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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN

Crossover Prog • Argentina


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Rodrigo San Martin picture
Rodrigo San Martin biography
Rodrigo San Martín (born 8/14/88) is an Argentine progressive rock guitarist,composer and producer. He's a multi-instrumentalist who generally performs all the instruments in his albums.

As a solo artist he has released two albums: "1" (April 2010), Argentina's first 5.1 album, and "There's No Way Out" (November 2010), which features collaboratations from Serbian singer Jelena Persic and United States born Craig Kerley.

Rodrigo is also the lead guitarist and main composer of progressive rock band De Rien and mastermind (along Juan Manuel Torres) of Souls Ignite, a project involving some of Argentina's progressive rock main figures. He has worked with many artists as sessionist/producer, including prog acts Fernando Refay and Destino 101. He's also the organizer of the Close to the Edge Buenos Aires Prog Fest.

Rodrigo works a style that blends Progressive Rock, Pop/Rock, Metal, Funk/Rock, Classical music, Ambient and Jazz fusion.

Rodrigo San Martin official website

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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN discography


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RODRIGO SAN MARTIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 12 ratings
1
2010
3.82 | 16 ratings
There's No Way Out
2010
3.95 | 21 ratings
Eyes
2012
4.23 | 8 ratings
A Lullaby For Mankind
2014

RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.06 | 6 ratings
The Veil is Broken I: Childhood
2016
3.42 | 5 ratings
The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence
2016
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Veil is Broken III: Coming of Age
2016
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Veil is Broken IV: Decay
2017

RODRIGO SAN MARTIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Veil is Broken IV: Decay by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Veil is Broken IV: Decay
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Anesthetized

— First review of this album —
4 stars A few weeks ago Rodrigo San Martín released the last section of his multi release rock opera The Veil is Broken. Section four, titled "Decay", ends the story of failed fictional prog rocker Robin and his turn to the dark side: commercial music. He became an international superstar but payed the price too heavily and here we have an explicit description of his descent into oblivion.

The music and performances are top notch, like the rest of the Rock Opera, and the depressive feeling we are left is heartbreaking. It's a tragedy, there was no other way.

Stylistically this is a very diverse offering: from typical rock, to acoustic ballads, funky sections and symphonic metal tracks, all mixed together in the typical progressive style of Maestro San Martín.

1 - Lost: we start with a familiar feeling. This is the most "Rodrigo San Martín" sounding track on the album, genrewise. It's a short song (under 3 minutes), but features many elements that characterize the artist tyícal "sound": strong vocal melodies, nice motif development (from themes that appeared on the previous parts of this rock opera), great instrumental work (featuring electric guitar and a nice mellotron section), incisive lyrics and a contrast between soft and powerful sections. So many elements (this time compressed in under 3 minutes) make a great opener for this last part of The Veil is Broken.

2 - On the Road: at the end of The Veil is Broken III: Coming of Age we were left on the point where, Robin (our prog rocker protagonist) sold himself to the machine and became a pop sensation. Here we have a direct continuation of that: the lyrics tell us how immensly rich and famous he has became, how his insane life on the road is, what he has done with his fortune, etc

How is this topic presented musically? By a typical Arena rock song, with pre recorded crowd and drum solo included included, to simulate a live performance.

It's something completely different from anything we've heard on a Rodrigo San Martín album and it's actually quite good, if you have an open mind and want some diversity in your prog rock.

The lyrics also reveal that Robin is really unhappy and "empty inside" now that he has fulfilled his dreams of stardom.

3 - Summer: this is a beatiful acoustic piece with some very sad lyrics that deepen the existencial crisis our protagonist is in. It's curious the selection of Craig Kerley on vocals here, since he is prominently known for his powerful heavy metal vocals, but the result is fantastic.

The instrumental pallete is minimal: acoustic guitar, bass, flute and some tasteful mellotron.

4 - There's No Way Out: this is basically a Nightwish song on a Rodrigo San Martín album. Lyrical vocals are masterfully done by Canela Sol once more (like she did on Incomplete), with Charlie Giardina singing the chorus.

It is powerful, melodic, heavy and features stellar instrumentation. And it's not something you would expect on a Rodrigo San Martín album once again.

5 - Meant to Be: another small little acoustic ballad, this time sung by Giardina (and with beatiful backing vocals by Canela Sol on the chorus). Not prog by a million years. The lyrics start getting more upbeat on this one: it seems our protagonist has reconected with his lost love from his teenange years.

It may be a little bit too much on the cheesy-happy side for my taste, but on the depressive level the last few tracks were carrying this one feels like a cup of water on the desert.

6 - Unleashed: and things went badly for Robin once more. This one is almost a direct reprise from the "part 1" track Lost Out. It features piano much more prominently and features a killer solo from Mr. San Martín. Nice way to recall more familiar grounds, that immense chorus needed some exposure! (it couldn't just appear once on the whole album)

7 - Like There's No Tomorrow: this is a weird one. Is it some funk/heavy prog song? Is that even a thing?

Influences on this track appear to be Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jethro Tull, Metallica and Pink Floyd, all mixed together.

It's very good and it's the most progressive track on section 4: great work by drummer Mike Buenaventura Lima and amazing vocal performance by Osvaldo Mellace.

8 - Time to Realize You'll Never Open Your Eyes: the album closes with a small acoustic piece featuring both male a female singers. It's astonishingly sad and beautiful, but a little underwhelming considering it's the ending to a 2 hour long piece of conceptual prog rock.

