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Fermáta - Huascaran CD (album) cover

HUASCARAN

Fermáta

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 89 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The third album by the king band of Slovekian prog, Fermata's "Huascaran" is one of the most accomplished works ever recorded in the realm of jazz-oriented prog rock. Being a concept album around the tragedy of Huascaran's deadly eruption (back in 1970), this album evokes ideas of destruction, power and solidarity with multiple colors and moods, all of them properly delivered through effective musical ideas and solid, tight performances. Fermata is very heavily influenced by the powerful dynamics of Mahavishnu Orchestra and special exuberance of Di Meola-era return to Forever, but there is also some important room for the delivery of soaring moods in the vein of space-rock and classic nuances on a symphonic-related note. The long namesake opener gets started with cosmic synth ornaments properly accompanied by floating electric piano lines, serving a preparation for the whole ensemble to state a full frontal jazz-rock main motif. The funky vibe that works in the rhythm section allows the band to convey warmth through the pyrotechnics, not unlike Iceberg. At the 5 minute mark, things shift toward a stylish solemnity featuring piano and cello, a soft passage that seems to portray the survivors 'grief. The sense of sadness becomes even more overwhelming in the following section, which sounds somewhat related to 73-75 era Pink Floyd with Akkerman replacing Gilmour: the symphonic element is retained all the way until the final section brings a reprise of the initial jazzy motif with augmented Latin touches. What a way to start an album!... and there is more greatness to be enjoyed, let me assure you. '80,000' is the approximated number of victims of this terrible natural disaster, and so the band decides to go for a denser mood: there is lots of heavy psych-rock and electric blues going on in this piece. The Hendrixian guitar and Zawinulesque electric piano melt amazingly well, as unlikely as it may sound in written form. Eventually, the Latin-jazz centered coda takes advantage of the fire that had been delivered during the previous section. Since the word 'Solidarity' conjures images of love for your fellowman and togetherness, it is no wonder that this track no. 3 should bear such a warmth feel on its basic compositional body. Santana seems to be the dominant reference now, although guitarist Griglák never lets go of his combined McLaughlin and Akkerman influences. This track's melodic basis is so colorful that its monotonous framework never gets boring, not even for a second. There is the long namesake closer that wraps up the album's official tracklist. Segued to 'Solidarity', 'Huascaran II' has a recurrent bizarre similarity to Iceberg during its first section. The joyful spirit delivered through the successive link of various motifs apparently alludes to the reconciliation between Man and Nature: beside the always spectacular guitar solos by Grilák, here are also the most accomplished Moog solos in the album. The last 100 seconds are occupied by synth emulations of birds' singing and wing shaking. The cosmic reconciliation has been achieved at last. This is the end for the "Huascaran" album per se, but the bonus tracks are excellent as well. '15' is very related to the funky flairs of Return to Forever's joyous side, while 'Valparaiso' is more frantic and 'Perpetuum' bears a more complex scheme. Fermata is a name that must be included in any good prog collection and/or good jazz collection, with "Huascaran" being one of its most distinguished assets. Indeed, this is a masterpiece.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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