Intelligent Music 2022
After a decade of spreading good vibrations, Bulgarian supergroup still concentrate on love.
Ever since delivering their debut "The Power Of Mind" in 2012, this loose-line-up collective have always adorned albums covers with a dove – the symbol of positive thinking, the concept the project’s mastermind Dr. Milen Vrabevski was set to send over the world – so, showing the players for the first time, “Unconditioned” is intent on stressing the continuity of such an effort. Not for nothing the record’s storefront, riff-stoked cut bears a title of “Intention” and had the honor of being a Eurovision entry, that didn’t make it to the contest’s final, but got included into the platter which, reinstating most of those who took part in 2021’s "The Creation" and seeing Simon Phillips return, should present a winning array of tuneful, if relatively heavy, pieces.
Still, one may strive to define this album’s idea – or “Topic” as a captivating, acoustically driven and orchestrally elevated overture calls the record’s theme that’s carried across the eleven tracks to the electric grandeur of “Finale” – which struggles to defy the notion of the entire endeavor having run its course without outstaying its welcome on the volume number seven, yet the songs’ rock ‘n’ rolling energy will recompense any hard-rock weakness they can expose. And they don’t – neither in the infectiously groovy “The Long Ride” nor in the mellow “Soulmate” where Ronnie Romero’s voice and Biser Ivanov’s guitar shine so blindingly. Stitching the two approaches together, the tempo changes of the folk-flavored “Soulmate” displays the breadth of the band’s catchy dynamics, and the accordion-scented “Madness” eagerly embraces Balkan sensibility, while the likes of “And Stars Never Fall” reach for the AOR horizon, and the anthemic “Wait For The Night” swings with a lot of swagger.
So when “New Hero” brings Vrabevski’s piano to the fore, the strands of tranquility introduce peace to the listener’s mind – and that’s the desired effect of positive thinking.