Emerald Mind | Civilization
Release Year: 2015
Country: Russian Federation
Genre: Power/Progressive Metal
Svetlana Vysotskaya – Vocals, Lyrics
Alexey Vaulin – Music Composer, Guitars, Keyboard Programming
Artem Zhibar – Drums
Ivan Gritskevitch – Bass Guitars
Konstantin Stukov – Trumpet in “Early Morning” song
For well over the last 15 years I have been amazed with the female fronted metal scene out of the Russian Federation. It is 2006 and I just joined Myspace at the time. I was searching for obscure independent music from the Russian Federation for a article I was writing. The very first precious gem I discovered was the all female symphonic metal band Blackthorn. I was totally blown away by what I heard in Blackthorn, therefore I continued to search and investigate other bands.
I came across two more female fronted bands. The next one was the epic folk metal band Alkonost. Their use of 16th century Celtic and renaissance elements really caught me by surpirse. The third one was the band from Moscow Russia named Arkona. Now Arkona kept with much the epic folk metal theme as Alkonost. After all that my musical radar was up for Russian Federation bands.
It is now 2015 and a new jewel of Russia has emerged on my musical radar. This would be Emerald Mind. Unlike their early predecessor’s who had a heavy epic folk viking influenced sound, Emerald Mind has decided to go with a more power progressive metal orchestral sound. These influences and sound are very present on their new album Civilization.
Civilization is a concept album about mankind’s role on earth and the significance of it. The album is makes up nine different stories about human beings in their day to day lives. It is a album about thought and reflection. The listener can easily relate and identify with the various characters inside Civilization. The concept of Civilization is the brain child of two people, Alexey Vaulin and Svetlana Vysotskaya out of St Petersburg Russia. Now a breakdown of Civilization.
Another Life opens up with a spoken word passage. It is as if the character is in morning traffic during the daily grind of a routine day. The keyboards creating the melodic atmosphere before the track takes a heavy speed power progression. At about the :40 mark the track takes a progression of ascension. Svetlana’s beautiful operatic soprano voice comes into the scene at about the 1:00 mark. The track weaves in and out with various time signatures and progressions that are wonderfully orchestrated by Alexey Vaulin. At the 3:00 mark the track takes a twist with the effects of a police car siren with the instrumental progressions involved.
Secrets opens up with a special effects of a person getting into a car and taking off that is subsequently following by the opening instrumental passage. The is a nice break at the 1:00 mark and the vocal and drum rhythm are in harmony before once again being joined by the heavy rhythm guitar and keyboard stringed section. We see two very different beautiful guitar solos going in and out between the 2:00 to 3:00 marks. The drums have a great even continuity throughout Secrets.
Astronaut In Her Space begins with a heavy bottom bass guitar that is followed in harmony with various drum fills. This is all followed by a power metal lead guitar going in and out with a heavy distorted rhythm guitar section. The vocal stays consistent throughout the track as the instrumental takes on various breaks and progressions. The drums are times isolated before the lead guitar solos take the track in various directions.
Theater starts off as if the listener is being drawn in by the various time signatures. The instrumental soon takes off with a fierce power metal signature. Svetlana’s register and range continue to get more powerful as the album progresses from track to track. The keyboard has such a laid back yet subtle atmosphere carrying the various guitar solo portions before going to a full piano at the 3:00 mark. At the 3:40 mark it is a straight away shred fest going in and out of various scales. Svetlana tastefully double tracks her voice as if there are more than just her in the background.
Civilization starts off with a neo progressive keyboard passage. This is followed by a steady rhtyhm section with a beautiful semi electric semi acoustical guitar passage. At the 1:24 mark the track breaks into a nice harmony of the vocal playing off both stringed and rhythm sections. The band also explores more keyboard layers. At the 3:00 mark the track has a nice guitar solo before breaking again into a steady rhythm beat portion. There is a nice chorus towards the end.
Save Me For The Moon opens with a nice isolated guitar solo before taking a power progressive approach. The band have a uncanny ability to hook you into every track on Civilization and Save Me For The Moon serves as a perfect example of that. The band have clearly used the power and progressive elements to forged their own unique sound by time this track comes. They begin to find their identity here at this point. Lyrically this appears to be a love letter.
When Storm Clouds Talk opens like a melodic thunderstorm rolling in. Thick keyboard atmospheres with a thick guitar and rhythm sections speak volumes. The band uses both female operatic and clean male vocals. There are some great keyboard atmospheres isolated as Svetlana is singing the chorus part. Once again the band does a good job with double tracking of Svetlana’s vocals making them appear to echo off her lead vocal portions.
Early Morning opens up with a very unusual yet appropriate jazz progression. Konstantin Stukov appears on the trumpet. This is a very deep trumpet throughout the track. Early Morning is definitely a departure track from the power metal elements to more experimentation with the heavier progressive passages. There is a nice jazz fusion guitar solo to compliment the jazz backbone the trumpet has set through the track. Early Morning sounds much like a Alan Parsons and Chicago vibe.
Neverend treads softly as it opens up with a beautiful orchestration of all the elements that have been heard on Civilization thus far. The band continues with various hooks, progressions and time signatures bringing the listener comfortably into the compostion. At the 1:55 mark Svetlana’s comes into perfect alignment with Alexey’s orchestral compositions. Neverend displays the bands entire potential and talent. It is perfectly arranged on the album as to give the listener anticipation for future releases.
After listening to Emerald Mind’s Civilization, I see great potential that can make the Russian Federation a future stronghold for metal and progressive rock oriented music. Emerald Mind is proof that there is untapped potential within the Russian Federation. I believe with the right promotion and live show exposure Emerald Mind will be a band a lot of people will be talking about and many bands will want tour with for years to come. I give Civilization a 4.25/5 for the diverse direction the band sought on Civilization.