Andrew Roussak-Crossing The Line

Posted: 131121

Review Erik Neuteboom

Andrew Roussak was born in Russia, 1968, at his 8th he went to a governmental music school, specializing on the piano. He was inspired by his mother and an uncle who were talented amateurs. During his musical education Roussak was blown away by Jon Lord turning Bach into rock music with his Hammond organ in Deep Purple, and keyboard wizards Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.

Eight years later (in 2011), after playing in numerous bands and getting quite a lot of experience as a studio musician Roussak moved to Germany. He received a freelance status from the government and established himself as a professional musician. He still played classical music but was also impressed by Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, and especially Neal Morse solo. In 2008 Andrew released his first solo album No Trespassing, followed No Secrets (2009), the classical piano album Blue Intermezzo (2010), Crusade 1212 (2011), Storm Warning (2019) and recently (2021) Crossing The Line. I am only familiar with the album Storm Warning, I wrote about the music: “For those progheads who are into keyboard driven and also love harder-edged prog, I highly recommended this Andrew Roussak album!” On his new album Crossing The Line Roussak plays all the instruments, and also does the lead- and backing vocals.

On the first two (mid-long) compositions Roussak delivers an exciting and dynamic blend of classical, symphonic rock and Heavy Prog, featuring lots of flowing shifting moods, loaded with sensational keyboard pyrotechnics and heavy guitar work.

From mellow with melancholical sounding classical orchestrations or tender Grand piano to bombastic with Emersonian Hammond runs, flashy synthesizer flights and harder-edged guitar leads in Invisible Killer (only the English vocals sound a bit thin).

From dreamy to sparkling work on the piano and spectacular soli on the Hammond and synthesizer, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section in Crossing The Line.

Then four tracks that sound more song-oriented, with often catchy beats but still featuring awesome work on the keyboards.

Against The Tide (fiery guitar and lots of synthesizer flights) and Nation For Sale (varied keyboard work, from spacey synthesizer runs to jazzy and swinging piano) are even in the vein of AOR.

Daily Lies (halfway blistering guitar solo) and Just One Life (sensational synthesizer solo) deliver great work on the Hammond organ, but in the more dynamic and bombastic parts the English vocals tend to drown, due to a lack of power and expression in Andrew his voice.

Finally the epic composition  Suite En La Gavotte Et Six Doubles, an instrumental. First the distinctive sound of the harpsichord, followed by sparkling piano play, in a classical atmosphere, simply wonderful. Then the climate turns to more dynamic, with sumptuous outbursts featuring excellent work on varied keyboards, blended with powerful electric guitar. Halfway mellow twanging electric guitar in a slow rhythm, next freaky sounding synthesizer flights in a mid-tempo. This culminates in an exciting bombastic up-tempo with powerful Hammond, topped with propulsive drum beats and rock guitar riffs. Finally a tribute to Rick Wakeman with a spectacular synthesizer solo and swirling Hammond runs, blended with guitar and harpsichord, wow!

 

"Again I am impressed by Andrew Roussak his keyboard pyrotechnics, and again the music alternates between exciting keyboard driven prog and pleasant AOR. But I don’t think it was a good idea by Andrew to do the lead vocals himself, because on his previous effort Storm Warning the 3 guest singers did a good job, I miss these voices on this new effort."