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R-U Kaiser - Ocelos CD (album) cover

OCELOS

R-U Kaiser

 

Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 18 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After 5 years of continuing struggle to let their music be known by domestic audiences, Chilean symphonic prog ensemble R-U Kaiser finally got to release their debut album Ocelos. Powerful and pompous, tow words that describe many prog bands arouund the globe and that also fit a general portrait of what R-U Kaiser is all about. The dynamics of obvious sophistication is properly enhanced by the fact that two classically trained female singers come to the fore wnehenver lyrics are involved, making good use of their contralto and soprano timbers. This album is also the debut of the label Watcher records, and if we must judge a label for its first release ever, it would be fair to hope that they manage to release many more good albums through the following years. R-U Kaiser's sound is lead by keyboardist Morus (recurrently supported by one of the two female singers): the keyboard department is full of orchestrations, ornaments and lush layers, with a controlled sense of pyrotechnics during the solos. Glass Hammer, mid-70s Yes, vintage Wakeman, as well as contemproary compatriots Entrance and Matraz, are revealed as R-u Kaiser's main influences through the album's repertoire. It is just a pity that this album is only 35 minutes long, but considering the fact that 3 of the 4 tracks are between 8 and 11 minutes long, it is clear tha tthe band feels confident about developing and arranging long songs in a very progressive fashion. Well, let's go and take a look at the tracks themselves. The first 9 minutes are occupied by 'Dioscuros', which promptly reveales the dominant explosive facet of the band: the keyboard sounds travel fluidly from Emerson to Wakeman to Ozric Tentacles, while the scheme elaborated by the rhythm section and the guitarist (well, he plays bass, too) seems to relate the track's spirit to the standard of melodic prog-metal. 'Letargia' passes to a totally different mood, in a more contemplative tone built on cosmic keyboard layers and adornments, washed by elegant piano phrases that stand somewhere between chamber music and new-age. When the general instrumentation is settling down, the listener finds himself captivated by a well-orchestrated scenario where the melancholic and the dreamy marry in a sonic unity. A special mention has to go to the beautiful. brief passage in which the harmonium sound and the acoustic guitar alternate in a moment of serenity; another special mention goes to the closing passage, very much in the Phedra-era TD with those floating mellotron and VCS3 sounds (I suppose they're emulated on digital synths). 'Semjases' gets started with a connection to the previous track's spacey structure, but it won't take long before it takes the road of pure, pompous symphonic rock with hints to prog-metal: this track very much sounds like a communion of classic Yes and Images and Words-era Dream Theater, indeed. This track is complex enough to satisfy the average prog melomaniac, and catchy enough to please the melodic prog lover, although I must admit that I feel that the band should have developed some of the motifs a bit further, in order to exploit this track's musicality more throughly. Anyway, it's an amazing prog number, but not as amazing as the namesake closer. 'Ocelos' fills the album's final 11 minutes, as if it were recapitulating the mos trecurrent ambiences of the three previous tracks, only with a more solid cohesion in the arrangements: once again, the Entrance and Matraz family likeness comes to mind when listening to this song, but R-U Kaiser patently rely on their taste for cosmic-instilled symphonic prog to make a statement about their own sound. There is an organ solo tha tsounds very Emersonian, albeit with the filters of Jaime Rosas and Gerard. Well, Ocelos is a very good album that should grace the collection of any serious South American prog researcher. R-U Kaiser was to me one of the most pleasant prog surprises during the last moths of 2007.

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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