Recently Sodom And Gomorrah appeared, the special fourth album by FromUz, a progressive rock band from Uzbekistan (!). Multi-instrumentalist Albert Khalmurzaev is responsible for all the music on this album, while on previous records the compositions were more or less band efforts. The album can be seen as an interpretation of a soundtrack for the story of the biblical cities Sodom and Gomorrah.
The recordings for this album were already made in 2008 and I think 10T Records did a great job by releasing this CD to get more focus on this very interesting group of musicians. On this album Albert Khalmurzaev plays the keyboards, guitars, harmonica, and he does some vocals as well. At the time of the recordings FromUz consisted − besides Khalmurzaev − of mastermind and guitarist Vitaly Popeloff, drummer Vladimir Badirov, bass player Andrey Mara-Novik and keyboardist-singer Evgeni Popelov.
The musical style on this mostly instrumental album is a mixture of impressive fusion parts, inspired by bands like Planet X, Liquid Tension Experiment and Karcius, and progressive rock elements. The music of Pink Floyd is one of the influences that returns on a regular base throughout the album. Listen for instance to Lot, which stays close to the old masters, but still has a distinguished guitar sound that is typical for guitarist Popeloff. I found The Orgy very imposing; it holds some stunning bass playing and solid shredding on the guitar. Don't forget to listen to the real progressive keyboard solo!
To give the listeners a good picture of the things that happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, the band created a diversity of atmospheres during The City. Another one not to be forgotten is the sinister piece The Capture, which gave me the feeling of watching an exciting episode of an old detective or action movie. One of the nice things about the album is the fact that FromUz not only played the instruments, but also incorporated electronics, bits and pieces of movie conversations and stuff like that. This works out very well; sometimes these things are used as soundscapes in the background; at other times they just replace the music.
Those who are familiar with other recordings of the band know that these mentioned elements are part of the typical FromUz sound. In a way the musical style of FromUz comes close to a band like King Crimson, but they express themselves quite differently. The way the songs are built up approaches perfection. Fascinating elements pass by like soundscapes from Elvis Presley and The Sex Pistols, but never too emphatically to keep you from listening to the more than excellent musicianship of the band.
Sodom And Gomorrah is an album you should listen to several times. With every spin I heard new elements that I didn't notice before. After listening more than once the whole picture enfolded. If you like impressive prog music, adventurous compositions with the focus on keyboards, Pink Floyd-like guitar sounds, but played with an identity of its own, than this is an album you have to check out.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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