I signed up on this site to review this immense conceptual work Rodrigo San Martin promised us. I've reviewed the four sections that comprise the rock opera but I feel my work is not complete.

Rodrigo San Martín messed up: he should've released the whole thing as a whole, it's clear he composed it to be one two hour long piece of music (and if you add that the album was written to be played in random and have all the songs segue into each other in every possible order, more so).

I rate this last section four stars, but I think the four parts considered as a whole album, are undounteldly one of Argentina's finest prog offerings of the 21st century.

 A Lullaby For Mankind by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 8 ratings

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A Lullaby For Mankind
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Anesthetized

5 stars After the success of his third album (Eyes), Rodrigo San Martín was in a tough place: how do you follow such a critically acclaimed masterpiece? This might seem like an overstatement to you, but his figure in the argentine prog scene was becoming more and more important, specially after his breakthrough album Eyes, and the formation of the super group Vanished from Earth (which had released a fantastic album the year before)

San Martín chose to rely on his strenghts: the long songs. And he wrote his longest to date. A Lullaby for Mankind is a one song album much in the vein of Thick as a Brick, but it was divided into 18 shorter tracks.

To back him up on this ambitious project he chose a few recurring figures from his latest album (Jelena Perisic and Fernando Refay) and a few new faces: Osvaldo Mellace on vocals, Robert Lynch on Bass and Michael Black on drums.

The result is fantastic but the album was, mostly, overlooked even on the argentine prog scene and I can't understand why. Maybe the attention was drawn into Vanished from Earth. Maybe it was because the album was never presented live (and up to this day San Martin has never performed any music from A Lullaby for Mankind). Maybe it was because of it's deeply antireligious content. Or maybe it was just because the promotion was non existent. Playing the whole album on a radio station was impossible, and the 18 tracks in which it was divided where not really independent enough to work well on their own. Eyes, on the other hand, has very strong short songs that were completely independent of the bulk of the album and that worked fantastic as singles.

1 - A Lullaby for Mankind I (Intro): instrumental introduction to the album featuring some amazing keyboard passages by Fernando Refay, as well as guitar solos and riffs by Mr. San Martín. This is a typical Sanmartinian overture (like Chao's Obertura and The Veil is Broken's Before my Eyes), featuring many passages that would be developed later on the album. At least it seems that way in retrospect, but it's the first time this compositional technique (which would be much more polished on future releases) appears on a Rodrigo San Martín album.

2 - A Lullaby for Mankind II: the first vocal piece (sung by the lovely Jelena Perisic, one of San Martín's main partners in crime) is a nice acoustic section with a slown buildup and a steady rhythm. The melodies, as expected, are deeply beautiful and are the focal point here.

3 - The Sky Falls Down: the electric guitar and hammond organ make an entrance, followed by the powerful vocals of Osvaldo Mellace (who is considered the Argentine Greg Lake, in my country). Here the album starts taking a metallic Jethro Tull sound and we are presented with a great guitar solo.

4 - The Masterplan: after the storm we are faced with the calm once more. A beautiful guitar arpeggio over which Mellace sings a heartfelt melody. The melodic bass work by Mr Robert Lynch is the centerpiece of the first section of this track. The second part of it is comprised of a crescendo revolving around a vocal line sung by both Mellace and Perisic that is breathtaking.

5 - Intermission I: when we think we would have a resolution to the beautiful crescendo of the last piece we are interrupted by this short jazzy interlude which the band pulls with grace and groove. San Martín guitar sounds like Pat Metheny and Refay's piano solo puts him up there with the best keyboardists in Argentina. Nice Walk section in a weid time signaure at the end.

6 - The Dark Ages: this section sounds like San Martín's first albums. It's dark prog metal, filled with strange time signatures and mellotron, the hindu vocal intersections by Perisic and the synth solos have the trademark Sanmartinian sound. It's odd that the chorus itself, sung by Mellace, was chosen to be calm rather tan continue the power that came before and after. Great track, one of the best parts of the album. Kudos to Mr Refay once more for his excelent moog solos.

7 - Colonization: how can you follow such an epic number? By doing something completely different. Colonization is a flamenco piece sung in spanish by Mellace (about the conquest of the Americas) and has San Martin kick ass (Paco de Lucia style) on the nylon string guitar, as well as a terrific piano solo by Refay.

8 - Intermission II: a nice bass riff by Mr Lynch is followed by another grand hammond solo by Fernando Refay. This is a great rock intermission before...

9 - A Lullaby for Mankind III: the reexposition of the themes from track two. The crescendo from track four comes as well, but this time it's not interrupted by anything and flourishes beautifully into a Grand Prog Climax featuring San Martin´s trademark epic guitar sound (reminiscent of his own Con los Ojos Abiertos). This is the moment of the piece we have been teased and when it actually arrives is just fantastic.

10 - Two Children are Born: Pinkfloydish ambient sounds, Oldfieldean piano riff and crazy interruptions by the band in full power that make you jump off your seat.

11 - He's Here: this one reminds me of pre-The Yes Album Yes. Verse sung by Perisic and Mellace over a moving rhythm, chorus sung by both. There's a flute intersection presenting one important melody that would become recurrent on the album, and a terrific solo, once again, by Rodrigo San Martín, where he showscases both his clean and distorted sounds. There is also a Tull vibe somewhere in there.

