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This is the second album I have heard from Russian band Vespero, as I had previously reviewed 2017’s ‘Shum-Shir’. There was an album in between, ‘Hollow Moon’, which I have not come across and this is their eleventh release to date. It has the same core line-up of Alexander Kuzovlev (guitars), Alexey Klabukov (keyboards, synthesizer, trumpet, slide whistle), Vitaly Borodin (violin), Arkady Fedotov (bass, synthesizer, recorder, noises) and Ivan Fedotov (drums, drum machine) and this time around they have been joined by a string quartet on one number. The music was inspired apparently by an uncompleted prophetic book written by William Blake, and the band themselves describe it as space/psychedelic/post/progressive rock. Last time around I pointed to Ozrics or Gong as potential starting points, and that is probably still the case with this one, but there are also elements of folk and ethnic stylings which make it quite different as well while the heavy use of violin also adds to the layers and complexity. Apparently, it has taken two years to record this, and I totally believe that as it moves and shifts in so many different directions with complex arrangements. One never knows where the music is going to go, and the listener is always on a journey. There are so many great bands coming out of Russia, and there is no doubt in my mind that Vespero is one of the most interesting. This is music to be played in darkness, just letting the mind concentrate on the swirling keyboards, the picked guitar, the strident violin. It is music to drift along to which is compelling and interesting, expanding yet never too challenging, just that little bit different from the norm. Deep, meaningful, this is superb.
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