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Gardenia - Invocacion a los Pajaros CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.41 | 11 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm not sure I've ever heard an album that was described so fittingly by the label "eclectic prog." Not content to have a variety of styles scattered throughout multiple tracks, Gardenia instead elects to include multiple genres in every single song. Of course, this is not unknown within the prog world, but what really makes it impressive is how seamlessly the group is able to pull it off as well as how short an amount of time they need to incorporate this genre bending. There's not a single song on this album over 5 minutes long, but there's also not a single moment that feels rushed, forced, or overly busy. A very eclectic album indeed, and one that's very much worth a listen.

"El Simurg" begins the album on a fairly calm note, with floaty, almost ambient keyboard and guitar parts creating a thoroughly psychedelic atmosphere. Some nature recordings add to the ambience, while percussion and bass keep a consistent but non-intrusive beat. It's a very cool opening for the album, but it's definitely more of an introduction than a song proper, and it's not until "Golem" begins that the listener truly begins to get a sense of what this album is all about. Sounding like an incredible three way cross between a klezmer band, a metal band and a south American folk group, "Golem" is an incredible song with some definite similarities to The Mars Volta, though decidedly more melodic and a bit less insane.

"Milkimeda" starts up with some punchy bass before a psychedelic keyboard part comes in. The vocals, when they appear here, are significantly more laid back and melodic then on "Golem," as is the overall feel of the track. There's even a killer, jazzy keyboard solo. The end of the track picks up a little bit, adding some more distorted guitar riffing before fading out and transitioning with some swirling sounds into "Viento y viajar." This is probably the most chilled-out track that's appeared on the album yet, with a relaxed, open bass line keeping the rhythm behind gorgeous vocal harmonies and bittersweet, folky melodies. Like several of the tracks before it, "Viento?" picks up in intensity (and heaviness) towards the end, but it never loses its rather calming theme, even as the instrumentation gets a bit louder.

"Mammatus" begins with some interesting interplay between drums, keyboards and guitars, with complex rhythms and high-pitched vocals again inviting comparisons to the Mars Volta. However, like "Golem," "Mammatus" has a strong folk flavor that helps set it apart, as well as a brief section in the middle (and again at the end) that almost approaches extreme metal. Gardenia really has a lot of skill at packing a lot of sound into a small amount of time, and "Mammatus" is an excellent example of that.

"Donde el mar" follows, starting off with a down-tempo, insistent drum part before spacey keyboards and guitar come in. Those same high pitche, Mars Volta-esque vocals again return, but "Donde el mar" as a whole is in general far more relaxed than anything TMV have done, despite the multiple metal-flamenco breakdowns that occur in brief intervals throughout the track. There's also a rather doom-flavored section towards the end of the track, proving that there's no limit to the number of genres Gardenia can manage to get into a single song. Amazingly, it never feels disjointed or forced, which is really a testament to how good the composition is here.

"Se hagan vida" is another genre bender, with proggy, technical metal parts layered over folky melodies and instrumentation in a way that somehow comes off sounding perfectly seamless and connected instead of needlessly juxtaposed. Another pseudo-tech metal section makes an appearance towards the end of the track as well, with almost-growled vocals and frenetic, heavy guitar parts. A fade into a wash of distortion seamlessly transitions into "Padmasan," which begins with a vocal section backed by a groovy bass line and some spacey, floaty guitar. This, in turn, transitions into a guitar and bass crescendo that itself resolves into a folky synth solo. Crushingly heavy riffs toward the end of the track round out the sonic palette, leaving "Padmasan" with a fascinating blend of sounds that makes for an incredibly varied and satisfying track.

"Carlssin" begins with perhaps the most intense intro on the album, with a complex, rhythmic guitar part that definitely has a bit of a math-metal vibe to it. This quickly gives way, however, to a haunting blend of synth sounds and spare guitar, over which a powerful vocal section reigns, replete with some of the best melodies on the album. The math-metal returns in the second half of the track, trading the spotlight back and forth with a little psychedelic folk melody while a combination of clean and growled vocals sing in the space above. The 7 second "Maskaram" serves as a sort of postlude to the track, adding a brief guitar melody to the end of the song.

"Mil veces" closes out the album on a decidedly psychedelic note, with swirling synths, acid- drenched guitar and hypnotic, throbbing bass providing the background for delicate, ethereal vocals. This transitions to a more uptempo theme midway through the track, with traces of folk, metal and symphonic music all blending together to create a singular, awe- inspiring finale for this incredibly diverse album.

Albums like this are perfect counter-arguments to those critics of progressive rock who would claim the genre is stagnating. While there are hints of other groups on this album, overall it feels incredibly original and fresh. Though it is quite short (just a little under 36 minutes), "Invocation a los Pajaros" is an incredibly engaging album, and while I can't guarantee you'll like it, I think I can pretty safely bet you won't be bored.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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