Uzbekistan band FOMALGAUT was formed back in 2003, and in the years since then I understand they have risen in stature to become one of the more popular rock bands in their home scene and region, following a number of live performances over the years as well as a CV that includes 4 studio albums and one DVD. “Kray Vselennoy” is the bands fifth studio album, and was released in the summer of 2018 through Uzbekistan label Iosis.
I rather guess I will be one of relatively few people in the west that will write about this album, as it’s reach and impact will be somewhat limited for a western audience. Not due to the music as such, which is very much made and performed in a western rock tradition that will come across as familiar to most rock fans, but rather due to the lyrics. Fomalgaut is all about mainstream oriented rock and hard rock, and in that particular landscape the language is a bit more important than in more niche-oriented genres in music.
Generally speaking Fomalgaut tends to alternate between the more melancholic landscapes of indie rock and the darker, quirkier realms of alternative rock, the latter also primarily where their more hard rock oriented excursions can be found. This band is more about rock than hard rock though, and many of the songs have a gentler, careful tone to them, often tightening up the arrangements and creating a more energetic chorus section to offset and contrast a more delicate verse. The instrumental interludes and solo passages tends to be smooth and flowing, and overall the descriptive word emotional often comes to mind, with the compelling lead vocals of Dmitriy Menshikov a dominant leading light in that context.
Otherwise I note that the band have quite a few songs with something of a ballad touch to them, and that they know and love their 70’s rock and hard rock just as much as they treasure music of this kind from the 80’s and 90’s. As for the former, both playful funky details and classic organ and guitar combinations find their way into quite a few of the songs, while the arrangements and construction of the songs themselves, at least to my ears, indicates more of an inspiration from the latter two decades. I should also add that, unless my ears deceive me, there appears to be a few subtle nods towards jazz here and there. Mainly in the shape of subservient instrument details though, of the kind not too many would notice, and whether this is by plan or by accident I cannot really tell as I’ve never been a musician myself.
The band concludes this album on a different note, with a mournful folk-oriented creation as the second to last song and then an anthem-oriented homage to Uzbekistan as the final cut, this latter song actually a Bon Jovi tune that has been given a lyrics overhaul.
I should probably mention that I was sent this album by Dmitriy Menshikov for review, and that we have a working relation in another part of the music scene than where this review is posted.
This fifth album by Fomalgaut is one that mainly stays within landscapes of music I’m by far intimately familiar with. That being said, I find it to be a competent production inside a mainstream rock and hard rock context, with orientations towards both the indie rock and the alternative rock segment and a few distinct nods towards classic 70’s rock and hard rock. Complete with two songs I’d describe as obligatory single cuts with hit potential in the shape of ‘Vremya Ya Ne Tvoy’ and ‘Litsa’, as well as the anthem-oriented, Bon Jovi penned crowd pleaser ‘Rodina’. A production that should find favor among many with a taste for radio-friendly, mainstream oriented rock and hard rock, and then in particular among those who are well versed in the Russian language.
My rating: 7/10
01. Budu Vsegda S Toboy
03. Kray Vselennoy
04. My Vdvoyom
06. Vremya Ya Ne Tvoy
07. Tancuem Do Utra
08. Bilet v Vechnost’
10. Ne Odni
12. Dorogaya Ya Skuchayu
14. Pamyat’ Navsegda