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Saena - Saena CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Viva Mexico!

Shame on me my last review for a Mexican band was several months ago but now i am here with a big smile in my face, introducing to you an awesome band called Saena.

The first time i listened to them was the last year in a festival that took part in the city of Queretaro, they played along with my beloved Cabezas de Cera and the outstanding spanish band Amarok, but well...i remember i was eagerly waiting for Saena's show since i knew it was a new project by mastermind Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma, who is one of the prog icons in the mexican scene, and it was amazing how their music caught me immediately and nowadays when i know they are giving a concert i do not hesitate in attending, despite their repertoire is limited.

In the first months of this 2008, Saena released their first and self titled album and gave concert for the introduction of it, of course i bought it immediately and had a nice talk with some of the members. Saena is composed by 5 extremely talented musicians who in the past have playe with other bands or projects, as i mentioned before we have Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma as the brain of the band, Margarita Botello who is the singer (she sings in various JLFL albums), Alejandro Sanchez who was the violin player of RIO band Nazca, Hugo Santos who is a master of the stick, all of them veteran and experimented musicians, along with Adrian Zarate who is the drummer and the youngest of the band, not for that less experimented.

All together gave their best and created this sensational album that contains 8 songs with an average of 8 minutes each, that will give you more than an hour of exciting new music.

The album opens with Astromelia, an almost 10-minute track that perfectly represents the band's music so it is probable that your attention will be taken since this very first song, but well let me confess you something, for some strange reason what i consider the weakest point in several mexican bands (including Saena) are the female vocals, not bad at all but it's not precisely the most beautiful. But well the song begins with the singer's vocals (no lyrics) great musical arrangements with an excellent bass playing and the superb violin sound created by Sanchez. The song marks a lot of progressions that make a folkish sound sometimes, an avant garde one on other moments, but what predominates after all is the symphonic side of prog.

Equinoccio starts with an accordeon followed by a constant violin playing and for the first time vocals with lyrics, this seems to be a happy song with a kind of a gypsy flavour in some moments, it has some softer moments that are an interaction between violin (mainly) and the other instruments, at the half of the song, you will listen to some paused moments that opens the door to a great drum solo, a very enjoyable song.

Next we have the longest track of the album and probably one of the best ones, which is named Venenos y Antidotos, opens again with a quick accordion sound just in order to become softer right away, then it changes again and again it has a more noticeable piano sound credit by singer Margarita Botello who is a woman with talent in her blood, there is a part of the song that reminds me to another Mexican band called La Pura Realidad, some of you have already listened to them as well. Continuing with this song, after 5 minutes it has a noticeable change of direction where you will listen to a hidden bass sound with some strange sounds here and there, the progressiveness of this song is outstanding! Then in the last part it returns to their main structure made in the first part.

Playa Desierta has a flavour of uncertainty, the atmosphere created will transmit you a lot , so you will be involved with the song which basically is an acoustic guitar oriented one, and where you will listen synchronized vocals by Botello and Fernandez Ledesma, there is a part qhere the piano spredominates and gives it that symphonic sound. The song basically follows the same line all the way, until the end where there is a most aggressive moment.

Cosecha begins with a piano sound that since the very first moment reminded me to Renaissance, the first minutes are kind of slow, but then since minute 2 the song becomes more exciting with great musical arrangements and that symphonic sound which at the same time shares the moment with some obscure eclectic tunes.

Estacion de las 12 lasts 6 minutes and it's the shortest song of the album and features a brilliant violin playing that is always in the precise moment, after a moody start, the song turns into a chapter of pure beauty, while there is a constant guitar sound and a perfect drumming, we will hear to the singer's chanting along with a great background, this is a track that i adore of course it is one of my favourites.

Final del Juego is a mellower track just in the beginning because there is all of a sudden a terrific change to a somber mood that transformates this song into a completeley avant-garde one, as a matter of fact, there is a part where i feel nervous and that is just provoked by the music, that takes me as a part of a whole. The song is filled with Botello's chanting and excellent instrumental figures, everyone is playing his own role in order to make a solid and unique sound.

Octubre, sadly everything has it's end, this is the last song of the album and a great closer song that begins with that accordion sound that some seconds later is accompanied by an extraordinary stick playing, constant drums and the superb violin sound. Since the first third of the song, i sense the way of saying goodbye to the album, something strange but that is just provoked by the music itself, as i have mentioned, the interplay between the musicians is excellent, despite Ledesma's leadership, we cannot take just one member as the principal musician, since all of them cooperate with ther skills, enthusiasm and creativity.

That said, this album has no weak moments actually, but i believe you may get bored in some moments for instance i think there are some alike parts between songs 5 to 7, and despite i love it and am happy everytime i listen to it, it doesn't make me scream as a 5-star album would do, so my final grade will be 4 stars, if someday the .5 star rating is implemented, i would edited to 4.5. Highly recommendable for prog fans, symphonic prog fans will be pleased with this.

In a side note, yesterday Mexico celebrated another anniversary of our Independence, and what a better way to share my happiness with you, than reviewing one of the best mexican albums that has seen the light lately. So again, Viva Mexico!

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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