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Zenit: The Chandrasekhar Limit

The Chandrasekhar Limit is the third album from Swiss progressive act Zenit, with the album title referring to the mathematical threshold which defines if a white dwarf remains a star, or becomes a black-hole... and here was me thinking that it meant that things should sound like a mixture of Gabriel era Genesis, Fish era Marillion and countless Neo-Prog acts. Now perhaps that's a little unfair, with Zenit not being as blatant about their influences as many bands operating in this arena, with the six tracks on this album being mostly dreamy affairs more interested in setting scenes and telling stories than providing catchy choruses.

As expected the five musicians who make up the band are supremely talented, with the focused, yet meandering style taken on by Zenit allowing them all the space to really stretch out and work their instruments hard. To their credit, they do so, but without the need to be uber-technical, or sacrifice the song for the solo. That said, the over use of "play-time" bass noodling as a platform for more intricate guitar, keyboard, percussion sections to flourish, often removes the atmosphere built up and while prog is known as a facet of music where more time is given to songs to mature and grow, there's no doubt that some of this album is lengthier than the ideas truly merit. However with the niggles out of the way, what tracks like "Pulsar" and "PiGreco" do extremely well, is to layer sound that envelopes the listener and take them on the travels the songs so ably describe.

Much of the album is instrumental, although the lyrics are plentiful too, with the vocal interludes from Lorenzo Sonognini adding colour and imagery to the music in fine style. Closing piece "The Daydream Suite", which runs to nearly twenty five minutes, sums up both Zenit and their third album very well indeed, illustrating both the frustrations and rewards served up here in abundance. Long instrumental sections veer between pointed and pointless, while the vocals appear to bring all the disparate strands back together. It makes for an unusual journey where within one song your attention can slide between unbreakable and shattered.

Possibly one of the most accomplished 70s inspired prog albums I've heard so far this year, that doesn't stop The Chandrasekhar Limit from being almost as frustrating to listen to, as is it to type. If you are one of those lucky enough to still have completely free afternoons to sit with nothing else in the world to interrupt your music, you could do much worse than spend it with Zenit. Others may find that time to feel lost and underused.

Track Listing
1. Awaken
2. Cub Lady
3. PiGreco
4. Matrimandir
5. Pulsar
6. The Daydream Suite

Added: April 5th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Zenit Online
Hits: 2270
Language: english

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