Kopecky - "Kopecky" (Self-Released 1999, CD)

From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)

Another band whose demo cassette was reviewed here (last issue) and now has a full length CD release is Wisconsin's Kopecky, made up of brother's Joe on guitar, Paul on acoustic and electronic percussion, and William on bass, sitar, and keyboards. The band plays melodic instrumental progressive that is sometimes Indian/Middle Eastern influenced and often borders on light progressive metal. The CD includes the six tracks found on the cassette plus three additional tunes. Here is a slightly revised version of the demo review.

The disc opens with "Crimson Crime 2-1-3". This is a somewhat funky piece with pounding low-end Bill Laswell sounding bass work. It reminded me a little of Massacre or early Material. "Sukha" is strongly Indian/Middle Eastern influenced and is one of the more imaginative tracks on the disc. William's sitar plays a nice melody accompanied by tambourine. Things really get interesting when the sitar is joined by Joe's metallic guitar producing a sound I can't say I've heard before. Very interesting. "Al Araaf" is another Middle Eastern influenced tune. Rather than the sitar, the band uses keyboards to make a very dreamy piece that reminded me of a full band progressive snake charmer. "Birdsong The Color Pyramids" is a short, pleasantly spacey new track that is the only exception to this all instrumental disc with it spoken word vocals. Another new track, "Yama" opens with trippy sitar and then launches into the most metallic music on the disc.

"The Rise And Fall Of Stella Morbida" is the most keyboard dominated song on the disc. Orchestral keys, low-end bass, and a less metallic guitar sound make this the most typically "prog rock" of the songs here. The tunes that bring Kopecky the closest to prog-metal territory are "Sky Blue Hair", "Autumn Swirl", and "The Drowning Water". I'm actually uncomfortable using the prog-metal label as it's really just the guitar sound itself that brings prog-metal to mind. I'm not a big prog-metal fan, but I'm always interested in bands that draw on the genre while exploring other realms and Kopecky certainly does that. The music is highly melodic and all instruments are equally at the forefront playing busily but cooperatively. "Drowning Waters" is one of the new tunes and starts as a driving rocker that seems to strive for Middle Eastern guitar melodies but then ends up as more melodic prog-metal.

Like the demo, the tunes on this disc show a band with great potential. Lots of good ideas that deserve further exploration, though as before I'd like to hear these instrumentals develop a bit more. For more information you can click here to email Kopecky.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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