Sunday, October 16, 2016

SBB – Za Linią Horyzontu (2016)


Józef Skrzek - bass, keyboards
Apostolis Anthimos - guitar
Jerzy Piotrowski - drums

Za Linią Horyzontu


By Adam Baruch

This is the first new studio album by the legendary Polish Rock/Prog/Fusion ensemble SBB, following several years of inactivity as recording artists. SBB, which comprises of bassist/keyboardist/ leader Józef Skrzek, guitarist Apostolis Anthimos and drummer Jerzy Piotrowski, makes live appearances quite regularly all over Poland, keeping the fan base happy and a plethora of archival live recordings is being constantly released, flooding the market and slowly driving the diehard aficionados to bankruptcy.

The music on the new album is a stylistic mixture of all the sub-genres that the group ventured into during their long career. The album presents eight pieces, three of which were composed by Skrzek, three by Anthimos and one was co-composed by all three members of the group. The closing piece the album, a three part suite, was partly co-composed by all three members of the group and partly composed by Skrzek. The pieces composed by Skrzek feature lyrics (in Polish) while those by Anthimos are instrumentals (well, almost).

Most of the material is Rock oriented, with relatively short and well organized songs. The instrumental pieces are more Fusion oriented. There is relatively very little improvisation and open space, which takes this album away from the Jazzy ventures the group tried in the past. The album has modern sound and production techniques, making it feel contemporary, which is not necessarily a compliment in their case. Of course these are brilliant musicians with an enormous legacy, but that is not apparent on this album. Anthimos is definitely the most interesting player and his guitar licks are still stunning after all these years.

Overall this is a nice, pleasant album, which proves that SBB is alive and kicking, still able to create solid Rock and Fusion music, but nothing that would prove their Phoenix-like rebirth or discovery of new previously uncharted territory. It is always great to hear them in action and their live concerts, especially when they return to their early and then revolutionary material, are a stunning experience. No doubt the numerous fans of the group will enjoy this album but I wonder if this will bring them any new fans from among the young generation of listeners? One has of course to admire their stamina and consistency and the ability to keep their iconic status. Altogether well done!

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