Axiom Of Choice
2003 . :
The second album in a series by the former East guitar player.
After an introspective opening, Freedom has quite a rowdy continuation. It is in fact a great instrumental guitar dominated track, with some ELP influences in the melody and some good atmosphere building. To top it all off, Varga delivers a climactic guitar solo. The keyboards line the guitar in a lush fashion. Shadows And Lights is the longest track on the album and takes its time opening. Acoustic guitar and organ playing give way to friendly piano playing. The songs tends to ramble on a bit and I continue to await a fiery explosion. The guitar sets in in earnest in the second half of the track, but the rhythm section continues to bounce around a bit. Some of the keyboards are positively frolic. Only in the last few minutes does the guitar
really rock loose, and the song ends on a good note.
On The Released Spirit it is the guitar that reigns again. The rhythm section plays a supporting role, but the drums make sure we have an energetic track here. Musically, the song consists of repeated
riffs with some synth soloing over them. Not so interesting from a melodic point of view, but it does rock. Rather typical instrumental prog rock, and not as symphonic as I remember it. The Power Of Love should be a soothing track, and that is at least the way it opens, with subdued piano and sustained melodic guitar work. The guitar solo, because that is more or less what this track is,
is an emotional one, somewhat on the melodramatic side. The keyboards play their more subdued solo, to be followed again by the sharper on one guitar. Overall the mood is relaxed, and melodic. With Heart And Soul is very different, a rowdy plodding blues rock track, quite similar in style to The Released Spirit, except that the keyboards give the music a bit more rest. In the middle Varga plays a bit more
with mood and tension which does the song well. The plodding part does return at the end. After a song such as this, time for something a little lighter.
Our Long Dance fits that bill with nylon string strumming. Then the music gets more pace for some high pitched synth soloing and a symphonic guitar solo supported by energetic drum work. Very good build up. We return to the strumming at the end.
Islands opens with world music style percussion. It stays percussive throughout. Memento is a track in two parts, the first of which is rather short. This part is solely acoustic guitar. In the second part do we also get to hear some other instruments, moody electronics to begin with. This is almost avant-garde. It turns into a psychedelic affair with long and eerie notes on guitar and pacey monotonous percussion. Rather Ozrics, but a bit weak on melody. Although some more melody comes to us towards the end. Final track is the shortish Candles, a rather moody affair, a bit like a sad tune from a movie. Melancholic.
Like Mindflowers an instrumental rock album, not as proggy and I think the melodies of Mindflowers are a bit better. However, Varga is an excellent guitarist and the playing is good. Sometimes the music gets to be either a bit too mellow or, on the other hand, a bit too repetitive and blues rock like. In some tracks it is hard to see what is so progressive about it, but later songs immediately make clear that symphonic guitar work is still Varga's forte. And, not to be forgotten either, he does manage to convey plenty of emotion with his playing.