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Roz Vitalis - Overcoming-Up CD (album) cover

OVERCOMING-UP

Roz Vitalis

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.59 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars OVERCOMING-UP is not only a strange but positive title from the St Petersburg, Russia based ROZ VITALIS led by keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky but is a also an anomaly in how it was released. Although this album officially came out in 2014 it was actually recorded from 2007-08 and musically fits somewhere between "Compassionizer" (2007) and "Revelator" (2011). This was a decision by Mellow Records which remains a mystery but nevertheless is placed in the history books, so who knows what strange strategies lurk in the minds of those who make these decisions. The title and mood of the album is very much about OVERCOMING, unifying and forgiving. Thus a sort of cleansing of the soul, purification and the like to create a more balanced psyche. It was designed to run the gamut of emotional responses to the trials and tribulations of life and once again features a plethora of keyboards but with this one many more experiments with them. It also features Vladislav Korotkikh debuting on the flute as well as Vladimir Semenov-Tyan- Shansky debuting on the bass but later picking up the guitar.

Right off the bat on the first title track, this release sounds more accessible and less avant-garde than previous albums but that's not to say not progressive. The bass starts off almost sort of funky and a straight forward melody gently nudges the listener to join the party. As the track continues though it does indeed start becoming jittery and firing off proggy time signatures galore with instruments starting to whiz around each other and recalcitrantly doing their own thing before finally coming together again towards the end. The same is true of the next couple of tracks that offer a more accessible and less progified approach than many ROZ VITALIS albums.

Despite ticking off the prog check list i don't think this album comes alive until track four "Serene Light" which finally turns the heat up in all departments. The melodic developments become stronger as does the song structure as a whole. The variation of keyboard sounds is unusual for the band as there are many different parades of keyboard tones and timbres bouncing off each other but it's all somehow laid out in a logical way that allows everybody to have a chance to shine for a while! However, even this track seems like a warm up for my absolute favorite track on the album "Thorns Of Forgiving" which obviously delves into the Christ complex of suffering through forgiveness and the like.

"Thorns Of Forgiving" really unleashes the full prog potential of Rozmainsky's virtuosic prowess. This track reminds of a much more caffeinated Happy The Man with a frenetic key riff opening up and then all hell breaking loose with a slow melodic bass register keyboard line keeping the melody while other keyboard riffs with different tones, timbres and timings offering a bizarre tapestry of realities. The track meanders into different moods while keeping a melodic underpinning to the whole thing. This one is progressive as hell with Bach inspired Baroque classical sounds as well as classic 70s prog outbursts. One of my favorite ROZ VITALIS tracks ever actually.

The other great track on this album is the 20 minute and 54 second prog workout "Claws Of Winter (Blizzard Paths)" which also somehow maintains a rather catchy and uncomplicated melodic flow despite all the detours into prog territory throughout its run. It starts out logically creating a melodic keyboard run but adds all kinds of percussive accompaniments, a trait that i love most about this band and how they somehow incorporate the percussion itself into the melodies. Once again i'm getting a Happy The Man type of vibe from this one but only in the main keyboard riff. Otherwise this is truly the ROZ VITALIS show with all kinds of overlapping instrumental parts that create a vast array of musical textures that flow like separate streams over each other and occasional make a rendezvous to create a cohesive whole but even when at odds are somehow connected despite the tension. This one has the most guitar parts on the album and really the only track that could rightfully be called rock music.

The final track is another decent but not outstanding track with a return to a sort of funk bass and proggy parade of keyboard parts. Unfortunately this album doesn't blow me away frankly. Unlike the majority of ROZ VITALIS albums that flow well from beginning to end, this one only heats up on track four and then has two excellent tracks which do constitute roughly one half of the album and then the remainder just seems a little underwhelming. Granted there is nothing bad on here and everything is perfectly listenable but at the end of the day i've heard too many other great albums by this band that i would much prefer to this one however the two tracks that i really like on here are excellent. This one just seems less cohesive and more like a collection of random tracks thrown together however this is the ROZ VITALIS album that features more variation in keyboard sounds than any other, so others may very well be more impressed with this than i. The title focuses on more positive emotions than other darker albums and it simply reminds me to always look at the bright side of life (Followed by Monty Python whistling! LOL)

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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