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Album Review

From Norway, the members of Kvazar were in their mid-twenties when they released their first eponymous album. The listener immediately finds similarities with other Scandinavian progressive rock acts such as Sinkadus and Anekdoten: dark romanticism, melancholia, a strong influence from King Crimson, and use of cello and flute. Andre Jensen's ethereal vocals often get buried in the mix, which is not such a big loss. The moods are nice and these musicians can surely play, but they don't reach the same level of raw emotion found in Sinkadus' or Anekdoten's music, nor do they match Landberk's delicate heart-on-sleeve sensibilities or Anglagard's musical grandeur. Their signing on the French label Musea is not surprising: they sound like a Musea version of the aforementioned bands — more pop and accessible. The six-to-nine-minute pieces are separated by short, untitled, instrumental extensions of some of the album's themes. Among the highlights one finds "Mirror Mask," "Mother of Existence," and "Whispering Forest." On the other hand some tracks, like "Ballet," feed on overstretched musical ideas. It sounds as if the band was still trying to decide between textures and melodies. Fans of Anekdoten will find Kvazar a bit too weak, but prog lovers turned off by the aforementioned's rough edges might be interested. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Kvazar, Kvazar
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