Osada Vida are one of the more interesting Polish bands as far as prog metal is concerned. So far they have recorded five albums; their latest record was Uninvited Dreams (2009, see review). The reviews of the older Osada Vida albums generally read the same: nice music, but disappointing vocals. That's exactly what most bands from Eastern Europe have in common. Great German and Polish vocalists are rather uncommon, and once you've find one you'll discover that the English pronunciation is inaudible or has a strong Polish accent. Even Riverside, the flagship of the Polish prog scene, suffers from this imperfection. So I was glad to learn that Osada Vida's bass player is no longer their singer, but that they hired Marek Majewski (ex-Acute Mind) for the job.
And what a perfect choice this was! Majewski is just a fantastic singer! His voice reminds me of the vocalists of Steely Dan and Toto, two smooth and vocal-oriented bands. Majewski's majestic vocals lead you along nine beautiful tracks meandering from dark progressive metal to AOR and vice versa. Particles is a very dynamic CD switching from a slow seventies vibe in Those Days to hard-edged prog metal in songs like Fear and Mighty World. There's a lot of atmosphere and thanks to the way it has been produced, Particles is a very pleasant album to listen to.
Beside the vocals, the stunning guitar riffs and solos of Bartek Bereska are a real treat to the ears. Actually all band members sound mature, well-balanced and professional. It seems as if Majewski has lifted the band to a higher level of musicality. While listening to the music the influences of some other bands emerge like Threshold, Yes, Pink Floyd, Stiltskin and Marillion. It's hard to believe that Particles was recorded by the same band that released albums like The Body Parts Party (2008) and Uninvited Dreams, because this one's so much better.
Personally I think Particles is the best prog rock release of 2013 so far. I'll forgive them for recording the bonus track Master Of Puppets. Never try to outclass Metallica! Please don't do that again since it will cost you the masterpiece's score of a thoroughly five star rating. Osada Vida, Poland's future of prog rock is here to stay!
*****- Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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