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(75:32; ArtBeat Music)
Recorded in St. Petersburg at the end of May 2018, this was only the second gig for drummer Evgeny Trefilov, who had replaced Philip Semenov who had held the seat for the previous ten years. The gig itself was to publicise the new album, ‘The Hidden Man of the Heart’, but the band were already looking forward so as well as featuring some older numbers, there were also some new ones which have yet to be recorded, including the first ever performance of "Bait of Success". The line-up is of course led by pianist and keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky, and as well as Trefilov he is joined by Ruslan Kirillov (bass), Vladislav Korotkikh (flute), Leonid Perevalov (bass clarinet) and Vladimir Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (electric and acoustic guitars). Roz Vitalis are an unusual band, as while songs such as “Passing Over” contain passages which are extremely delicate and melodic, with refrains moving from piano to flute to synth, there are plenty of others when the band is working far more in the avant garde and eclectic fields. They have always been experimental and combine a modern approach with keyboard sounds which have far more in common with bands from fifty years ago than the present day. The woodwind instruments come in and out as the music demands it, not playing all the time, so the band may be performing as a quartet, quintet or sextet, whatever is right at the time. The guitar may be gently picked or strummed hard, and again the movement between acoustic and electric is seamless. The arrangements are complex, layered, incredibly intense and over the top or delicate and refined. Roz Vitalis continue to release music that is both challenging and engaging, and this has been produced so the sound is probably as it was in the venue where this was recorded as opposed to having been cleaned up an enhanced. The applause at the end of each song is cut very short, and it would have been better to have this appear more as a seamless concert, but this is really nit picking on my part when the band are providing songs such as “Thou Shalt Tread Upon the Lion and Adder (Trampled Version)” which has a superb introduction. They continue to be one of the most exciting and invigorating bands coming out of Russia.
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