Times are pretty damn good for Russian prog rock ensemble Cats Park right now. In the last year, the St. Petersburg natives have enjoyed playing live to legions of loyal fans on their home turf, as well as having been invited back twice to Liverpool’s Sound City. They’ve also recently graced the pages of Rolling Stone and are hard at work securing a deal to feature their music in a movie stateside. If that’s not enough, then the icing on the cake has to be landing Grammy nominations in a total of three different categories.

It isn’t hard to see why they’ve been attracting so much attention once you’ve heard their album, A Taste of Heaven. This nine track behemoth is loaded with immense meandering rock epics that invade and take over the senses.

The proceedings rumble off with a heavy bass line and otherworldly electronics as “In Between” begins. An operatic melody evolves through dark and sinister instruments, lending the piece a psychedelic ambience. “In My Room” follows up with airy synths and mellow guitars. A free-flowing ethereal harmony establishes a dreamy, transcendent vibe that’s calm and relaxing.

“Back to Heaven” strides off determinedly atop a steadily paced riff bearing more of a straightforward rock sound. Its absorbing vocals and captivating chorus afford the track a smooth, easy listening quality. This passes the reins over to “When Someone Loves You” for frantic drums and dire guitars. The urgency of the instrumentation is defied by the vocals, which take their time and unfold gradually.

A slow purposeful beat and melody strut along nonchalantly during “Precious Days”, before “Prisoners of Heartbeat” hits with foreboding electronics amid a myriad of sound effects and passionate vocals. “Thin Skinned” arrives next, featuring a hectic yet hushed rhythm and proving itself to be another ominous, atmospheric addition.

“Plastic World” is a bit of a departure from its predecessors, flaunting an upbeat, rousing riff and an exuberant harmony. The curtain closes then with “I Can’t Wait”. Resolute instrumentation plays out alongside emotional vocals, creating an optimistic air. It serves as a warm and pleasant finale.

The ambitious approach Cats Park take to song writing results in a grand sound that’s very progressive. The material featured on A Taste of Heaven is quite abstract and cinematic. It’s an album worth sampling, particularly if you like your music to exhibit a flair for the theatrical.

Graduate of NUI Maynooth’s Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there’s anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it’s writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com