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Roz Vitalis: Live At Mezzo Forte Moscow September '09

Starting off as a one man project Roz Vitalis are the brain child of keyboard player Ivan Rozmainsky who first released the album L'Ascensione back in 2002. Since then the band have steadily grown into first a three and than a five piece with a variety of guest musicians also contributing and released numerous albums and EP's. Live At Mezzo Forte Moscow is however the band's first live recording and indeed their first with a new permanent line up.

Naturally enough, considering their origins, the prog-lite/art rock music that is served up by Roz Vitals is keyboard and synth led and whilst the band suggest that this collection of reworked songs and new compositions is more "song based" than their previous work, in truth most of the music sounds more akin to an organised jam session. Long passages contain building keyboards and gentle guitar noodling and only once in a while does anything close to a beat or groove kick in. Vocally it took me while to put my finger on what the half spoken half shouted sections reminded me of, however those familiar with the musical comedy of British comedian Bill Bailey will recognise much of the ramblings here as similar to his work. That isn't meant as a put down, but as a genuine observation. The vocals are obviously meant to add drama, however in truth they detract from the sombre, serious art rock and instead take the whole feel into an unwelcome direction that is more of a distraction.

Some of the actual playing on the album is quite beautiful with the likes of "Destiny Dethroned" combining a wonderful piano melody with a building guitar which together flow back and forth to great effect. What really doesn't help the album however is the severe lack of atmosphere, as the gaps between songs are filled with echoing Russian stage talk and isolated hand claps that give the feel of the whole experience being recorded in a massive empty hall. Add to that the actual recording is a little dull in places and certainly not as "bright" as this style of music requires and the whole disc loses much of the impact that could have been created.

As said the performances are good, however the material all too easily passes you by without making a lasting impression and the whole live aspect is a hindrance instead of the help it could have been. Roz Vitalis are a decent band, however I would have liked to have heard a studio recording as my first introduction to them.

Track Listing
1. Warm Tuesday / Giver (Piano solo) / Ascension Dream 10:07
2. Wooden Bear / Annihilator Of Mortal Hazard 6:31
3. Autumn Of Hypocrisy / Disruption (Truncated) 9:51
4. Destiny Dethroned 5:14
5. Flown With The Wind / Insecure 10:27
6. Painsadist 3:42
7. Autumn Crocus 4:23
8. Outro 3:28

Added: February 1st 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 2542
Language: english

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