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Intelligent Music Project IV: Sorcery Inside

The Intelligent Music Project has very good intentions indeed. The project, started by Milen Vrabevski, founder of the Bulgarian Memory Foundation began as a means to transmit a positive message focusing on the well-being of humanity. It’s a noble cause and the foundation is a worthwhile pursuit, using education to preserve Bulgarian culture within the European Union. On this fourth installment titled Sorcery Inside, Vrabevski (composer and arranger) has gotten together some impressive musicians and vocalists like Simon Phillips (drums and percussion), Jesse Siebenberg (guitars) and Toto’s Joseph Williams, Asia’s John Payne and Nazareth’s Carl Sentance all supplying lead and backing vocals.

As you can well imagine this is a very professional production more along the lines of AOR rather than progressive rock but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a worthwhile listen. It’s not surprising the vocals are excellent throughout so no problems in that department. The guitars and keyboards are used extensively, always providing tasteful melodies and catchy hooks. The overall production is superb, every instrument is easily heard with no muddiness in the slightest. The disc starts with a couple of melodic rockers; “Yesterdays That Mattered” with its the Alan Parsons-like lead vocals (think ‘80s style) and the catchy “Every Morning” featuring solid riffs and some nice piano flourishes. The album continues in this vein throwing in the occasional ballad like the pretty vocal and piano melodies of “As If” with a nice string arrangement as well. Some may find it a little sappy but I have always appreciated a bit of sentimentality so it’s okay with me.

You won’t find any weird time signatures or moments of abstract musical exploration here - just honest to goodness AOR and melodic rock. I say there’s nothing wrong with that so check it out if ear candy is what you seek.

Track Listing:
1. Yesterdays That Mattered
2. Every Morning
3. As If
4. No One Falls Behind
5. Viva
6. Looking for the Feeling
7. Night’s Calling
8. Slipping Away
9. Light
10. Granted
11. Life to Linger
12. Love

Added: September 7th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 409
Language: english

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Intelligent Music Project IV: Sorcery Inside
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-09-06 23:11:50
My Score:

Although this band/project began under the name of John Lawton (of Uriah Heep/Lucifer’s Friend) & Diana Express, this musical endeavour given life by Bulgarian musician and composer Milen Vrabevski, quickly evolved into the rather grandly monikered Intelligent Music Project. Including that Lawton led debut, Sorcery Inside is the fourth album from this ‘all Bulgarian’ outfit - minus all of the international all-star guests, of course.

In terms of style the theme is very much on the AOR side of the prog market, with names such as Simon Phillips (Toto (and many more)), John Payne (Asia/Dukes of the Orient), Carl Sentance (Nazareth) and Jospeh Williams (Toto) very much alluding to the smooth but melodic rock approach employed.

It’s Sentance and Williams who launch us into “Yesterdays That Matter” and they do so in some style, as the album’s highlight kicks things into gear. The chorus, as you might expect, is king here, and Payne and Richard Grisman (River Hounds) don’t waste the opportunity to plant “Every Morning” deep in the mind, with Payne in particularly fine form. However, with the likes of “As If” revealing a predilection to play things extremely safe, don’t expect many, if any surprises as the lush arrangements that infuse proceedings land this album somewhere between pompous prog AOR and musical theatre - not that there’s anything wrong with any of those ideals. Hence, if you’re looking for an uplifting, straight ahead slice of melodic rock that provides some excellent performances and a pretty impressive production then you could do much worse than “Slipping Away”, “Life Lingers” or “Love”.

Sorcery Inside is one of those albums that will never quite knock you sideways, or demand that you give it regular attention. And yet, for all the feeling that we’ve heard what the Intelligent Music Project have to say countless times before, when this CD does force its way into your playlist, rather oddly you find there’s not one single skippable track.

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