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Sonus Umbra - Beyond the Panopticon CD (album) cover


Sonus Umbra


Crossover Prog

3.86 | 39 ratings

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4 stars This is wonderful!

In the mid 00s when I started listening to progressive rock, I remember I went so some prog sites in order to look for Mexican bands, and, though Sonus Umbra is actually not a Mexican band, its roots, and its mastermind are, which is why I felt the need to know their albums. Later, for some years I did not follow their tracks until a couple of years ago, when they visited Mexico City for a wonderful and intimate concert in which we could witness them playing mostly songs from Beyond the Panopticon, their latest release which believe me, is great.

The album is not that long (43 minutes approx), which I love because it runs so fast that I can play it twice in a row without a problem. It features six compositions that show a different face of the band, an eclectic, fine and delicate sound made by low profile but first- class musicians. There are killer instrumental moments but a think I loved is they have both male and female singers, making an equilibrated ambitious experience.

It kicks off with "Grotesquerie". Heavy prog in the first seconds contrasted by softer moments that make a very cool prog rock journey in which the band show their fine skills. The bass is always present as a main instrument, it has to. Piano, flute, guitars (acoustic and electric) and drums, all sum-up a wonderful combo that make this a very good instrumental opening track. "Alone Together Alone" is a longer and colorful track. I love that Sonus Umbra doesn't have a specific classification, I mean, their eclecticism shares heavy prog moments, some folky passages or symphonic arrangements. After almost three minutes Ben-Yoseph's vocals appear for the first time, adding a soft and delicate sound to the already great music. Later, Lee-Moffit's voice also appears and both sing together over a flute and acoustic guitar background, creating some kind of joyous atmospheres.

"Blood and Diamonds" bring to my mind Jethro Tull immediately, and not actually due to the flute's sound, but due to the guitar and that initial part that is repeated later. The music develops different phases and structures, so the music is never plain, it fact, its changes could work as a novel so you can create your own mind story. I love Tim McCaskey and Rich Poston's work, their delicate playing can be so profound that it hits you deep inside. Lovely! This is a great and friendly prog rock song without a doubt. "Paramnesia" is a magnificent instrumental rollercoaster; it was my favorite song when I first listened to the album. Once again the musicians show their wonderful skills and how they understand each other. The song adds a clarinet so they bring a kind of chamber rock sound in the beginning. Later it makes some changes, becoming a bit more aggressive for an instant just in order to calm down and reach for a spacey sound made by keyboards. Then a calm moment but all of a sudden electric guitar appears with a killer solo. Awesome!

The album is reaching its final part. "Love Undone" is the shortest composition here, it brings both singers adding their soft but passionate vocals while acoustic guitar works as background. Then there is an instrumental passage with some cool percussion that is developing a new structure little by little, in order to reach the climax, which is the final part of the song. Last but not least, "Channel Zero" which is, in the other hand, the longest composition of the album. It has a dark atmosphere created by the bass sound and a cello. Later it becomes more colorful and though that dark nuance is kept here and there, the light and peaceful moments appears later with the exquisite acoustic guitar. It is an excellent song to finish a wonderful album.

Of course, I recommend this to you. Sonus Umbra is a great whose music should be spread to more and more ears in the whole world. Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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