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(46:07; Intelligent Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Yesterdays That Mattered 3:38 2. Every Morning 3:50 3. As If 3:56 4. No One Falls Behind 3:31 5. Viva 3:28 6. Looking for the Feeling 4:15 7. Night's Calling 3:52 8. Slipping Away 3:20 9. Light 3:26 10. Granted 3:49 11. Life to Linger 3:56 12. Love 5:06 LINEUP: Biser Ivanov - guitars, mandolin Ivo Stefanov - keyboards, accordion Simon Phillips - drums, percussion Bobi Kosatkata - backing vocals with: Carl Sentance - vocals Richard Grisman - vocals John Payne - vocals Jospeh Williams - vocals Samuel Evtimov - keyboards Dave Palmer - keyboards, organ Ernest Tibbs - bass Jesse Siebenberg - guitars Ivaylo Zvezdomirov - bass Sofia Gospel Choir - vocals Anet Artinyan - cello, violoncello Steven Archikor - backing vocals Vladimir Dzhambazov - conductor
Prolusion. Bulgarian project INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT is the creative vehicle of composer Milen Vrabevski, and for the last decade or so he have assembled projects consisting of local and international musicians to record his compositions which subsequently have been self released on his own label Intelligent Music. "Sorcery Inside" is the fourth of those projects, and was released digitally towards the tail end of 2018, with a CD edition appearing in the summer of 2019.
Analysis. The main point of interest for progressive rock fans is the stature and the pedigree of the international musicians involved in this project, as some of them have quite the respectable CV in progressive rock circles. That being said, this isn't due to this album not being without merit, but rather because the contents of this CD is a bit far removed from being progressive rock. Instead, AOR style rock and hard rock is the name of this particular game. What we get here is a good handful of mid-tempo and uptempo rock songs, with a select few ballads and ballad-oriented escapades thrown in for good measure. With a couple of token left turns expanding the repertoire and adding to the variety of the album experience as such. As far as the latter is concerned, these are a Latin-tinged affair with something of a Santana light feel to it and a more folk-tinged creation with acoustic guitars and accordion given prominent roles respectively. The aforementioned ballads are rather typical affairs, albeit with some orchestral details added in here and there to avoid the more stereotypical excursions into these territories. That being said, creating a ballad of the kind that makes a strong impression beyond the audience that loves and treasures such songs exclusively is difficult, and the end result can often become a tad tired and cliched. Intelligent Music Project manages to avoid that particular pitfall, but these songs doesn't make all that strong of an impression either. But when the musicians heads into more distinct rock and hard rock oriented territories this album shines quite a bit brighter. The compositions are well made and well mapped out, and kept short and tight so that the ideas explored doesn't overstay their welcome. The musicians and vocalists involved are generally of a high quality too, and are able to add those small touches that does make the material a tad more engaging, even of the sounds, moods, atmospheres and core ideas have been used and explored by many others over the years. There are limited possibilities with this style of music, but I dare say that for me at least my impression is a favorable one throughout, and with the song 'Looking for a Feeling' arguably the best of the lot at hand here. This isn't an album that represents anything new nor novel in the field of AOR rock and hard rock though, but it is a well made, planned and executed production that is all that much better due to the skills of the professional musicians employed to create this CD.
Conclusion. "Sorcery Inside" isn't an album that will appeal all that much for a progressive rock oriented audience, other than featuring musicians with a strong name on the genre. But for those with a strong passion and interest in 80's style AOR rock and hard rock there's a lot to enjoy on this production. For my sake I find that the harder and firmer compositions stand out as the most intriguing, and while the more ballad-oriented songs didn't really hit home with me, at least I can state that I find them to be well made and a bit more interesting than many others I have encountered over the years.
Progmessor: September 29th 2019
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