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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Andrew Roussak

No Trespassing

Review by Tim Jones

Andrew Roussak's music is a mixture of many genres: progressive rock, pop, classical, jazz.  His main influences are ELP and classical music.  Some of the songs are a mix of genres, while some are just classical, or just jazz.  As so many styles are present, the album is difficult to classify, although it could be called progressive rock just as easily as it could be called anything else.  It feels like Roussak is searching for a genre he feels comfortable in; despite some very good songs, one gets the sense that he's still searching.  Roussak is from Russia, and lives in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Joining Roussak are Hendrik Plachtzik on vocals and drums, Steffen Hehrer and Oliver Weislogel on guitars, Alan Graham on acoustic guitar and sax, Juergen Wannenwetsch on bass, and Sebastian Saeuberlich on drums.  The drums are often a bit weak and predictable.  The vocals are good but not great.  The highlight of the album is the piano and keyboards.  Some of the songs here are quite good, and definitely worth a listen.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No Trespassing
With a pop meets progressive sound, this has good, unique vocals, which certainly contribute to the progressive it.  The production quality isn't as good as it could be.  A sax solo jazzes up the bridge.  This is reminiscent of the Alan Parsons project.
Prelude
This is a rendition of a Bach piece.  Angry drums and a fast-moving tempo, along with a prominent piano, set this song apart.  This instrumental does a good job of showcasing Roussak's piano skills.
Lost in the Woods
This track is based on a Stephen King novel.  It has a very cool, long introduction.  It's harder than the previous songs.  Electric guitar comes in.  Vocals are a bit muted, but it works well inside this particular cut.  The electric guitar solo is particularly nice.
Wartime Chronicles
This is some dark music.  The introduction is a bit like the Genesis hit "Land of Confusion" without vocals.  There's a piano solo two minutes in; Roussak is all over the place on the instrument.  This has some very proggy keyboards, sounding more like Yes than Genesis.  There are some bell sounds.  It also includes an intense and dark conclusion.  Over seven minutes in length this is a serious instrumental.  This is the best song on the album.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Another instrumental, this is the second Bach piece on the album.  It’s classical gone pop with a hint of progressive rock.  I hear it as a mix of Mannheim Steamroller and ELP.

Rhythm of the Universe
Angry undercurrents are heard in the introduction, with a lighter feeling on top.  The vocals come in, and it feels very much like a European pop song, complete with the lead vocalist following the lines of the background chorus.  A guitar solo reminds us that this isn't straight pop--as long as one ignores the heavy monotonous drums.  Prog keyboards take over.  It gets a bit chaotic towards the end, and then it ends softly.

All Good Things
There are bells in the intro.  This is a soft, emotional piano instrumental.  In fact, it’s almost entirely piano; sometimes very lush music.  It is also pretty much a straight-forward classical piece.

Do Without Me
This is a jazzy piece with just piano, keyboard, vocals, and drums.  It’s a relaxed song you'd play on low volume during a formal party.  There’s a hint of prog on the keyboards during one section, but pretty much just straight jazz.  We get some cool gravelly vocals towards the end of the song.

Vivace Furioso
Another instrumental, a classical piano introduction builds up and is joined by drums and keyboards.  Hints of ELP and Mannheim Steamroller are heard.  The drums are predictable.  The keyboards are fun and fast.

Maybe
With emotional vocals and keyboards, this is a very soft, mild song.  It is meant for a (yet-to-be-written) musical, and it certainly sounds like something from an old musical.  Three minutes in, and it becomes a little more intense.  It's fitting that the last track on this eclectic album would be from a genre different than any other one present on the rest of the album.

 
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