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(70:31, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rules of the Desert 11:34 2. Power and Outcome 7:24 3. Details: a) Circle Spins 5:45 4. Details: b) Start Again 8:43 5. Through Stained Glass 8:44 6. Illusions and Tribulations 9:25 7. The Gathering 8:15 8. Conquest 3:28 9. Full Circle 1:57 10. Dialect for the 21st Century 5:16 LINEUP: Alfonso Vidales - keyboards Claudio Cordero - guitars Roberto Izzo - violin Carlos Humaran - bass, pedals, vocals Antonio Bringas - drums, percussion Bobby Vidales - vocals Lupita Acuna - vocals With: Rene Vidales - vocals
Prolusion. Mexican band CAST are veterans in the progressive rock scene, with a band history going back to 1978 and a recording history that started in 1994. They have been signed to several labels over the years, and have a grand total of 19 studio albums to their name, in addition tio live albums and some compilations. "Power and Outcome" is their most recent studio production, and was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records in 2017.
Analysis. Just about anyone with a knowledge of the progressive rock scene that goes beyond a surface level have come across Cast at some point. Either due to their music, or their role in the now defunct Baja Prog festival. Those who are aware of the band for their musical exploits will know for a fact that what they bring to the table is good, old-fashioned symphonic progressive rock, and that they are quality providers of this approach to progressive rock. With their latest album, Cast continues doing what they are good at doing. Fairly long and intricate compositions dominate this production, material that twist and turn, ebb and flow, and generally provides a progressive rock fan with the ABC through Z of their chosen tur4f in the progressive rock universe. The rhythm section is solid and often vibrant and busy, the keyboards are everywhere and the dominant instruments used, with wandering piano motifs aplenty, layered arrangements made to mimic a classical symphonic orchestra a recurring feature, vintage organ layers used to good effect throughout, as well as gentler atmospheric laden textures floating on top when appropriate too. The guitars underscore nicely with riffs or gentler details as needed, and hits some fiery guitar solo runs alternating with or harmonizing with the keyboards. Those fond of the violin gets their fill and then some too, as the violin and it's liberal role on this album is something of a defining trait, in a kind of classic Kansas sort of way on some occasions but also in more spirited and expressive manners. The vocals, present on most songs, are clear and defined, but this is by far a vocals dominated production. In true symphonic progressive rock tradition, the instrumental passages dominate and they do so with high quality throughout. What separates this band from some others, at least on this occasion, is that they are fond of positive, uplifting atmospheres. Many of the songs have something of a positive vibe to them at some point, and while darker toned and more dramatic excursions appear, the music as such is spirited in a good and positive manner more than anything else. There is room for darkness and haunting moods, but they are mainly a part of a greater totality rather than being explored in a more purebred manner. In short, this album is an uplifting and at times jubilant experience.
Conclusion. If vintage era symphonic progressive rock is a type of music you tend to appreciate, Cast is a band you should be familiar with at this point. If you aren't, this is a band you need to have a go at. With as many albums to their name as they have finding a good place to start can be challenging, but as far as I'm concerned any of their three most recent productions are excellent points of entry to the charms of this veteran act. This most recent one is perhaps a tad more intriguing than the duo that came before it. All in all a high quality, excellent example of vintage symphonic progressive rock.
Progmessor: October 29th, 2017
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