ROZ VITALIS - At Last. Live

Roz Vitalis - At Last. Live

9 songs
43:27 minutes
***** ***
(self-released)

Bandpage

The title of the album is a bit misleading. At Last. Live gives you the impression that this is finally the first live recording by Russian instrumental progressive rock band Roz Vitalis. But once you have a look at the two dozen records available on their Bandcamp page, you will notice that nearly half of them are live albums! Come to that, twenty-four albums in seventeen years is also not a bad track record! You might think that these guys should soon run out of ideas, but it seems that the opposite is true.

On At Last. Live there are apparently only three tracks from previous albums, while the remaining material is either from upcoming records or rare songs. My first encounter with Roz Vitalis was two years ago with Lavoro díAmore, their so-called breakthrough album which was released on the renowned Lizard Records label. Compared to that studio album, the sound on At Last. Live is a little muddier, but it also shows that the seven members of Roz Vitalis are a very tight group that has absolutely no problems to reproduce their complex material in a live setting. The septet from Saint Petersburg are not one of those technical show-off prog bands, but rather they concoct a very lush sound where the usual rock instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards and drums) are complemented by flute and trumpet. Especially the latter is rather unusual in this setting and gives the music a melancholic touch, whereas the flute infuses the songs with a warm folky atmosphere that at times recalls Camelís wistful The Snow Goose album.

Band leader Ivan Rozmainsky is a terrific pianist, but above all he is an unparalleled composer who uses his gift to craft some of the most beautiful progressive rock there is right now. The band once claimed if you want to call them avant prog, then call them avant prog with a human face. And thatís the thing about Roz Vitalis: where other progressive rock band are running the risk of losing themselves in too much technicalities, Roz Vitalis always maintain this atmosphere of fairy tales and never ending warm Autumn days. At times I would like to describe their music as chamber prog, considering its closeness to classical music, but there is of course so much more to it: jazzy parts, rock rhythms, other assorted playfulness. As I observed before, the sound is not as clear and transparent as on their preceding studio album, but that is not a problem as the bandís performance makes you feel as if you were a part of the audience. If there is one little criticism I have to add before the end of this review: At Last. Live is with three quarters of an hour a rather short live album, and I would have liked to be immersed in the bandís aural fantasy world for half an hour longer. Apart from that, this pay-what-you-want album is an absolute must for fans of melancholic instrumental progressive rock, and even though you can download this for free, the band has definitely deserved a small contribution from your part.

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