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Inside The Sound - Wizard's Eyes CD (album) cover


Inside The Sound

Progressive Metal

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Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars This is the project of Max Velychko guitarist and keyboardist who has played with such bands as Sunchild and Karfagen. The music is melodic instrumental prog metal with jazz tones. While the music is centered around the guitars of Max, there are some nice keyboards lines that give a deeper sound to the music. You can listen to those spacey keyboards in the song "Fantasia". We also can enjoy some violin sections in the song "Friends". There is some exotic guitar music in the next song "Haribol" where Max delivers some of his guitars solos. So, the music is never too heavy and show the symphonic style of the band mentioned before creating a nice balance in the overall sound of the album.
Report this review (#1775067)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've liked Max's guitar at first in Karfagen and Sunchild projects and later on visited a number of live concerts of 'Inside the Sound' and became their big fan. The second album of Inside the Sound 'Wizard's Eyes' opens more skills of the main force behind the band's name - Max Velichko. Music of the band becomes more interesting and walks in some new jazz, fusion, ethnic and sympho-rock areas, however hard and heavy is still being the main accent. In this album Max is not only strong guitar player but is showing interesting keyboard parties after the band's keyboard player has left 3 years ago. However 10 years ago with his friend, co-composer and bass player Dmitry Trifonof they started the band as a duo with Max taking care about guitar and keyboards. 'Wizard's Eyes' for sure is the next step of the band development now as a power trio. The new drummer Alexandr fits nicely the band going ahead to more complicated rhythms and time signatures. Dmitry's bass becomes more mature and provides not only rhythm section but as well more melodic support. Max palette includes heavy guitar riffs, aggressive explosions and sometimes unexpectedly fragile and nice solos. Very good album, compared to the previous one 'Time Z' this one is much better recorded and produced. To my taste the only thing that is missing - a few songs with rock vocal, however concept of the band is an instrumental music. I would like to give them 4.5, but have to keep to 4 stars and am sure that they will soon reach the next step in their development.
Report this review (#1775518)
Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very interesting album. Since the release of the first album of 'Inside the Sound' 'Time Z' almost 10 years has past. Through this period Max Velichko participated in albums of Karfagen, Sunchild and Modern-Rock Ensemble. He has grown up significantly as a composer and guitar player. Once during his trip to Kyiv Steve Vai recognized Max as a promising and interesting guitar player and signed Max's guitar. It was a good sign from one of the Max's heroes. Year later Max became the Best Ukrainian guitar player. The new album 'Wizard's Eyes' shows the new horizons of the band's destination. The loss of a keyboard player is not heard on that album, since Max took over the keyboard duties as well, and made it quite good. There are many good pieces in the album. I presume that every track is great. Really great! Maybe it is not yet a masterpiece, but I am looking forward and am absolutely sure that Max and his band will surprise us in the near future. So I wish 'Inside the Sound' "Full Ahead" with the same speed, intensity and creativeness!
Report this review (#1776033)
Posted Sunday, August 27, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'll put 5 stars to this record, 'cause "Wizard's Eyes" by Inside The Sound is one of the best instrumental albums I've ever listened to. It is more progy than their previous album "timeZ". It also has better production. I like all tracks in it, my personal favourites are "Dreaming Deja Vue", "Empire V" 'cause of their incredible rhythm parts and "Horizon", "To The Sky" 'cause of their awesome & tasty guitar melodies. This record has also smth special for ya: sitar, weddic vocal work, guest keyboard solo from Anton Kalugin (Sunchild, Karfagen, etc.). So if u are a fan of instrumental guitarists like John Petrucci or Steve Vai sure this album is 4 u. I wish all the best to these guys and waitin' for the 3rd one :)
Report this review (#1780883)
Posted Sunday, September 10, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album Inside The Sound discovered by accident, and to my surprise, after listening to several songs, I was delighted. From the first track, I was carried away on an exciting secret journey, in which I wanted to be again and again. Rhythms, sizes, sounds, everything attracted to itself its mystery and secrets. What is Dejavu is not completely known, but it's safe to say that the second track from the Wizard's Eyes album accurately conveys this unexplored feeling. Fantasia - you can close your eyes and everyone can see their own, individual fantasies, it's definitely nice. Friends, this is an unusual composition, in which there is a solo on an electric violin and a synthesizer, it was impossible to catch on to something, the music constantly entails. Empire V a very sharp, you can say a daring track, but nevertheless very melodic and perceptive. Haribol... here you can be a little pondered, everything came together, music, Vedic singing, sitar sounds, chic music. The sea, the sunset of the sun, the cry of seagulls, the warm and gentle water, the sound of the surf, all this from the composition Horizon. The eyes of the magician, this is truly a masterpiece of Progressive Metal, instrumental of course) Here you can see magical changes of sizes, heavy guitar riffs, breathtaking solos, unexpected finale. The album cover is very suitable for this topic. In the sky, do not want to comment, music speaks for itself, flight of thoughts, flight of fantasy, higher and higher and only up! I can say with confidence that this album is very worthy, along with such outstanding guitarists as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Marty Friedman. My score is five stars. I recommend everyone to audition, and a group of luck and prosperity!
Report this review (#1781222)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Familiar with the game of guitarist Max Velichko on the projects Sunchild & Carthage. When he found out that he had his own instrumental project, he was very happy and interested. After a short search I found two albums, I was really glad to it. After listening to the first album, I immediately switched to the second one, which has the name "wizard's eyes". The album is uniquely more mature than the first, in music the influences of such styles are heard; jazz, progressive rock and metal, fusion, in places you can hear something from Vedic culture. You can also hear a lot of experiments in music, there are electronic sounds, and the lack of a keyboard player in the group (in the first album he was) is not noticeable, since Max independently played keyboards, skillfully and gracefully. Very pleased with the variety of musical moods, here there is also expression and lyrics and atmosphere and flight, indeed, everyone thinks they will find something of their own, I found. This album is for me the opening this year, now I look forward to continue!
Report this review (#1783846)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars As this artist is categorized here under progressive metal - and I'm generally very little interested in metal genres -, I'm surprised to enjoy the album as much as I do. Quite likely this will be among my favourite instrumental rock albums of this year. Guitarist Max Velychko has been involved in several bands, but to me his playing was familiar only from the last year's album of MODERN- ROCK ENSEMBLE. The core of Inside The Sound are Velychko (guitars, keyboards, composer) and bassist Dmitri Trifonov (bass, co- composer on two tracks). Drums are shared by two guys, and some tracks feature guests.

