narrow Is the Road
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProAnastasia

5 stars Great album. Unlike the previous one and despite the theme, it is light and cheerful. Only two tracks are sorrowful and disquieting. At the same time the music is deep and touching. That`s why I sincerely recommend to listen to the album. We need such light in darkness.

Only One Road for the Wayward, Black Sky White and Road, based on soundtracks for the poems, here are completely different. It can be compared with black-and-white and colorful paintings. Both versions are great but this one is richer and more interesting.

In addition, I would like to highlight such advantages of this album as wholeness and variety.

 An Ambassador in Bonds by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.17 | 51 ratings

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An Ambassador in Bonds
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Since Roz Vitalis mainman and keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky and I first started corresponding some years ago we have become friends (in the modern and digital manner) and I have followed his musical career with great interest. Named after the 2007 Ros Vitalis album, Compassionizer are seen as an offshoot which allows him to move in slightly different musical directions and on their second album he is again joined by Serghei Liubcenco (electric & acoustic guitars, bass, rubab, doira, other percussion & drums) and Leonid Perevalov (clarinets). Also credited as members are Bayun The Cat (synth bass, tbilat, cowbell) and AndRey Stefinoff (clarinets) while Oleg Prilutsky again guests on trumpet.

Any album which starts with harpsichord (the real thing as opposed to synth, one can hear the slight percussive noise from the instrument as well as the notes) is going to gain my attention from the off, and yet again Ivan has created something which is very special indeed. In some ways this feels like chamber music from a different age, but then we get transported into something which feels far more like strange krautrock with ethnic percussion, or firmly into RIO, or music where the keyboards are very much taking a backseat to bass clarinet or driving percussion. It is an incredibly varied and quite unusual album, which has far more in keeping with modern classical music than it does with rock and is fascinating as one never knows where it is going to go next.

Rozmainsky is an exciting composer who keeps pushing the boundaries of what is expected from him, and yet again here we have an album which is full of depth and power which is worthy for those who want to undertake a voyage of discovery.

 An Ambassador in Bonds by COMPASSIONIZER album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.17 | 51 ratings

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An Ambassador in Bonds
Compassionizer RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

In late 2020, I reviewed the debut album from Compassionizer. Anyone who read that review will know that the files I reviewed from were not fully titled, so I was perhaps coming to the music from a different angle than had I known the full titles. And yet, much of the time what I heard in the music really wasn't far from what I think I would have heard had I known the actual titles and I somehow reached the same place, which says a lot for how vivid the imagery evoked by instrumental music can be, and how great a composer Ivan Rozmainsky is. Although I probably should have known (from my knowledge of Roz Vitalis), it didn't occur to me how much of the album is wrapped up within Christian imagery. Perhaps because I'm an agnostic atheist, I simply don't recognise this way of thinking unless it is presented overtly. Upon discovering the full titles of the tracks of Caress of Compassion, the Christian imagery does become overt. Yet, lest this puts anyone off (and it shouldn't), it is not overbearing. Rather, it seems to me that Rozmainsky uses the Bible as an analogy for events and circumstances occurring contemporaneously.

I'm going to quote my opening paragraph to my previous review, as I think it is still appropriate here: "Compassion sounds like a warm and fuzzy word. And yet, when you think about it, it is almost the opposite. Compassion is essentially the sympathetic consciousness of and concern for the suffering, distress and misfortunes of others. Its Latin roots translate it almost literally as 'suffer with'. Not so warm and fuzzy then? I mention this because it is something I hadn't thought about before listening to Compasionizer's debut album, Caress of Compassion. I was expecting something cosy and comfortable, warm and inviting, and what I heard did not always match those expectations. So, then a 'Caress of Suffering', an almost paradoxical combination of ugliness and beauty wrapped up in twelve exquisite and atmospheric tracks, at once subtle and grandiose."

The caress of compassion is possibly a nod to the compassion of Christ, which can also be called the suffering of Christ. But that Christian imagery is not so much the message of the music (at least, as I hear it), so much as a means to an end. I still reached that end without that means, but it's interesting now to look back and listen again with fresh ears. The first track of Caress of Compassion, I knew only as "Whole" when I was reviewing it. Its complete title is actually The Whole Creation Travaileth in Pain Together, which is a near quote from the Bible equating life as we know it to childbirth. It's a hopeful message of salvation that neither ignores nor dismisses human suffering. Pain is real, and we all experience suffering. There is acknowledgment that pain is not pleasant, and that suffering is miserable. The analogy is to a woman in labour, because we all know that no woman wants that pain, itself, but she is willing to endure it because of the joyful result it brings. That is a universal message, regardless of whether you are theist or atheist, gnostic or agnostic.