12 - No One Knew: ALL CHANGE. Groovy bass, electronic drums and rhodes chords over which Mellace sings sensually. The chorus is completely different: acoustic guitar, string arrangements, mellotron and Jelena Perisic singing a precious melody. What's keeping this giant song together since it features so many different styles? The fantastic development of the core themes, that appear thruought all the album, giving logic and consistence to the Song as a whole.

13 - Mass: a perfect example of what I was saying. Rodrigo manages to pull of a gregorian chant section, sung by Canela Sol (who will appear much more in later albums), how does he does this? Well the main theme from Colonization appears, not in a flamenco style this time, but played in a moog synthesizer and backed by a church organ (making it sound completely logical after the gregorian a capella chant).

14 - The Sky Falls Down II: the vocal piece from track three appears, this time sung by Jelena Perisic instead of Mellace, and it's followed by crazy solos by San Martín and Refay.

15 - For Everyone to See: A weird waltz (in an odd time signature) sung by the always lovely Perisic. The polyphonic section at the end sounds like Queen.

16 - We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen I: the track turns rockier once more witha strong guitar and flute riff. Nice vocal line delivered by Perisic.

17 - We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen II: All the intensity that has been building since the beggining finds it's climax here as the bands let's all it's power loose in an instrumental track featuring the virtuosic duel between moog and guitar.

18 - Coda: after the progressive explosion of the previous track we are left in creepy fade out where San Martín plays in his trademark Gilmour style over the piano riff from track 10. The album ends in a sad manner and it's beauitiful.

So, did San Martín manage to beat his own Eyes? I don't really know. He did manage to pull off the one song album and showed a remarkable inspiration to do something so different but still being in touch with his own sound (that had come to perfection in the preevious album)

Like all this guy's discopgrahy, it's free on bandcamp.

 The Veil is Broken III: Coming of Age by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Veil is Broken III: Coming of Age
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Anesthetized

4 stars Around Chrismas 2016 Rodrigo San Martín released the third part of his giant Rock Opera The Veil is Broken. Part 3 is where the action begins to take a dark turn. Robin loses his best friend, and bandmate, the one that kept him focused, and with him his mind. Or not. It's up to the listener.

San Martin has stated in interviews that the third and fourth part of the album could happen as they're told, or they could simply be one of Robin's escapes into his own minds to protect himself.

What's told here is that after the death of his friend Robin leaves his prog band and takes the offer (made in part 2) to go solo as a pop artist. He sells out and becomes a pop phenomenon. The whole part 3 (Coming of Age) is about this moral choice.

Like expected, Rodrigo San Martin kept his promise. The five tracks from part three fuse work perfectly and fuse into any of the ten songs we already had from parts 1 and 2. All fifteen tracks can be played in any order and any song flows into the next.

So what about the music? It's amazing.

1 - The Veil is Broken: the 12 minute title track of the Rock Opera strikes a personal nerve on the argentine prog public since it adresses an event that marked a generation by fire. In 1982 Argentina and England engaged in a war for the Malvinas Islands. As you can imagine a confrontation between two uneven forces only had one result.

In Rodrigo San Martín's Rock Opera this war has a deep impact on Robin, the protagonist, whose dear and only friend John dies. This is THE TURNING POINT in the whole story since Robin relied on John to keep him grounded to reality.

The track starts with the audio from defacto president Galtieri declaring war on England and the whole crowd in Plaza de Mayo, excited as hell, chanting "Juremos con gloria morir" (which is a part of Argentina'as national anthem and means " we swear to die gloriously"). In those days Argentina was ruled by force by a millitary government (the one that killed 30000 people because they opposed them) and they sent children between the ages of 18 and 20 to fight the war. The result was catastophic. The ones that made it alive were scared for life.

Rodrigo's lyrics are very deep, thoughtful and sad. The subject is very polemic up to this day on my country. He focuses on the personal side of the conflict, and pictures the event as the last desperate attempt of the military government to control it's population by finding "a common enemy". He reflects on the brainwashing of the crowds, who excitedly chant for their own imminent death and the pointlessnes of it all. It's not that the cause was not fair (Malvinas are actually on argentine territory), it's that it could've been done via diplomacy, and this uneven and desperate war would never be the answer.

Robin, the protagonist loses his mind and his one an only friend and is a clear reflection of his own generation.

Enough about context. The music is absolutely breathtaking and perfectly portrays all the emotions and situations characteristic of such a somber and important theme. Here we have everything: Deeply sad melodies sung by Canela Sol and Charlie Giardina, emotional guitar solos by Maestro San Martín, prog metal, acoustic sections, tremendous choruses, you name it you have it. Special note must be taken to the instrumental crescendo that builds from a piano solo by Refay to the most amazing instrumental duel in a section that clearly represents the battlefield.

Incredible track.

2 - My Time is Gone: the second one is completely different. An acoustic crescendo piece sung my Osvaldo Mellace with backing vocals from Sol that kind of reminds me of Solsbury Hill. This is not unintentional, as Rodrigo has stated in many interviews this simillitude in "style" with Gabriel's song to represent various things: Robin is obsessed with Peter Gabriel and is actually considering leaving his prog band to go solo, the lyrics don't only reflect about that but the use of his quotes from the prog genre (specially The Lamb, which is Gabriel/Rael's epic journey to find his very own John, who turns out to be himself) mimic the character own personal lost on the track that went before. This is very smart and it made me think of the whole subtext that I've been missing on the lyrics on the first and second part of the Rock Opera.

