Celebrating its eleventh anniversary this year, Hungarian fusion metal quartet Special Providence is undoubtedly one of a few most cherished, consistent and enjoyed bands in the genre today. Just about every one of the band’s previous three albums has been utterly remarkable, as the group never ceases to blend simplicity with technicality, straightforward with complex. On its fourth opus, “Essence of Change,” the Hungarians once again exceed expectations with another thrilling, powerful and delightful ride full of intricate arrangements, colourful sound, and stunning songwriting. Following the success of their 2012 release “Soul Alert,” Special Providence expand their horizons by demonstrating how unique, confident, and focused the band is, regardless the keyboardist change.
The pianist on this CD, Yulliana Avdeeva, is the winner of the Chopin piano competition in 2010. Checking the internet, you will find that the decision by the jury was controversial. Her playing was considered not to display the proper Chopin style, and too cool. I wasn't present at the competition, so I cannot write much about this. But having bought this CD, mainly because of use of old instruments, and the direction by the recently deceased icon of old music Frans Brüggen, I must say that I was totally blown away by the playing of Yulianna Avdeeva.
Galahad are an English progressive rock band formed in 1985. They have released 10 studio albums, 6 live albums and 3 rarities collections as well as a couple of offshoot project albums in the guise of the Galahad Acoustic Quintet and the Galahad Electric Company. Over the last 32 years they have played with the likes of Pendragon, IQ and Twelfth Night. Galahad have performed their own shows and at festivals in Europe and North America, and have sold tens of thousands of albums despite never having had a major record deal. All releases are on their own 'Avalon Records' imprint other than some re-issues which are released in association with Polish label 'Oskar Productions'.