Exposé Online banner

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

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01

Zalmoxe Cover art

This 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 70s 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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Manticore - Time to Fly – Manticore is a new outfit from Sweden and with that name a heavy Emerson, Lake and Palmer influence is bound to be present. The first track, "New Foundation," ripples with ELP right down to the main...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues