Modern-Rock Ensemble is a musical project by multi-instrumentalist Vladimir Gorashchenko (keyboards, acoustic - and electric 6 - and 12-string guitars, recorder, percussion and lead & backing vocals), from the Ukranian capital Kiev. In late 2016 he released the debut album entitled Touch The Mystery (featuring fellow Ukranian Anton Kalugin, known for his work in the acclaimed bands Karfagen and Sunchild), and in 2019 Night Dreams & Wishes, the list of guest musicians is impressive, almost 20.
From the very first moment I am impressed by Modern-Rock Ensemble and its sound on the 11 compositions (between 2 to 12 minutes), blending Old School Prog with fresh, varied and adventurous musical ideas, performed by outstanding musicians. For example, one moment it's mellow jazz rock with spacey synthesizers, or dreamy folk with warm flute and acoustic guitar. The next moment bombastic vintage keyboard driven symphonic rock, or prog metal with blistering guitar work.
In the track Overture the start is dreamy, then a mid-tempo with a catchy beat, followed by a sumptuous outburst, and finally again dreamy. This is embellished with Hammond organ- and church organ, and exciting heavy guitar work.
The song Night Comes - Dreams ranges from mellow acoustic guitar, soaring strings and spacey synthesizer with pitchbend to a piece with higher pitched female vocals with tender electric piano, halfway howling and sensitive volume pedal driven guitar, hypnotizing percussion and beautiful flute, and finally a saxophone joins, the music turns gradually into more dynamic and bombastic, featuring heavy guitar solo. Variety and strong musical ideas rule in this epic.
In the short piece Barocco Scherzo - Fourth Voyage With Morpheus first a dreamy flute, synthesizers and church organ in a folky/baroque atmosphere, then halfway suddenly a catchy beat with saxophone (it sounds sounds a bit avant-garde), and finally again folky/baroque.
The epic Childhood & School Days delivers a very dynamic and powerful blend of Old School Prog, rock and jazz featuring screamy saxophone, Keith Emerson kind of Hammond runs, very alternating guitar play (from moving and biting to jazzy) and sensational work on synthesizers. The interplay is outstanding and again we can enjoy lots of inventive musical ideas.
The short and mellow Insomnia showcases the varied musical sound of Modern-Rock Ensemble, now it's King Crimson-like guitar, along flute and vibraphone, the focus is avant-garde elements.
And Wake Up is a dreamy ballad with pleasant male and female vocals, wonderfully embellished with varied instrumentation.
But the magnum opus on this second Modern-Rock Ensemble album is Dark Kingdom & The Evil King, Part 1, 2 and 3, around 30 minutes with the band in its full splendor: what a variety, what exciting shifting moods, what awesome work on keyboards and guitar, and what adventurous musical ideas. From an ominous atmosphere with spacey synthesizers, a glorious Mellotron choir sound to an accellaration with heavy guitar and Jethro Tull-like flute. From a majestic church organ, dark vocals and metal guitar to a mellow final part with warm classical guitar and flute in Part 1. Part 2 sounds like 'ELP meets Dream Theater', lots of bombastic keyboards and heavy guitar, very exciting and dynamic. Part 3 reminds me of Ayreon, due to the spoken words intro, and melodic blend of rock and prog, embellished with Hammond, heavy guitar, male - and female vocals, church organ, flute and varied synthesizers. Again the interplay is amazing, this is a strong bonus in Modern-Rock Ensemble its great sound.
Multi-instrumentalist Vladimir Gorashchenko and his Modern-Rock Ensemble has succeeded in delivering a very exciting second effort, loaded with awesome work on keyboards and guitar, tension, dynamics, skills, variety and interesting musical ideas. I am sure this CD will please many progheads who are into varied and harder-edged prog music, highly recommended!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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