The result is simply beautiful. It is clearly one of my favourite songs from the Rock Opera as a whole.

3 - The Time has Come: a very short metal track that starts with a crazy arrangement and features mainly Craig Kerley's powerful vocals. The chorus is particulary catchy with it's chant "The Time has come and there's nothing I can do or say, the time has come I am Banished from the Earth"

If you're not familiar with argentine prog Vanished from Earth was a prog super group formed by Rodrigo San Martín, Fernando Refay, Mike Buenaventura Lima, Nacho Gulich and Charlie Giardina. The band released their one and only (and great) album in 2013 and split shortly before Rodrigo released the album. 4 out of 5 of the members of the group perform here as well.

I think I'm not overstretching in saying this but the parallel between Rodrigo and Robin is more present than ever here: they both just left their bands to go solo. I never thought about this relationship between composer and character, and it adds a whole new dimension to an already dense sand rich storyline.

To those not immersed in the argentine scene, imagine if Roger Waters had a chorus on his first solo album that went: " I AM PINK FLOYD".

Well, unlike Waters, San Martín continues to work and play with his old bandmates up to this day.

4 - Sellout!: track number four is what the name says it is. Robin sells out and becomes a pop sensation in the 80's. The songs sounds exactly as what it promises: a pop song. Canela Sol sings it beautifully and the song is actually quite good. The lyrics could be about someone breaking up with their significant other, or about a band breaking up. Not really the kind of music I want to listen to in a Rodrigo San Martín album, but I understand it's crucial point in the story.

5 - Absolutely No Commercial Potential: on the other hand this is what I like the most. Rodrigo's long songs are always the highlight of his records and this is no exception. Craig Kerley sings in ful power mode, onde more, on this kind of progressive punk piece. The riffs are great, the melodies fantastic and the solos (again by San Martin and Refay) are to die for, but the best part of the track is the crazy instrumental section around minute 6:43.

Go get this album, it's free on Bandcamp, as well as the rest of the Rock Opera.

 The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.42 | 5 ratings

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The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Anesthetized

4 stars A few months after the release of the (initially) underwhelming Childhood section we are presented with the second part of this enormous rock opera.

The Veil is Broken II: Adolescense, like I said in my previous review, is what made me break the initial disillusion with San Martín's monumental project and opened my eyes to the fantastic underlying themes that live trough the entire piece.

After listening to this section it became much clearer that the Childhood section was much more than I originally thought. Even so I still believe San Martín should've gone with his original plan to release the full two hour rock opera as a whole, without track order, rather than divide it in sections.

1 - Song of 1972: WOW! Rodrigo San Martín must have performed a ritual of some sort to channel the spirit of the 70's into this epic track. This is the point of the story where Robin falls in love with progressive rock (in 1972) and the track is aperfectly done ode to all the classic artists. It starts with a terrific hammond organ intro that reminds of ELP's Tarkus. Tremendous job of keyboardist Fernando Refay, with his amazing solos. One of the main themes of the albuma appears completely deformed on the mellotron just before we head into a beautiful acoustic section that sounds like something Ian Anderson would come up with. The vocals are handled by the always amazing Craig Kerley, in this section showing he can sing the subtle parts as well as he does the most powerful ones. The piano work on the background reminds of Wakeman and the bass is clearly Squire- inspired. The Tull influence continues into rockier territories, even with a cooll guitar duel between Rodrigo's flute and electric guitar. The next section is a rockier tune featuring Kerley's full power and amazing drum work by Mike Buenaventura Lima, remining of Bonzo. Up next we have a weird but truly exciting section where a hammond organ solo and a flute one collide with each other over the main rocker riff of the previous section wich, after wich we are left on the Gentle Giant part of the piece. Rodrigo let loose all of his classic influences and we a are presented with an acapella section full of counterpoint. After this the tremendous duel between Refay's keyboards and San Martín's guitar drive the song with amazing virtuosity (and reminding us of a Howe - Wakeman kind of relationship) to take us to the GRAND FINALE of this amazing epic. Craig Kerley returns with the chorus of the first acoustic section but backed by the full band, that then launches into an amazing guitar solo full of grandeur. It's a clear reference to the ending of Supper's Ready and an amazing one at that.

The references to prog classics are not only musical, but lyrical as well.

Song of 1972 is my favorite Rodrigo San Martín song. An epic so awesome and full of resources, fantastic melodies and musicianship that any fan of prog rock will enjoy immensly.

2 - Incomplete: How can you follow such an amazing retro- inspired track? By doing something completely different. This is a song that is completely new in style to anything Rodrigo has done in all of his previous albums.

The ingredients? Canela Sol's operatic vocals, Fernando Refay's piano and a string arrangement by San Martin.

The result? The most beautiful and unexpected piece of music in argentine prog.

It's this track that makes Canela Sol one of the greatest voices in the whole prog scene.

3 - Auditions: This is a short song rock - pop - proggy song featuring the vocals of Osvaldo Mellace, and much more in a traditional San Martin vein. Great melodies, nice instrumental intro and a memorable chorus that wouldn't be out of place in a Rush album. Like Superstar in the first part of the Rock Opera this song is much more intrincate that we could notice on first listens.

