Exposé Online banner

Sfinx — Zalmoxe
(Electrecord ELCD 135, 1979/1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01

Zalmoxe Cover artThis one caught me completely off guard. I'd never even heard of this excellent Romanian band before the CD reissue - which made it for all the nicer surprise. One has to be somewhat impressed when encountering a prog band from the late seventies that sounds nothing even remotely like ELP, Genesis, Yes, or Floyd, or for that matter any of the other well known bands that had gone before them - in fact they sound like no one else. At moments, remote comparisons might be made are to Czech band Progres 2, Minimum Vital, or Eloy, but truly these guys had a sound of their own. Their sound is dramatic and melodic, with keyboards prominent - yet this is not a band where the keyboardist does everything and the other members are relegated to a support role - the entire band plays together well in all areas of the mix, in lead and supporting roles at various times. The guitars are surgically applied, either as solos or as an extended function of the rhythm section. The band has some great vocal arrangememts and harmonies, yet only one member (guitarist Dan Andrei Aldea) is credited as vocalist... All the song lyrics are sung in the band's native language. Each track involves extended arrangements and many changes, but it's interesting to note that few of the songs exceed the five minute mark - but many are strung together into near-sidelong suites. Drummer Mihai Cernea is the one band member who seems able to control the overall energy at any given moment, knowing exactly when to play exactly how - and when not to play at all, he guides the music through symphonic meadows to rocking peaks, ocasionally crossing points of accessibility. Together with bassist Corneliu Ionescu, they keep a tight rein on the overall dynamics, while keyboardist Nicolae Enache creates a variable density wall of sound, sometimes with the backing vocal harmonies as support. Lead parts are handled by synth, guitar, or vocals, presumably all handled by Aldea. All taken together, Zalmoxe is a forceful album, full of great surprises and stunning moods. There are four bonus tracks added for the CD reissue; these (with the notable exception of the first) are generally more commercial sounding - possibly singles from another period, and would have made the flow of the CD just a little better had they not been included.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 2, 1993 releases, 1979 recordings

Related artist(s): Sfinx

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Marco - Marconceptos – Mexican guitarist/keyboardist Marco Gomez surprisingly does all the instrumentation on this collection of self-penned instrumentals. I say this because when listening to the songs, the guitars and...  (1995) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues