In September 2003 I wrote the following introduction for the progVisions review of “Show”;
“We had to wait six long years for this: The new After Crying studio album! But in those six years the band released a compilation with some unpublished material and re-arrangements ( “Almost pure instrumental” – 1998 ), an incredible live double album ( “Struggle for life” – 2000 ) which became my personal album of that year and a very interesting live album with one of the first performances with a real orchestra ( “Bootleg symphony” – 2001 ). For me it is unbelievable that so few people know the works of this band. In one of my reviews I called them the most underrated band in the world. In my opinion After Crying is one of the best bands on this planet with incredible musical craftsmanship and a never-ending urge to be innovative. “After Crying Show” is their seventh studio album.”
Now we live in the year 2011 and I could write a similar introduction, the band released the last years some old material including a DVD. This time we had to wait for eight years to welcome a new After Crying studio album. But when you have followed this remarkable band you know that you are in for something special. For the fans of progressive rock this is a wonderful year. We were not so long ago, surprised by a new studio album of Discipline (“To Shatter All Accord”), and now there’s the new After Crying studio album entitled “Creatura”.
Bátky Zoltán - lead and backing vocals, lyrics; Egervári Gábor - lyrics, narration, claps, vocals, live sound; Madai Zsolt - drums, percussion, claps, vocals; Pejtsik Péter - music, cello, violin, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals, programming; Torma Ferenc - music, guitars, keyboards,claps,programming, bass guitar, vocals; Winkler Balázs - music, trumpet, zink, keyboards, programming, vocals
Balog Evelin - flute; Belej Márton - oboe; Erös Csaba - piano; Jankó Attila - bassoon; Kazna Nándor - trombone; Kórodi Júlia - violin, viola; Latinovits Zoltán - archive recording; The PejChix (Cicó, Panna, Dina, Bogi) - vocals; Polyák Endre - horn
A Szegedi Szimfonikus Zenekar vonóskara:
Szilágyi Kinga Katinka - harp; Tószegi Bernát - clarinet; Winkler Orsolya - violin; Winkler Zsófia - viola; ifj. Várallyay György - keyboard
How would you describe the music of After Crying ... perhaps it is more clear if you first read the following quote from the official website of the band;
“Their music is a case in point that by creatively employing a variety of means, ranging from acoustic chamber music to modern rock and pop, symphonic orchestration and classical or contemporary forms a colorful but coherent image can be produced to convey a consistent world view”.
The new album consists out of four long suites with the titles “West”, “North”, “East” and “South”. Each suite opens with a short prelude. “Preludio Furioso” (West), “Preludio Percussivo” (North), “Preludio Metropolitano” (East) and “Preludio Furioso” (South) ... you can see them as variations on a theme.
When you put the CD in your player and you hear “Preludio Furioso” for the first time, it is quite an overwhelming experience. This is one of the unique musical styles of the band ... After Crying is back! It is a great piece of symphonic orchestration. At this moment Symphonic Rock fans will get a feeling that the circle is round. We are back at the roots of the Symphonic Rock (which is nowadays called Progressive Rock). Speaking of progressive rock, the next part “Játékos / Gambler” is a burning progrock song that has all the After Crying ingredients. In this part the many sides of the music of After Crying are revealed. Complex rhythms are combined with beautiful melodies and catchy vocal refrains. Some influences of King Crimson are shining true the instrumental sections of this part. Another ingredient of After Crying’s music is the use of pieces of narration by Egervári Gábor to tell a story line or to integrate the poems of Jósef Attila in the music. The voice of Egervári Gábor gives the music a special atmosphere ... which I always link to the music of After Crying. You can also hear this in the last part “Vagyok / I am” of this first suite. In “Vagyok / I am” you can hear some Oriental influences. The part where the violin is placed next to the trumpet has a beautiful melody.
“North” the second suite is the longest suite of the album and counts more than 24 minutes. After “Preludio Percussivo” Winkler Balázs plays in his composition “Air Trumpet” a delicate melody on his trumpet. Then follows the short Classical piano part “Kevésbé fontos dolgok - Klasszikus Miniatür / Less Important Things - Classic Miniature”. In the last of the first four instrumental pieces of this suite you can enjoy a jazzy trumpet solo by Winkler Balázs and a freaky electric violin solo which reminds me of the complex music of King Crimson (David Cross) and Mahavishnu Orchestra (Jerry Goodman). Then the band switch to a pop tune with classical orchestration and some Brazilian influences (the acoustic guitar) entitled “Szemfényvesztö / Illusionist”. “U-Shaped” is a short and delicate vocal part on a bed of beautiful keyboard strings. The next instrumental part “Akkor Majd a Kövek Énekelnek / Then The Stones Will Sing” is a Classical showcase for the cello of Pejtsik Péter. The cello provides the chamber-music ingredient of the music of After Crying. “Kettétört / Torn Apart” opens with a romantic piano / trumpet tune. A delicate piece of music with wonderful melodies. The suite is closed with the title track “Creature” where the vocals are sung on a Shamanistic way.
The next suite “East” opens with a hectic prelude theme, “Preludio Metropolitano”. This is followed by a breathtaking cello melody of Pejtsik Péter in “Ne Sírj! / Don’t Cry!” In the next part “Esóisten / Rain God” the tension of the music slowly builds up to a climax with a freaky synth solo. This part flows into the song “iLove Story” which has a very modern character. The band slows down again with “Vagy-e Még? / Do You till Exist?” where the narration lies on top of mysterious keyboard sounds. This piece flows seamless into “Tárogató” with it’s delicate wind instruments and romantic orchestration.
In the last suite “South” the “Preludio Furioso” returns. In “Szabadesés / Free Fall” you can enjoy again some very beautiful vocal melodies that are accompanied by tasteful keyboards and a beautiful piano solo. The next part “Hajsza / Chase Music” has a somewhat hectic instrumentation. It is the ultimate mix of Classical and Jazz music. “Three Desires” is a piece of music in where the tension is slowly building up towards a kind of climax. The repetitive guitar parts gives the music a Crimson like atmosphere. The suite and the album closes with “Ne Félj, nem Lesz Baj / No Worries No Cry” in where the percussion patterns stand out.
Wow ... what can I say ... After Crying did it again. A few weeks ago I wrote that “To Shatter All Accord”, the new studio album from Discipline, was the biggest surprise of the year 2011 and gave the album four and a half points out of five. So I have a problem here because this is a five out of five points album! After Crying takes the time to release new albums ... but they all are real gems of progressive rock. The music is indeed ranging from acoustic chamber music to modern rock and pop, symphonic orchestration and classical or contemporary forms. You can find great music and breathtaking melodies on this fine prog album. For me “Creatura” is the album of the year!