Any release which inspires more than just the ears has a major chance of making a lingering impact which leads to a continual connection with and commitment from the listener. Such is the case with Pamir, the new album from German progressive instrumentalist Red Wave. The eight track release provokes and inspires reactions far beyond the ear with its evocative sounds and imagery inciting invention, its creativity and tracks playing on and with senses, thoughts, and emotions from start to finish with accomplished enterprise and skilful imagination. It is an invigorating collection of pieces with compositions which are an evolving narrative which sparks different adventures and landscapes with each expressive journey.
Consisting of guitarist Roman Steinhauer, drummer Joerg Steinhauer, and bassist Max, Red Wave formed in 2000 with a punk driven sound with songs sung in Russian, where some of its members hail from. Since then the band has evolved and moved into a progressive rock sculpted sound with the Dresden based band leaping forward from their previous intent and finding greater absorbing invention to work with. Released as last year became this, Pamir follows previous EP Dreck, a five track release which offers the punk rock side of the band and good though it is there is no comparison to the might of the new album.
It takes mere seconds for the album to grab attention and simultaneously spark eager reactions, the opening throaty textured bass call of Monolith soon joined by equally compelling rhythms, the union thrusting a massive irresistible hook into the passions. With restrained fiery lures from the guitar offering their inducement too, the piece opens up its sinews to unveil an expanse of melodic stoner fuelled temptation with towering walls of sound entrapping the emotions and a sonic description from the guitar opening up imagery and thoughts. The track is bright and vigorous, shadows kept at bay by the scintillating stroll of song and its inspiring warmth, yet there is a hunger, and appetite to the song which leaves a danger to the atmosphere.
From the stunning start Ikarus next steps forward with a challenge on its hands to compete with its impressive predecessor. A coaxing melodic embrace wraps around the ear at first, its call warm and inviting with again heavier tones of the bass bringing its strong but complimentary breath to the still inviting presence of the track. Like within the first song it is a prelude to a wider riveting encounter, the skies of the piece broadening with a rock driven intensity and its sun heating the almost imposing ambience with elegant melodic persuasion. Veins of grunge and heavy rock permeate the progressive heart of the track with muscular and inciting energy but it never overwhelms or distracts from the beauty elsewhere, only enhances and frames its effect. In its own distinct stance the song is as powerful and magnetic as the first and continues the fanning of passionate embers smouldering towards the release.
Pakedam and Alpha both make their striking contributions to the brewing ardour, the first bringing the punk confrontation which the band started out with forming a thrilling and empowering union with adventurous progressive experimentation. It is a scintillating romp for the ear and emotions, its charged yet respectful and busy presence virulently infectious and incendiary to brewing ideas and feelings. The second of the pair swaggers in with a great blues soaked dance which grabs the ear and takes it on a raw and caustic tasting ride of formidable demanding rhythms, an equally rapacious bass pull, and flames of acidic stoner/psychedelic lilted guitar enterprise. Both songs leave a bewitched and greedy for more reaction behind as does the album as a whole to be fair.
Serpentine though having its individual character comes from the same breeding stock as Alpha and also leaves total satisfaction in its wake before making way for Mercury. Offering a more carnivorous edge certainly through the bass, to its invitation with sinewy beats to match, the track shifts and twists with unpredictability merging intense rock and finely crafted melodic intrigue, with the former holding the key card, before vocals from Roman joins the track as it moves into a funk loaded diversion. His vocals are strong without uprooting trees but works more as another texture than an actual narrative to the already descriptive piece. The following Via also sees vocals bringing their touch to the strikingly captivating song though with less success in their union in comparison.
Closing with Lumen, a final slow burning potent sunset to the release, Pamir is an excellent treat of skilled musicianship and equally intense and impressive songwriting, which though arguably it has its finest moments across the first few tracks never leave the passions and ears resting on less than enthralling imagination. There is a hidden track to discover at the end of the album, a song which has the punk rock confrontation of their last release and progressive rock flames of this, to add one more reason to investigate an outstanding album and equally impressive band in Red Wave.
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