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(39:33; The Foxholes)
TRACK LIST: 1. Cruzada 6:54 2. Orbe 5:31 3. Vepar 5:58 4. Who Do You Think You Are? 4:21 5. Foxholesque 10:15 6. La Sed Que Yo Tengo 6:34 LINEUP: Jonah A. Luke - vocals, guitars, programming Angel Millan - drums, percussion Max “Mojo” Moritz - bass with: Maese 1001 - programming, synths
Prolusion. Spanish band THE FOXHOLES have been an active entity ever since 2006, with the current line-up of the band staying solid since 2017. They have released material at a steady pace over the years, with one live album and seven studio albums to their name so far. "Foxholesque" is their most recent production, and was self-released by the band in the fall of 2020.
Analysis. While I see that this band tag their albums on Bandcamp with many familiar phrases revolving around progressive rock, my main impression is that they by and large isn't what one might describe as a straight cut or purebred progressive rock band. They certainly pull in elements from the progressive rock universe into their creations, and enough of them to be of interest to many progressive rock fans too, but the core of the band strikes me as being closer to classic hard rock of the kind that rose to prominence back in the 1970's. From the get go we are treated to a couple of tracks here that gives me a distinct hard rock feeling, with Deep Purple possibly a reference for the opening song 'Cruzada', but with a light flavoring of subtle psychedelic elements that enrich and enliven the proceedings alongside what I'd describe as a dampened shade of Porcupine Tree being something of a presence. Second cut 'Orbe' is less easy to instantly classify in terms of sound, mood and atmosphere for me, and also features more distinct psychedelic traces, especially in an engaging recurring motif throughout the song. From a progressive rock fans point of view the next song 'Vepar' is more interesting, revolving around dark orchestral patterns, nervous light toned strings and vocals for the first half, developing and tightening these two layers accompanying the vocals as guitars and rhythms are added for a more hard rock oriented second half. The only English language song on this album is next, and 'Who Do You Think You Are' is a creation that for me sounds like late 70's Pink Floyd given a slight veneer of the at times eerie atmospheres of Blue Oyster Cult, if that makes any sense. The title track 'Foxholesque' is another slight step to the left, more expressive and with a beefier riff driving this song from the start and in the next ten minutes Floydian landscapes combines with a slight fragrance of Krautrock, psychedelic details and hard rock momentum to create quite the thrilling and hypnotic affair. The CD version of this album concludes with the song 'La Sed Que Yo Tengo', which is the opening track from the band's 2011 album "bRutal". Here we are back to a song with a more distinct hard rock core and beefy, cutting guitar riffs as the dominant aspects with careful synth details and a noise pattern on top, with 80's era Rush style soft keyboard details introduced around the halfway stage and becoming more aggressive as well as dominant before the song reach the end. The songs and the album as such probably aren't as expressive and challenging as these descriptions may make it sound like, but what I am sure of is that this is quite the enjoyable album experience. The somewhat eccentric mix and blend of sounds, moods and atmospheres, alongside the mainly Spanish lyrics, will probably limit the audience of this album a bit. Which is a shame, as this is a really well made and rewarding album for those with the patience to give it a few spins.
Conclusion. While I am not quite willing to say that The Foxholes deliver purebred progressive rock on "Foxholesque", I will say that their progressive rock flavored, slightly eccentric brand of hard rock is a striking and at times brilliant sounding affair. Hypnotic, compelling and somewhat unpredictable, and music created and crafted in a manner that should appeal to many progressive rock fans as well as those with a taste for slightly off kilter hard rock. And while there aren't really any striking similarities in sound and style as such, I wouldn't be all that surprised if The Foxholes should appeal quite a bit to fans of a band like Blue Oyster Cult. This due to what one might describe as common oddball qualities, even if markedly different in nature.
Progmessor: October 2020
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