Avs_silvester is a Russian artist with lots of interesting concepts for albums, for example the “Periodic Table of Sounds”. His new album or actually a compilation of old tracks is stated as Fusion, Progressive, ethno-rock with a very interesting concept.
“Mansipal – the historical name of the east Ural Mountains in the language of the native Finno-Ugric people of Mansi (Voguls). Mansi World is divided into three parts – lower, middle and upper world. The heaven is also divided into three tiers, one of which goes after the death one of the five souls of man.
The album – a compilation of tracks from different years – sending you on a journey through the three parts of this world.”
Sounds just like my cup of tea, but surely a very tough concept to pull out as well. Not every Average Joe is the next Omar Rodriguez or John Lennon, but it certainly doesn’t stop some people from trying. And it certainly shouldn’t stop people from trying. In essence that is a good thing, but when they try to form up creations like professional composers; sometimes physically challenged babies like Mansipal’s Heaven come up. It is supposed to be Progressive ethno-rock. But it is not really progressive, it is random. It is pretty ethnic, but it is mostly not rock at all. It should be classified as experimental or improvisational guitar jam.
How many people really want to hear improvisational guitar jams of the greatest guitarists in the world? Hand to the heart, how many of you would like to hear an improvisational guitar jam of a mediocre layman guitarist with rather bad sounds? This is ultimately what Mansipal’s Heaven is. The guitar lines have a lot of glitches and mistakes. This could still be acceptable if the songs were good. You can hear there are compositions behind but mostly it seems the tracks are a mashup of certain guitar elements which are repeated in random places in – semi-similar to not similar at all – forms. In theory this could be a pretty ingenious way for making songs if those guitar elements just happened to not be mostly awkward and the placings had more style and pattern.
Many songs do have pleasant background ambience, for example Wind in the gorge, Music of silver and suitably named This strange autumn. Hell the chorus of This strange autumn is even catchy. Guitars are incoherent, but not as much as in most of the album. This marks the main problem and specialty of Avs Silvester. For example the title track seems to consist almost solely on guitar layers seemingly in not much contact with each other, drumming or keyboards. All forming different entities and playing on top of each other. When I release songs like this, I call them experimental or shitcore, not progressive. After an incoherent jamfest like Mansipal’s Heaven, This strange autumn sounds clear as a winter day when in earnest, it is a mess with a melody that when worked on could be very good.
The closest thing to a stable track is Mansipal’s heaven 2008 as it builds up nicely, in real standards mediocrely, the build up gets boring and the melodies never top the beginnings touch, but hey at least this time the track never went berserk! 2009 and 2010 versions of the same track encompass a less minimal approach with more guitar layers which ultimately means worse. Again the main riff really is not too bad (like in Fatal Chainsaw Massacre), if it just didn’t lead to a rather worthless improvisation after each repeat. Often less is more.
Most of the album feels like watching Journey Into Bliss on and on again, the shared sense of shame is always there. Maybe with some doses of mescaline this’d be a good trip with lots of laughing but with a clear mind it just boggling. The luck is, I’m a person having a liking in shitty and random music, so listening was in the end quite enjoyable, after getting through the disappointment of this not being a good album. But for any real music critic I can well believe this release effecting the tearing out of hair.
And hey, calling improvisational guitar jam progressive ethno-rock is just underrating the listener. If I’d known Mansipal’s Heaven to be a guitar jam I most likely wouldn’t have listened it at all – completely missing out the worst progressive rock album that I’ve ever heard! An eye opening release in a different way than expected.