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Eyal Maoz's Edom - 2010 - "Hope and Destruction"

(67:48, Tzadik Records)

1.	Somewhere 5:31
2.	Tsi 6:11
3.	Rocks 4:00
4.	Messenger 4:49
5.	Slight Sun 4:10
6.	Shuki 4:43
7.	Eagle 6:19
8.	Shell 7:53
9.	King 4:31
10.	Skies 7:07
11.	Two 7:58
12.	Down 4:46


Eyal Maoz  guitars 
Brian Marsella  keyboards 
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz  bass 
Yuval Lion  drums 

Prolusion. The US-based outfit EDOM is the creative vehicle of Israeli guitarist Eyal Maoz, as one might surmise by the band's name. As with his solo album from 2005, which gave the name to this band-project, this initial production by Edom was issued by John Zorn's label Tzadik Records.

Analysis. The borderline between mainstream and progressive music has always been a blurry one. Defining where one ends and the other starts off has been a topic of discussion among art rock aficionados and artists alike for 30 or so years. One of the reasons for that is the sheer number of artists who approach the mainstream universe from an art rock point of view and the even more extensive roster of mainstream artists incorporating details borrowed from or inspired by progressive rock bands into their excursion. And then there are bands like Edom, which might be placed in any of those camps, but most likely is on the sideline between them somewhere. One of the basic premises for most progressive rock are alterations in pace and intensity, while the steady and steadfast drums and circulating, strong and groove-laden bass guitar have been something of trademark features of commercially-oriented artists. But, a token few embellishments aside, this latter feature is the back-bone of Edom's album. Most of these compositions would have worked very well in any discotheque you can name. Or, to be more precise, the rhythmical contents of them would have gone down a storm in a world of moving and grooving, a distinct feature that normally would place this production straight into the shelves as music for the masses, but not in this case. The key reason for this is the guitar and keyboard arrangements. Without getting into too many track-specific details, the scope of the theme providing instruments in this case is rather eclectic. Old-school-layered harmonic creations sit side-by-side with fluctuating, space-inspired creations, the latter, with the guitars, providing the main melodic motif, and the keyboards the space rock textures fluctuating above. You want some free-form-inspired freaked-out passages you say? Sure thing. There's plenty of this at hand too. Gentle pastoral-inspired excursions have their place too; organ and guitar combos get a showing as well, technical guitar escapades backed by the keys too when it comes to that. It is a case of expect the unexpected, with guitar and keyboard arrangements ranging from the slick and radio-friendly to experimental, avant-garde inspired creations that should intrigue many followers of music of the more challenging variety. That the head of their record label is one John Zorn isn't as surprising when you reach the end of this disc as it was initially to put it that way.

Conclusion. Eyal Maoz's Edom explores a varied and at times frustrating musical landscape on this instrumental disc, covering styles ranging from accessible pop to freaked-out avant-garde music with few references to any common tonalities and melodies as such. Frequently stopping by in the quirkier parts of the art rock realm too, I might add, with the exception of the rhythmical backbone which stays well-put within a very accessible realm throughout, the latter detail one that earns a frustrating call-out. It's not a mix that will appeal to the greater majority of progressive rock fans, I think, but those who do appreciate it will probably find this to be a rather intriguing creation. And I count myself as one of those.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 9, 2011
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Eyal Maoz
Tzadik Records


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