ATON FIVE - Solarstalgia
Listening to Aton Five, it is hard to believe that we are in the presence of youngsters. The Moscow based instrumental quartet released a first EP in 2015, followed two years later by a live EP. In late 2018, their debut album Solarstalgia was digitally released by the band itself, and only a few months later, in February 2019, it saw a physical re-release by Russian label R.A.I.G. who added two tracks from the live EP as a bonus. I got the initial release, but even without the bonus material, it makes it to a little over one hour running time.
Aton Five, who took their name from a character in a novel written by science fiction author Piers Anthony, play instrumental rock music located within the triangle of progressive, psychedelic and hard rock. Itís mostly the latter which defines the sound, with the numerous guitar/organ duels reminding me more than once of early Seventies Deep Purple.
The album can be subdivided into two different parts. The first half consists of four rather long tracks, ranging from nearly six to nearly ten minutes per song. These tracks are fully composed and see the quartet at their tightest. The opener The Dreadnought is at six and a half minutes one of the shorter pieces, and comes with an opening riff reminding of Diamond Headís Am I Evil?. Itís also one of the albumís heavier track with a grooving rhythm section and a Hammond organ that makes you see the late Jon Lord in your mindís eye. Journey and Time are both about nine minutes long, and come with all kinds of different parts. Especially the former has some brilliant fusion rock parts and incredibly lyrical statements. A Chain Of Events ends the first half. At a little under six minutes, itís the shortest and most accessible piece, something like a visiting card that tells you in little time what Aton Five is about.
The second half of the album consists of two epic long tracks, separated by a minute and a half interlude. Milky Way Incident is a thirteen and a half minute long freewheeling jam rock extravaganza, whereas the nearly eighteen minute long The Endless Desert, which ends the album, comes with a more Oriental flair. Both tracks are more playful and less constructed than those of the first half, and while I prefer the bandís shorter tracks, I rather like how they managed to make those two different sounding halves which will give you the entire spectrum of the band.
These four young Russians love the music from a time before they were born, and their tribute to it is heart-warming and ear pleasing at the same time. Fans of instrumental hard rock with strong psychedelic and progressive touches should burn some incense and float away with Aton Five to Solarstalgia.