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(42:51, Musea Records / Rock Symphony)
TRACK LIST: 1. Orbita 9:51 2. Abismo Azul 3:41 3. Aquantica 5:42 4. Salinas 5:30 5. Chronos 4:42 6. Orion 13:25 LINEUP: Thiago Albuquerque - piano, synthesizers Daniel Leite - guitars Priamo Brandao - bass Henrique Penna - drums, percussion With: Mario Neto - bass
Prolusion. Brazilian band ULTRANOVA cites 2012 as the year the band officially was formed, and following some years of development the band signed to Brazilian label Rock Symphony, who released their debut album in 2017. As is frequently the case for this label, they released it as a joint release with French label Musea Records, as each label distribute and sell their releases to different marketplaces.
Analysis. Instrumental progressive rock is one of the more difficult types of progressive rock to master, no matter what variety of it you choose to explore. Personally I suspect that the main challenge is to create material that is as interesting to the general listener as to a fellow musician, and that perhaps a few too many artists will have a natural inclination to create material that align more with the latter category of listeners. Many have recorded and released good quality albums that explore various incarnations of instrumental progressive rock, and this Brazilian band is another addition to that list. Besides being instrumental, what is obviously of interest is just where this band heads in their excursions. And the answer to that is, well, a bit here and there actually. The opening cut here is, pretty much, an affair that for me comes across as a meeting of minds between late 70's Camel and early 80's King Crimson. We get the atmospheric, dream-laden landscapes of the former and the more dissonant and challenging details from the latter, explored in a fine manner but without any superlatives being lured from me to describe the end result. A fine song, but not to the point of being breathtaking. We are then taken on a ride through a few different landscapes, ranging from delicate and almost ambient with a new age touch to gnarly, sparse and challenging, and a nice little highlight appearing with the rather charming jazz and funk flavored Salinas, one of the two standout tracks on this album. The second highlight comes at the very end, with a magnificent 13 minute creation that opens in a manner not too unlike the opening cut, but honing in more on a Camel-tinged expression initially, seguing over to some more dissonant Crimsonesque landscapes and then hitting full throttle with some sweet, compelling more heavy set and dramatic passages rounding up this creation. The final part featuring what I'd describe as an almost Wagnerian touch to the combination of drums, voice effects and drums.
Conclusion. In my book Ultranova is so far an emerging band, one that probably will have more of a niche appeal as far as this debut album is concerned, but still with a couple of nice gems to discover. My presumption is that those with a general fascination for instrumental progressive rock and a particular fascination for the likes of both Camel and King Crimson will be the ones most easily fascinated by this production, so if you feel you belong in this category this is one more album to add to your list of music that merits a check at some point.
Progmessor: February 27th, 2018
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