Genre: Symphonic/Power Metal
Country: Germany/ Belarus
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year: 2016

Victor Smolski is not somebody who doesn’t know who to keep things together nor did he start calling himself a master of classical music. He was born into this because of his father Dmitry Smolski who encouraged him to take up cello and piano, since he was a little boy (about 6 years old at that time), while as soon as he turned 14 he had already participated in a folk band of his country. Now, hitting the fast – forward button, we found ourselves in 1995, when anyone who had listened to the gods Mind Odyssey and the mighty “Schizophenia” was totally blown by their mastery and tried to convince his gang (which was stuck with the –dominant at that era – euro-power bands) that there’s more into music than they think. When he ultimately joined Rage he only proved his talent and restless spirit. That’s all good, but what about Almanac and “Tsar”?

“Tsar” is the debut release of Almanac and could be described as a quite ambitious idea. Excellent production, smart ideas focused on the combination of metal with classical music is what we find on the record. To tell the truth I expected more bulky or grandiose symphonic parts, or a desire to move on patterns previously followed by Powerwolf, but nevertheless the compositions are neither overly complex nor move into commercial paths. There is a balance that makes the result sound flat, frightened. At least to my ears.

Generally this field of symphonic power seems to have entered into an endless quagmire for nearly two decades now and a definitely needs someone better shaped than Smolski to help the genre escape. Clearly the record lies beyond the mediocrity of most releases out there, but the demands on Mr. Smolski are more than you’d expect, so don’t look for a high rank…