Compassionizer's latest album begins with a similar message. Like The Whole?, Follow After Meekness appears to be an abbreviation of a Bible passage. Meekness is one of six traits that are suggested we follow, the others being righteousness, godliness, faith, love, and steadfastness. Meekness in this sense is often given as gentleness, and could even be called? compassion. So, in a sense (even if it is one only of my own thinking), it's the perfect title for the second album, showing us what follows after (Caress of) compassion, as well as providing what seems to me to be the central theme and concept of this new album. To me, An Ambassador in Bonds seems to be a reaction to the world-changing events following the introduction of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The advice given in the Bible, of which following after meekness is part, is mainly about the avoidance of evil, of false doctrine, and pseudo- intellectual debates. I don't think I need to say more, in that respect. Similarly, ?Seat of the Scornful in its title might also imply not taking this "counsel of the wicked".

But this is all speculation on my part, and I should probably attempt to concentrate on what I can actually hear, rather than what I infer. So how does An Ambassador in Bonds sound? Well, quite frankly, marvellous, and Follow After Meekness is not only an impressive introduction to the sound of Compassionizer's latest offering, but is also easily one of my favourite pieces on the album. It's a magnificent opening statement, which also makes clear right from the start, that the experimentation in instrumentation that was begun on the intermediate EP, Your Gold and Silver is Cankered, is continuing. The sound of the harpsichord which I enjoyed on the EP is integrated more effectively into Compassionizer's sound for this album, and never sounds too much. Neither too present, nor overbearing, it provides one more layer of texture and colour to music that blends beautifully with all the others. The sound of An Ambassador in Bonds is fuller than its predecessor, but still contains all the elements of the debut that made it such a delight to listen to.

I love the nod to continuity and connection with a fourth part of Caress of Compassion, before An Ambassador in Bonds serves up its own multi-part title track. The whole affair continues the wonderful melange of styles such as ambient, avant and classical. There are hints of the fabled Canterbury sound, via Constantinople. I love the quite different ways the three parts of the title track approach its melody from quite different directions. And, in a sense, the track Different Sides of Ascension is the album's sound in microcosm: on one side, there is a positivity and optimism that was almost entirely absent in Caress of Compassion; but on the other there remains an undercurrent of unease and uncertainty. But while these are, indeed, two different sides, the victor of the two is shown in the ascension ? for An Ambassador in Bonds is ascendant, and jubilant. This also dovetails nicely with the idea of an ambassador in bonds within the Bible, as while it might seem paradoxical for an ambassador to be in bonds (just as the combination of outwardly contradictory and conflicting styles and moods of Compassionizer might seem paradoxical), the message still rings clear, and is delivered despite any barrier, and without prejudice.

The album concludes with Bear Ye One Another's Burdens, which bookends the album nicely for me, with my interpretation of the album ? even though it may not be the intended one at all. During the last couple of years, those who have followed after meekness, and not sat in the seat of the scornful, and those who have worn the masks, and been vaccinated. Not to protect themselves, but to protect others. Ultimately all precautions against COVID-19 have been based on selflessness, not selfishness. There have been two different sides of ascension, with those who have faced adversity with positivity and taken up the precautions offered ? even when they offer protection more for others than oneself; and those who have expressed unease and uncertainty about those precautions, and even railed against them. I'd like to think that in the world, as on this album, the positivity seems to outweigh the uncertainty, and that the message of compassion and empathy and shared suffering is growing, despite any and all bonds. The bookending, for me, is not just with this album, though, but the predecessor as well. To return to The Whole Creation Travaileth in Pain Together, we are also waiting for the day when the suffering will end and all will be made right. With Bear Ye One Another's Burdens, we are getting closer to that day.

I know there is probably a more personal meaning for Ivan Rozmainsky, and my own interpretation is likely way off the mark, but every listener takes ownership of an album in their own way, and this is how An Ambassador in Bonds speaks to me. An album of the times, for sure ? but absolutely certainly also a timeless album that I shall treasure for years to come.

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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