4 - No Destiny: the second ballad of the EP features the emotional vocals of Charlie Giardina and sounds like a power ballad from the 80's. Once again, something completely unexpected from a Rodrigo San Martín album. Not my cup of tea, but I gotta admit it's very well done.

5 - Never: and we are back in prog rock territory after a few tracks of compositional experimentation. Never is a terrific song that has a very clear 70's Rush influence. Rodrigo San Martín's band reduced to a power trio is something to behold and they utilize the extra space left by the lack of keyboards (until needed, in a manner similar to Rush). Both Mike Buenaventura Lima on Drums and San Martín's bass and guitar lines are terrific, and Charlie Giardina's vocals are fantastic.

An edited version of the track was chosen as single for the whole rock opera but it's full version is much more exciting.

Check it out, the album's free on bandcamp.

 The Veil is Broken I: Childhood by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.06 | 6 ratings

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The Veil is Broken I: Childhood
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Anesthetized

3 stars Rodrigo San Martin might be an unfamiliar name to those outside the argentine prog scene from Argentina, but he has steadily been becoming one of the most important figures in the resurgence of the progressive/symphonic genre in my country for the last decade. Besides being a fantastically creative and prolific musician his efforts don't just stay on the musical side of things. He leads La Resistencia Progresiva Argentina, a group of progressive rock bands from Buenos Aires with the objective of promoting the genre via different initiatives such as free festivals (five Baires Prog Fests with different bands in 2016 and early 2017 alone), as well as the 7/4 Awards to Argentine Prog (voted by the actual musicians from 35 prog bands themselves), and many more.

I was very eager for this Rock Opera which Rodrigo has been teasing his fans for two years now and my first reaction was underwhelmed. He decided to divide his 2 hour album in four parts and I think it was a bad choice.

Not that any of them are bad, they're actually pretty good, but the hype just couldn't be matched.

Let's go back a few years. Rodrigo San Martín released his seminal album Eyes in 2012, the Vanished from Earth debut in 2013 and two absolutely marvelous gems in 2014 called A Lullaby from Mankind and Souls Ingite's Chaos. This is an impressive album streak that was followed by a grand announcement: a 2 hour long rock opera with one particular detail. It wouldn't have a tracklist, it was written to be played in shuffle mode.

All of the 20ish songs would flow into any of the other, creating a giant mega-epic that was meant to be completely different (but always coherent) every time you listened to it.

This is insane, the possibilities, not just by the random mode, but also the posibility to invent the perfect track order for every user. He even mentioned that the story behind this big concept was a mistery the listener had to solve for himself.

So finally, two years after the announcement I had before my eyes the first part of this over-ambitious project. But Rodrigo San Martín changed his mind. He thought that 2 hours of music would be too much for the common audience and split the album in four pieces, representing the four stages of the protagonist's life. Well, there goes the mistery and the customizable of track order...

I couldn't help myself really, after so much hype and anticipation I was presented with only a five song ep (20 minutes) that narrated the childhood of the character, instead of a two hour long mega-epic. This feeling continued after the first few spins. The music is, of course, magnificently composed and performed by Rodrigo and his all star Argentine band (as well as an international guest), but my expectations where too many to be fulfilled. On his behalf I gotta say that his promise was met: any order of the 5 tracks flows into the other four, making a 20 min epic that works in any order.

It was a few months later when Rodrigo released the second part of the Opera (The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence) that things started to make more sense. That section started with a 12 min epic called Song of 1972 that kicked so much ass that had me hypnotized for a few weeks. I listened to it endlessly until I became very familiar with most of it's (ever appearing) details and themes. And then I got it.

I gotta admit that this track was so good that I had never actually listened to the rest of the album, to avoid further let downs. But I finally did it and I was in love with the music. THIS is the Rodrigo San Martín album I was expecting all this years.

So I took note of his original claims and made a playlist with Part One and Part Two of the album and everything suddenly clicked.

The Veil is Broken I: Childhood now made complete sense. I could see the genesis of the musical themes that where developed and intertwined on the Adolescense part, and they where glorious.

The ten songs from the first two segments, once again, followed Rodrigo's original announcement. They all flow into any of the other, and now we can make a 45 minute ever-changing epic.

The release of part three around christmas 2016 only augmented my feelings for the album and I decided to review thw whole damn thing, so I sat down with part one once again and found it deeply beautiful.

1 - Left out: beautiful chorues guitar arppegios over a keyboard drone start the album and we meet Charlie Giardina's emotional vocals narrating the inner struggles of a child who can't find his place in the world so he decides to hide away on his own fantasies. Rodrigo San Martín's compositional skills and melody- crafting are his main abilities and he knows full well how to take advantafe of his strenghts. The final chorus, after a slow and creepy mellotron build up, where backing singer Canela Sol fuses her voice with Giardina's is orgasmic.

2 - Before my Eyes: my opinion on this track have varied a lot over time. The first time I heard it I was excited because the band was playing at full strenght in this instrumental piece, but I found it's lack of a recognizable "form" to be really confusing. No part of this five minute song repites anywhere making it really hard to remember or recognize. Al the melodies are great and the solos are terrific, but I could't realy find the meaning in this track. It was weird for such a great composer to ignore "Form" altogether, since it was always one of his main ingredients. When I heard the second part of the rock opera, and analyzed al the themes from Song of 1972 I got it, and it was confirmed when Part 3 came out. FORM is not lacking in Before my Eyes at all. It's an overture for the whole album and utilizes (one after the other) all the main themes that appear in all four parts of the rock opera. (that's why it's called Before my Eyes, like your life flashing before your eyes before dying). When I realized this I found a lot of themes that already appeared on other tracks on the Childhood section being performed here very differently and it became one of my favourite songs.

