"New album by Roz Vitalis, I put in my personal list of top 10 Russian prog albums, and of course, it's definitely one of the best works of 2018 under any scenario, no matter how great albums in one year would not come out."
* * *
"This is really one of the best albums released this year! ".
* * *
"... each time I play this album I find myself getting totally lost inside its majesty."
(c) Kev Rowland
* * *
"The Hidden Man of the Heart has got to be in the top ten albums of 2018, as Roz Vitalis’ music is universal and will appeal to even the most jaded prog head."
(c) Henry Schneider
* * *
"...the whole album is dedicated to some path to the higher power. How the man moves, fears, changes, finds out something important about life and death."
* * *
"All compositions sound clearly, the melodies, like sound rays, seem to highlight secret places in listener's mind."
(c) Igor Lu
* * *
"The Hidden Man Of The Heart - this is really good instrumental music". ... This is an excellent release and its biggest quality is the originality. While listening to this music, you have the impression as if it takes you inwards into its own inner space."
* * *
"Keyboardist Ivan Rozmainsky composes a mature collection of melodic, exotic chamber prog utilizing guitar, drums, flute, trumpets, mandolin, bass clarinet, percussion and other familiar instruments in unfamiliar ways. If I could only eat a meal that tastes like this..."
(c) Crawford Glissadevil
* * *
""Viam supervadet vadens", so I want to say about the new creation of the group, Roz Vitalis. This is a breakthrough, finalized and the qualitative fruit of this team. The team presented by the team today can rightly be assessed as one of the most powerful, full-fledged and conceptual works. Each composition is like a graph of emotions, feelings, complex schemes and patterns of interaction with the surrounding world. The opener of the album "Someone Passed Over" revealing the veil of the future line of sound, gives a hint that atmospheric music awaits you, with meaningful musical transitions from gloomy, exciting to light, unconstrained. A clear construction of different-timbral compositions, replacing each other, does not allow us to go into melancholy, but rather creates a special mood. The use of additional instruments (violin, cello, viola, bass clarinet), which are not included in the basic composition, is not a new phenomenon for the group, but fills the album with fresh components, showing different faces of the material presented. Periodic solo strings, wind and key moments fill a certain niche in certain places of the compositions and carefully accent the listener's attention. In the course of the album, the hand of the master, the art director of the collective, makes itself felt, recalling the corporate style of the group. Well, and where without lyrical key moments? "Passing on the Line", "Disturbed by Jungle" deservedly take their place in the middle of the album. It is noted "Jungle Waltz" a kind of exciting flamenco. This decoration design of the album not only softens the heavy notes, but also embellishes it. Especially the composition "Thou Shalt Tread Upon the Lion and Adder" stands out. A holistic and capacitive product. A mixture of interlacing of musical threads connected at the end into a single tangle. In general, the album showed that the group Roz Vitalis can go beyond its stylistics, try new and develop, reveal its potential. Want to think about the essential, take time to listen to "The Hidden Man of the Heart"."
* * *
"This is the new album from the Russian instrumental progressive rock co-operative known as Roz Vitalis, coming three years after their debut album Lavoro d'amore. It is a collection of compositions, joined by pieces of a classical nature performed by a string quartet which adds a good flow to these all instrumental but melodic tracks.
Russian progressive music is making great waves at the moment with the likes of Iamthemorning and Eternal Wanderers all presenting music with great emotional depth, character and individuality. This album adds nicely to that list, as this is a very impressive and immersive experience. You really need to let this music rest on you, to appreciate its beauty and depth. The album is a holistic journey into the soul of man and the string pieces act as a pause for contemplation by, and for, the listener.
The album opens with Someone Passed Over by the string quartet. This is an openly spiritual album addressing the disconnect between man and his search for eternal purposes and meaning. That is quite a heavy subject matter but certainly an intriguing concept, and tracks like Trampled By The Lion And Adder evoke something of that struggle, between what is, and what could be.
This album addresses all of that without words, but with great music in which you can hear traces of the likes of Camel and Steve Hackett, This is a compelling and individual release. It is a mixture of disparate styles and sounds but it’s a journey that richly rewards your efforts and investment.
I really like the link pieces too, as they bring a sense of wholeness to the album and make it an almost cinematic experience (it sounds great on headphones too).
Rhapsody Of Refugees, with its flute passages and prominent bass line and keyboards, sounds like Moon Madness-era Camel and with some fine electric guitar work, this song is a stunning encapsulation of what this band is all about.
Blurred has a guitar line that sounds like it could have come straight from Voyage Of The Acolyte whilst track 6 Thou Shalt Tread Upon The Lion And The Adder is another sprightly jaunt through various cornucopias of musical forms with more strident guitar lines and crashing keyboard sounds all set against a very strong melody line throughout and with lots going on in the mix.
This album is never less than interesting, often captivating and on some tracks outstanding, there is so much going on here that it's almost too rich at times. Jungle Waltz is another favourite track with an almost Mariachi trumpet section and some fine piano before an urgent, almost angry section, evokes the wildness of the jungle and how we find ourselves in that place.
There is plenty of variety to be enjoyed as well. Wounded By The Lion And The Adder has a great violin section that gathers in both intensity and pace to create a fast moving track. Fret Not Thyself Because Of Evildoers opens as a dark and sinuous beast of a piece, before breaking out into something more accessible and less intense with some great bass playing and fine organ work from Ivan Rozmainsky, the main man of the band. A great sounding guitar solo from Vladimir Efimov makes this a standout track amongst a plethora of strong and impressive music.
