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Flor De Loto - 2014 - "Nuevo Mesias"

(122:40 CD+DVD, Azafran Media / Musea Records)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Nuevo Mesias 4:29
2.  La Tabla Esmeralda 5:56
3.  Espejo Del Alma 5:36
4.  Cumbemayo 4:23
5.  En Otro Lugar 6:49
6.  Caleidoscopio 4:50
7.  Hipnotizame 7:14
8.  Creados Del Fuego 9:55
9.  Rumbo a la Eternidad 8.28

Bonus DVD (65:00):

- Making of Nuevo Mesias
- Sombras en la Oscuridad (Video)
- Amnesia (Video)
- Desapareciendo (Video)
- Hasta el Final (Video)
- Mosoj Pacha (Video)
- Volver a Nacer (Video)
- Galeria de Fotos

LINEUP:

Alonso Herrera  vocals; guitars
Daniel Lopez  keyboards 
Ignacio Flores  guitars 
Alvaro Escobar  drums 
Alejandro Jarrin  bass 
Agustina Gonzalez  vocals
Junior Pacora  woodwinds, brasses

Prolusion. The Peruvian band FLOR DE LOTO has been an active part on the music scene in their native Peru for more than 15 years, although they didn't have any releases until 2005. Since then they have released an album just about every other year and at this stage have half a dozen studio outings to their name. "Nuevo Mesias" is their most recent production, and was released through Azafran Media and Musea Records in 2014.

Analysis. Flor De Loto is a band that tends to be sorted under the progressive folk heading within the progressive rock universe. At some level, this is appropriate, I guess, but this is also somewhat misleading as far as the contents of their latest studio production is concerned. It's not that the music is lacking in details with a folk music origin, but more that this aspect of their music doesn't come across as the dominating one. Still, when this CD kicks off with the title track Nuevo Mesias, progressive rock isn't what comes to mind at all actually. A spirited, fiery and vibrant creation it is, but in terms of overall style, hard rock fits this particular song much better than anything else. The rest of the album safely wanders straight into the progressive rock heartland however. Multiple themes, theme variations, alternating tranquil and energetic passages, contrasting instrumental details and arrangements that develop, ebb and flow in intensity and just about all the more sophisticated features you'd expect to find from a progressive rock band are present. The folky side of the band is in place, mainly by flute soloing and light toned, distinctly folk music-oriented acoustic guitars, the latter mainly as a supplemental feature; guitar and keyboard arrangements are present as well as guitar and organ combinations, as well as a fair few guitar and piano driven sequences, the latter in particular in the more tranquil parts of the compositions. Occasionally a mournful saxophone will make an appearance, and in just over half the compositions we're also treated to powerful, melodic lead vocals. But while a fair amount of variation is present, and Flor De Loto has a folk-tinged flavoring to their material indeed, they first and foremost come across as a band that approaches progressive rock from a hard rock point of view on this production, as tight, harder edged and form guitar riff and riff cascades are something of a dominating feature throughout. Paired off with more tranquil and elegant escapades for sure, but the feeling that this is a hard rock band venturing out to more sophisticated territories is one that firmly stuck in my mind when I had finished taking my notes on this CD. One specific composition, Hipnotizame, also highlights two of the band's stated main influences: Jethro Tull and Iron Maiden. A blend of styles not as odd as it might initially appear, and on this vibrant, energetic composition I found that Flor De Loto was at their most interesting too. Not the most original of the compositions in terms of sound and expression, but by far the most vibrant and spirited creation at hand on this album. On the addition of the album I received there was also a bonus DVD attached. If this one is on all editions of this production or in a limited edition part of it I truly don't know, but of you are a fan of this band then you should probably get the edition with the DVD. The contents aren't all that spectacular, but it is a nice addition for fans. There's a 30 minute documentary chronicling parts of the recording sessions for the album, which coincided with a concert in Argentina and two concerts in Chile. Nice behind the scenes footage focusing on the recording sessions has been finely assembled into a fairly interesting short movie, and for the footage chronicling the concerts we're also briefly introduced to the Andes Prog concept, which sounds like a nice concept. The rest of the DVD features 6 promotional videos, and the DVD editions of those are obviously far superior in quality top the versions I presume have found their way to YouTube. There's also a photo gallery to be enjoyed by dedicated fans.

Conclusion. "Nuevo Mesias" comes across as a solid production on most level, with a few subtle weaknesses in the mix and production department just about the only features that have a slight detrimental effect. Otherwise, this is a well made and well executed album of music that hovers on the edge between symphonic progressive rock and progressive metal, and while perhaps not the most challenging stuff around, it is a solid production, and one that should appeal quite nicely to those who enjoy their symphonic progressive rock just as much as their vintage-style progressive metal, in particular those amongst that crowd with an affection for powerful female vocals. Existing fans should go with the version featuring the bonus DVD, if possible, as this hour-long DVD is of a kind I suspect will appeal first and foremost to existing fans.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 15, 2015
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Azafran Media
Musea Records
Flor De Loto


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