3 - Back to the Promised Land: this is a slow acoustic song sung by Osvaldo Mellace, with backing vocals once again by Canela Sol. It's quite beautiful and that's pretty much there is to say to it. It's theme was foreshadowed on the previous track but it reaches it's most beautiful form on a track from Part 3 of the rock opera called My Time is Gone.

4 - Superstar: this tracks, just like Before my Eyes, summarize my first impresions of the album: at first listen it was just a simple rock song and I was let down by it. Yes, it's sounds good, but I expect much more intricancies from someone like Rodrigo San Martin (specially after sucha mellow track as Back to the Promised Land). Upon further analisis I started to find many interesting details that were lost on my first dismissal of it. The flute work (done by San Martin himself) is amazing and reminds of Ian Anderson, as is the killer guitar solo in the middle section. Mellace's vocals are great, with his very Greg Lakeasque voice. It just when I started to write this review that I noticed that the beat of the song is not 4/4 but 7/4. Not a simple rock song after all...

5 - Epica: the final track of the EP is a proper prog-folk track. It starts with a beautiful harpsichord medieval intro (featuring one of the main themes, which was so well hidden that I had to listen to it in the apotheosis of Song of 1972 to realize that it had been foreshadowed many times on the first EP). Craig Kerleys powerful vocals carry the song into orchestral heavy prog territory. There's is a fantastic instrumental duel between between Rodrigo San Martín's guitar and Fernando Refay's synths on the height of the track, before fusing into a wonderful unison that brings us back to the the main chorus and Kerley's raw power.

And the song doens't end. I didn't understand it at first, but if it ended it woudn't flow into the others...

So, The Veil is Broken: Childhood is the first part of a super ambitious rock opera and it's very good indeed, but I think Rodrigo made a mistake by separating it into four parts, and the one that suffers the most from the absence of the whole opera is this one.

Even so, The Veil is Broken (or at least the three out of four parts that have been released by the time I wrote this) is a remarkable effort from one (if not THE) best composer of modern latin american prog. And it actually FULFILLS it's inital hype, when listened as a whole.

Give it a try, it's free on bandcamp.

 The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.42 | 5 ratings

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The Veil is Broken II: Adolescence
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars The second part of this tetralogy is now on bandcamp. The story is about the rise and fall of a musician and we are still in the rising phase. The reason why this concept album has been split in 4 parts is that rodrigo San Martin has thought that a 2 hours concept album can be too long, so this is a sort of "serial album".

The first track scores over 10 minutes and after a start reminding of EL&P moves into heavier sounds. Having listened to Rodrigo's albums since his first release I can't not notice the big improvement he has done. Even being a multi-instrumentist he has given up to the idea of playing all alone and he has shown a "talent" in choosing his partners. In particular the keyboardist Fernando Refay, also on PA with his solo works, gives a remarkable effort.

Back to the track, it has a number of sudden changes like a Mike Oldfield's suite, but this doesn't disturb and the dialogue between guitar and keys on different themes is very good. The closure is very '70s like, in line with the track title. A good track suddenly ending. a "Incomplete" is very melodic. Based on piano and keyboards (I think played by Rodrigo) with the operatic vocals of Canela Sol. A nice song followed by a sort of 70s pop intro.

"Auditions" guitar riff sounds quite British. The song is interesting and is followed by another melodic rock song: "No Destiny" has a particular mood. In the chorus it has something of 80s hair metal, including a very good guitar riff. The very clean vocals sound very appropriate in this song.

Finally, "Never" closes the album with an attack reminding of "The Who" (at least for me), followed by a bass riff. It's a 2 minutes intro to a rock song, and...yes, it reminds me to the Who. Not a bad thing, isn't it? Let's also add that the keyboards sound a bit Wakemanian.

So, don't forget that this is part of a concept album. I don't know how I could rate it in its entirety (even if I've already leistened to the remaining unreleased parts. I'm giving 3 stars by now but the whole concept deserves surely more.

Get it on bandcamp.

 The Veil is Broken I: Childhood by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.06 | 6 ratings

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The Veil is Broken I: Childhood
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars This is very funny...I'm an idiot. I have reviewed this EP by Rodrigo San Martin having in mind Alejandro Matos. It's like reviewing The Dark Side of The Moon thinking it's a YES album...

So the minimum I can do is rewrite it completely. What impressed me at the first listen was the big difference between this album and the "previous" one. Of course! It was another artist...

Anyway, Rdrigo San Martin has been so kind to share with me the complete work of which this EP is only the first of 4 parts. The whole is a concept album in AYREON's style: I mean a rock opera with different singers each interpreting a character.As it's not released yet, the only thing I will say about the complete opera is that there are songs like the 11 minutes title track which are very impressive.

The story is about the rise and fall of a prog artist in the 80s and this first part, the only one already released, is about his childhood and youth. The music is well performed and arranged and the talented singers add value to the songs.

The EP starts with a neo-prog touch which I could compare to Hogarth's Marillion, but it quickly becomes more rocking so that it can be defined a prog-metal act. Very good guitar supported by keys and an excellent rhythmic section. The comparison with AYREON is the first which came to my mind.

