"ENIGMARDEN is the fourth full-length studio album by the St Petersburg, Russian based ROZ VITALIS who has a knack for delivering highly complex albums time and time again and also continues to reinvent their sound on each album. This album's title refers to "enigmatic gardens" of mystery and despite insinuating another concept album is more truthfully a loose collection of disparate songs unlike the first three releases. On this album ROZ VITALIS takes on a more prog folk oriented type of prog electronica meets avant-prog. On this one we get the usual highly complex and erratic musical developments but there are also lots of wind instruments on board. We hear the recorders of Klara Metel'kova who would leave the band the following year and the clarinet contributions of Yuri Verba who also contributed on "Compassionizer" but sadly passed away in 2007. This is also the very last ROZ VITALIS album to feature any vocals whatsoever. Starting on the next album, the band would become totally instrumental but this album is more instrumental than not.
The use of recorders on this one brings visions of high Andean tribes in Peru or Chile offering a glimpse of the high heavens around Machu Picchu and subtly of South American progsters such as Los Jaivas at times, but the highly complex avant approach that dominates always brings the listener back to a unique and utterly bizarre sonic garden where classical and jazz influences always lurk one measure away. In a way, the wind instruments with the chimes makes me thing of European conquistadors in the New World at the time of the great fall of traditional cultures. Much of the content on ENIGMARDEN is actually based in intuitive improvisations. The tracks "Ah Ty, Nochenka", "Heartcrying", "Gentle Spring of Spring" and "Precautionary Motive" were recorded in real time and stand exactly as they emerged upon the first recordings. While there are many world ethnic musical sounds heard on this, when the female vocals appear they convey a high vocal register operatic feel to the album and this is particularly true when the polyphonic organ runs create a classical European feel.
This is another great release from ROZ VITALIS but i have to say that it is less captivating than the previous and following albums for the most part. While i really like the folk aspects, i simply don't find this music to be as intrinsically well designed as the previous offerings. Yes, there are lots of organ offerings, lots of time sig changes, lots of classical leaning workouts that are somewhere between church music and funeral precessions and bring a healthy dose of melancholy. I simply opine that music this complex needs some sort of cohesive glue to bring the whole thing together. Being that the tracks are totally divorced from any sort of continuity, it all feels like a drunken roller coaster ride with everything just feeling like a random parade of sounds that don't ever deliver any sort of pay off. Perhaps it's the low budget production that limits the variations in timbre and instrumentation. While this may have worked for the previous albums where there was a unifying feel to the whole shebang, here something is missing. While the individual tracks are noteworthy of being brilliantly composed although not as captivating, i just find this release lackluster in comparison. Not bad by any means but my least favorite release by ROZ VITALIS thus far."
The Russian band ROZ VITALIS (from Saint Petersburg) exists since 2001 as a studio project, since 2005 as an electroacoustic
chamber ensemble and since 2008 as a full-blown rock-band. The most famous studio albums are "The Hidden Man of the Heart" (2018) and "Lavoro d'Amore" (2015) - both released by Lizard Records, and also "Patience of Hope" (2012) released by Mals Records....more