Fjodor - St. Anthony's Fire. 2014 Cosmic Eye (Greece) LP
Fjodor are yet another great new discovery from Cosmic Eye. Like most on the label, Fjodor's focus is on instrumental space rock. Whereas a band like The Space Spectrum prefer to soak in the static intensity of psychedelia, Fjodor are much more kinetic. Great attention is applied to moving the instrumental jams forward, with frequent shifts in time and dynamics, so that the listen becomes a journey to another land rather than just staying home and meditating. As with most space rock bands, the guitarist gets the lion's share of the attention, and he owns up to his responsibility with an electric performance. Synthesizers also play a prominent role, and get more to do than tweet-tweet-tweet thus giving the band two strong protagonists. Meanwhile the rhythm section proves more than apt at keeping it all within the rails, and moving the proceedings forward in an exciting way. If looking for comparisons, certainly the 90s school of Hillage-era Gong (Ozric Tentacles et al) would have to be in the conversation, though Fjodor seem more willing to absorb the late 60s approach of Pink Floyd as well. It's progressive space rock, and certainly one of my personal favorite sub-genres. Let's hope they don't stop here!
Once again, I would like to reprint my friend Spyros' review (and he is part of the Cosmic Eye team, but also a fan of the genre, so this goes far beyond a hype sheet comment): "FJODOR are an instrumental progressive space rock band from Croatia influenced by balkan & oriental roots music, krautrock, fusion, electronic space rock and the Floydian progressive take on classic psychedelia. "St. Anthony's Fire" is their 3rd album and can be most likely described as a conceptual 46 minutes piece of pure instrumental progressive rock, mixed with heavy psychedelic guitar riffs and space synthesizer vibes that colour the music with that particular jam groove of the late 80s free festival bands. The album starts in a melodic contemplative mood and then bass starts to build up and the synths really swirl and float in and out of the mix till the guitar bursts in an Ozric Tentacles meets early Eloy style. From then onwards, the piece is intensified with a spaced-out energy enrichened by jazz rock twists and psychedelic guitar freak-outs.
"St. Anthony's Fire" is a heavy record, but in the way Eloy's "Floating" is heavy, or in the way Vespero's "Subkraut: U-Boats Willkommen Hier" is heavy. It's that patient, smoke-clogged, spaced out vibe, that gradually builds to a crescendo of an erupting riffy, psychedelic stomp wrapped in grunge and gristle to just climax in an intense heavy -yet precise- spacerock maelstrom. It's like floating on a tsunami; the wave that crosses the bridge and breaks the boundaries."
Ah yes, Vespero is an excellent comparison as well - another band operating between traditional progressive and space rock. Eventually I will feature them on UTR too.