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27 June, 2013

Sergey Rybytskyy - Soul's Reflection

Sergey Rybytskyy - Soul's Reflection |self-released/AMAdea Music, Soul's Reflection, 2012| 5/5

1. Deliverance, 2. Profound Influence, 3. New Vista, 4. Battle, 5. Chameleon

A collection of the best instrumental songs released by Ukrainian composer Sergey Rybytskyy brings an excellent heavy load of progressive and neo classical rock music. Fabulous arrangements make it a recognizable release thanks to Sergey's technical and songwriting skills.

There's a lot to be found within the songs - dynamics and poetry, aggression and passion. The collection begins with "Deliverance" - fast paced hard rock drum beats build up a solid sonic spine for spiritually uplifting guitar riffs. By turns, higher and lower riffs shoot the song into your ears like a Uzi submachine gun. In fact, listening to this track makes one imagine a philharmonic with a pianist instead of a guitar player, performing a fiery-yet-epic classical composition, surrounded by people in very formal attire. It’s the same kind of music you may have heard from Dream Theater but also Apocalyptica - this time, it’s all made by one man.

The second track rolls off like a famous primadonna walking along a red carpet, all eyes fixed on her. All this due to the slow, vibrating guitar riffs with interesting background synths embedded into the composition. The riffs of "Profound Influence" eventually turn into a high-tuned cannonade (thanks to the generous application of guitar fingering) which may also be reminiscent 8-bit Atari or Commodore music hailing from the era of 80s video games (and involving loads of shooting lasers).

"New Vista", on the other hand, is loaded with a progressive rock feel. Solo riffs mix with a rhythm guitar and drums, eventually enriched by synth passages. Not only does this song fit nicely into any progressive music collection, but it also has hit potential. The song is the longest of the release, with some repetitive arrangements. As a dynamic and complex piece, it may be favoured by fans of such bands as Van Halen, Asia, Yes, Alan Parsons or Pink Floyd.

Some of Sergey's tracks had been already chosen for film and TV licensing. Unsurprisingly, since most of his work refers to motion and action. Speaking of which, "Battle" is very faithful to its title. It's pure combat between piercing solos, matching synths and solid background arrangements based on a running rhythm of drums. There's no place for breaks or hesitation here - just a crazy ride. If you like visualizing music, you may imagine two opposite mobs of medieval warriors with fierce expressions, galloping on their horses at each other, brandishing their weapons at the enemies.

The final track - "Chameleon" - begins slowly, with a regal style and grace, eventually turning into an invasive, psychodelic trip. Bizarre, circus-like synth arrangements and slightly distorted guitars should keep your focus nailed to the track’s progression.

Soul's Reflection is an interesting collection regardless whether you're already a fan of the genres mentioned above or just looking around to discover a new talented guitar player. The album is available for purchase through a variety of retailers online. Don’t forget to let Sergey know what you think of his music and leave your feedback at one of his social sites.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 26th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

This review on Fabryka Magazine:

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

26 June, 2013

Ghost Embrace - Prisoner Of Pretty Lies

Ghost Embrace - Prisoner Of Pretty Lies (song review) |self-released, Ghost Embrace, 2013| 5/5

Ghost Embrace is an American band from Colorado, led by Annette Freeman who's a singer-songwriter, as well as a music producer. Not only is she armed with a wide-scale, well trained voice and a 12 string guitar but also a few colorful tattoos. Aside from the lead singer, the band includes: Jerome Lee, a music industry veteran who spent over 40 years playing an electric bass; Chad Kent who has played drums since he turned 12 (known also from bands Atomship and Watership Down); as well as two talented guitar players - Nema Sobhani and Ryan Kargoll. The soft, well-chosen background vocals are performed by Madeline Gardner, Brett Weisz and Leah Rose.

"Prisoner Of Pretty Lies" is one of the songs published on the newly released Ghost Embrace album. The track brings a variety of influences and moods ranging from such genres as metal, progressive rock, soul and R&B. At 2 minutes and 50 seconds, the track is pretty short, but includes all the necessities of a good tune - a bright composition, soothing arrangements, moods that grown on you and professionally performed music.

Annette's voice dominates the entire track. There are peaks expressing the moments of strong emotions such as passion, possessiveness or jealousy (where Annette sounds predatory), but also sweeter and softer spots that may illustrate love, hope or tenderness. When Annette sings: "Loving who you might be, Taking it too far, Believing what I see, Is who you really are" it should make you realise that this calming track is relating to the subjects of loneliness and casual relationships. Every year, thousands of people fall in love with barely matched partners, just to kill boredom or emptiness in their own lives. They meet offline and online, jumping into relationships to search for their own worth in the eyes of others. It's pretty natural to have expectations, yet a low self-esteem can turn out to be a trap, for both involved parties. This song could be a perfect musical companion to a movie trailer, one which specifically touches the topics mentioned above - love stories of people of all ages and orientations around the world.