The reason why this opera has been divided in four parts is that Rodrigo San Martin is afraid that a 2 hours concept album can be too longand for this reason he has split it in four parts. We progheads know that this is not an issue, really.

Anyway, while waiting for the complete opera to be released, go checking the EP which is available on Bandcamp.

My apologies to both Rodrigo San Martin and Alejandro Matos. From a musical point of view they have very few in common. It's only that they are two Argentinian artists and I've been in touch with both....what an idiot I am....

 A Lullaby For Mankind by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 8 ratings

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A Lullaby For Mankind
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Judas Unrepentant

4 stars Se here we have Rodrigo San Martín's fourth album in four years. What first drew me to this album was the weirdness of the concept, something about the cloning of Jesus that I still can't figure out.

Rodrigo's compositional skills are growing and he's surrounded himself with an all-star team to record this one.

01 A Lullaby for Mankind I (Intro): just like the title implies it's an instrumental intro to the album, featuring many of the motifs that would appear later. The Hammond Organ solo steals the show in my opinion!

02 A Lullaby for Mankind II: now the music goes into a -kind of- pop terrain, featuring the singing of Jelena Perisic who sounds like a mother singing to her child to get him to sleep over some acoustic guitar. The composition reminds me of Neal Morse.

03 The Sky Falls Down I: Osvaldo Mellace, a great male singer, makes his appearance for this one bringing a lot more energy. If I have to compare it with something I would name the heavy section in 5/8 on Thick as a Brick. Great guitar work!

04 The Masterplan: here we have some lovely melodies sung by Osvaldo over a guitar arpeggio. The melodic bass lines from Robert Lynch are fantastic. The second part of the track is a crescendo with beautiful harmonies from the two singers that leads to...

05 Intermission I: something completely unexpected. A jazzy instrumental piece with an amazing piano solo, this one is nice but feels quite out of place actually.

06 The Dark Ages: this is a heavy piece more familiar with what we have been hearing from Rodrigo on past albums. The best part is the "hindu" cut where Jelena sings with a sitar, in the middle of heavy riffing, that was unexpected. Fernando Refay shows some amazing skills with a very long synth solo at the end of the track.

07 Colonization: and we continue with the surprises. Here we have a flamenco tune sung mostly in spanish. Great spanish guitar work from Rodrigo and Piano from Fernando. Osvaldo proves he's an amazing singer once more.

08 Intermission II: nothing like the first Intermission, this one is used to bring the energy back to the mix. Featuring Hammond and guitar solos over a cool riff.

09 A Lullaby for Mankind III: Jelena comes back with the motif from A Lullaby for Mankind II that leads straight into the repetition of the crescendo that appeared on The Masterplan, this time with acoustic guitar and what I guess it's a xylophone that sounds lovely. They don't interfere with the build up this time and resolve it in an amazing guitar solo that kind of reminds me of the ending of Con Los Ojos Abiertos (from Rodrigo's Eyes album)

10 Two Children are Born: here we have a piano riff quite resemblant to Tubular Bells playing over some Pink Floyd-like sound effects. The rest of the band appears briefly to shock you everytime you feel comfortable enough to relax, be warned!

11 He's Here: Osvaldo and Jelena sing over a clean guitar riff that remids me of Transatlantic's Evermore. The lyrics start to get weirder here, the chorus (sung by the two of them) being "We have cloned our lord, he's here!".

12 No One Knew: every single song in here is quite a surprise but I never thought I'd hear something like this on a Rodrigo San Martín album. The verse is a (kind of)funky bass line over a drum loop and the chorus features an orchestra, there's quite a contrast between the two. Maybe it owes something to Blackfield?

13 Mass: things are getting weirder by the minute. This one is a gregorian chant piece in latin, sung very operatically by Canela Sol. After the vocal section there is a reprise of the Colonization verse, this time played by a very Wakeman-like moog over a church organ.

14 The Sky Falls Down II: a reprise of the track of the same name, this time sung by Jelena instead of Osvaldo. Cool heavy guitar solo and, another jazzy section with a great solo by Refay.

15 For Everyone to See: this is an odd little waltz. The music seems very naive but the lyrics are quite crude actually.

16 We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen I: great hammond riffing reminds us of the late Jon Lord.

17 We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen II: and here comes the Crimson King, at first at least. This track is a duel between Refay's keyboards and San Martín's guitar, playing over a the great rhythm section of Lynch- Black.

18 Coda: a very melancholic guitar solo playing over the piano theme from "Two Chlidren are Born" close the album as it fades out.

I rate the album four stars because of it's constant surprised to the listener and amazing musicianship. It's free on Rodrigo's bandcamp so give it a try!

 1 by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 12 ratings

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1
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Argentinian singer and composer Rodrigo San Martin was born in 1988, evolving from a young pianist to a Rock multi-instrumentalist with Classical and Jazz education and influences over the years.Already from his teenager period his activities were endless: Composing, experimenting with music production and later organizing his own Prog fest named ''Close to the Edge Buenos Aires Prog Fest'', while he has been a member of several less-known Prog and Jazz projects.In 2010 San Martin played, recorded, mixed and mastered himslef his first solo album ''1''.

