Russian, d’oh! I had no previous information on this band upon the first few listens and had trouble figuring out what language they were singing. I don’t get a chance to hear a lot of Russian Prog, but if it’s like this? Bring it on!
“The Spark of Life” does not truly prepare you for what is to come. Beautiful piano and lush keyboard textures for a duration of two minutes or so leads to a full metal onslaught in the next track “The Moon.” Lead vocalist Alexander Kulak and guest vocalist Valeria Shalina have fine voices, and I enjoy the method in which they alternate on this song. I’ve never been a fan of the “cookie monster” variety vocal though, and that is used occasionally throughout this recording.
I think of the German band Sylvan while listening to cuts like “Melancholy” and “Light of the Lonely Eyes.” There is a real melodic style with inventive vocal rounds on “Melancholy.” The band also turn up the melodicism on the outstanding ballad “Enchantress,” which features beautiful and strong singing. There is powerful singing throughout Transformation.
The very pretty “Phoenix” almost sounds like the classic Italian band Le Orme, primarily due to the folky acoustic guitars and the outstanding flute work by Sergey Osipov. Closing title cut “Transformation” sounds bizarrely like opera at the start, and definitely ends on a high note with inventive and tuneful keyboard and guitar solos.
Symphonic Progressive Metal would be the best way to describe this album. Many might find comparisons to Dream Theater, but I get a Deep Purple meets Black Sabbath feel from much of this recording. The band have a long history, and this is another gem to add to the crown of jewels they’ve already started.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on August 7th, 2012