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Amarok - Gouveia 2005 CD (album) cover

GOUVEIA 2005

Amarok

 

Prog Folk

4.04 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent live performance!

Amarok are a band from Spain whose music offers a vast quantity of elements, here we can listen a mixture of symphonic prog with folk rock and even some jazzy tunes that together produce the own and particular Amarok sound. Now after six years of the original concert, they took the decision of releasing this album with a particular story, because (according to the booklet) this was meant to be a DVD but due to some bad luck the video data disappeared. However, the audio was still saved and Robert Santamaría (Amarok's leader) decided to give it a chance and releasing it as a CD, in order to give their fans a taste of their live sound.

Fortunately I was able to see them twice in Mexico, when they came two years in a row in a festival called FestivAlternativo, held in the city of Querétaro. Since then, I was amazed by their good vibes, their enthusiasm and more important, by their music. They did a great work, all the musicians were first-class performers so the concerts were a complete success; of course, I got interested in their music and acquired some of their albums. That relationship with our country is now stronger than ever, because this "Gouveia 2005" album was produced by Mexican label Azafrán Media, so their music can be found in my country in an easy way.

Well, as I mentioned this album was recorded in 2005 as a part of Gouveia's festival held in Portugal. The performance consisted of nine songs that bring a total time of 66 minutes. The show opens with "M'Goun" taken from their 2000 album "Tierra de especias". Here we can begin to understand their style, which is that wonderful mixture of musical genres taking the folkish elements as the most important and representatives. I like the Spanish style of this song, complemented by the cool guitar riffs and the symphonic keyboards at the end of the track. Flute, piano and sax are also important here.

"El mestre de la caverna" continues with that folkish and symphonic style. The vocals in Spanish give their own style, I always prefer bands and musician singing in their native language, it brings with it the cultural background. In this song the wind instruments play a wonderful role, putting the necessary nuances and textures, it can be better appreciated after minute four, with a beautiful instrumental passage.

"Quentadharkën" is the longest track and probably the one that clicked with me when I saw them, that's why I immediately bought the album with the same title. This is a 15-minute odyssey to the realm of Amarok, here we can find several structures fractured and made into one, instrumental passages that are very visual, the images fall down as leaves so we can build our own story; there are changes in time and mood, in moments the music becomes more emotional, in others it brings beauty and peace, mainly due to the winds (sax and flute), which are perfectly complemented by piano or keyboards, and the mandatory guitar. When I listen to this piece I have a wonderful trip to all the Amarok states, because the music changes very often, offering a diversity of passages and a salad of sounds, with some nice lyrics performed by a great female voice. Excellent!

To follow with the same album they played "Hsieh" which is a wonderful song with a mystical sound and that inherent folkloric touch. The guitar work is excellent though what we perceive more are the winds and drums. The music has a kind of medieval tune mixed with a Canterbury-esque style, and the always predominant European roots. The first four minutes are completely instrumental, and then the voice enters with a flamenco flavor in moments; then the music continues for some minutes until it vanishes. The next song is "Mujer Luna", a shorter piece but full of cadence and richness of sounds. The folk is present with a mid-east flavor here; the rhythm is catchy, so one can even sing it without a problem.

In "The Last of the Lasts" the band introduced a man called Jebediah Springfield, who they know in the Prog Day Fest in 2004, and he accompanied them to Gouveia in order to tell a story. He speaks for a couple of minutes while soft music is being prepared, then he stops and the music continues in a joyful way; I honestly imagine it as the background of a Hobbit party. "La Espiral" is a great song once again with a mid-east flavor; here we can enjoy a delicious flute accompanied by the great voice and wonderful percussion, I am afraid there is a table here. The last two minutes are emotive and more intense, with great keyboards and electric guitar that bring the rock element and a heavier sound.

"La última expedición" is a wonderful song that has a fusion touch in its sound, mainly in the first minute due to the keyboards, bass and drums. Later it changes a little bit with the entrance of the vocals, however, the essence is still the same and the song develops an exquisite example of symphonic fusion prog, if that genre exists. The performance finishes with "Laberintos de piedra" which is one of the most dynamic and exciting songs of Amarok, in my humble opinion. It starts again with that jazzy sound created by winds, but later they add constant drums, vocal games, cool bass lines and funky guitars, making a challenging mixture that give as a result a very solid song. This is a great epilogue to a great concert, here everything is happiness.

What a great show, memories were brought back while listening o it so now I want to see them again sometime soon. Well, if you don't know them, I recommend you to listen to them, you will not regret.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |

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