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Alux Nahual - Conquista CD (album) cover


Alux Nahual

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Alux Nahual's second album is pretty much on the same vein as their debut. Even so, it doesn't sound repetitive. On the contrary, the symphonic passages are on a more developed level and more focused. Nonetheles, parts on the album can be considered the first hints of a change on Alux's style.

Again, we start off with an instrumental, "Barrocko". The title is a mix between the words baroque and rock, which describes the music on the track. The beginning is an ominous piano and violin (electric violin?) playing a "passacaglia", which is a form of composition from the baroque. Then it all ends suddenly and we can hear only the sound of a person drinking. After that we get circa 3 minutes of rock & roll jam with solo spots for every instrument. The jam is very influenced by American music, the influence probably coming from Jack Schuster. This instrumental doesn't work as well as "Cola de Golondrina" from the previous album, but is still much fun to listen.

Then we get Alux's first minimalist ballad written by Alvaro Aguilar (I don't count "La Fábula Del Grillo Del Mar" from their debut as a minimalist ballad because it sounds more like a band effort and is more symphonic) In "Mujer" we only get Alvaro's voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar and cello. This is a love song, which I like, but isn't progressive or interesting. It's just very emotional.

Now, it starts to pick up, because "El Mensaje Del Mago" is the first highlight of the album, in my opinion. Here, the addition of Oscar Conde starts to pay off in beautiful arrangements by the flute and sax. Also very present are the cello and violin by Paulo and Jack. The song itself is mystical and fits well with the voice of Ranferí, which is quite soothing, tranquil and with a higher range, offering a nice contrast to the baritone voice of Alvaro. The only mistake of this track is the ending, with a musical box that is totally out of place.

The apex of the album, for me, is the title track. "Conquista" has a mystical and somber introduction with guatemalan instruments: chirimía (a flute-like instrument) and tun (percussion). After the intro, comes the real start of the song. The brothers Alvaro and Plubio teamed up to write an excellent rock composition, with plenty of symphonic arrangements, an excellent riff and a strong message about how the Spaniards conquered America. The drumming is also very tasteful in this track.

The next song, "Hoy", drags down the album in my humble opinion. Actually it isn't a bad song, not at all. It's nicely arranged like all the other symphonic songs. The thing is that whenever I hear it, I can't help to be reminded of Stairway To Heaven by Led Zep. In fact, I've played Stairway To Heaven in my guitar while listening to this song and it's pretty much the same thing. To worsen things, the structure is also very alike: a quiet intro, a rocking part, a guitar solo (with the exact chords of the rhythm guitar from Stairway) and a quiet outro.

Fortunately, the closer of the album is an original sounding piece composed by Paulo Alvarado. "Retorno De La Alegría" is a piece centered on the electric piano, with Paulo's soft vocals. Actually, the vocals and the whole song makes me feel happier whenever I listen to it, which is coherent with the title (translation: return of joy). Excellent bass and drums on this song, which carry the changes of the song swiftly along with the piano. There's only a minor mistake: the guitar is mixed too loud in one part.

"Conquista" isn't as naïve as their debut, but it has some mistakes which drag down the album. I can see how other people could give the title of symphonic masterpiece to this and not the debut, but I give it four solid stars, a bit less than their first one.

Report this review (#149639)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Second studio album by Alux Nahual and their peak in my opinion. The thing that makes it slightly superior to their debut is not so much the compsitions but the level of maturity achieved in terms of writing and performing, while maintaining their signature sound and style. The only significant change here is the inclusion of Oscar Conde on saxes and flute, bringing both jazz and folk into the mix.

The six pieces that comprise the album are a showcase for the entire band, with every instrument in it's place (for a detailed description of each indivual track refer to RaúlGuate's earlier review). I will just say that "Passacaglia" and "El Mensaje del Mago" are gems and the stunning final track "Retorno de la Alegría" is probably the best song Alux ever did.

If I had to describe the album in it's entirety in just a few words, I would say it's a flawed masterpiece. I won't go as far as calling it "perfect", but nevertheless, this is where Alux Nahual established their sound as a true fusion of rock, folk and jazz. The band will go on to simpler formulas over the following years, but this album is a testimony of the amazing creative power they possessed.

Report this review (#152969)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This second album continues the same characteristics from the previous one, with the improve of a better sound in the recording and the aport of Oscar Conde, who'll become one of the most active members of the band. He brings the sound of Flaute and sax in this album, and latter he played keyboards and some guitars also. The albums songs keep the symphonic basis, still with a lot of violin and guitar solos through the whole album. "Barrocko" is a great instrumental song. What shows this album is the good time the have playing some interesting music. You can feel all the freshness of the songs, a lot of good vibe throughout and well written songs as well. The best song of this short album (it only last 33 minutes) is "Conquista", another of their trademarks epic songs, with a great balance between rock of the 80's, Folk-fussion and symphonic phrases. The rest of the album have a lot of diversity and interesting experimentation with a lot of grooves. You should give the album a listen. You will enjoy it. Maybe the only thing that doesn't makes this album better is the short that it is, 'cause only have six songs. Still, the production is great, dinamic and very interesting for people who likes to study music. Well diserve 4 stars... sure...!!!
Report this review (#224733)
Posted Monday, July 6, 2009 | Review Permalink

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