Overall, this is a very impressive album, and I heartily recommend it to folks who like complex albums, and artists like Camel or Steve Hackett."
(c) John Wenlock-Smith:
* * *
"Russian prog ensemble Roz Vitalis dive into the world of spiritualism on their new concept album The Hidden Man of the Heart. Add a bunch of biblical references and it could have turned into another rather vague invocation of imaginary friends in the sky for adults. The music can be enjoyed as such as a series of carefully classical inspired rock, with recurring motifs played by a top notch band aided by string quartet and a few guest musicians.
With nods to the heyday of 19th Century romanticism and early Seventies prog bands Roz Vitalis has pulled off the construction of a towering rock symphony. The back story about temptation, anguish and enlightenment is an example of preaching to the faithful, but anyone who believes in the power of good music can enjoy it as a stand-alone piece of art."
(c) Hans Werksman
* * *
"Almost three years after their excellent album Lavoro D'Amore (2015) Roz Vitalis are back with The Hidden Man Of The Heart, a very worthy successor indeed.
Again Roz Vitalis gives us vintage instrumental progressive rock, very much in tune with the early seventies. A good part of the songs being melodic a band like Camel does come to mind in these instances, but this is not the only facet of the band's music, because some pretty adventurous stuff can also be heard, bringing flavours of free jazz and experimental music. All this is linked by a few short classical inspired pieces that jell together the whole oeuvre.
In my opinion the band has evolved in the last three years and has produced a very accomplished and exciting musical artwork.
Those into instrumental music touching on many genres (and being clearly progressive) should really check out The Hidden Man Of The Heart by Roz Vitalis.
Good stuff indeed!"
(c) Marc Roy
* * *
"One of the things I always liked about Roz Vitalis is how they never stop and always struggle for finding new paths in music. And no surprise, this persistent search for a new sound sometimes pays off, and it is why a number of the band's melodies, those combining originality and inner harmony, render a rare sense of discovery of ever existing but just previously unknown treasuries in the Platonic world of musical ideas. And their last album "The Hidden Man Of The Heart", may be the high-water mark of their creative development, perfectly represents the essence of their inventive quest. Of course, RV's works were never everyday easy music for pure distraction, yet it is very far from boring and monotonous, and the listener can enjoy a good diversity in the mood and sound in the album: from a bright, springy melody of Passing Over through a subtle and beautiful meditation of Some Refugee Passed Over to an apassionata of Thou Shalt Tread Upon the Lion and Adder.
Highly recommended for any lover of sophisticated, intelligent music."
* * *
"I love the sound of cello. It's accompanied by violins in the intro of this ROZ VITALIS album. A very good piece of chamber music which lasts only two minutes, but the main theme is reprised by the piano in the second track. The mixture of rock and classical instruments is not new in the prog world, especially the flute, but "Passing Over" alternates several sections and in the middle of the track it has a CAMEL flavor. An excellent beginning. In less than 10 minutes there's a bit of everything, including a short section which justifies why this band is in the RIO/Avant section of Progarchives. Anyway it's very melodic and not challenging at all. In the final part of the song the sound of trumpet, familiar to who follows this band arrives and it's a pity in my opinion, that the song ends fading out.
"Rhapsody of Refugees" is between Wakemanian keyboards and a trumpet reminding of the Goran BREGOVIC style (not so much Goran Bregovic, don't worry). It's another high-level track in which the ethnic element is mainly grotesque.
A short strings chamber interlude of few more than one minute follows. Like the intro, it's excellent and leads to the next track. Those strings interludes make me think to Colin BASS and his "An Outcast Of The Islands". "Thou Shalt..." features a great guitar and behind it a classical mood can be heard. Piano, bass, flute and what apparently is a harp make a break in the middle.
A two minutes piano solo, again with a classical flavor, but with the sembiance of a studio for beginners is followed by anoter 1 minute piano interlude, then we enter the "Jungle Waltz". On this track, the flute is played in a Ian ANDERSON style in order to enhance the "wild" and dark atmosphere. If the intention was to give the listener the idea of a dark jungle, Roz Vitalis succeeded. Then pauses, trumpet and an unusual sequence of chords, vaguely dissonant are perfect in keeping it dark. The final crescendo would have been great if not faded out.
Strings again. "Wounded by the Lion..." occupies three gorgeous minutes. I'm not very expert in classical music, but I think the reference may be Gustav MAHLER with a touch of J.S. BACH. I'm not sure, but I suspect that the Lion is representing St. Mark, as it's the christian symbol representing that evangelist.
"Fret Not Thyself..." has a Crimsonian feeling and reaches its heights when the music becomes compulsive and the trumpet takes the lead. Anyway every single part of this complex track is at an excellent level.
It's time for the title track: Flute and acoustic guitar first. It's a very melodic track. Very enjoable in which there's room for all the instruments without being a "box for solos". I'm not sure if it's really the best track of the album, but it's surely a candidate.
"Some Refugees passed over" is another string quartet which reprises the main theme which is recurrent throughout the album, then "Psalm 9" which has previously been released in an EP. It's a true progressive rock track, more on the rock side of the thing. It's also the longest album track, featuring more than 8 minutes.
It's a pity for the fadeouts which make me round down the 4.5 stars that in m opinion it deserves. It's a great album."