Kopecky - Sunset Gun

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4498.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:02:00

Sunset Gun is Kopecky's fourth overall release. This trio of brothers creates a pulsating blend of heavy rhythms and shimmering guitars. In Sunset Gun you will find commonalities in sound to Tony Levin - those fat, chunky bass lines of William K - and Rush. Throughout, and most certainly in the opening title track, you can hear echoes of Rush's classic power instrumental "YYZ," but also a bit of "Witch Hunt" (sans vocals). "Sunset Gun" does sounds at first like you are in the midst of horde of flies. While much of the piece seems? linear? there is a passage that is pure organized chaos, and how the bring order back seamlessly is so subtle and a testament to their talent. Adding the punctuation throughout is Paul K on drums and percussion. Besides bass, Bill also plays keyboards and sitar.

My favorite moment comes in the second track, "Ascension" with shimmery guitar phrases from third brother Joe K - a similar effect/style can be heard on the darker "Selqet's Kiss" as well, where they contrast well against the deep, throaty? braying mammoth-like bass, and on the at times brassy "Temptation's Screaming-Ground." "Ascension" is given, at first, a softer edge by the wash of keyboards that open the piece. But that soft bed is slashed by the sharper edges of guitar and bass, cutting crisp and precise lines. While the title might be interpreted as different things by folks, there is a sense of ? ascension, certainly once Joe is set free on his guitar? the obvious analogies relating to birds in flight; bright, cloud-dotted skies? etc.

The menacing darkness of earlier albums is abandoned here, though that isn't to say the band is neither dark nor menacing ? it's just a brighter darkness, a less oppressive menace. There is little of either with "The Devine Art Of Flying," (another highlight) which might make one think of California Guitar Trio what with this piece's western-Asian-Middle Eastern hybrid - it's the combo of acoustic guitar and sitar that bring that comparison to the fore, Joe and Bill trading leads. Paul's percussion bridges the two, taking characteristics of both in a sometimes subtle, highly rhythmic manner. Here the dark is light and the menace is peace. There's enough movement in this piece that it never becomes trippy or psychedelic? but it sure is upbeat and cheerful.

Not upbeat and cheerful is "Selqet's Kiss" where, as mentioned above, we get some very throaty bass? and for a long passage, very, very deep and throaty? dark and thick as one imagines the primordial ooze might have been. This darkness continues in "Creations's Brief Gift" which begins with the laughter of children's voices. It's a subdued and understated piece? almost like the band are noodling around while they wait for the recording session to start. That is, there's no real direction... it lumbers along in a rut. The passage repeats itself after about two minutes, a bit louder, a little more assertively guitar and bass groaning and moaning in agony? the lumbering beast of the earlier track is slowly dying? Well, yes, in cosmic time, our existence is brief? and in this "show it in slow motion" atmosphere, that brevity lasts 10-plus minutes? though for a good 2 minutes or so it's eerie, howling sounds? like winds blowing across a devastated and desolate landscape? all life has ended and the earth is a cold and barren place.

"Temptation's Screaming-Ground" is much livelier, epic with scattershot percussion, rippling guitar riffs and chugging bass. Something epic is going to happen? tension hanging in the air? and what happens is illustrated by the ? well, shimmery (yes, that word again) guitar... it's like bright sunlight glinting off a gently undulating sea, whatever lurks below disturbing the water enough to make the waves vibrate. And when that creature surfaces, prepare yourself for fat, heavy, angular bass lines, fiery guitar leads and aggressive drumming? More jazz fusion a la Planet X, without the strong presence of keys (though overall keys are here in this piece), than thrash metal. Well, here we've reached the titular screaming ground, and guitar and bass do indeed scream? angry, agonized, tortured screams.

The album closes with "Departure," which begins with a sharp, resounding guitar solo from Joe, leads into a mellower keyboard/acoustic guitar passage (quite beautiful and serene) ? Pink Floyd. Yes, that's who you will think of, especially when that throaty bass begins to sing ("Us And Them" is what comes to mind). Joe's guitar soloing here reminds me of Gilmour, of course (given the Floyd reference), but also of Rothery, and yet there are many more notes per phrase than I've heard from either without being a flashy fret-fest. The piece closes out with a final statement from Paul? a coda that concludes with a rhythm like a heartbeat.

While Sunset Gun didn't move me as much as their previous studio release Serpentine Kaleidoscope, the trio still manage to make interesting and cinematic sonicscapes that are sure to appeal to fans of progressive instrumental rock - and draw in new ones, too.

Sunset Gun (7:57) / Ascension (5:32) / The Divine Art Of Flying (5:22) / Selqet's Kiss (10:49) / Creation's Brief Gift (10:11) / Temptation's Screaming-Ground (9:49) / Departure (5:42)

Bill Kopecky - bass, keyboards, sitar
Paul Kopecky - drums and percussion
Joe Kopecky - guitars

Kopecky (1999)
Serpentine Kaleidoscope (2000)
Orion - A Live Performance (2001)
Sunset Gun (2003)
Blood (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 11th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.kopecky.8m.com
Hits: 837
Language: english


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