"Prisoner Of Pretty Lies" could have sounded a bit too lyrical or moody, if not for the involvement of a dynamic duo - Chad with his confident perky metal drumming and Jerome providing warm blues/R&B bass lines. These two, mixed with progressive rock guitar solos brought by Nema and Ryan put a second life into the short composition. It seems that every musician in the band could have performed his or her part on their own equally well, leading to a bunch of great instrumental or a capella tracks. Still, together they complement one another to an even better result.
The track was recorded at HyperThreat Sound, mixed by Dave Fortman (Balance Studios) and mastered by Adam Ayan (Gateway Mastering). If you agree that love can be a little confusing sometimes, check out "Prisoner Of Pretty Lies" by Ghost Embrace.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, May 23rd, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

Progressivenz - Pickin On Me

Progressivenz - Pickin On Me (song review) |self-released, single, 2013| 4/5

Progressivenz is a musical project founded in New Zealand by Rhys Williams. He's a guitar player, but he doesn't shy away from utilizing other instruments such as bass or synthesizers.

The new song by Rhys entitled "Pickin On Me" undoubtedly sounds groovy. This is mainly thanks to a repetitive, warm & funky R&B-ish bass line that dominates but also stabilizes the composition with a solid core. Additionally, nicely dosed electronica, borrowing themes from goa trance or electro genres chimes in at the right spots throughout the entire track. A fusion of the two results in several smart arrangements stitched into the composition, which is long enough to let the listener enjoy the groove.

Rhys' voice also sounds very interesting. A sensitive ear would find his vocals memorable and recognizable. They are a bit abrasive, holding passion and a hint of anxiety as well. On the other hand, Rhys has used a vocal effect that would suit pop music slightly better. "Pickin On Me" sounds intriguing, yet a bit murky. The effect was probably used to bring some more life to repetitive lyrics. It does take the 'dark' mood away from the song, though.

When it comes to the lyrics, they are presumably about a man who has a romantic interest in a woman, but deals with disappointment since she doesn't reciprocate his love... until he has enough of money: "You welcome me on pay day, And sing your little song, And then you push me to the floor, Just once the moneys gone". Moreover, she flirts with other men, giving a hard time to the one who wants her exclusively: "You dance with everyone but me, And have your little flirt, Then push me to the corner, Just like a piece of dirt". Apparently, it sounds like the man may be addicted to her presence, but he's not ready to quit this manipulative relationship yet.

There's something about "Pickin On Me" that you will like and at least a few details your ear won't miss. It may be the overall nice groove, the repetitions but also the sensual mood. These usually turn one’s mind on and so, they may play with yours as well.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, May 25th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

25 June, 2013

Division 1.1 - Submission

Division 1.1 - Submission (song review) |self-released, With A Vengeance, 2012| 5/5

Division 1.1 is a New Jersey based metal band of Rob Middleton (lead vocals), Steve Ratchen (7 & 14 string bass guitar, keyboards/synthesizers, lead and backing vocals), John Barone (guitars, backing vocals) and Brian Brennan (drums/percussion, backing vocals). Since the musicians' personal inspirations cover a broad range older and newer influences such as Black Sabbath, Rush, Ronnie James Dio, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Dream Theater, Tool, Pantera and Disturbed, the music of Division 1.1 may be seen as an amalgam of the main elements introduced by these bands.

"Submission" is the fourth track from the With A Vengeance EP. The arrangement is mainly based on guitars, bass and vocals, though there are also pretty non-invasive synths in the background. All of these usually play in unison, but there are also parts where individual instruments have their top moments. The drum parts are my only concern - if their sound had been amplified a bit more (possibly during mastering), the track would have gotten an additional power kick and turned out much more epic (as for instance it happens in "Valley of The Kings" by Blue Murder). Other than that, they were performed and fit into the track very well.

The song is an excellent piece of collaborative music. It includes progressive, hard rock and neo-classical instrumentation enriched with interesting prog vocals, an almost 'aerodynamic' set of time signature changes and a rocking rhythm. It's easy to notice that the quartet must have spent years on honing their musical skills and gaining the necessary experience as a band. For instance, the left-handed bassist (using right-handed 7 string basses upside down) contributed to bands such as Alchemy-X and Vyndykator but also Wizards of Winter, the latter inspired by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

In "Submission", the verses smoothly interlace with memorable and rhythmic choruses. The song’s lyrics are referring to religion - no wonder, as it has been occupying way too much space in areas that should have remained secular, adjusting to ordinary life requirements instead. Quite the contrary - religions lock on vulnerable minds, bring a lot of fuss, unnecessary bloody wars and terrorism instead of any wisdom. The song calls for resisting such submission and urges the listener to remain an independent, showing free will and making one’s own decisions. The chorus repeats: "Organized religion, Is just a means to hate, Anyone who's different, 'Repeat after me', they said. Organized division, A holy means to hate, Anyone who questions, The Sleeper will awake in submission".

"Submission" is a highly recommendable track with the potential of becoming a hit. In addition, the song as well as the entire EP were produced by Mike Romeo - the guitar player and founder of US progressive metal band Symphony X. If you're lucky enough, you may get to listen to it not only on the With A Vengeance EP, but also live. Thanks to its compositional momentum, "Submission" sounds like a great song to be performed on a big stage in front of thousands of listeners.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 5th, 2013. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine