ROZ VITALIS - Elephant Live

Roz Vitalis - Elephant Live

7 songs
45:12 minutes
***** ***


Itís been only half a year since Russian avant prog band Roz Vitalis released their latest studio album The Hidden Man Of The Heart on the Italian Lizard label. Now they are back with a self-released live album Elephant Live, not unlike how At Last. Live followed Lavoro díAmore a few years back, although this time the interval between the studio and the live album was much shorter. It should also be noted that in those six months, the band also released a single and a split-EP with Russian space rockers Vespero.

Elephant Live contains four songs from the last studio album plus three new compositions. My main complaint for The Hidden Man Of The Heart was that too many classical interludes robbed the album of its momentum. This time we get only real songs, ranging from five to nine minutes. The album begins with Too Late Awakening (Daybreaking Version), an eight-minute-long new song that shows the band from its most lyrical side, and that despite them being an instrumental band. The songís beginning reminds me a lot of early Camel, but when the whole band joins in, itís the powerful drumming by new member Evgeny Trefilov and the jazzy saxophone parts by also new member Ilya Belorukov that add new flavour to the music. Ivan Rozmainskyís keyboard playing is still sublime although I would have wished for a clearer piano sound. Up next is Passing Over, possibly the bandís best song so far, which also takes advantage of the more dynamic live sound. Two new songs, Bait Of Success and Premonition, follow, and I really like it how the saxophonist who is clearly inspired by David Jackson (ex-Van Der Graaf Generator) enriched Roz Vitalisí classical avant progís chamber music sound with a jazz flair. The album ends with Psalm 6, Jungle Waltz and The Hidden Man Of The Heart, which should be known from the last studio record.

There are two sides to Roz Vitalis. There is the polished avant prog sound you get on their label backed studio album, and there is the rawer and more direct sound on their self-released live albums. These albums are usually short, sound rather like official bootlegs, and best of all, can be downloaded for free, although it would be nice if you spent a few euros (or whatever your currency of choice is) on their music. I have to admit that I like both sides of the band. Last time I complained that the live album was too short, but if you release live albums so many times, you might as well keep them a little shorter. This is a nice addition to the bandís massive Bandcamp catalogue, making this currently their thirty-second release since the beginning of the millennium.

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