Friday, April 5, 2019

East - 1982 - Huseg


01. Hüség ~ Faith (3:43)
02. Keresd õnmagad ~ Search yourself (4:23)
03. Mágikus eró ~ Magical power (2:55)
04. Én voltam ~ It was me (5:56)
05. A végtelen tér öröme ~ The happiness of the endless space (1:38)
06. Üjjászületés ~ Born again (3:40)
07. Ablakok ~ Windows (5:44)
08. Vesztesek ~ Losers (3:44)
09. Felhókón sétálva ~ Walkin' on the clouds (4:22)
10. Várni kell ~ You must wait (5:56)
11. Merengés ~ Meditation (2:14)

- István Király / drums, percussion
- Péter Móczán / bass
- Géza Pálvölgyi / keyboards
- János Varga / guitar
- Miklós Zareczky / lead vocals

Due to the fact that the Eastern Europe regimens were not very fond with Rock which was seen as an expression of Capitalism, Prog didn't reached Hungary exactly at the same time than in the rest of Europe, so during the 80's when the rest of the world saw Progressive Rock as an archaic sub-genre and surrendered to Synth Pop, bands as EAST played solid Neo Prog very close to the Symphonic of the pioneers but with extra elements that made it richer than ever before.
"Hüség" (Faith) starts with the self titled song that starts with a nice jazzy feeling that reminds me a bit of Jean Luc Ponty but with a preeminent Symphonic component, the keyboard sections by Géza Pálvölgyi are very entertaining and blend perfectly with the electric guitar that gives an extra touch of hard Rock, interesting opener.

"Keresd Onmagad" (Search Yourself) begins extremely dramatic with a strong organ intro that leads to a vocal section in Hungarian that without loosing the dark atmosphere, softens a bit the mood, again some guitar solos add a nice touch.

"Magikus Ero" (Magical Power) follows the path of the previous track with strong and mysterious organ, but soon morphs into a faster track with lush keyboards and frantic guitars, a nice change that shows the ban has versatility and the ability to move radically from one style to another, extremely dramatic.

"En Voltam...." (It was Me) places us before a new change of atmosphere, more oriented towards the sound of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (Pyramid softer tracks), even though is a simpler track, keeps the interest of the Progressive Rock fan due to the excellent organ and Mellotron solos, another good song.

"A Végtelen tér Oröme" (The Happiness of Endless Space) is a short instrumental interlude that works as an intro for "Üjjászületés" (Born Again) which privileges the Melodic Folk side of the band, with a beautiful melody that only changes near the end with another excellent organ and Mellotron based passage.

"Ablakok" (Windows) shows a fourth face of the band, now they get closer to some sort of Space Rock with heavy atmospheres diluted a bit with the vocals that sound a bit out of place, an atmosphere that is kept in "Vesztesek" (Losers), this time with a much better performance of "Miklós Zareczky" in the lead vocals and a surprising guitar solo by János Varga in the style of David Gilmour.

"Felhókón Sétálva" (Walking on the Clouds) as it name indicates is another spacey song, which starts soft with a nice piano buts gets faster and stronger as it advances, on the other hand "Varni Kell" (You must Wait) is an exquisite Symphonic track with good piano performance and strong vocals supported by the whole bands that makes an outstanding job.

"Hüség" ends with "Merenges" (Meditation), a short melancholic song that fades gently with the album.

Even though some demanding Prog fans may find it too soft, I believe we are before an excellent album recorded when the genre was agonizing in the rest of the world impulses the development of Progressive Rock in a region that was giving the first steps towards Rock (Even when in some Eastern countries Prog had developed before than in others).

When the anglos were swaying robotically to Gary Numan, the eastern Europeans were still gleefully playing high quality symphonic progressive rock. Nobody told them it was uncool or would not sell, and, perhaps as a result, this 1982 album makes few if any concessions to the commercial sound of its time. Or maybe they were just a few years behind the times. Regardless of the reasons or motivations, we should be thankful to have such a document.
On Huseg, East takes what seems like a simplistic approach, that of alternating instrumental tracks with songs sung in harmonious Hungarian, but it works fairly well because the instrumentals tend to the fusion side of things, at times reminding me of PASSPORT, while the vocal tracks are more Slavic symphonic in the manner of OMEGA or early BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. This unlikely marriage does not seem to be arranged in the least, but perhaps sets out to explore different forms of faith or conflicts around them. The best way to experience Huseg is to listen from beginning to end and not worry about when one track ends and another begins.

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