This instrumental music full of power. Of course there's the guitar-heavy metal style present on most tracks, but the metal ingredient leaves plenty of room for other nuances too. The spacey keys work excellently together with the roaring guitars that are sonically not restricted to the angry metal sound. Velychko is one hell of a guitarist! My musical associations happen to be Finnish artists: Time Traveller and Low Budget Orchestra are one-man bands centred on heroic guitarism, and Inside The Sound easily beats them both. There's a sense of space rock, comparable to MOONWAGON. And what's best, the music has the vitality of jazz-rock and fusion. And the compositions are pretty progressive too. So, this album can sincerely be recommended to listeners of the mentioned genres.

Every third given rating here is five stars, and I sure sympathize with that. I'm undecided between 4 and 5 stars myself. The production is superb, as well as the playing. There are no weak tracks. Perhaps in the end the high-tempo energy gets a bit too overwhelming on the course of the 53-minute album. But remember, this comment comes from a listener favouring emotional aspect over technical bravado and power in music. [A little detail in the running order feels slightly questionable: with 'Intro' and 'Outro' the whole would have formed a coherent arch, if the relatively calm 'The Cold Spring' would have come somewhere earlier instead of being a "bonus track".]

Report this review (#1784117)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars A very special package arrived in my mailbox one afternoon, a couple of weeks ago. "Wizard's Eyes" by the Ukrainian guitar wizard Max Velychko's band project, Inside the Sound, is the long-awaited sophomore album. An instrumental project started by Velychko and bass guitarist Dmitry Trifonov in the mid-2000's, the project became a serious focus of these two in 2007 when a drummer and keyboard player were added. Their debut album, "Time Z" was released in 2010 and it has been a long wait for the second release.

