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(58:02, Progressive Promotion Records)
For some reason this is the first time I have come across Anima Mundi, but this is their sixth album, having released their debut as long ago as 2002. Tow of the members of that line-up are still in the band all these years later, but what I find quite unusual is that these guys are from Cuba, not a country normally associated with symphonic prog, and according to the bible which is ProgArchives, all five top progressive albums from Cuba are by this band (which is at #3 as I write this, if you are interested). However, their debut album was released on Italian label Mellow Records and apparently, they have quite a following in mainstream Europe, and indeed this has been released on the German PPR label. This is the second part of a trilogy which started with their 2016 album ‘I Me Myself”, which has very similar artwork with a hand there partially open, but in blue, so I can only guess that the next will continue in the same vein. As I haven’t heard any of their earlier material I cannot say if it also follows on musically, but it is certainly intriguing. There are times when it is almost techno in its abrupt approach, and others where it is far more languid, but always taking the listener on quite a journey. This is the first album to feature Alvis Prieto on lead vocals, and he sounds as if he has been in the band forever, although there are long passages where he isn’t involved at all. We are often treated to lengthy sections which are primarily keyboards and sound effects, as the band build on their story of a fictional city in a world which is ruled by political, financial and technological powers. The guys bring in additional sax to good effect, and everyone knows their place, but it is the keyboards of Virginia Peraza which has most impact, as she uses Eighties sounds to create dynamic effects, or drops in harmonic backdrops. It is Steven Wilson, but with additional use of jazz and lounge plus some dance here and there. It means the album is always interesting, and at the end one isn’t really too sure what has happened, but it makes sense to put it back on again. Not a band I had previously heard, but I am looking forward to the follow-up with interest. Really nicely presented booklet as well.
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