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(71:05 2CD, Azafran Media / Musea Records / Arabiand Rock)
Prolusion. The Spanish band STORM, also known as Los Tormentos And The Storm in the earlier parts of their career, was a quartet that started out in the late ‘60s, releasing their initial debut album in 1974. They broke up following the release of that LP, but reformed a few years later with Pedro Garcia replacing original bassist Jose Torres for a second go with their sophomore production in 1979 before calling it quits again just over a year later. They have in later years been regarded as one of the finest hard rock bands from Spain in the years they were active, but their material has been hard to find for potential buyers. "Lost in Time" is a two-CD set featuring both the albums Storm released back in the ‘70s.
CD 1: “The Storm” (33:43)
TRACKLIST: 1. I've Gotta Tell You Mama 3:06 2. I Am Busy 3:10 3. Un Senor Llamado Fernandez De Cordoba 5:42 4. Woman Mine 4:44 5. It's All Right 2:45 6. I Don't Know 3:33 7. Crazy Machine 6:58 8. Experiencia Sin Organo 3:45 LINEUP: Luis Genil – vocals; keyboards Diego Ruiz – drums; vocals Jose Torres – bass; vocals Angel Ruiz – guitar; vocals
Analysis. As the first couple of tracks from this CD pump Storm's blend of harder edged guitars covered in organ textures, with solid bass and drum patterns in support, this band doesn't come across as all that impressive, I must admit. These are good hard rock songs, no doubt about that, but also fairly typical specimens of their time, from how I experience them. Good drive and intensity, a raspy voiced vocalist with more intensity and emotional width than tonal control, and a general style that alternates between a UK hard rock style and one that to my ears has subtly more of a US hard rock tinge to it. Not that there's any dramatic differences between the two, but more a case of the associations I got as I listened through this CD. Once Un Senor Llamado Fernandez De Cordoba kicks off matters do get more interesting however. Subtly jazz-tinged details start to appear, and the organ takes the lead on a rather different expression altogether, one that made me think of German band Eloy first and foremost, and to some extent also the organ sound of Swedish organ maestro Bo Hansson. For the rest of this album Storm revisits this more sophisticated and atmospheric territory on a few more occasions: as a brief intermission in the otherwise Deep Purple-oriented I Don't Know, and as organ and guitar only intermissions between the distinctly more jazz-oriented sequences and drum solos that are the other ingredients on the instrumental track Crazy Machine. All in all, an album of energetic, vibrant, but also somewhat dated hard rock style: a charming one, if you enjoy hard rock with a strong and lively organ presence, otherwise a production primarily of interest due to the three compositions that explore material with a more distinct progressive rock orientation.
CD2: “El Dia de la Tormenta” (37:22)
TRACKLIST: 1. Este Mundo 5:02 2. La Luz De tu Voz 5:07 3. Saeta Ensayo-1 6:53 4. Saeta Ensayo-2 5:43 5. Lejos de la Civilización 4:31 6. Desde el Mar y Las Estrellas 4:40 7. El Dia de la Tormenta 5:26 LINEUP: Luis Genil – vocals; keyboards Angel Ruiz – guitars; vocals Diego Ruiz – drums; vocals Pedro Garcia – bass
Analysis. As Storm made their return at the tail end of the ‘70s, it soon becomes clear that a lot has happened with the members of the band in the five years that had passed since they released their debut album. That the band had a new bassist at this point is the most minor of these changes really, although a new member might have had an impact on the other changes as well. The more important alterations is that Storm at this point has gone from being a hard rock band to a melodic rock band as far as a general style is concerned, their songs softer in style, sound and expression. The guitar riffs are toned down, keyboards have been added to their arrangements, often given a dominant spot at that, the subtly jazz-oriented tendencies from their debut album are all gone as well. In addition pace and intensity have markedly subsided, the greater majority of these compositions are fairly slow paced and pedestrian affairs, and both drum patterns, lead vocals and the overall arrangements are at this point what one might describe as radio-friendly. Radio-friendly melodic rock, and fairly smooth and silken at that, and the band's earlier occasional orientation towards progressive rock has been toned down alongside everything else. Opening track Esto Mundo still carries remnants of the intensity and progressive rock-tinged passages they once had, but on this occasion with stringer ties towards a band like Camel, although a more energetic organ sequence, reminding more of Eloy, does appear towards the end of this song. Most progressive rock fans will probably find the two-part instrumental cycle Saeta Ensayo to be the most interesting compositions on this production, both of them with some distinct nods towards the more accessible parts of Camel in terms of sound and style, but otherwise this part of the double CD package "Lost in Time" is one that will be more of interest for fans of melodic radio-friendly rock of the 70's. A further point of notice for both the CDs in this set is that the songs appeared to have been recovered from vinyl albums rather than the original master tapes. Which means that you'll encounter a fair few snaps and pops along the way, as well as the crackling sounds that come with the territory as far as old vinyl LPs are concerned.
Conclusion. Storm is a band whose material indeed does merit a CD release. They were a talented band back in the day, and especially their debut album and its hard rock foundation with progressive rock details and occasional full-song excursions into this realm an interesting one also 40 years later. Their second album isn't by far as interesting, more of a time typical excursion into radio-friendly melodic rock in terms of general style, but still with occasional, albeit subdued, slight nods towards progressive rock. A band and a production that merits a check by those who find ‘70s hard rock, melodic rock and progressive rock to be of a fairly equal interest as far as musical taste is concerned.
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