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Andrew Roussak - 2019 - "Storm Warning"

(51:40; Melodic Revolution Records)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. Enter Code 4:08
2. Bringing Peace and Progress 8:02
3. Left Alone Outside 7:30
4. Regata Storica 6:04
5. Chasing Shadows 4:37
6. Storm Warning 5:41
7. Can She Excuse My Wrongs 5:22
8. Malta Sketches 10:16


Andrew Roussak - all instruments, programming, backing vocals
Nadia Ayche  vocals
Max Kottler  vocals 
Selina Waidmann  vocals
Oli Weislogel - guitars

Prolusion. Russian born, Germany based composer and musician Andrew ROUSSAK first appeared as a recording solo artist just over a decade ago, releasing his first ever solo album on Russian label MALS. A second solo album appeared a couple of years later, then through French label Musea Records. With "Storm Warning" Roussak marks his return as a solo artist, this time opting to release his album through US label Melodic Revolution Records.

Analysis. While I haven't encountered Roussak's second solo album to this date, I faintly recall his first solo production as a pleasantly engaging affair revolving around symphonic progressive rock. One could say much the same about this production, which might be described as a sort of comeback album, with the main difference being that this album revolves a lot more around instrumental compositions. Symphonic progressive rock can be many things and have many different qualities of course, and Roussak's expertise appears to be to create and explore a more dramatic and harder edged variety of the genre. Layered keyboard cascades and swirling keyboard solo runs can be found in liberal amounts, as well as hard and dramatic impact sections that may possibly have a slight air of ELP to them. More careful keyboard solo runs are used extensively as well, but there's also a case or two of solo runs that comes pretty close to keyboard shredding. Mixing up in between all of this are more careful wandering piano motifs drawing in traditions from both classical music and jazz, more tranquil and careful atmospheres with perhaps a slight air of ambient music to them - and also liberal amounts of passages and sequences with more of a hard rock groove to them. The classic organ and guitar riff combination is explored on regular intervals, with as well as without additional keyboard layers further enriching the arrangements. The good, old harpsichord is given a wee bit of a run here too, on a song that also incorporates elements of folk music and, if I my associations are correct, motifs that borrows melody lines and progressions from medieval dance traditions. The compositions are a joyful experience throughout, with the distinctly more mellow piano, vocals and orchestral affair 'Chasing Shadows' among the highlights, although for me personally the sheer drive and energy of title track 'Storm Warning' is just a tiny bit more engaging as an overall experience. There aren't too many drawback to take note of on this album as far as I can tell. For me personally the lead vocals on 'Left Alone Outside' didn't manage to lift the song as they should have, but that is of course a subjective opinion and perception. I did think a few of the guitar like sounds used here and there were a bit dry. I noted that I thought some of them possibly were emulated, but that detail is a minor one that doesn't affect the music experience in any marked negative manner.

Conclusion. It is good to see that Andrew Roussak has returned as a recording solo artist, and for fans of keyboard driven, mainly instrumental symphonic progressive rock that incorporates elements from classical music, jazz and liberal amounts of organ driven groove style hard rock into compositions with a heart firmly placed in vintage era symphonic progressive rock...this is good news. An album easy to recommend to this specific audience.

Progmessor: December 2019
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Andrew Roussak Melodic Revolution Records


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