The original aim of the blog was to promote discussion about all and any facet of progressive rock but from time to time, bands and musicians contact ProgBlog with new prog-related material that they want to expose to a wider audience; ProgBlog's album of 2017 An Invitation by Amber Foil was one such approach.
The range of styles ProgBlog has been exposed to through this route has helped to expand and challenge my listening habits but time constraints have meant that not all submissions have received the attention that they deserve.
The DISCovery section has been introduced to better serve the requirements of musicians who contact ProgBlog with the aim of increasing the audience for their music; without music there can be no discussion of music.
WALFAD (We Are Looking For A Drummer) were founded in 2011 by vocalist/guitarist Wojciech Ciuraj and have recently released their fourth album, Colloids (2018)
Hailing from Wodzislaw Slaski, a town of 50000 people about 60km south west of Katowice and close to the border with the Czech Republic, the original formation were students from the 1st General Secondary School playing heavy rock covers including numbers by Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple. With a line-up of Ciuraj, Maksym Fraczek (lead guitar), Radoslaw Sitek (bass), Kacper Kucharski (drums, and the inspiration behind the band moniker due to his absence at rehearsals), and Daniel Rodzon (keyboards), they recorded a debut four-track EP, the self-titled We Are Looking For A Drummer (2012) which proved popular with the local community but more importantly won them a place in the finals of the Sophiscapes Festival in Kracow, a showcase for original work by amateur musicians, artists and poets, where they shared a stage with Retrospective and Quidam.
The band set about funding, rehearsing and recording their first full album Ab Ovo (2013) as a document of material from their high school period, including two songs from the 2012 EP, Kwiaty na Haldzie and Mój Kosmos Nie Zyje. For the recording of Ab Ovo bassist Sitek was replaced by Maciej Kucharski, father of drummer Kacper, and the album presented as a ‘Silesian concept’, the story of a young Silesian man. Though not perfect, it demonstrated an ambition that won admirers around the world and saw them make an appearance at the finals of the Syntezje festival. In the spring of 2014 they gained greater exposure when touring with Polish prog-metallers Osada Vida.
Reduced to a quartet following the departure of Fraczek, the 2014 album An Unsung Hero, Salty Rains & Him was equally, if not more, ambitious and featured the near 19 minute Licie (Leaves), a four-part epic. Released in both Polish and English formats in an effort to widen their appeal, this was a more professional recording than the debut, thanks in part to Ryszard Kramarski who helped with the production. Momentum followed in 2016, with bass and keyboard duties now falling to Radoslaw Zelazny and Dawid Makosz respectively, creating a sound that was more conventional rock and less of their original neo-prog. This too was released for the home market and the English-speaking audience.
Intense concert activity increased the popularity of the band, helped by supporting well known international acts like Procol Harum, Marillion, Ray Wilson (ex-Genesis) and current home favourites Riverside, but critics and the music press have also been full of praise, calling the band ‘a new force in Polish progressive rock’.
Their latest album, Colloids, released at the end of last year (both Polish and English-language versions are again available) is a continuation of the direction set out in Momentum, though with another shake-up of personnel, returning to a quintet once more; original drummer Kacper Kucharski has been replaced by Jakub Dabrowski, Dariusz Tatoj has taken over keyboards from Dawid Makosz, and Pawel Krawiec has been added on guitar. The effect of this is to produce a more dense sound but they still achieve sufficient variation to hold the listeners’ interest.
The short instrumental opener Intro is really proggy and the entire album is filled with rhythmical intricacies but the guitars do tend to dominate proceedings. The mandolin on Sysyphus’ Sons is a welcome change and though the keyboards take something of a back seat role, there are nice warm Hammond tones and some great synthesizer lines that rise to the surface. The compositions are all marked with strong melodies which at times reminds me of Steven Wilson’s solo work; I think the English-language version has vocals that are well-suited to the music and they’ve obviously worked hard to find appropriate words to convey the meaning of the songs.
They’ve put a great deal of thought into the presentation, too. Not only is the production clear, the CD cover design (by Rafal Paluszek) is very effective. They’ve undoubtedly got talent, touring with all the right people and ticking all the right boxes for critics and though the prog and underground scene in Poland is becoming increasingly crowded, featuring in an article in Prog 96, I don’t think it’ll be too long before they get a big break.
Walfad - Rdza
Walfad - Colloids