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Subliminal - Limbo Experiment CD (album) cover

LIMBO EXPERIMENT

Subliminal

 

Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 9 ratings

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ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Subliminal is a very untypical project created by 3 members of prolific Argentinian symphonic prog band "Nexus", only for occasion to record this one, sole album - "Limbo Experiment". As the title suggest it's some kind of experimental album, where musicians tried to play something a bit different than what they used to in their primary group. As I said we have 3 musicians here: Lalo Huber (keyboards), Luis Nakamura (drums) and Lito Marcello (vocals), but as you probably already predicted it's a mainly Lalo's album. I would say that "Limbo Experiment" is more or less a forerunner before Huber's first solo album "Lost in Kali Yuga" (which was released in 2009). It's slightly rawer and less organized record, but philosophy is the same: mix of organ-driven bombastic tracks in the vain of "Nexus" and slower, more electronic music inspired & experimental songs with quite odd vocals. To be honest I like "Limbo Experiment" and "Lost in Kali Yuga" almost the same, I'm especially fond of Huber's fantastic organ playing and exciting drum work of Nakamura, presented on both records (I don't enjoy Lito Marcello's voice too much, so I'm glad he wasn't presented on "Lost in Kali Yuga" tough...).

Anyway let's check the songs on Subliminal's debut one by one:

1. "Eldia es hoy / The day is today" - record begins with orgasmic, grinding organ sounds which surely promise us lots of enjoyment :-). Soon we have few vocal parts (take note: all vocals are in Spanish language) of Lito Marcello, but I have to admit that his voice sounds quite OK in this song (unfortunately later it will become more freaky) so I have no complaints, especially that music is more focused on splendid, Emerson-inspired Hammond solos and leads. Great beginning!

2. "La espada / The sword" - unfortunately 2nd track isn't good at all for me. Very slow song full of "atmospheric" synthesizer sound-scapes and sleepy vocals. Boring snooze-fest if you ask me...

3. "Bajo la esfinge / Under the Sphinx" - Huber back in form! Short but very exciting symphonic prog track with swirling organ and dynamic pace! Slightly Arabic-like vocals and melodies add special flavor too.

4. "El dictamen / The verdict" - according to pattern "developed" by Huber, after one fantastic prog-fest, one drag should come... The beginning of the song seems to proof this situation, but fortunately after a minute or so music becomes more interesting. Very weird, theatrical vocals (is it Lito and Lalo making some kind of dialogue or what?) maybe a bit tiresome but they're surely very special. There are also some dramatic string arrangements (surely synth-made) which I also like here. Odd but good track.

5. "Eljuego resiste / The game resists" - one of the longest songs (7 minutes) begins with mid-paced vocal fragment backed by modern synthesizers and keyboard-made choirs. It's not bad at all, but for me "The game resists" really begins in the middle, when Huber switches back to his old good Hammond to show us who's the master! I love this dynamic organ riffs and - Lalo's trademark - ultra fast & brutal slides through all keys (like Emerson used to do during his "Rondo" performances). After listening to this you will surely believe in Huber's interviews where he states that he always leaves some blood on the keys after the concert!

6. "Ocaso frio y negro / Cold and black twilight" - the epic!? Not really... In fact the longest composition on "Limbo Experiment" isn't so exciting at all. It's a very slow-paced track with monotonous drumming style, New Age music-like keyboards and artificial choirs. Moreover Marcello sings like who's like to take a nap in any minute... I know that there are also some few Hammond parts and something sounding like Moog solo, but really as a whole it's not so good. Especially that it's so damn long, I can't find enough inspiration here.

7. "Un millon mas / One million more" - I expected that here will be placed another organ-oriented monster...and Huber didn't let me down! This song was surely influenced by "Tarkus"-era ELP, no doubt about it. Hammond organ sounds truly monumental in "One million more" and its chops seem to be fatter than casual McDonald's customer ;-). I think that there are only few keyboardists on this world who still know how to play such stuff, besides Huber I'd also mention Par Lindh, Keiko Kumagai, Ryo Okumoto or Don Airey, they're all in the same league of retro-prog heroes for me.

8. "Sublimbo / Sublimbo" - this thing I can only describe as puny turkey not worth your time. More than 6 minutes of sheer boredom filled with sleep-inducting vocals and horribly plastic sounding synthesizers. Just noting happens here. Maybe this is how New Age music supposed to sound? I don't know, I despise that philosophy and such music completely. Hey guys, let's come back to real prog, please!!

9. "Eclosion / Eclosion" - thank you, this is what I expects from you guys! Magnificent symphonic track driven by muscular organ chops and shrill synthesizer solos. Drumming is also perfect here, Bolero-like rhythm is definitely my favorite one! Especially middle section is brilliant, seems that 60s are back and we're listening to "The Nice" again! What a ride!

10. "Tan peculiar / So peculiar" - after couple of minutes of Hammond-inducted orgasm in "Eclosion", we're going back to spreading boredom of another electronic/New Age/neo-prog drag called "So peculiar". I simply don't like it. BTW Lito Marcello has polyps inside his nose or something...?

11. "Rey de Zafiro / King of Saphire" - short but very enjoyable composition which reminds me very much of ELP's "A Time and a place". Just like in that song we can witness rampant attack of violent Hammond organ riffs and solos here. And we have similar flashy slides through keys too! Even Lito managed to sing more aggressively than usual. Very suitable.

12. "Ultimo sermon / Last sermon" - this one is really weird, but I'm not sure if it's positively weird... I'm afraid not. It just 3 minutes of synthesizer noodling, strange sound effects and some awkward vocals of somebody who seems to be praying. I don't get it at all...

13. "Krucifear / Krucifear" - this time Huber & Co. decided to provide us with a double feature: two slow-paced, organ-free compositions one by one. Not a good idea. OK, I'm too strict, in fact I dig "Krucifear" much more than horrible "Last sermon". Dramatic string-section (synth-created) sounds very good for me, makes the atmosphere very grim and dangerously dark. But the whole song goes to nowhere, there's a tension...but it's not followed by any culmination.

14. "La fiesta final / The Final party" - thanks God Subliminal finishes the album with the most symphonic composition - "The Final Party". I love those grandiose organ leads here and flurry of keyboard solos. Splendid ending of truly solid record.

To sum up I'd like to highly recommend you "Limbo Experiment" if you're a lover of retro-prog stuff mixed with some newer influences. However you have to be prepared that ELP-like tracks are mixed with some not so interesting and slightly monotonous turkeys (like "The sword" or "So peculiar"), but don't worry 'cos it's a very long album (almost 80 minutes), so you can always program your CD player to playback only the symphonic songs, it will be still some 40 minutes long material hehe.

In general I can compare this project to other organ/synth-oriented bands like ELP (mainly), Trace, Triumvirat, The Nice, Duncan Mackay, Quill, Little Tragedies, Par Lindh Project, Taproban, Nuova Era, Gerard, Ars Nova, Social Tension and many, many others. However if I could pick one artists, I'd say that Subliminal's music is very similar to material of Japanese keyboard-maestro - Motoi Sakuraba. Especially his album "Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks"(also from 2008) shows similar philosophy: once organ-led killer - once slower composition (however I prefer Sakuraba's slower tracks to be honest, they are more melodic than Subliminal's).

Best tracks: "The day is today", "One million more", "Eclosion" & "King of Saphire"

4 stars from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 4/5 |

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