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Triana - Hijos Del Agobio CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 102 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars TRIANA (named after a neighborhood in their native Seville, Spain) formed in 1974, just a year before the dictatorship would finally end of the long reign of Franco whose death in 1975 would officially begin the transition of Spain into a more liberal democracy. While the progressive rock scene was rather limited due to the oppressive climate, a few bands including TRIANA managed to record albums before the transition begin. After the eponymous debut album (better known as "El Patio") was released to critical acclaim the band didn't really see much success in terms of commercial exposure but yet over time the album has become an undisputed classic of Spanish prog. The band was amongst the first to take the Italian symphonic prog sound and add their homegrown flamenco roots to the mix and in the process created a unique sound penned Andalusian rock however i prefer to call it Andalusian symphonic prog since the rock crossover had begun way back in the 60s.

Soon after the release of the debut the band would experience the turn of events that would transform the entire nation but not without the pains of sudden change thrust upon everyone. The second album HIJOS DE AGOBIO (Sons of Stress) was recorded throughout the turbulent year of 1976, a critical time in the history of modern Spain when the political themes resulted in a time when true liberty and artistic freedom were finally allowed their day in the sun. The album title reflects the events that were experienced during these times and reflected in the Spanish language lyrics on the album which was released in February 1977. The prog scene had finally taken off in Spain as the Iberian nation was playing catch up with its European neighbors and suddenly many bands were jumping on the bandwagon. It was a time of hope for the future as well as a realization of what has been lost or prolonged in the past and HIJOS DEL AGOBIO reflects this melancholy as the album exudes a melancholy as if a dark shadow still lingered above.

At only 33 minutes, this sophomore release is a decidedly short one but still exhibits an impressive mix of the debut album's signature mix of Italian symphonic prog, Andalusian flamenco and touches of English prog via King Crimson amongst others. While the elements were more clearly pronounced on the debut, they are woven together in a tighter tapestry of sound on this one with more creative expressionisms which find the flamenco aspects tamped down and subdued into the background with the exception of the closing tracks "Sr. Troncoso" and "Del Crepúsculo Lento Nacerá el Rocío" which sounds closer to the debut. The album engages in a much more symphonic prog sound with the suffocating emphasis of heavily used synthesizers and mellotrons which create dark overcasts. Likewise the flamenco rhythmic drives of the debut have been replaced by the more angular time signature deviations expressed by the Italian prog greats of PFM, Banco and Le Orme and the like.

While "El Patio" had heavy guitar outbursts that brought in overt references to hard rock, HIJOS DEL AGOBIO is a much more sombre affair with less emphasis on heaviness and more attention paid to the thick atmospheric constructs that allow the majority of the tracks to float along in mid-tempo or slower form. A notable exception is the heavy drum solo beginning of "Ya Está Bien" and the following "Necesito" which offers a heavier guitar presence as well as a more dynamic flamenco presence. Once again TRIANA's main members are the trio of Jesús De La Rosa (vocals, keyboards), Eduardo Rodríguez Rodway (guitar, vocals) and Juan José Palacios (percussion, Fx, Moog) but are joined by four guests who contribute vocals, guitars and bass. The melodies are more subdued Andalusian rock melodies yet they seem to be the driving force underneath the heavy symphonic prog dominance. The musicians once again perform brilliantly in tandem and soloing is rare.

HIJOS DEL AGOBIO doesn't have the instant impact that the debut "El Patio" may have had upon first listen but this one is actually the more sophisticated album of the two as the band learned how to craft their hybridization into cleverer territories. The melodies are more complex and the entire album sounds less overtly commercial than its predecessor but yet it was this album that actually was more commercially successfully and launched TRIANA into the limelight of becoming Spain's most revered prog band as it lamented the instability of the political climate of the era by capturing sounds of the past and melding them with the current trends of the European prog scene. The results of which tied the nation to the long rich history through the sounds of flamenco but also connected it to the larger music scene that was well established in the lands of their neighbors. A much darker and varied album this second one is and what it lacks in instant gratification, it more than makes up for in mysterious charm.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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