VOTUM – Time Must Have A Stop

VOTUM - Time Must Have A Stop
  • 9.5/10
    VOTUM - Time Must Have A Stop - 9.5/10


ProgRock Records
Release date: January 12, 2009

User Review
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According to Britannica Online Encyclopedia Votum (“vow”) is “…a form of prayer, in which a person undertakes to offer to the divinity, in exchange for divine favour, a sacrifice, the building of a temple, or other such offerings. It is a kind of bargain in which is still felt the prudence of the peasant who has experienced failure.” Be that as it may, Votum is also the name of an absolutely fantastic Progressive Rock outfit from Poland.

The band was formed back in 2003, but it has taken a lot of time and a lot of hard work to finally have their debut album released. After spending a couple of years searching for their own style, the band finally started focusing on an atmospheric type of Progressive Rock, inspired by, among others, bands like Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Pink Floyd. Their debut album, Time Must Have A Stop was recorded in the DBX Recording Studio in Warsaw, with producer Jacek Melnicki, and what a debut record this has become!

The album starter “Me In The Dark” starts slow with acoustic guitars and gentle singing from vocalist Maciej Kosinski. For the chorus the band goes a bit heavy, but the focus seems always to be on the atmospheric elements of the music. Towards the end of the song we also see the arrival of some programmed drums, and though it may seem a bit misplaced, in theory it works out great, and along with the keyboard/choir elements it enlarges the atmosphere the band has built up during the course of the song.

“The Pun” is similar to the opening track in many ways, except maybe that the heavy parts are a bit heavier, and they utilize the keyboard to a greater extent. Kosinski’s vocal range is impressive and he often doubles his own voice with an octave above. In the middle of this song there is a great riff based part in 9/8’s that sounds just great. It’s relieved by a keyboard-lead part that just underlines the great atmospheric elements of Votum’s music. They never try to show off, and their only focus is making the music more than just music, but rather an experience.

“Passing Scars” is more of a Metal song than the previous, and the first verse actually sounds a bit similar to something the Power Metalers of Kamelot could have written. The song shows some great drumming, courtesy of Adam Lukaszek. Unfortunately the transition to the chorus is pretty bad. It’s not the band’s fault, but rather the result of too much compression during the mastering (or at least that’s what it sounds like). Bass player Bartek Turkowski plays alone on this part and during this part the bass volume is raised to the same level as the entire band altogether on the previous part. When the band (is suppose to) enter with a bang for the chorus, the volume level for the bass drops like a rock and the bang never becomes a bang. This is very unfortunate and it’s really a surprise that those responsible have let it pass.

“Train Back Home” is a down-tempo, ballad-like song. It’s driven by an acoustic guitar and a piano and there’s a keyboard on top that creates a nice atmosphere for the song. What’s great about the song is that it starts out like a positive and kind of happy-sounding song, but when the second chorus is played with electric guitars instead of acoustic guitars, they use the opportunity to twist the atmosphere of the song. So when they go back to the acoustic parts the song is a bit sad-sounding, much due to the way Kosinski sings and also due to the keyboard sounds and effects added by keyboardist Zbigniew Szatkowski. The song is an enjoyable ride all the way.

“The Hunt Is On” is perhaps the best song on the record. It starts off with acoustic guitars, piano and a wailing lead guitar in 6/8 time signature, and after some cool riffing vocalist Kosinski takes us into a heavy part that supersedes all the other heavy parts on the record. In the middle of the song they turn everything around and an atmospheric twist by a clean guitar with some kind of chorus/flanger effect on it leads us on to another vocal based part where Kosinski enchants us with his, somewhat unusual, but still very fitting voice for the genre.

“Away” is another down-tempo song. This one has a more standard progression and a couple of verse-chorus runs are relieved by an instrumental part at the end. It’s a good song, and a good break from the more progressive songs on this record, but clearly not the strongest song on Time Must Have A Stop.

“Look At Me Now” is back to normal again; Heavy parts relieved by keyboard-lead atmospheric parts and vice versa. This one also contains some growling, presumably courtesy of Kosinski as no other information is given. Kosinski should have some credit for taking the time to pronounce the words he sings with a British accent. There are far too many vocalists from non-English speaking countries that sound like they’re singing the words in English for the first time in their life.

The album-closer and title track, “Time Must Have A Stop,” is the longest track on the record with it’s almost eleven minutes. Although they utilize choir-sounding keyboards on a part here, they do nothing to hide that fact. It’s easy to hear that it’s not the real thing, but it really doesn’t matter because it kind of sounds right anyway. The guitar solo on this song is somewhat different from what’s been heard on the previous songs. On the other songs the focus has been on few tones, and they’ve made the most out of the few tones they’ve used for the atmospheric elements. Though this solo also has the atmospheric elements in focus, there’s also some fast picking and it blends great with Votum’s musical expression. This solo marks the beginning of the end of this song and the song is a great closer for the album.

A fun-fact for the album is that the drums are mixed mirror-like from what is common. Whether it’s because the drummer is left handed or if it’s because the producer wanted to give the listeners the feeling of sitting behind the kit is difficult to say. Despite the fact that the production could have been done a little bit better, producer Melnicki has taken the time to put in a few good technological treats here and there.

Time Must Have A Stop is a great album, and by delivering such an amazing effort with their debut, Votum creates some great anticipation for what they will do next. How can one top an album like this?

Votum is

Maciej Kosinski – vocals
Alek Salamonik – guitar
Adam Kaczmarek – guitar
Zbigniew Szatkowski – keyboards
Bartek Turkowski – bass
Adam Lukaszek – drums


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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