Eternal Wanderers - The Mystery Of The Cosmic Sorrow,
This album is my first introduction to the music of Eternal Wanderers, the Russian band led by sisters Elena (lead vocals, keyboards) and Tatyana Kanevskaya (guitars, backing vocals). I wandered over to their site and discovered that earlier this year they played a gig with another of my favourite Russian groups, Lost World Band, and I bet that would have been quite interesting as in many ways they are similar yet also very different indeed. What we have here is a double CD that has very much a science fiction feel to it, so much so that it reminded me less of Tangerine Dream (who have obviously been a major influence), than of Hibernal who in some ways is following a similar musical path. Apparently, the double CD set comes with a fully illustrated booklet (I only have a digital copy), and there is lots of information on the website (which thankfully can be turned to English by clicking on the Union flag) about each song, and what they are about: given that many are instrumental that is certainly a useful facet.
Given that two songs and more than twelve minutes have elapsed before Elena starts singing, it came something of a surprise to hear what a strong singer she is, more alto than soprano, and with plenty of power and emotion. For some strange reason these guys are listed on ProgArchives as neo prog, but they would much better fit within the Crossover genre, although I am sure that Eclectic would love to lay claim to them if they could. What I like so much about this album is that it is just so enjoyable from start to end, and the ninety minutes just flies by: it really is music to get lost inside. The keyboard sounds are all over the place, bringing in quite a few that would normally be at home more in electronic, while the guitars can be there just to provide some counter harmonies or leads, or to crunch out riffs in quite a metallic manner.
There are some amazing bands coming out of Russia at present, and Eternal Wanderers is one that every proghead should be looking out for.