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Alejandro Matos - La Potestad CD (album) cover

LA POTESTAD

Alejandro Matos

 

Crossover Prog

4.15 | 9 ratings

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someone_else
5 stars The power of good music

La Potestad is the fifth album by Alejandro Matos, a multi-instrumentalist hailing from Buenos Aires. I became familiar with his music in 2010, when I reviewed his two last albums, the decent Persona and the excellent Freak. Six years after the release of Freak, he returns with La Potestad.

La Potestad is, as I have been informed, a concept album about power. Not power in the political, military or economic, but power as a way to feel good: the powers of truth (Cazadioses), innocence (Angel), obstinacy (Anclas), mystery (Lo Velado) and ignorance (La Construcci'n del Desierto), and power as something inevitable (Potestades). These lyrics are hard to get into, even for someone who masters the Spanish language, I think. They are very cryptic and metaphorical and speak in often desolate images.

The music on this album continues the line of the previous albums. The progress from Persona to Freak has been continued. Where Persona had a very basic instrumentation and was mostly guitar-oriented, Freak has some more. The same can be said of the quality of the compositions. On La Potestad, some unconventional instruments like the bandoneon, the theremin and the clarinet enter the scene. The compositions are dense, rich and melodic on this album. Alejandro does not play almost everything all by himself; he is accompanied by a drummer, a bass player and some other musicians. His musical inflences are varied: from Van der Graaf Generator and Pink Floyd to Argentinian styles and classical music, combined in a very personal, eclectic blend.

When I heard La Potestad for the first time, it felt like a birthday present I was very happy with. Though I had little time, I was too curious to leave it for one or two days. After each track I longed for the next one and when the first spin was completed, it was good.

The album opens with Escindido (Isolated), which is somewhat reminiscent of Invernadero de Preguntas on his previous album: some ununderstandable talking in anglophonic gibberish, accompanied by an electric piano. After two minutes and a half, it ends abruptly and Cazadioses kicks in.

Potestades has a bandoneon solo which adds some couleur locale to this track. Recommended to queen Máxima for the occasion. Angel has acoustic guitar and ends with a 2.5 minute theremin solo, which makes it one of my favourite tracks on the album. Anclas is a heavier, rocking 9 minute track with a Gilmouresque guitar solo, a quieter middle section which becomes even symphonic when a mellotron kicks in. Thanks to some twists at the right moments, this track remains interesting to listen to. Lo Velado sounds more light-hearted with bandoneon and clarinet.

Hereafter the album becomes darker with the heavy, pounding La Construcción del Desierto. This is another favourite of mine. A difference of 95 degrees of latitude cannot keep me away from thinking of Anekdoten somehow. The guitar solo reminds me of Genesis' Fly on a Windshield.

The album ends with a dark epic, Pertenencia, the third of my favourite tracks, which clocks out at almost 25 minutes. After El Infierno de los Buenos, this is the second proof of Alejandro's talent to write masterpiece epics. This epic is a brilliant composition and goes through different styles and moods: a light and jazzy piano, a screaming guitar solo and in the last section it sounds almost classic with strong King Crimson references. Alejandro describes the lyrical theme as the ways in which someone can have the powers mentioned above. Yet I feel free - or impertinent - to give my own interpretation, based on the title of the epic and the four parts in which it is divided: Pertenencia (belonging) has the sections Ser (to be), Hacer (to act), Someter (to submit) and Parecer (to resemble). This makes me think of a sequence of an individual who abandons his individuality to belong to a group.

But there is one more power. One that does not need to be mentioned on the album because it is omnipresent from the start until the end, the power that defies language barriers: the power of good music. This is what makes La Potestad one of the best releases from the year of long awaited albums and lifts it up to a five star rating and an appropriate place in my top 5 of 2015.

someone_else | 5/5 |

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