With faith on his own strengths the young Argentinian's first production includes one very long eponymous composition, clocking at almost 40 minutes.Do not expect though a breakless piece, there are a few interruptions between the different movements, but at the end this is a pretty solid epic composition.Stylistically ''1'' steps with one foot on 70's Classic Prog and the other on more contemporary Prog stylings, drawing influences from all KING CRIMSON era's, Italian Prog and modern bands such as PORCUPINE TREE.The basic fashion is a lovely Symphonic Rock with orchestral melodies and sampled string sections, blended with atmospheric Mellotron washes and calm piano interludes.It's kind of close to IAN GORDON's material at times.Among these harmonic and melodious themes however there are plenty of heavier moods with complex, FRIPP-ian guitar workouts and powerful Alt Rock-styled grooves with distorted vocals, along with some more poppy and relaxed vocal harmonies.Yes, it contains all the components of a great prog epic, the use of sampled instrumentation is sometimes holding this down, but generally the ideas are satisfying with tons of changing themes and some impressive instrumental textures.

San Martin has included a few bonus tracks in his first work, showing his diverse talent and inspirations and scanning the territories of Blues Rock, Art Pop, acoustic music and Jazz, which are quite pleasant for the ear but rather far from the tite track's atmosphere.

Young and talented artist with a debut album worth investigating, ranging from symphonic and nostalgic grandieur to pretty heavier demonstrations.Recommended.

 Eyes by SAN MARTIN, RODRIGO album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 21 ratings

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Eyes
Rodrigo San Martin Crossover Prog

Review by Judas Unrepentant

4 stars For his third installment Rodrigo starts experimenting with shorter tracks to great results.

Eyes, when you download it from his website instead of Bandcamp, comes divided into two folders that represent two sides of a vinyl. It's up to you to decide which side is the first (I'll reviews with the side with the short pieces first and the side long piece for the end)

This time Rodrigo San Martín decided to surround himself with full band (unlike his first two albums) and the result is that the music souds much more lively, specially to Sergio López and Ludmila Clemente (bass and drums, respectively). Jelena Perisic and Craig Kerley come back to sing on this one, which is a big plus, and we have two new guests as well: Fernando Refay on keyboards and Tamara Szych on vocals.

(Eyes) Wide Shut:

01 The Mask: The album starts with a song filled with ideas. A pretty waltz sung by Perisic continues to a very good piano solo that kind of reminds me to Emerson's in Take a Pebble (great work by Fernando Refay!), after that we find ourselves in heavy prog territories with interesting solos from San Martín and Refay (this time on synth) and great drumming. The track is wrapped by a buildup ending not unlike the one on The Musical Box.

02 Destroy the Signal (or Anti Bieber Anthem, as it's named on youtube): this one's a Blackest Eyes ripoff (at least in the structure and overall sound), but nevertheless a very interesting short song that features the very powerful vocals of Mr. Craig Kerley (Not Otherwise Specified, a band you should defietly check out). It eludes me how he doesn't sing more on the album since his power would brighten many moments!

03 Amanecer: a great groove by López and Clemente start this song. I find it very hard to categorize it: on one hand it's definetly more pop oriented that San Martín has done to this point but it's definetly a prog number witha lot of ideas thrown in. So let's just call it interesting Prog-pop. Tamara Szych appears on vocals for the first time, singing a (not so cheesy) love song in spanish. Unexpected but very good, one of the highest points in Rodrigo's discography.

04 Interludio: a short and creepy intro to the next track. Very good clean guitar solo over an eerie acoustic riff (followed by a mellotron, to continue the feeling)

05 Ahora: others reviewers have pointed that this one sounds like the 70's but it reminds me (once more) of Porcupine Tree. Acoustic vocal section in between heavy prog riffing and cool ery atmospheric intro that screams early Porcupine Tree (who, to be fair, early 70's Pink Floyd) lead us to a very beautiful vocal part backed with piano that slowly builds to a more rockier section. Fernando Refay's synth appears again with a killer solo that brings Jordan Ruddes to mind. The eerieness from Interlude comes again in the form of a xylophone riff that is constantly interruped by a heavy metal band (actually quite similar to Two Children are Born now I think about it) and this leads to a very good guitar solo. After the guitar solo we are left once more in Floyd territory with a great bass solo by López and interesting vocal harmonies by Jelena. Now Rodrigo San Martín does his best to imitate Dave Gilmour on guitar and suceeds, which leads us to a heavy vocal section that would've benefited from having Craig Kerley sing it instead of Jelena Perisic. There is a very good creepy synth solo over a riff that comes directly from King Crimson's Red and we have a cool instrumental section featuring great bass and drum work by Sergio López and Ludmila Clemente. To recapitulate we have a reprise of the verse in Ahora that leads to my favorite part of the album: a lovely orchestal buildup that , when it explodes, brings us Rodrigo San Martín's greatest guitar moment. solos. Tamara Szych sings again but this time in spanish and has a lovely moment towards the middle of the track that sounds like sirens trying to make your ship sink. There's great moments for every musician on this song and it's a great way of closing the side of the digital vinyl.

(Eyes) Wide Open:

06 (or 01) Con Los Ojos Abiertos: this is Rodrigo San Martín's best long piece (well, not if you count A Lullaby For Mankind as a one track album, which I think is what was intended). I won't take narrate to you what happens here, I will just tell you that everything we love from Rodrigo's music is on fine display on this one: great compositions, lovely melodies (sung by Perisic), fantastic musicianship and an interesting concept to tie it all up.

Thanks to chris s for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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