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Review by Gary Hill

There is a form of instrumental guitar dominated prog that seems to almost share as much in terms of influence with the old surf bands like Dick Dale and the Ventures as it does with King Crimson and other prog outfits. Typically this music will be strictly instrumental, and often times wanders into veins that can almost be described as new age in their atmospheric approach. Still, at other times many of these groups lean well towards the metallic and fusion sides of music. Along with such groups as Djam Karet and Dreadnaught, Kopecky is one such band, and this album represents a recording of a performance they did at Orion Sound Studios.

Kopecky, taking their name from their own last names, is composed of three brothers, Paul, Joe and William. Of this album, there are a few general comments that certainly need to be made. First, these guys manage to pull it off their performance of this genre without getting "noodly", and that is some feat. Secondly, the recording is so clean and pure that it is hard to believe it is live, but I have no doubt that it is. The band's particular take on the genre certainly leans heavily on King Crimson influences, but you will be sure to hear the echoes of the sounds of bands like Rush, Hawkwind and even Led Zeppelin in their music. If you are a fan of this type of band, you really should check these guys out. They are among the best of the genre's practitioners.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Temptation's Sacred Ground
A burst of sound erupts, and the cut takes on a powerful, almost dark texture reminiscent of UK. Then the percussion moves the composition into the ensuing jam. This turns heavy, feeling like a cross between Dream Theater and Joe Satriani, then continues moving our around the various musical themes. Later a staccato jam that feels rhythmically a bit like old Genesis (but musically closer to neo-classical prog metal) takes it for a time before a Crimsonish turn moves us into something that feels more akin to Lands End. This segment works through, then drops to just percussion and keys before a dramatic movement based on almost flamenco instrumental patterns rules the day. The band builds on this new theme for a time, eventually bringing it up rather far in intensity. After a time the cut turns heavy again, and the guitar soloing here really shreds at times. Next a fast paced jam takes it, again feeling a bit like DT, before the brothers shift gears again to an unusual bass dominated modern Crimson sort of excursion that gets quite noisy and weird. The earlier themes eventually return to take us into a short metallic segment and a Rushish riff to end.
Smoke of Her Burning
Wow, this is so cool! It has a rubbery sort of bass sound and feels like an odd hard rocker that is almost straightforward, but yet twisted in a modern Crimson sort of way. It also takes on eastern and prog metal tones from time to time. This is one of the most intriguing instrumental prog numbers of this genre you will find.
Percussion starts this, and as the instruments come in it feels like a crunchy new metal take on Rush doing a cross between YYZ and Red Barchetta. This gets quite heavy at times and quite quirky. It can get rather cacophonic at times, and turns toward more Crimsonian wanderings in places. Later an almost atmospheric segment allows the piece to turn the corner to full on Crimsonish jamming. With some effects based interludes, this mode dominates the cut until it drops to sedate space modes. A heartbeat joins this after a time. It feels part Pink Floyd, part Hawkwind in that segment.
Heaven's Black Amnesia
Atmospheric tones start this, then percussion joins it, and the track begins to take on some melody, building very slowly. Eventually it gets into quite an involved jam, but still based on the earlier musical lines, the band reinventing and reworking it rather than replacing it for the first few minutes. When they do change it out though, the cut explodes into new directions that feel rather like Djam Karet or Dreadnaught. It moves around in varying patterns, never getting boring, but still doesn't wander far from its roots, although it does get rather metallic at points and fusionish at others.
Autumn Swirl
This comes in fairly heavy and almost Zeppelinish. With the swirling musical patterns you can almost picture colored leaves falling all around you. This is one part Led Zeppelin and one part King Crimson swirled (not shaken or stirred) together.
Sky-Blue Hair
More Crimsonish jamming, this one also feels a bit like Djam Karet at times. It gets rather metallic at points, but also showcases fusion soundscapes. It is another that doesn't stray far, but still manages to entertain.
Bartholomew's Kite
More guitar based fusion, this one is less crunchy and features some interesting musical lines. It almost feels a bit Yesish at times, but those Crimson elements still dominate much of the composition. A mid-section features some of the coolest, most melodic sections of the whole album. After this segment it drops to just keys and percussion before a new guitar line jumps out of the gate. This starts off a new jam that becomes quite frantic and chaotic before earlier modes return. Eventually a new keyboard line brings in more classic prog elements, with the track even feeling a little Genesisish. A heavier mysterious sounding movement later calls to mind Hawkwind.
Crimson Crime 2 - 1 -3
Heavy distorted tones start this, then the cut begins to develop tentatively before bursts of something that feels a lot like Primus comes in. Then the track really takes on those Primus-like leanings, but with a more keyboard driven texture. Next it shifts to a different sounds, more like whirling, swirling patterns of strangeness atop a strong rhythmic structure. This also shows slight signs of eastern leanings. It drops to almost atmospheric jamming later, then the cut takes on an almost groove based pattern that evolves into something like a cross between Rush, Blackmore's Rainbow and King Crimson. The Kopecky brothers shift this to a more rock and roll oriented arrangement, but still with that cool processed instrumentation. The bass wails on this one. It is quite a unique number and a great way to end the CD.
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