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Decibel - Fortuna Virilis CD (album) cover

FORTUNA VIRILIS

Decibel

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.67 | 10 ratings

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memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Twenty years later, they kept the good sound!

Long time since I last reviewed an album from my country (besides Cabezas de Cera), so I have to start supporting them again, no matter if the band do not exist anymore, the music will always stay. There are two bands that I would catalogue as the pioneers of RIO in Mexico: Nazca and Decibel. The latter was a band whose first album saw the light in 1978 with great dark and complex music on it, however, after a twenty-year hiatus they released their second and last studio album in 1998 and the quality is still great.

The name of this album is "Fortuna Virilis", the version I have consists on ten tracks, though there is another version with fourteen songs. The line-up features some of the most recognized Mexican musicians talking about progressive rock: Carlos Alvarado, Alejandro Sánchez, Walter Schmidt, Jaime Castañeda and Carlos Robledo, all of them have been in several bands and some of them keep creating music nowadays.

With almost fifty minutes, sit comfortable and listen to the music. "El Club de los Incomparables" shows from the very first moments that dark atmosphere that reminds me of Henry Cow; when I once talked to Carlos Alvarado, he told me that Henry Cow had of course been one of their referents and inspirations, so it is not strange to listen to some hints of theirs.

With "La Charamusca" we can hear some ethnic sounds mixed with a several experimental noises that work as background. There is a nervous sound and a constant drumming that puts some tension on the music. "Kame Hame Hop" is a pretty interesting track that features some toy noises along with a soft bass sound, and creative percussions, the thing here is that after three minutes you can feel bored.

"Man Ray Mantra" creates another dark and tense atmosphere, the music combines violin, percussion and synth. There are quiet moments where one has to listen carefully in order to appreciate the sounds. "Maldoror" is a longer track and the only one that features vocals. This is an interesting song that will grow on you, as it gradually grows; the vocal work is not bad, actually there is not a singer, but just a man talking while the music progresses, there is also a girl's voice in some moments. The last part of the album has a louder sound, inviting the listener to be part of the music itself.

"Zeliscar y Zetuba" is a repetitive song that can either grow on you on make you yawn. The next song is more interesting, "La Espuma de los Días" brings back that tense or stressful sound, I really like how the musicians play separately but all are together at the same time, winds, strings and percussion working good in this short piece.

"Del Asesinato Considerado?" is the longest composition here reaching the ten minutes mark. What could you expect from this song? Easy, improvisations ala King Crimson or Henry Cow, experimental sounds, the musicians playing with their instruments and creating several textures, some stops, highs and lows, a climax, and an epilogue. While the song is rich in sounds, there are moments where I honestly wanted to skip it.

"Caramatexi" follows the same line, there is a nice variety of sounds here, like water, money or boxes, what I like here the most is the percussion sound and the entrance of synthesizer that takes me to some Popol Vuh's passages. The last song here, at least in my CD does not have a name, it is like a hidden track but I assume its name is "El Brillo". It is just a final improvisation.

After their debut "El Poeta del Ruido" nothing is the same, though they have a good sound, it cannot be compared with their first record which in my opinion is a wonder of Latin-American RIO. This time, Fortuna Virilis deserves only three stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |

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