Logos is a band from Verona Italy who began in the mid 1990s and despite line-up changes over the years, remain together to this day (2009). They sport a variety of both English (Crimson, Genesis) and Italian (Orme, Banco) prog influences, have a good history of live shows, and have performed both covers and originals. At this time they have two studio albums under their belt and are working on a third which is due in September 2009. This second album is my first experience with Logos and I remain impressed with their chops and the variety of styles played with assurance and ease. There seems to be a bit of something for everyone with “Asrava” and it is an easy recommendation for most fans of prog-rock.
“Asrava” took me many plays to warm to, initially it struck me as a bit too “all over the map.” I felt like I did about quite a few of the 90s Italian bands that had a certain synth sound and compositional style that did not move me like the classic RPI sound, nor like the warmer organic sound of current day heavy hitters like Il Bacio della Medusa. After spending the time necessary to absorb Logos the beauty of these compositions began to come forth. There are so many different places they venture here that trying to describe the sound is very difficult. What came to mind were the epics of Phideaux through the Italian lens of the band Minstrel perhaps, with a bit of DFA’s fusioney muscle, maybe Gourishankar in the frantic moments, and still a dozen other bands. All of these various and different feelings are held together by occasional touches of characteristic RPI, but are not ruled by them by any means. The album flows like an adventurous musical story with a stately, dramatic opening of synths and gongs-enough to conjure the feel of the “2001 Space Odyssey” theme. The energetic rock and heavy riffs of “Ezra Pound” give way to the album’s anchor, the 10 minute epic that is “’99.” Here Logos really push and pull every lever and button, taking us on a wild ride. An apocalyptic moment in the middle leads to a quiet break from which the guitar comes back with a repeating motif. This is followed by a lovely classic organ interlude and “painted sky” guitar strokes, very nice. After a short, lovely acoustic interlude the final three tracks feature spirited instrumental feasting and some dynamic creative crescendos. “Asrava” is almost “jam-band” in feel, more Phish than Orme, finally breaking into a delicious trumpet part near the end. The entire band deserves praise for these performances-at times the production could be better as could the transitions, but these are fairly minor quibbles for me. (Also as much as I love the snare drum it is mixed a bit too high, too frequently.) A special tip of the hat to the bass player who is just gonzo at times, playful and bold, but without tipping the boat. “Terra Incognita” is the final track before the closing “Epilogo.” This track seems less coherent than the others, drifting between a mid-paced synth rock and quiet contemplative moments where they should have remained, though it features a nice guitar solo. The closing is very beautiful and creates a nice “bookends” feel along with the formal opening.
In my eyes “Asrava” is a very good album but not the best album Logos will make. All of the potential is there. I believe their growth will continue and have big hopes for their new album coming later this year. But I can recommend “Asrava” without hesitation to prog-rock fans who enjoy a varied and muscular sound. It will not disappoint. 3 ½ stars