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Parthenon - Mare Tenebris CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 22 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Mare Tenebris" is the manifesto of a brilliant rebirth in the world of prog - that of Venezuelan band Parthenon, which in the early 80s had the vision and talent to bring a progressive musical vision inspired by ELP, UK and classic Yes, instilled with their own sense of melody and energy. Yet, that vision never got to record... until 2005, when Luna Negra released this amazing CD that saw the two Parthenon founding members Santamaria and Ballestas bringing back the band's legacy to life with the support of some of their current colleagues from Amarok. Payback time, indeed, and what a payback! This album is so full of sonic power and musical richness that it just can't be unadverted by prog fans around the world. This edition includes some old live demos with poor sound quality, yet showing the inventiveness and strngth of the original formation. Most of the music created by the band is instrumental, so you can tell that their main ambitions are to create dramatic textures and captivating atmospheres throughout the development and expansions of the main motifs. The three sung tracks, on the other hand, are particularly focused on teh rockier vein of the band: Marta Segura lets go of her special nuances she displays for the Amarok repertoire and reveals her most energetic facet with a vengeance. She doesn't let her vocal input get overshadowed by the incendiary organ and guitar solos, and that says very much about her versatility: in comparison, the vocal efforts of the band's original vocalist (who was also the original bass player) feels less solid, even if we get by the fact that those old demos bear a very poor sound quality. Anyway, comparisons aside, 'Utopiá', 'Madre Natura' and 'Luces y Colores' show how well can Parthenon provide a genuine rocking energy to their compositions in order to enhance their potential bombast. All things considered, I think that the instrumental tracks are those in which Parthenon shines at its brightest. The title track kicks off the album with a majestic vibe that will leave the prog fan speechless. This very majestic vibe reappears in the three-part suite 'Puentes Destruidos' in an hyperbolic level, due to the fact that the instrumentation gets enriched by the presence of a guest oboe in some passages and the use of occasional jazz-oriented textures. Its 18 minute duration doesn't feel long at all: there are so many melodies and ambiences to be enjoyed that time passes by unnoticed. The refurbished repertoire ends with 'Conversacioens entre Diversas Criaturas del Infierno', a partially jamming piece that follows the ELP pattern of constant expansion with sinister pomposity. The addition of Arabic motifs in some passages provides enough variation as to avoid excessiev self-indulgence. A very good closure for an excellent repertoire. Well, the real closure comes with the three bonus tracks, but if you can mentally put them in perspective, you will consider that the album in itself is comprised by the new recordings, with the bonuses serving as testimonies.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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