SEAORM - Olkhon

Seaorm - Olkhon

9 songs
45:31 minutes
***** **


Spanish guitarist Ángel Ontalva is probably best known as the founder of avant prog band October Equus. Lately he’s been a lot in Russia, and released two collaborative albums (2018 and 2020) with Vespero, a psychedelic rock band from Astrakhan in Southern Russia. And because that is not enough, he founded yet another band called Seaorm with the brothers Fedotov who are the rhythm section in Vespero.

Their first album is titled Olkhon, named after the biggest island in the Baikal Lake in Siberia. Olkhon is known for its shamanic traditions, and it’s that atmosphere the trio tries to capture on their debut album. Unlike Ángel Ontalva’s often very lush collaborations with the full band, what we get on Olkhon is more laid back, with the rhythm section often working in the background by providing simple bass rhythms and percussive beats, while the spotlight is aimed at the guitar parts that display Ontalva’s technique which is a combination between emotional melancholy and progressive affinity. Some of his distorted lines reminded me of King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. As expected, there are no vocals. This is a purely instrumental album. But apart from the power trio instrumentation, there are also a lot of electronic synth parts that might otherwise expect from bands like Ozric Tentacles and Quantum Fantay.

It is hard to pick any favourites among the nine songs on Olkhon, but generally speaking it’s the longer tracks which allow the musicians, and especially Ontalva, to really immerse themselves and their listeners into their musical fantasies. I have to admit that I prefer the fuller sounding albums together with the full Vespero clan, but this more intimate and sometimes meditative album also has a lot speaking for itself. Fans of instrumental guitar albums with a fondness for psychedelia will definitely dig this shamanic journey into the heart of Siberia.

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