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Satellite - 2008 - "Nostalgia"

(57:38, Metal Mind Records)



1.  Every Desert Got Its Ocean 9:13 
2.  Repaint the Sky 6:59 
3.  Afraid of What We Say 8:44
4.  I Want You to Know 7:21 
5.  Over Horizon 8:05 
6.  Am I Losing Touch 9:46 
7.  Is It Over 7:30


Wojtek Szadowski – drums; keyboards; ac. guitar
Robert Amirian – vocals
Sarhan Kubeisi – guitars
Jarek Michalski – bass
Krzysiek Palczewski – keyboards, organ

Prolusion. Led by Polish composer and multi-instrumentalist Wojtek Szadowski, SATELLITE can in many ways be regarded as Collage’s reincarnation, since it originally featured most, if not all, of the members of that band, Szadowski having combined the duties of songwriter and drummer there. “Nostalgia” is the fourth album by this particular outfit, following “Into the Night” (2007), “Evening Games” (2005) and “A Street between Sunrise & Sunset” (2003). Last year the tireless Wojtek formed another collective, Strawberry Fields, which in turn features most of the current participants of Satellite.

Analysis. This new CD by Satellite has a lot in common with all of its predecessors, which is certainly no surprise as Pan Szadowski still remains the sole mastermind in the band and his personal leadership in it has never been called into question. What is gladdening is that, while from the outset following practically the same approach to composition and arrangement, he and his partners somehow manage to eschew stagnation, each of their successive releases sounding comparatively fresh and compelling, despite any generic similarities between themselves. Seven tracks-songs, ranging from 7 to almost 10 minutes, form the content of “Nostalgia”, of which only the closing one, Is It Over, is a standout in a way, noticeably differing from the others, above all in the intensity of the arrangements. This is an emotionally plaintive, yet full-fledged art-rock ballad with a few instrumental intermezzos, one of which stands out for its memorable guitar solo. Otherwise the music (in its overall appearance) brings to mind a crossover between Genesis in the second half of the ‘70s, Arena and, well, Satellite at their own, suggesting Neo Symphonic Progressive with elements of vintage Art-Rock and bits of Prog-Metal, though the Pink Floyd- and Porcupine Tree-evoking landscapes that appear here and there can be defined as quasi- or post-Space Rock as well. There are also some secondary stylistic elements on a few songs – to be touched on later, when necessary. Beginning with the first track and down to the aforementioned ballad, the compositions that are more and less progressively saturated strictly alternate with each other. The album reaches its corresponding culmination on the third one, Afraid of What We Say (which once reveals an impressive Latin Rock/Fusion-flavored guitar-laden move), but nevertheless the other two implied pieces, namely Every Desert Got Its Ocean and Over Horizon, both only slightly inferior to the winner. To put it briefly, all these contain a lot of segments with a range of theme and pace shifts as well as interesting chords progressions, i.e. enough details and nuances to keep the listener’s attention. Some remarkable arrangement solutions are present on each of the respective even tracks (Repaint the Sky, I Want You to Know and Am I Losing Touch), too, but for the most part only within their instrumental sections, of which, though, only some of those on Am I Losing Touch are extended enough to be well developed (okay, to suit my personal concept of progressive rock matters) and are either classic-bombastic or acoustically-driven in nature, the latter having some folksy quality to them. The players are all up to the mark, particularly the six-string holder Sarhan Kubeisi. Vocalist Robert Amirian arouses less glaring associations with anyone else than ever before, and yet since he most of the time sings either in a distinctly dramatic or in an overtly melancholic manner, I’m fairly often reminded of Fish as well as Steve Hogarth at their most depressive.

Conclusion. I would beware of asserting that the band’s latest effort finds its creators having grown compared to what they have offered us two years ago, but if the question is whether this outing and “Into the Night” are on a par with each other, I’ll answer with a light heart: yes they are. It’s all generally very simple: if you like their previous releases, “Nostalgia” will not in the least change your mind, that’s for sure. Either way, Satellite is definitely one of the leading neo-prog acts to date, so I think if you’re a fan of this style you should not miss this CD or any/all of its predecessors either – unless you’re already a happy owner of those.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: June 5, 2009
The Rating Room

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