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Rodrigo San Martin - There's No Way Out CD (album) cover


Rodrigo San Martin


Crossover Prog

3.82 | 16 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Amazing musicianship with beautiful vocals and emotional soundscapes.

Argentine multi instrumentalist Rodrigo San Martín has produced a wonderful album of emotional, beautiful passion. He is joined by the talented lovely and hauntingly sweet voice of Serbian singer Jelena Persic and Craig Kerley from the US. Immediately on the epic '4378th Day' the symph prog music may remind one of Pink Floyd, especially the chord structures, namely the opening track reminds me of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond''s intro. However the great thing about Rodrigo San Martin's style is that he does not shy away from his home culture, and the passages of music are unreservedly his own, with Argentinian nuances. Having said this, the vocals are English and exude a power that strikes me on every listen. Jelena's vocals are multi tracked into a high and low part. There is a sadness in the tones but it tugs at the emotional level augmented by some genuinely moving lyrics; "You're the leader, You're the light, You will be the one, The end is near, now it's time to change, open up their eyes, and set them free, The end is near, no matter what it takes, sacrifice your life, that is your fate." The violin is complimented by sweet flute that has the power to bring tears to the down in heart. Music somehow plays on the emotions when it is played with such passion and I had watery eyes when I heard this. There is so much heart and soul poured in to this album that it never ceases to lift my spirit. The spacey keyboard solo on this track resonates with me at a deeper level, it is high class musicianship and builds to an excellent fast paced tempo and blistering guitar solo. It breaks into a symphonic flute and violin concerto. Distorted guitar blasts break the ambience and I was mesmerised by the beauty of dark distortion clashing with light rays of beauteous keyboards and ethereal vocals. This is a master class performance blending ingredients of controlled progressive tension and chaotic release of musical forms, a myriad of emotions encased in a tumultuous soundscape- the best song on the album.

'No' begins with a pulsating bassline and strong drum beat. Craig joins Jelena on vocals this time. He sounds great, putting a lot of inflection into the phrasing. The distortion of guitar is welcome, breaking up the beat over sustained keyboard pads. Craig and Jelena blend well together and this has an infectious melody that grabs hold quickly; "this is the last time, I surrender to you". The wah wah guitar solo is terrific on this track. Overall it is perhaps the most accessible of the three tracks due to its structure, length and melody. The lyrics are compelling, especially Jelena singing; "Do you wait all day, like I always, Do you laugh like mad, to and you, And I'd like to tell you what's going though my mind, But I'm afraid". This is a bit more radio friendly but that is okay as a break when the rest of the album is so wildly inventive.

'War, Act 2' is a 21 minute prog epic. It has a killer metal riff that crunches among the blastbeats of very fast percussion. The heavy section breaks into a King Crimson style guitar passage that builds to pitch into the aggressive distorted riffing. I already love this and we are only 2 minutes into the epic. It grabbed my attention and constantly surprised me with new detours into styles of music that compete against each other, light wrestling with dark. The lyrics are sung by Jelena quietly and with melancholy beauty; "This empty feeling inside me, Expands and corrupts and destroys and consumes, Where do we go from here?" A lot of the power of the piece is the consistent building towards darker emotions, the inner voice that may haunt all of us at some stage in our lives, the feeling of emptiness that strikes us at our lowest moments. The music echoes these feelings with sporadic drumming and sustained keyboards under complex guitar soloing. The acoustic flourishes are effective at 8 minutes in, lending a splendorous emotion to the music. The tranquillity of this passage is augmented by Jelena's pleading vocals; "I have become everything I despise, I have become the same thing I always fought, This is goodbye, this is not what I wanted, this is goodbye, I'm out of here." The King Crimsonesque guitars return over chaotic percussion and the sound is so reminiscent of "Disciple"-era Crimson that I was forced to take notice. The lengthy instrumental section is masterfully played by Rodrigo. The lead solo simply takes off into full flight over layers of bass, guitar, keys and great programmed drumming; sheer prog bliss. At 13 minutes in there is a booming bass solo over strange guitar chords. The drums move into an odd metrical pattern as twin guitars solo and trade off, then there is a great raucous section that breaks suddenly into some folk acoustic. Suddenly a burst of insane guitar crunches in that is soon returned by soft acoustics again. One never knows what to expect next as the music is always progressing and experimental. At 16 minutes a killer riff grounds the ambience to pulp, and the metal prog sound is joined by impossible hyper speed double kick drumming and a fast tempo locks in with incredible raging speed. This explosive section slows into a quiet passage as if anger is overcome by the melancholy of regrets after a fight. Perhaps the music is personifying the rollercoaster of emotions experienced by the protagonist. The lyrics seem to echo this sentiment; "the end has come, now it's time to change, "The time of men has ended, And now's the time for individuals, No one to follow only ideas to share". It ends on a very nice instrumental passage focussing on keyboards. What an amazing epic; outstanding structure and musicianship. The image of the maze with blood spatters in the booklet may be echoing the sentiments of the obstacles we face in life's difficulties, the maze we are trapped in entombs us, the sacrifices we make to get out of the maze are necessary, and the pain we have to deal with after the trials changes us internally.

I end this review by recommending this to anyone who loves to hear music that blends into light and dark, acoustic and distortion, symphonic and metal. The vocals throughout are lovely thanks to the talented Jelena, and Craig adds just the right aggression and passion in 'No'. Rodrigo is a virtuoso who structures his compositions with detours into heavy rage that leap out into sudden rays of light with keyboards and acoustics. He injects moments of break neck speed riffing and drumming and then launches into complex lead breaks and keyboard solos. The overall feel apart from these metal blasts, is more akin to the symphonic vibes of Pink Floyd or the polyphonic guitar work of Fripp in King Crimson. I was pleasantly surprised that the album delivered so much in only three songs. Perhaps it is a bit short for an album and I wanted more, but that is better than wanting it to end of course. Each song is completely and delightfully different, and Rodrigo's music is some of the most dynamic and exciting I have heard from a multi instrumentalist.

Download now on Rodrigo's website - it is free and it is excellent music!

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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