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Cast - Power And Outcome CD (album) cover

POWER AND OUTCOME

Cast

 

Symphonic Prog

3.92 | 145 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars Virtuosic instrumental symphonic prog from these Mexican masters. "Power and Outcome" makes me want to go back into their discography since my last listen to anything by them was 2008's "Originallis"--which was brilliant. How can such an amazingly talented band fly so far under the Prog World radar?

1. "Rules of the Desert" (Instrumental) (11:35) the first four and a half minutes are monotonous but after that things take off and impress. Definitely has at times an "overture" feel to it. The final five minutes are jaw-dropping astounding. (9/10)

2. "Power and Outcome" (7:25) great start with awesome piano work and beautiful strings support. Awesome vocal, never over the top, always fully invested and in the pocket. Great synth bank supported electric guitar solo followed by beautiful violin solo in the middle instrumental section. A top three song for me. In the same vein as 1995 Polish NeoProggers COLLAGE. (9.5/10)

3. "Details: a) Circle Spins (5:47) sounds as if it came from an off-Broadway musical. The whole production is very theatric, with the piano-base and solo lead vocal delivering some very poor lyrics. Way over the top. (7.5/10)

4. "Details: b) Start Again (Instrumental) (8:43) uses too many tricks of the late 1980s hair-band heavy rockers (kick drum, guitar and synth sounds, and machine gun guitar soloing). (8/10)

5. "Through Stained Glass (8:46) styled and vocaled like a 1980-ish STYX song, I must say I enjoy the melodies and chord progressions. So long as the drummer stays in support, it's very good (could be great. The repeated "chorus" of "Vaults, arches, with the windows" is the weakness.) Amazing soli and support structures, sounds, and performances. Those fourth, fifth, and sixth minutes are PURE PROG MAGIC! As good as COLLAGE ever did back in the mid-1990s. At the six minute mark we get a shift and what feels like a switch in direction, but it's only a side road; a little mellower but just as well woven and melodically enrapturing. Violin is given full stage all too briefly in the eighth minute before the band comes back together for the full whole-band weave to end. Another top three song--one of the best prog songs I've heard this year! (9.5/10)

6. "Illusions and Tribulations (9:27) starts out feeling as if it's a continuation of the previous song. At the two minute mark there is a distinctive shift which ends up establishing a setup for an amazing virtuoso guitar solo--the longest one on the album. As usual, nice keyboard work throughout. (I love how often little "sneak" "glimpses" of some rather perfect and awesome organ work sneak into my ears. At five minutes male vocal joins piano and strings "classical" aria section. Nice background vocals here, too. (9/10)

7. "The Gathering (8:16) opens, again, feeling as if a continuation of the song before, with a minute of wicked-fast keyboard, guitar, and violin mirrored riffing. The vocal that enters at the end of that minute is calm and meaningful, sung and supported instrumentally and b vox so beautifully. A shift at 2:23 into a kind of Celtic/country them with piano, organ, and amazingly fast guitar shredding is unexpected but quickly winning. What a solo! Almost two minutes worth! Eddie Van Halen would be proud! This is followed by a turn taken by the violinist--rather sedate and melodic at first, but then sneaking into Mark O'Connor or territory. Another shift at 5:10--back to the wonderful second section with a reprise of the vocal structures--is sudden but works. My final top three song from this album. (9.5/10)

8. "Conquest" (Instrumental) (3:30) pretty instrumental with another theatric-recap feeling to it. Great melodies and soli. Probably the best theme on the album but it's one, it's short, and it's difficult to compare it to the long epics above. (9.5/10)

9. "Full Circle" (1:57) a vocal piano song that again gives this album a concept theatric feeling. Not unwelcomed as this one has more of a Renaiassance/Classical music feel. Nicely done. Awesome vocal; practically flawless. (9.5/10)

10. "Dialect for the 21st Century" (5:16) a nice song, quite an intricate weave, in which the drumming is just too front and center during the first two sections. Once the third section sets up for the flaming lead guitar solo, the drummer falls into background in a perfect way. Man, he is SO good when he's there, in the background, in support, laying down the base for the instrumentalists to create their weaves over the top. (8.5/10)

The drummer is much better as a follower and time keeper. When he tries to lead and fill with his flourishes and nuances it becomes overwhelming and often detracts from the rest of the music. I also dislike when his bass drum part seems to replicate the finger play of the keyboard melodies.

4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive rock music. Were it not for a few weak spots, this would surely be one of the finest albums of the year--especially as it contains five or six of the finest songs I've heard of the year and a band of some of the most virtuosic instrumentalists and songwriters in Prog World.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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