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Fermáta - Huascaran CD (album) cover

HUASCARAN

Fermáta

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.12 | 91 ratings

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Magor
4 stars The third album from this band, and usually their most praised, its concept revolves around the 1970 earthquake around Mt. Huascaran, Peru. The thing is that, in late 70's Czechoslovakia, rock albums had to have a concept to go with the recording. There was a commitee that would either approve or reject a concept based on its adherance to socialist philosophy, so even Fermáta, despite being an instrumental band, had to submit a concept for their record, and they went with the tragic earthquake during which more than 20,000 people died, including all members of a Czechoslovakian mountaineering team on an expedition. But in spite of the fact that the band chose this topic because the label demanded it, there is something inspired about the music.

On this album the band presents a completely new rhythm section of Laco Lučenič on bass and Karol Oláh on drums. Truth be told, I prefer the previous rhythm section, yet the sound of Rickenbacker, which Lučenič was using on this record, is definitely awesome, and very similar to Chris Squire's classic tones. In fact Huascaran as a whole moves out of the straight jazz-rock formula and explores more symphonic elements with Berka expanding his arsenal of sounds to include Hohner, Roland, ARP, Odyssey, and Elka strings. The sound recording quality can be seen as improved, but the album suffers from the typical late 70's production, boxy and heavily equalized and compressed.

The Huascaran suite, lasting 25 minutes, bookmarks the album in a layout similar to Pink Floyd's WYWH. It's definitely the highlight, featuring everything from typical jazz-rock improvisations, to more sentimental symphonic passages. The second part is especially great with the angular riff repeating seemingly ad infinitum, but it never gets boring. The two inside tracks are pretty good as well, especially "80,000", which harkens back to their first album, with the somewhat atypical heavy guitar riffing.

If you can, get the cd version with bonus tracks. These are excellent as well, two of them being great funky fusion, and the last one, predating Fermáta first album, is an early recording featuring a superb horn section.

Highlights: "Huascaran I+II" and "80,000".

Magor | 4/5 |

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