Thursday 30 November 2017

Review: Obiymu Doschu - Son

Since its formation over a decade ago, Ukrainian outfit Obiymu Doschu has gained a humbling reputation as one of the most emotionally and textually beautiful acts in the art/progressive rock spectrum. Founded and masterminded by vocalist Vladimir Agafonkin, the (currently) six-piece has already released plenty of work. On their newest, sophomore full-length release, Son (‘dream’ in Ukrainian), Agafonkin and company continue to craft awe-inspiring gems filled with universal heartache and unique, bittersweet instrumentation. As it turns out, Son is one of the most tragic and elegant records I've heard this year.

“Ostannya Myt’ (The Last Moment)” begins chillingly, with a melancholic violin arpeggio and an equally arresting soundscape. Soon Agafonkin’s fragile echoes and simple yet sorrowful piano notes join the fray, creating an overwhelming sense of loss. String section accompaniment adds volumes to the profoundness, and although the vocals aren't always discernible (the effects sometimes circumvent clarity), they're nonetheless gripping. Like with the entire album, this album opener is an exquisite example of how the human condition can be expressed absolutely through layers of luscious timbres. The song takes a prog direction with guitars, bass and drums doing all the hard work, while Agafonkin is on top of the game, gracing the tune with his powerful voice. Sax solo by Boris Khodorkovskiy adds yet another dimension to a multilayered piece that is constant motion.

The LP becomes a bit more complex and direct with “Kryla (Wings)” and “Temna Rika (The Dark River)”, which both soar due to piercing guitar work and pained dissonance. As for “Razom (Together)”, it's essentially a ballad with gloomy atmosphere and devastated syncopation, while instrumental “Nazustrich Tyshi (Facing the Silence”) is somewhere halfway between Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree; it’s instrumental foundation is packed with ghastly despair and suspenseful orchestration. “Kimnata (The Room)” is a perfect blend of vocal melodies and complementary arrangements, and the way it evolves from just a voice and an acoustic guitar motif to incorporate several other instruments is exceptionally intense and meaningful. “Interludiya (Interlude),” as its name suggests, connects the previous tune with the upcoming title song, which builds on the preceding instrumental, and as it passes by, it keeps on looking for reaching its climax, making for an unforgettable journey through vast and unknown. “Zemle Moya Myla (My Dear Land)” follows along the same path, highlighted by commanding piano, string section and Agafonkin’s voice, as well as understated harmonies and soft momentum.

“Novyi Pochatok (A New Beginning” is another instrumental interlude which leads into the optimistic closing piece “Yanhol (Angel)” featuring Olga Skripova’s soothing voice contrasting Agafonkin.

Son is a tour de force of emotion, delicacy, passion, cohesion, and grief-stricken splendor, and listeners will undoubtedly get lost in its sentiments and patterns. Each piece takes its time to develop, using both conventional and orchestral textures, as well as a plethora of vulnerable honesty, to make its statements. This album is a life-affirming experience. Few other albums have ever matched its magnificent combinations.


Official release page with mp3 and lyrics: 

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