As the liner notes inside the digipak explain, "We have always been influenced by guitar heros, prog-rock projects, even jazz-fusion and modern electronic indie styles of music." This easily lets you know what to expect on this album, and the results are very intelligent and pleasing music. With so much time to put it all together (six years for some songs while others were written in the early stages of the project and re-arranged for this album), the album plays out very smoothly with each track expertly crafted. After the first two listens, my thoughts were, "What if Allan Holdsworth (God rest his soul but give him a guitar just to be sure) and Bill Bruford had done a project together in the recent past and invited Steve Vai to add some solos here and there?"

This album is a success for as many reasons for what it isn't as for what it is. As Velychko is a skilled guitarist, this could easily have been and guitar instrumental album with loads of focus on the guitarist's talent. This could have been packed with awesome riffs, searing solos, and multi-tracked guitar parts. It isn't any of those things. As much as Velychko is a star here, the other band members are a very important part of the compositions. There is a variety of keyboard sounds and some solos, giving us warm, cosmic effects, mechanical moods, jazzy leanings, and cold outdoor atmospherics all depending where they are needed to enhance and create an effect in the music. The drumming is not over the top but restrained when it needs to be, much as I have felt about Bruford on his solo album, "One of a Kind", and when the bass comes to the forefront at the beginning of "To the Sky", it's such a welcome treat.

One thing that is easy to appreciate about this album is the selection of music and ordering of the songs. There are heavy, grooving rockers in "Dreaming Deja Vue" and the title track, slower, beautiful tracks in "Fantasia", "Friends", and "Horizon", but mostly a very pleasant range of sounds and mid-tempo meters throughout the album. There's a guest sitar player on "Haribol" and a tabla player on "Empire V" and "Horizon". Some of the guitar solos have that melodic metal sound, others are more jazz-fusion. I feel after each listen that the every track has been treated with the greatest of care in putting it all together for the album. A curious thing is the "bonus track", "The Cold Spring". Though the mood is certainly unique on the album (indeed I feel like I can hear water running under ice with bare fields of wet, brown straw mottled with lingering patches of snow), the music itself is just as wonderfully impressive as any other track on the album. I wonder why it was treated as a bonus track. Certainly though, it's a welcome addition to the tracklist.

One final word of praise for this album, the total running time is about 53 minutes which is just perfect. Again, every track has purpose and delivers it beautifully. There are no tracks I feel are trying to fill a quota of time length and I believe keeping the length to a reasonable less-than-an-hour leaves the listener satisfied without want or without feeling that the album is stretching. It's a wonderful listening experience.

If you are interested in hearing this, I highly recommend it. Though Max and Co. can rock it, most of the music isn't particularly heavy nor is it showy and unnecessarily complex or "weird". Instead, the album delivers a diverse palette of sounds that are easy to enjoy and invite frequent replays.

Report this review (#1819038)
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Although the Ukrainian band INSIDE THE SOUND began merely as a side project of guitarist / keyboardist Max Velychko (most notably from Modern Rock Ensemble as well as Karfagen, Sunchild and Hoggwash) and bassist Dmitry Trifonov while working on other projects, the promise of fusing all the love of their disparate genres of music proved too tempting not to engage in a fully realized development of the band's potential. While sort of put on the shelf for a few years with only sporadic recordings emerging, they found enough quality material to release a debut titled "Time Z" in 2010. What may have seemed like a one shot release as the years slowly sputtered by, it turns out that Velychko and Trifonov were simply taking their sweet time to carefully craft the perfecting qualities that took the template laid out on "Time Z" and further expand into unthinkable arenas. The result is that finally in the year 2017, INSIDE THE SOUND has finally released the second long awaited album in the form of WIZARD'S EYES and although i wasn't aware of this band at the time of their debut, i have to say that for fan's who were holding their breath for a new release can finally exhale and take in an exhilarating new inhalation of some of the most pleasing progressive symphonic prog meets metal i've encountered in a while.

