From.uz - 'Sodom And Gomorrah'

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From.uz - 'Sodom And Gomorrah'

Uzbekistan's From.uz return with their first studio effort since 2010.

One of the most interesting international Progressive Rock acts of recent years, Uzbekistan's Fromuz return with their first studio effort since 2010. 'Sodom And Gomorrah' is an album of music composed as part of a soundtrack for the theatrical play of the same name and created solely by the band's keyboarding, guitaring, harmonica player Albert Khalmurzaev. I haven't seen the stage production in question, but judging on this selection of music, I'd guess it is a modern take on the biblical tale, with the likes of emergency service sirens included on 'The Capture' to accentuate what is almost completely an instrumental effort.

This album was actually recorded way back in 2008, something which explains two things. Firstly the appearance here of the classic, original line-up of Fromuz, comprising Khalmurzaev, Vitaly Popeloff on guitars, Evgeniy Popelov on keys, Andrew Mara-Novik on bass and Vladimir Badirov on drums, and secondly that, even with a revolving cast list since, 'S&G' feels in many ways like a step back from the wonderful 'Seventh Story' album.



Through the very nature of why this music was created in the first place, rather than long sprawling Prog epics, most of the tracks flit around the three to four minute mark, forcing them to try to make both an instant impression and also to fit with the visuals not available to view with this release. In places it works spectacularly, with the unnerving heavy breathing and melodious burst of 'Folly Of Mob' stinging effectively, the surging Pink Floyd/Gilmour rip off of 'Lot' lulling wonderfully, and the brooding 'Black Wedding' and 'Black Feast II' adding a hefty weight of atmosphere. Add to that the captivating 'Procession Of Dead Stars' where a number of clips of the likes of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and The Sex Pistols are woven through nightmarish sounds and samples and there certainly is enough to keep you thoroughly riveted in between less hard hitting fare. These include 'The Capture' : a cheesy 70s cop show theme, 'City' bleeping and blooping as an obvious piece of link music, while 'The Orgy', while fitting its title well, is merely a piece of standard Prog Metal foot to the floor.

'Sodom And Gomorrah' is a release this band's existing fans will get a lot from, while not necessarily being blown away. Potential new Fromuz-ers would be better directed towards either 'Seventh Story' or 'Audio Diplomacy' to discover the band at their full powers before venturing on to this still worthy effort.

Steven Reid

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