(19 March 2005) QuarterStorm is an emerging progressive band from the Czech Republic. Their four-track EP is entitled "Presentation 2004" and the material is available for listening in mp3 format at their website. Fronted by Lada Soukupová (vocals), the band's line-up is completed by Hana Vaňková (keyboards), Radim Chrobok (drums), Kuba Doležal (saxophone), Tomáš Nykl (guitar) and Viktor Čermák (bass). All musicians have extensive backgrounds with other well established bands in the Czech republic.
Says Radim, "Our singer Lada is classically trained and she works as a professional singer with rock bands, musicals operas and folk." He continues, "She is not a typical rock singer but that's what we like about her and we think it fits our music better than any furious screams." Indeed some of the other players' backgrounds are in metal projects. QuarterStorm is far from metal--they are a truly progressive band with textures and song structures similar to Quidam (Poland), You And I (Hungary), Turquoise (Poland) and yes, even the classic Annie Haslam-era Renaissance (UK).
While the band's website is entirely in their native tongue, the material indludes both Czech and English lyrics. The EP opens with lush keyboards and English vocals in the track "Titanová Myš." Layers of Lada's vocals work perfectly with the complex progressive-jazz crossover arrangements. A robust sax solo is joined by soft vocalise in the song's mid section before the guitar and keyboard solos.
"The Smile" is an uptempo progressive masterwork with vast tempo changes, soaring vocalise and Lada's tremendous vocal delivery. We especially enjoyed the production and the interplay between keyboard, guitar and saxophone during the track's instrumental excursions. "Chorál Zpívaný Jediným Hlasem" is sung by Lada in her native tongue but is equally enjoyable. Vast tempo excursions underscore the emotive delivery. The guitar work in the track is stunning, and some of the band's metal heritage even comes through, yet it is perfectly complemented by keyboard, sax and crisp percussion.
The EP concludes with "Černá," an upbeat progressive number with stylings similar to the previous track on the EP. Lada's lead vocal is mixed notably higher and without backing harmonies. Sung in Czech, the verses are punctuated by rapidfire sax solos and underscored by crisp percussion backed only slightly by guitar. The instrumental sections include especially notable keyboard and guitar solos. Lada's soaring reprise is wonderful.
The band's Czech website includes images of all members with the exception of vocalist Lada but it includes mp3s of the four tracks reviewed above. QuarterStorm clearly have tremendous potential and a sound that will be welcomed by eastern European progressive rock enthusiasts. We will keenly await the release of a full album from the group.