Since my beginnings as a blogger started originally when I was in a class of writing reviews 11 years ago of writing concert reviews at Houston Community College entitled Commercial Music Forum along with taking the same course for both of my Ear Training courses from 1 to 4. My blog site, Music from the Other Side of the Room wouldn’t have gotten started if it wasn’t for HCC.
Whether my first review back in 2008 was King Crimson’s groundbreaking 1969 debut, In The Court of the Crimson King or an up-and-coming band like Heart of Cygnus which they are now defunct, it’s great hearing music, meaning real good music that is not just your typical top 40 radio nonsense. And from the labels such as MoonJune, Esoteric, Cuneiform, Inside Out, or self-released albums that are released independently, some of these bands and artists are trying really hard to make a living and working hard on their butts to perform.
One of the new bands that have caught my attention, is a Progressive Rock band from Israel named Aperco. Formed in 2013 in their hometown of Tel Aviv, they have a symphonic sound that follow the footsteps of Barclay James Harvest, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, and Camel. I remember hearing samples of the band’s music on their YouTube page and I was completely blown away right from the get go. I went ahead and bought the album on the Syn-Phonic Music website and played it straight through.
Their debut album, The Battle which was two years in the making, is a concept album about the person’s life cycle as the songs and compositions describe their emotional stage. The band considers on the album are: Tom Maizel on Guitar and Vocals, Yuval Raz on Bass, Tal Maizel on Keyboards, and Dor Adar on Drums. Featuring guest musicians Eran Teicher on Flute and Neil Kalman on Saxophone.
The opening Intro gives an epic atmosphere on Tal’s keyboards to create this orchestral opening from the horn section between horns and brass along with a string quartet that starts the album off before seguing into Focused as Eran’s Flute improvisation flies through the mountains. Here, Aperco channel the styles of Camel’s The Snow Goose-era which shows how much appreciation they have the band’s music to carry and follow into the footsteps of Andy Latimer.
Tom and Tal create this moody vibration of mourning rhythm atmosphere on the balladry acoustic waltz for Another Day To Live. The first minute and eight seconds contain sadness from Tom’s guitar as if it is starting to become a new day in the afterlife as Tal creates the funeral touch on the Organ as if while it’s sad to say farewell, we will never forget the memories. You can hear the hints of Barclay James Harvest’s Once Again as Tom channels John Lees and sings in the styles of Vanessa Simmons.
A Call for Submission deals with insanity and the voices inside your head. Starting with spoken-dialog twisted arrangements, it turns into a stirring and disturbing composition on what you are seeing is just a part of your imagination and hallucinations of someone that haunted your nightmares, but knowing that taking someone’s hand and knowing that everything will be okay and that they will be on your side no matter the cost.
Now Euphoria this track I really enjoyed. Not just because it’s cool and awesome, but here Aperco take the adventuring level to a higher standard. The swirling Moog improvisation as it goes into the battlefield followed by the tempo drumming, thunderous bass, and heavy guitar rhythm that is ready to fight for survival and justice. I can hear the influences of Yes and Premiata Forneria Marconi that comes to mind and Latimer-sque improvisations.
Dissonant Sound Within talks about once we were stuck inside of our own prison and being free from it, but then finding out it’s been quite clear that we were being used and betrayed by our own people and finding the right Spark and search to find hope, but what we found is nothing but pain and sorrow. There’s a Floydian vibe throughout the composition of the song with a climbing arrangement with some chilling improvisations and hope that the near the end while the past is behind you, there is always hope as the spark awaits you to start your new life.
Horizon is a gentle pastoral classical guitar with a finger-picking beauty as there are hints between Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett while the 11-minute and 37-minute title-track, is showing Aperco giving a lot of the energy they are needing. There’s the orchestral boundaries, Yuval’s jazzier bass riffs, Tal’s immense moog synths with sinister guitars, and Dor’s drumming goes from soft to mid-tempo punches. It’s a killer improvisation between the band members.
It will give you goosebumps throughout the entire section. I love they are in sync together and showing how much they are almost in a duel between each other, but showing the utmost respect with one another as they take the listener to a higher standard to see where the battleground is in full attack mode a-la Crimson momentum. I just wish the whole piece could continue in a 23-minute epic and seeing where the battleground is.
Tal heads to the piano and gives it an aftermath when the styles of the Peter Hammill’s The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage-era momentum with a Genesis twist at the last 3-minutes of the song is a chilling end. I have listened to The Battle about three times now. This is how I always view Aperco’s debut album. I’ve listened to the album when I went out for my morning walk.
On a hot and steamy Texas morning, I can almost close my eyes and picture the movie inside my head. It fits with all the Progressive Rock inspirations into full circle. I hope they will continue to do more. Not to mention they opened up for Deep Purple in honor of their induction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in May of this year as an opening act.
There are essences I’ve mentioned earlier between Pink Floyd, Camel, Barclay James Harvest and now Yes, Genesis, and Premiata Forneria Marconi. With the recordings done at Muzeex Studios and Gidon Ricardo doing the production, this is an album and a band you need to check out. You will not be disappointed. I just hope they will get the recognition they deserve not just in their hometown in Israel, but globally and receiving word-of-mouth in a big, big way.