While "Time Z" laid down the foundations of an Allan Holdsworth type of instrumental progressive rock sound complete with heavy rocking guitar laced with jazz-fusion compositional styles, WIZARD'S EYES takes everything that came before and perfects them and then adds a plethora of new ideas and sounds to the mix. The core trio remains the same with Velychko performing exquisite guitar workouts and atmospheric keyboard nuances while Dmitry Trifonov returns for bass duties as does Max Didenko on drums. Also new to the band's sound is the inclusion of four guest musicians, each offering a unique stamp on the band's already established and accomplished sound. The biggest contributors are Indranila who adds his Indo-raga charms on acoustic sitar and Vedic chanting as well as Nila Goal who supplies a nice touch of tabla that is interspersed judiciously throughout the album. The track "Friends" receives the royal treatment with two more guests in the form of Antony Kalugin on extra keys and Daniel Ilyin on electric violin. The combo effect of all these musicians in tandem creates some of the most divinely pleasing melodic progressive metal that while does include some steaming hot metal outbursts, more often than not tends to merely simmer in progressive rock stews.

While the album is touted as a prog metal journey into instrumental fantasy worlds of epic proportions, WIZARD'S EYES is far more varied and magical than that mere title insinuates. Graced with superior production techniques and intricate compositional flows, the album begins quite nicely with an almost soundtrack type of orchestration that slowly but surely ratchets up the the drive and intensity that finally erupts into a more heightened tension as it bursts into a heavier form of rock with great care paid to every detail. The opening track "Intro: A Secret Journey" truly sounds like a jazz-fusion project of the great Allan Holdsworth only on a higher energy level with a Steve Vai sort of prog metal infusion that at times reminds me of some of the more adventurous antics on his "Passion and Warfare" album. While the jazz meets metal thing is the underpinning of it all, the music is laced with intricate symphonic polyrhythms and counterpoints that add smooth atmospheric suavity to the metallic guitar riffs and jarring time signature workouts. "Dreaming Deja Vue" ratchets up these very attributes of the music with exquisite instrumental interchanges and driving dynamic shifts. "Fantasia" is more of a jazzy ballad with sensual piano lines providing the melodic underpinning while the guitar solos are the most reminiscent of Vai on the album.

"Friends" is a quirky number that provides a smooth jazz sort of feel that veers off into more spacey territory and delivers outstanding key and violin solos. "Empire V" reveals a subdued influence of Eastern European folk music as the melodic developments hint of the virtuoso guitar compositions of Serbia's Borislav Mitic however Velychko displays some of his most creative guitar soloing on this track that successfully creates a lighter than a feather weightlessness to the sound. "Haribol" is the most exotic sounding track with the inclusion of the sitar and Vedic chanting that offer a taste of musical curry and naan. "Horizon" delivers yet another midrange rocker while the title track provides the album's most scorching hot metal track complete with rapid fire guitar riffing and percussive overdrive as well as interesting counterpoints delivered by the exotic flair of the keyboard approaches. It also offers some of the most intense progressive time signature workouts making it one of the most daring tracks to be heard. For me the weaker tracks on the album arise at the end as "To The Sky," "Outro" and "The Cold Spring (which is considered a bonus track) seem to run on auto pilot where the album needs to go out on a bang but instead finds a comfort zone.

INSIDE THE SOUND has crafted a beautifully manufactured product on WIZARD'S EYES that displays all the details and loving touches that all the years of creation incur. The musicians are of top calibre and meld their respective talents together in a seamless fashion with strong compositions to boot. The production is crystal clear and offers a plethora of subtle touches that make blasting this on full decibelage a true delight. While this is almost a perfect product for me as a huge lover of both Allan Holdsworth and Steve Vai, i have to admit that sometimes the influences are a wee bit too strong in their direction despite the compositions maintaining a fierce independence streak that gives the album a unique charisma. Overall an impressive sophomore offering from the Ukraine with only a few tracks at the end fizzling out the excitement of hearing these dedicated musicians hard at work. WIZARD'S EYES is indeed a magnificent display of intricate musicianship that shows a true depth in musical tastes. The term progressive metal will surely be misleading because while the progressive term remains a constant throughout the album's 51 minute and 44 second run, the metal part does not partake as much with the majority of the album falling somewhere in the orchestrated ambient rock universe with the metal riffing and soloing only emerging part time. While personally i would prefer a few more heavy hitting numbers, i have to admit that the skills displayed on this album make me think of what i wanted the Liquid Tension Experiment albums to sound like because the care and scrutiny of every detail is impressive indeed. A worthy and heavier companion piece to the Modern Rock Ensemble project. Excellent.

Report this review (#1821971)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2017 | Review Permalink

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