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El Reloj - El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] CD (album) cover


El Reloj


Eclectic Prog

4.06 | 56 ratings

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Retired Admin
4 stars Wild fire from Argentina

I can't believe that it has been 5 years since the last review of this little thing. Man you've got a powerful album coming your way, if you choose to acquire El Reloj's second outing. Of the few Argentinean albums in my collection, I rank this magnificent album along with Bubu's Anabelas, Pescado Rabioso's Artaud and Luis Alberto Spinetta's debut as my absolute faves. Though different in textures and feel - I would say that the vocals of El Reloj sound a lot like Spinetta, if the guy had chosen to walk the progressive hard rock path. To those of you who are unfamiliar with either one of these artists, then imagine a sweeter and slightly more sensuous South American version of Robert Plant.

To start off, I'd like to recapture a bit about El Reloj's rather bumpy start into the musical lands. Already early on in their career these guys faced what very easily could have been the end of the band, as guitarist Gregorio Felipes were killed en route to a concert back in 1970 at the Olimpia Theater. The terrible accident involved a car crash and a drunk police officer, who managed to steer clear from any subsequent accusations. Incredibly the band pulled through and did the gig in front of 1500 people the same night. The reason why I mention this is not because I wish to induce a series of misty eyed reactions and the following empathic buy. No it has infinitely more to do with me trying to convey what I truly feel must be one of the main engines behind this band. I feel a turbulent, jagged and hectic energy associated with El Reloj. Maybe more like a sonic guided rage that shows itself in every piece of the puzzle, whether that is the furiously pumping drums, those sensuous yet highly manic vocals or the eruptive masses of shredding guitars - it's always there, this rage.

The sound of these guys as a whole is not that far from other hard rocking proggers of the time, such as Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster, although El Reloj sound completely different. I realize the contradiction of this sentence, but I still claim there to be what I'd personally call "influences"(although I'm using the term loosely here) from the aforementioned bands - yet you'll find a distinctive nerve - a melodic sense and flow to this band which feels totally original and endemic to the South American peninsula. What comes closest in terms of reference to the European progster is perhaps the melodic feel of the early and more gritty RPI acts. There's something there that rings a bell - most definitely yes, and if you are sitting out there with a huge boner on for that particular scene, then you should be placing your order of this magnificent album as soon as possible.

This second outing is packed full of steaming hard rock with a boot full of progressive tendencies - in fact a truck load more prog than many of the British bands of said genre were conjuring up around the same time, -which again leads me to one of this album's greatest attributes: Chops. Man oh man do these guys know their way around their instruments. The drummer is easily one of the best and most intricate I have ever heard. He plays everything with ease, like a regular jazz nut - yet what he hits he hits with the force of a small sumo wrestler, and to top it all off - he plays like all of my fave drummers, which means that he is all over the kit - using the toms like it was second nature. Even when the natural structure of the track craves for a steady beat, he is all over the place with wonderful results, whilst still being astonishingly tight. Tight as a rooster's anus - just like the rest of the band actually...

Then we've got the guitars which are played with the virtuosity of a male figure skater using his hands to pirouette around the ice. Jagged, fluent and everything in between - coming very close to the perfect hybrid of Fripp and Page with a teeny tiny twist of spicy salsa thrown in. It's rock n' roll with an infinite amount of melodic twists and turns.

All in all El Reloj's ll boasts a powerful series of hard hitting, virtuosi and at times slightly symphonic tunes that are as prone to melodies as they are to letting the music run wild in a sea of democratically performed musical rides that get my juices flowing like an adolescent labrador pup mounting a teddy bear. 3.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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