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CASTALIA

Cast

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 14 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Steve Hegede
Prog Reviewer
5 stars CAST are one of the top modern Mexican prog rock groups. Most of the musicians in the band today have been playing together for the past 20 years, but, thanks to the internet, CAST has built a loyal following around the world since the early 1990s. CAST are also quite prolific when it comes to album releases. They average a new album about every year, and have also put out numerous live and solo albums. "Castalia" is a new live album from a recent gig in Italy. It also ranks as one of the best CAST CDs I've heard. A few years ago I got a chance to see CAST play live in San Diego. That night I quickly realized that they were better live than in the studio. And this new CD proves that they have gotten tighter since the San Diego gig. "Castalia" consists mostly of newer material from the past 4 studio albums (although I'm not familiar with a couple of tracks). A lot of that material was rearranged into "medley" form, with a few tracks even sung in Spanish, for the Italian crowd. The new listener is quickly greeted with a busy form of symphonic prog that lightly tilts towards 80s neo-prog. The piano playing from Al Vidales stands out immediately. Al reminds me of the piano player from LOCANDA DELLE FATE, due to the amount of notes coming from his fingers, yet, somehow, he adds depth to a composition without taking the spotlight. His synth work is really what reminds me of 80s neo-prog due to its bombastic nature. Vocalist Dino Brassea does a wonderful job live. Especially on the Spanish tracks. I've never had a problem with Dino's English vocals, but, man, the Spanish vocals are wonderful. The warmth, and confidence in his voice when he sings in Spanish is striking. I can't forget to mention drummer Antonio Bringas, who is one of best live drummers I've seen. For some reason, this musician's drum work doesn't stand out at all on the studio albums, but he is a different monster live. Instrumentally, these guys kick some serious ass. The amount of changes, time-signatures, and melodies during some of the instrumental passages is jaw-dropping. But most of the vocal sections might also only appeal to neo-prog fans. Overall, "Castalia" is CAST at their best. I would love to see them release more live albums like this that span most of their compositional catalog, and a totally Spanish studio album in 2002 would definitely be something to look forward to.
Steve Hegede | 5/5 |

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