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Vitalij Kuprij – Progression

Vitalij Kuprij
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 December 2020, 10:11 AM

Vitalij Kuprij (born 1974) is a Ukrainian-American pianist and composer, and keyboardist in the Neo-Classical Progressive Metal band ARTENSION. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. A slew of special guests play guitar on the album, as well as his bassist and drummer. “Progression” is his tenth studio release, and contains ten tracks. “Internal Force” leads off the album. It opens with keyboard notes, obviously. Vitalij is quite the musician. The sound changes keys several times, until the guitar hit. Some piano notes mix in, and it’s a Classically themed sound. The guitars, bass, drums and keys work very well together.

“Dansanity” begins with bass guitar notes and a bit of a swinging groove. From there, it moves forward with a burst of keys, guitars, bass and drums. One thing that is a bit unexpected is the keys do not take over the sound here. Vitalij let’s the other musicians shine as well. “Revolution-Evolution” opens with piano and keys and is reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen for me. It must be that Classical music sound at its base. It takes a dark turn just before the half-way mark, and then returns with a renewed vigor. “Sinfonietta” is a short three-minute song that features hopeful tones and some great guitar and key work. It’s as if these guys have been together for years, honing their craft, because they don’t miss a note in some rather complicated runs.

“Whispers from Beyond” is an eight-minute opus. It begins with soft keyboard notes, and a sad tone. The soundtrack is dreamy from there, like your excitement when that first warm spring day awakens. The piano notes work very well with the guitar again, and the melody is here for the taking. “Progression” begins with dark piano notes and some brilliant drum work. Every musician here contributes something positive to the album. The darker tones are somewhat nasty in their delivery. The keyboard solo is fantastic. “Remembrance” is another eight-minute song, that begins with some soft key notes. Lead guitar notes then come in, while they keys hold steady in the background. It’s a soothing song without a lot of notes…just some very pretty piano.

“Power of God” is a slower, more powerful song, from the low and slow Classical sounds to the lead guitar runs. Some darker tones come into play here as well, but that Classic landscape hold true through the end. “Progression (Reprise)” is a quick two-minute blast of key notes…more than you can count. “Facing the End” closes the album, with might and power. Those big guitar accents are strong. The piano notes are very charming, but slightly sad. Still, it’s a good way to end an album, with fierce determination.

What struck me most about the album was both the instrumental prowess of Vitalij Kuprij. Classically trained, he is one of the most talented and creative keyboard players out there. But more than that, was the fantastic interplay among the various guest guitarists that performed on the album. The band plays with a tightness that embodies synergy. Any fan of instrumental music based on Classical scales will surely find this to their liking.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Internal Force
2. Dansanity
3. Revolution-Evolution
4. Sinfonietta
5. Whispers from Beyond
6. Progression
7. Remembrance
8. Power of God
9. Progression (Reprise)
10. Facing the End
 Vitalij Kuprij - Keyboards
Dave Naccarelli – Bass
Jon Doman – Drums
Tommy Vitaly – Guitar (Internal Force)
Michael Harris – Guitar (Dansanity)
Roger Staffelbach – Guitar (Revolution-Evolution)
Bill Hudson – Guitar (Sinfonietta)
Angus Clark – Guitar (Whispers from Beyond)
Christian Münzner – Guitar (Progression)Leonardo Porcheddu - Guitar (Remembrance)
Javier Leal – Guitar (Power of GOD)
Christian Münzner – Guitar (Progression-(Reprise)
Steve Doman – Guitar (Facing the End)
Record Label: Lion Music


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