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Dah - Veliki cirkus CD (album) cover

VELIKI CIRKUS

Dah

 

Heavy Prog

2.14 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
2 stars A heavy rocking trio formed in 1972, Yugoslavian band Dah not only managed two albums in their five year existence, but managed a hit single with `Shoshana' and also got to tour with Dutch prog legends Focus. On their debut album `Veliki Cirkus' ("The Grand Circus") from 1974, the band favoured a psychedelic and acid folk mix of heavy rocking tunes with softer melodic ballads, and on the strength of the material offered here, it's the latter that were more convincing. Sadly there's not much here to offer here in the way of progressive rock elements to interest followers and collectors of that genre, even though it's full of energy and well performed.

Listening to the effective nightmarish sound collage that opens the disc with `Prologue', you'd be expecting this album to be experimental and ambitious all the way through, but this inventive beginning is sadly short lived. It soons morphs into `Prohujalo Sa Vihorom', a by-the-numbers collection of heavy rocking passages, despite moving through a few tempos and direction changes. `Troil I Kresida' and `Desetorica Sa Loace' are bouncy but utterly forgettable throwaway grooving rockers, only the roaring vocal from guitarist Zlatco Manojlovic leaves any impression in the first, some twisting electric guitar soloing on both sides of the speakers the latter.

The jangling ballad title track that opens side B is spirited but ultimately repetitive. `Dobar Vetar, Plava Ptico' could have been a promising acid folk ballad (lovely mandolin from Zlatko throughout), but a semi-comical half-spoken narration over the top and a silly forced childish psychedelic ending destroys it. `Mozda Zvoni' is a forgettable one minute novelty old-school rock-'n-roller in the same manner as E.L.P's `Are You Ready, Eddy' - urgh! Album closer has plenty of slow-burn bluesy guitar wailing, Branko Gluscevic's purring bass and pounding drums from Velibor Bogdanovic the standouts, but a screeching falsetto vocal from Zlatko is utterly excruciating and completely ruins the piece altogether. Despite a different surname here, I had a bad feeling this was the same Zlatko that offered a similar unlistenable guest vocal on the Yugoslavian `Hobo' album from 1975 that I reviewed a few days back, and sure enough it's the same guy. His usual singing voice is perfectly fine, but as soon as he moves into that shriek, it spells disaster for any track, and like on that album, it just goes on forever...

The one absolute highlight of the album for me is the seven minute slinky, sexy, mellow borderline-reggae grooving ballad `Majka Jugovica', which reminds me of the same sun-kissed optimism and warmth of Guru Guru's `Tango Fango'. Smoothly sung, with chilled electric guitar solos, spontaneous drum fills and a general laid-back shuffling groove and toasty atmosphere makes this one to share with your lady. Only a splintering audio pop that slices through the speakers at the 3:33 mark lets it down, was this locked into the original recording? Anyway, this chilled number showed far more potential than the heavier tracks that make up the bulk of the album, and is worthy trying to have a listen to on it's own.

Admittedly the Eastern Time label have down a superb job with the 2013 CD reissue of `Veliki Circus' that adds an additional 9 bonus tracks, a collection of single A and B sides and live performances, so if you must own it, this would be the edition to get. But if you want to investigate the Yugoslavian prog acts from the early 70's period, bands like Korni Gruppa and Izvir should be way up the top of your list over something like this. Grupa Dah were no doubt a solid rock band, but they sure aren't too exciting for progressive rock listeners.

Two and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 2/5 |

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