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Medina Azahara - Medina Azahara CD (album) cover

MEDINA AZAHARA

Medina Azahara

 

Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nilman
5 stars The name Medina Azahara comes from the old city ruins of the same name in Cordoba, Spain. The name wasn't an omen anyhow, because the band is still alive and they recently (2005) published their sixteenth(?) studio album La estación de los sueños. It's the vocalist, Manuel Martínez who has carried the name Medina Azahara over the years and he is the only one who is left from the original line-up. At the beginning Medina Azahara followed in the footsteps of the success of Triana that had pointed the direction of new Andalusian progressive rock few years earlier. And they apparently gained a huge success in Spain like their predecessors.

There have to be a some kind of spell what it comes to band debuts in Andalusian prog - they tend to be all exellent! As well as for example Triana's El Patio and Mezquita's Requerdos de mi Tierra are truly excellent albums, so is Medina Azaharas debut, called as Paseando Por La Mezquita or self titled. It reaches almost all the aspects of what makes El patio a perfect album: Very dynamic rhythms and intense playing of drums and bass, strong guitarwork both in electric and flamenco guitar, beautiful keyboards and on the top: truly wonderful vocals, always high almost shouting, powerful, crying, heraldic and extremely sentimental!

Compared for example to El Patio that has got some long and complex compositions, this is more straightforward and easy offering some shorter tracks, less complex theme developments and strong and more simple but very catchy melodies. However, Paseando Por La Mezquita is still very impressive pacage of kick-ass spanish prog!

The title track ''Paseando Por La Mezquita'' starts the album with a power of angry bull! A very strong guitar riff and rhythm with peculiar sounds takes on the song while a vivid bass plays on background and continuing organ solo alternates with solo guitar for two minutes until the song suddenly changes into ultimate sentimentalic passion lead by Manuel Martínez. The change when angry spanish rock turns to this yearning emotion is done in such a brilliant way that you'll gonna wait for every time with excitement. An absolutely fabulous song!

The other highlights of the album are... the rest of the album! They're all almost in vein of the title song but not quite reaching the same heights, like ''Si Supieras'' being a brilliant ballad including a spoken part reminding of italian symphonic prog, or the ending song ''Recuerdos Del Ayer'' with a very similar structure to ''Paseando Por La Mezquita''. I find only ''En La Mañana'' not as intensive and satisfying than the rest of the album - still it's a good song too.

If you want to get familiar with Andalusian prog, there's three 'A Must have' albums: Triana's El Patio, Mezquita's Requerdos de mi Tierra and Medina Azahara's Paseando Por La Mezquita. Those will get you high!

Nilman | 5/5 |

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