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(44:06, ‘Cthulhu Rise’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Opus 33 4:36 2. Opus 34 5:42 3. Opus 35 5:10 4. Opus 36 5:17 5. Opus 37 6:14 6. Opus 38 3:43 7. Opus 39 4:49 8. Opus 41 3:57 9. Opus 42 4:20 LINEUP: Ivan Serdyuk – guitar Alexander Chub – bass Andy Prischenko – drums Stanislav Bobritsky – keyboards
Prolusion. The Ukrainian band CTHULHU RISE first appeared on the scene with their debut album "42" in 2012, which was released by the French label Musea Records. They had been active for five years at this point, and the material on that album was already a couple of years old. "The Second One" is their sophomore effort, and consists of material developed from 2013 and onward. On this occasion the band decided to self-release the album.
Analysis. Cthulhu Rise will ultimately be a band categorized as some variety or other of instrumental progressive metal, I guess, as the metal aspect of their sound is so dominant that it is undeniable. But in truth, their chosen style has more similarities with bands of a more avant-garde orientation, and the material on this album is far from easygoing. That is besides the liberal amounts of dirty, dark and twisted guitar riffs at hand. I suspect, the use of the piano is something of a defining characteristic of what this Ukraine band is doing. Rather than using it to contrast the more brutal guitar sound, the piano tends to wander off on its own quirky pathways throughout the major parts of the album, more often than not wandering rather freely in a manner fans of piano based jazz-rock will instantly recognize. On occasion the tangents are used to convey motifs with more of a classical expression too, unless I'm much mistaken, or perhaps the result of an accidental feature, I was reminded of the great Modest Mussorgsky on an occasion or two here in that specific context. On top of the piano, more often than not we find the guitars, with dirty hard or monumental riffs, quirky effects laden maneuvers, elegant solo runs and occasionally taking a detour into jazz-funk or providing a lighter, more elegant jazz-oriented motif. Dramatic, bombastic staccato interludes are also a part of the proceedings here, as are twisted effects of a lighter tone and mood altogether. Vibrant, ominous pairings of guitar riffs and ghostly keyboards and organ are also a part of what is going on, as are gentler, purebred jazz-like intermissions and interludes. Cthulhu Rise is a band that knows their avant-garde just as much as their metal, plus there are a few bits of classical music rising up here and there as well. The band explores the combination of these traits in what merits a description as a quirky and challenging manner, where the metal bits are the dominant aspects but, arguably, the avant-garde and jazz-oriented details are the ones that provide more of a key character and identity to the album.
Conclusion. Instrumental bands that explore avant-garde and metal combined into expressive, challenging endeavors aren't the kind of bands that will ever sell music by the truckload. There is an audience for such creations however, and that audience should find this album to be a most rewarding experience, I suspect. Especially those among them who don't mind the occasional inclusion of details that appears to have more of a classical music orientation. No doubt, Cthulhu Rise is one of the most creatively successful bands to appear in 2010s. Top-2016.
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