Axiom of Choice
0 . :
Supposedly in the style of The Nice, ELP and Triumvirat they must have figured: Triumvirat did it so we can do it as well. In view of the line-up one might very well call this a family effort.
After the dark, mysterious intro that ends with a keyboard sound referring directly toward early ELP, we come to the rather poppy opening Spartacus. The music sounds rather classical which is to be expected of music that is similar to ELP and Triumvirat. The vocals are orchestral and in English. I'm reminded here also of Jesus Christ Superstar. On the whole I'm not too fond of this track. I like the bombastic The Last Day Cantata a lot better, because of the strong drive of the first two parts. Halfway the music changes completely becoming bouncy, almost funky with a strong bass sound and some well..ehm disco sounding keyboards and some jazzy soloing on piano. Weird. Getting Ready is the Prologue, which is weird if it turns out to be the fourth track. Here, the wind instruments are back to the fore and directly I like the music better. Again, there's some good tension building here (as in the first part of The Last Day). then the tempo goes up again and the music becomes more mellow. Like the previous track, this track ends rather abruptly. The major track on this album is the ten minute Victory Or Death. The playing is quite percussive here with quite a few things going on and some very definite pointers to ELP. Some parts are quite nice, but other parts sound a bit trite to my ears. This is the second and last song with vocals, slightly accented but strong and likable. After a strong guitarsolo we get a groovy part with a strong bass presence and after this plenty of solo's on various keyboards up to the powerful ending which is . After the somewhat short military interlude The Legions we come to the Concerto divided into three separate parts. Concerto is of course a rather classical piece. The music is again high of tempo and because of this hints at Ekseption. The 2nd Movement is a sad sounding one. I don't like the drums here. This is a very personal thing: sometimes I listen to orchestra's that play pop/rock music and then they use a pop/rock drummer (of some sorts). I don't like this. If you want to have percussion, use marimba or kettledrums or something, but not a plain drumkit, the sound is too thin. Okay, that was my opinion. Now back to the music: the third part of the Concerto is a rather quick one again, with some extensive quickfingered soloing on the keyboards. The Intermezzo is a rather extensive one with waves, breakers and rollers, highpitched keyboards, slowly and more atmospheric and also the occasional seagull. Then the strings and the orchestral Lalaaah vocals set in, setting the tune for some more lighthearted, nicely melodious music. I especially like the beautiful slow ending to this track. The closer of the album is Spartacus 2000, an extremely fast paced piece on keyboards. The keybaodrs are played in a partly percussive way and the drums keep up well. The music is a bit circus music like with a humorous 1920's interlude.
The bonus track is Bernstein's America (hmm, did not some other band...) played live. After a somewhat spooky opening we come to that oh so familiar tune. Quite a playful rendition.
An album for ELP/Triumvirat/Nice/Ekseption lovers I would say. Lots of classical influences and also plenty of groove (sometimes moving funky). Most of the music is up-tempo and highspirited. For myself, I liked the classical part with the heavy drumming and also the guitar solo's. The keyboards form the main dish of the album, but during the key solo's there's usually ordinary drumming and I'm not that fond of that. Not bad, but as you might have read, not my cup of tea.