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Láquesis - Láquesis CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.99 | 52 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars One album and group from 2013 that well and truly slipped under the radar of many progressive rock fans was Argentinean band Láquesis and their debut self-titled work. Predominantly instrumental, the band deliver a thrilling symphonic prog masterwork performed with supreme musical taste and technical skill, perfectly bridging the sophistication of vintage sounds with some welcome heavy modern styles. The music is frequently driven by guitarist Guillermo Caminer, playing with a power not unlike that heard on the albums by Pendragon, and by the keyboards of Diego Actis, who delivers a rich and lavish sound throughout the disc, and despite plenty of epic drama, there's also a joyful and frequently uplifting quality to Láquesis' music that ensures symphonic fans will be in heaven.

Looking at the vocal pieces first, opener `Efecto Placebo' is not unlike moderns bands such as Aisles that mix strong vocal melodies with a dizzying array of prog-rock styles. It's mostly powered by heavy and brooding guitars, but despite one or two moments where the English vocals get a little awkward, Martin Puntonet's voice is actually full of confidence and true emotion. After a run of instrumental pieces, fifth track `Lemuria' starts as a gently melancholic folk ballad with acoustic guitar, weeping Mellotron flute, fragile piano and soft synth orchestration, but the Spanish vocals here, provided by bass player Ariel Loza, have a better flow and passion than the English ones on the opening track.

But it's the purely instrumental numbers that form the bulk of the album where the band and their musical talents are best displayed. The amount of instrumental sounds the band moves through starting during `Tema X', `Hamacamatic' and `Puestas de Sol' will make many other bands enviable. Late-night jazzy ruminations, slow-burn bluesy diversions, harder rock moments and classic grandiosity all seamlessly weave together, calmer serene passages with bombastic outbursts by way of a dizzying array of tempo changes expertly controlled by the powerhouse drumming of Martin Teglia. The keyboards especially are exquisite - ambient gentle synth washes, creeping gothic piano, spiralling Moog soloing and Hammond organ fire just a few examples. Ariel Loza's fluid bass slinks away in the background, always mixed loud and clear without ever intruding. Guillermo's guitars are full of epic and grand power . They'll be funky and grooving one second, heavy and blasting the next, but always atmospheric and burning with real soul, and they frequently convey a smouldering David Gilmour or Nick Barrett feel, which not many players can pull off so well. Throughout these pieces (and the whole album really), the band displays such control, that although they feature a wide variety of sounds and styles, they never come across as disjointed, instead perfectly flowing and transitioning together.

The album then delivers a four-part sixteen minute instrumental `Las Moiras' suite, bringing together all the skills displayed on the previous tracks to even great effect. A mix of vintage and modern flavours, it starts with a heavy metal driving guitar passage with suitably punchy drumming and break-neck nimble synth soloing that comes across like a mix of Neal Morse/Spock's Beard with the brooding outbursts of the Porcupine Tree albums from their final couple of years, and perhaps even a more varied take on Dream Theater's signature sound. The second movement begins as a pretty piano and acoustic guitar lament, before leaping into a jangly and adorable classic early 70's Genesis Moog whirl with a reflective fretless bass finale! In less than four minutes, the third movement darts through attacking heavy snarling guitar riffs and attacking drumming, delirious upbeat synth soloing with warm Hammond organ ripples and dreamy Pink Floyd mellow moments, and even a little space-rock mystery. The final fourth passage is a darkly dramatic orchestrated synth epilogue full of class and tasteful grandness with an uneasy tension.

2013-14 has offered several sublime symphonic and instrumental albums - Trion's `Funfair Fantasy', Willowglass' `The Dream Harbour', Phoenix Again's `Look Out' and the Mad Fellaz debut instantly come to mind, and this album can justifiably be placed alongside those examples. With so many selections of progressive related music to choose from in the modern era, the poorer and less interesting acts fall aside, but those that stand tall and proud with great music truly shine, and this is certainly the case with Láquesis and this album. Mark them down as a band to keep an eye on, and fans of progressive music in a proudly symphonic style should look into this band and their album right away, as it's one of the best modern symphonic releases of the last few years.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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