Amarok - Hope

(CD 2024, 57:55, Oskar Records)

The tracks:
  1- Hope Is(4:44)
  2- Stay Human(5:52)
  3- Insomnia(6:06)
  4- Trail(7:07)
  5- Welcome(5:16)
  6- Queen(5:15)
  7- Perfect Run(5:50)
  8- Don't Surrender(6:59)
  9- Simple Pleasures(7:34)
10- Dolina(3:09)

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Hope is the new album of the well-known Polish prog rock band Amarok, consisting of Michal Wojtas (vocals, guitars, keys), Kornel Poplwaski (bass guitar, violin, cello, vocals), Marta Wojtas (backing vocals, percussion) and Konrad Zielinski (drums, vocals). Amarok is a typical Polish band with that rather familiar sound, meaning: throbbing bass guitars, dark atmospheres and beautiful emotional guitar solos.

The opening track Hope Is, really sets the tone for this intriguing album, great guitar picking, pulsating keys, mysterious voice over vocals and an impressive, howling guitar solo to finish it off, great start indeed. Insomnia opens with a breathtaking, emotional guitar solo - hello David Gilmour - and this one is one of the most razor-edged tracks of Amarok ever; check out the guitar solos at the end indeed! Trail features lots of electronic beats, emotional vocals and the guitar solo in the middle truly reminds me of good old Mike Oldfield, again a great track. Perfect Run is the instrumental song of the album, and this is probably one my favourite tracks as it is absolutely astonishing; crossover, progressive eclectic music as it should be.

In fact this album is a mix of prog rock, folk and ambient music, reminding me of Riverside, Porcupine Tree accompanied by David Gilmour and Mike Oldfield guitar influences. But Amarok do not end up sounding like every other Polish prog rock band, as they have a pure and crystal clear sound, mainly due to the amazing guitar work and the perfect vocals of Michal Wojtas. Listen to this album more than once and you will get hooked for sure!
Listening tip: Insomnia.

**** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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