Album Review: Alogia “Elegia Balcanica”

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AlogiA are a progressive rock band from Serbia who have been together 15 years and are already highly established, with an enormous fanbase worldwide. They were founded in 2000 by Serbian brothers Miroslav and Srđan Branković, who both play guitar. The rest of the band includes Nikola Mijić (vocals), Vladimir Dedović (keyboards), Vladimir Ranisavljevic (bass) and Srđan Golubica (drums).

Over the years they have supported Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, Savatage and Paul Di Anno, headlining many themselves. They have played major festivals like Exit, Hendrix Fest and Hard ‘n Heavy, often performing to many thousands of people. Having already put out several albums, they released Elegia Balcanica in September 2014. Although they sing in the Serbian language, their popularity has meant that
they are now working on an English language version.

Musically, they are a unique hybrid of prog rock bands like Dream Theater, 80’s heavy metal and 70’s hard rock, but at the same time aren’t afraid of a catchy, pop chorus. This divergence of styles gives them a real sonic identity, even without vocals, as proven by the instrumental opening track Almagest. AlogiA are all phenomenal musicians, which instantly becomes apparent as a barrage of rapid double-kick drums, swirling synth riffs and constant tempo changes greet the listener. The guitar playing is simply phenomenal with long, flowing runs played all over the neck.

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After this thrilling start, second track Callis Ad Astra showcases the Balkan influence in AlogiA, with exotic sounding synth melodies that add another flavour to the music. After a brilliant low-end guitar riff our attention is then grabbed by the powerful, expressive vocals. With colossal energy, the band storm through the verse before a huge, anthemic chorus hits you between the ears. It’s so catchy that you’ll find yourself singing along, regardless of whether you understand the words. The brothers both get to show their skills on this one, laying down fantastic solos, one after the over.

The unrelenting pace continues with third track Galija, which has a similar structure and a vocal melody that wouldn’t be out of place on a pop record. The chorus is again instantly memorable and perhaps even stronger than the preceding song. It features another mindblowing guitar solo, along with superb drumming. A brief passage of female lead vocals is an unexpected but welcome surprise.

The consistently impressive thing about this album is how tightly the band play together, as well as the intricate precision of the arrangements. With so much virtuosity, it would be easy for one element to overshadow the rest, but every member gets their moment in the spotlight and there is always a sense of musical balance.

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