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Track List: 1. Horizonte 2:00 2. Por Siempre 3:44 3. Centinela 5:13 4. Caleidoscopio 2:22 5. Peregrino del Teimpo 11:31 6. Mas Alla 5:16 7. La Montana del Vigia 4:25 8. Las Praderas del Corzaon 6:33 9. Tierra Invisible 3:51 10. El Hallazgo 5:45 11. El Umbral 8:41 12. Septentrion 11:16 All music & lyrics: by Roberto Diaz. Arrangements: by Anima Mundi. Line-up: Roberto Diaz - electric & acoustic guitars; backing vocals Virginia Peraza - keyboards, programming; backing vocals Ariel Valdes - drums & percussion Ariel Angel - basses Andremil Oropeza - lead vocals Regis Rodrigues - bagpipes, recorder, & whistle Anaisy Gomez - bagpipes, recorder, & clarinet Produced by Roberto Diaz. Engineered by L. Duran.
Preamble. Before, I was sure that Cuba is the only foreign country, with the Progressive Rock scene of which I am completely acquainted. In the 1980s, there were lots of Cuban LPs in our music stores, while later, I received and reviewed all of the Cuban Prog related CDs released by Luna Negra Records. Yet, here is Anima Mundi - the Cuban band that I haven't even heard of up till now. Perhaps, "Septentrion" is their debut album.
The Album. There are twelve tracks on "Septentrion" and most of them are of a high originality and moderate complexity. Five of them are instrumental compositions: Horizonte, Por Siempre, La Montana del Vigia, and Tierra Invisible (1, 2, 7, 9, & 11). With a few exceptions, to which I won't forget to return below, the general stylistic picture of this album represents a triple union of Modern Symphonic Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Folk music, which, by the way, is of a Scottish rather than any other origin. However, the role that folksy elements play in the arrangements on the core tracks of the CD and those that are at the end of it are insignificant. To be more precise, the music on the songs: Peregrino del Teimpo and Mas Alla (5 & 6) represents Symphonic Prog-Metal where there are just a few of the bagpipe and recorder solos, and these are the main 'folksy features' of the music on "Septetrion". (By the way, there isn't any pause between the said tracks that, in fact, are just a single composition, which, moreover, is monolithic by all means.) While overall, all three of the other long tracks on the album: Las Praderas del Corzaon, El Umbral, and Septentrion (8, 11, & 12), are about the album's predominant stylistics, the number of folksy elements is here little as well. Back to exceptions, two of them: El Hallazgo and Caleidoscopio (10 & 4: both of them are songs) are masterpieces, as well as any of the five long tracks that I've just depicted. The music on the first of them represents Symphonic Space Metal, but although everything is really original on this song (as well as on the album as a whole), I have for some reason recalled Eloy while listening to it. There isn't a contradiction in the previous sentence: to be precise, it's only seeming. I am sure that most of those who have attentively listened to the album in general and this song in particular, had experienced somewhat of a musical fata morgana, too. Caleidoscopio features diverse and complex interplay between passages and solos of three acoustic guitars, and also a few vocals. The album's opening track, Horizonte, consists exclusively of the slow passages of synthesizer, and La Montana del vigia (7) is somewhat of an instrumental ballad. These two are the most accessible compositions on the album. As for the best ones, being the lover of epic musical forms and large-scaled arrangements, I've certainly chosen all five of the longest tracks on "Septentrion": Peregrino del Teimpo, Mas Alla, Las Praderas del Corzaon, El Umbral, and the album's title track (5, 6, 8, 11, & 12). Though, as I've mentioned above, two more songs on the album are also masterpieces. (By the way, "Mas Alla" sounds not unlike one of the 'key phrases' that Moslems express their thanks to Allah with.)
Summary. Summary on "Septentrion" will be simple. This is undoubtedly the best Symphonic Progressive Rock album ever released within the framework of Cuban Progressive. Highly recommended!
VM: February 18, 2003
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