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Albatros - Ursus CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.87 | 94 ratings

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4 stars As a huge fan of the Spanish progrock, I often search on speciliazed websites for old and new bands. On The Spanish Progressive Rock Page I noticed positive words about Albatros their debut CD Pentadelia (2008). It was just released so I directly ordered it, when I got it and played Pentadelia at home, it remained in my CD player for weeks!

In the spring of 2011 Albatros released the successor entitled Ursus, high expectations! During my first listening session the music didn't succeed to generate the same excitement as on Pentadelia, although the sound is pretty similar. But good progrock needs time and patience so I played it again and again. And then Ursus started to evoke that good feeling as on Pentadelia, in the end I am even more excited.

The album starts in the tradition of Pentadelia: first a compelling atmosphere with fiery wah-wah guitar and subtle Fender electric piano runs, then a huge tension between the bombastic prog and Floydian psychedelia, followed by a harder-edged guitar solo (evoking Alex Lifeson) and eventually heavy Hammond with distinctive Spanish vocals and again that fiery wah-wah guitar sound. The next track El Camino De Swann is another story: no Heavy Prog but music between neo-prog and melodic rock with delicate Fender piano, bombastic synthesizer flights and a fine guitar solo. The following compositions deliver more Albatros trademark. First heavy (with hints of Medina Azahara) in Loki featuring fat synthesizer runs and a part with prog metal and then the compelling La Ciénaga with heavy Hammond, catchy Spanish vocals and in the end a very moving guitar solo, I am on my way to Prog Heaven. The next track is also pretty surprising, this time we can enjoy a swinging Albatros in Rey Lombriz : fluent interplay between guitar and keyboards and again those distinctive Spanish vocals.

And now my highlight, the epic Icaro with some great musical surprises like an intricate duel between the Fender electric piano and slide guitar, along emotional vocals, fiery guitar and a flashy synthesizer solo, excellent work senores! The final composition of this album is exciting with the strongly build-up Planeta Prohibido. It features decent English vocals, especially the second part evokes goose bumps due to a mindblowing duel between the vocals on the vocoder and Arabian sounding synthesizer flights. This sounds like "Peter Frampton Goes Prog Andaluz", goose bumps!

So I needed some time to get into this new Albatros album but in the end I came to the conclusion that Albatros has released another strong and original progrock album. At some moments I feel the same thrilling excitement and pure motion as on the albums of early Uriah Heep, 76-83 Rush and early Riverside. This makes Ursus to a very exciting musical experience: adventurous, lots of ideas, guts, variety, strong work on guitar and keyboards ... all elements that match with genuine progressive rock.

If you are up to Spanish vocals this album could turn into a very pleasant listening session, highly recommended!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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