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October Equus - Charybdis CD (album) cover

CHARYBDIS

October Equus

RIO/Avant-Prog


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5 stars Hello everyone who cares! First: I'm really surprised to see a picture here which in fact is far from the album cover. Let's not mislead music-lovers and place a true cover of the release. Here is a link: www.raig.ru/octoberequus.asp#R034 Second: Not because I'm a proud publisher of Charybdis, but as a music-lover... The album is just amazing, a true masterpiece for those who value instrumental, complex, intricate, and passionate music. Third: As devoted believers in creative artwork and packaging, we think that any release is not just about the music, it is the whole presentation of it. With Charybdis we tried to make a complex piece of art with music, artwork, and packaging working as a whole. Think, we manage to do this. And hope you'll be able to estimate the resulting quality of this release. Cheers!

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Send comments to raigor (BETA) | Report this review (#183179)
Posted Monday, September 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Charybdis" is a big statement of refurbishment and development of the basic RIO trend pursued by the excellent Spanish band October Equus. The listeners shouldn't expect a work of emphasis on the robust tension and epic environments delivered tow years earlier in their debut album, but a renewing twist toward a more thorough elaboration of nuances and atmospheres. Please, don't get me wrong, the band remains muscular and powerfully driven into the rockier aspect of experimental rock. Yet, you can tell that the level of sophistication in both the writing and arranging processes has reached a new height, in no small degree due to the addition of jazzy cadences and vibrations to the rhythmic foundation. The album kicks off with 'Architeuthis Dux', a very dynamic piece whose inherent punch is cleverly amalgamated over a challenging set of rhythmic variations. Mangs' sax interventions provide that eerie jazzy element that will prove crucial for many tracks in the album. 'Frozen Sea' is focused on melancholic moods, mostly based on grayish, somber (yet not creepy at all) organ layers whose chord progressions state a true reflection on introspection. Once the piece shifts to a more extroverted section, the jazzy factor becomes totally predominant in order to instill a colorful swing to the momentum. A brief reprise of the languid intro section provides a proper closure. 'Trylobites' is mostly ethereal, yet still providing a certain disturbance through the dissonant counterpoints that bring an obvious sense of controlled tension. 'Fata Morgana' enhances somehow the jazzy RIO strategy, with a melodic structure that alternates a warm motif on 6/8 (something like Yugen-meets-"Leg End" era HC) and a central motif that states an almost chaotic architecture of muscle and dissonance. Brilliant!! 'Frozen Sea' had reflected the kind of renewal the band has been prusuing for thsi album, while 'Fata Morgana' delivers a global statement about the old and the new OE. 'Unknown Pilot' is a very inspired exercise on avant-garde lyricism: as un-symphonic as this piece clearly is, it certainly echoes the evocative mood that is common even in 20th century chamber. I wouldn't have minded if this piece had been expanded beyond its 3'21" time span, but anyway, that's not a decision for me to make. A great, appealing composition it is, indeed. And so is Amanda Pazos-penned 'Forgotten Sirens', a muscular piece (somehow Present-inspired, yet typically OE at the end of the day) that eventually transits to ethereal atmospheres at the ending section. Once again, my minor complaint is that this delicious idea is not expanded beyond its actual time span (only 2 minutes for this impressive prog item?... mmmm.). 'Abyssal' brings back the reflective side of October Equus, wisely seasoned with elements of tension and darkness. Not unlike track 4, this piece is related to the sort of sound delivered in the debut album, but it also bears arrangements much in tune with the controlled density that prevails in "Charybdis" as a whole concept. 'Thera' follows in a similar vein, even enhancing the ethereal factor, which proves quite effective when the more intense passages settle in and create an interesting contrast. Ontalva's guitar phrases are featured in their magnificence among the complex instrumental framework. 'Niarsek' goes even deeper into the band's serene facet, with those dominant keyboard orchestrations that instill a ceremonious aura into the composition's overall contemplative vibe. The namesake track brings back the sort of ambiences that had already been present in tracks 1 & 4, dynamic RIO with a heavy jazzy twist and a clever use of dissonance and counterpoints in a challenging tempo. 'Helgoland' is the epilogue that brings the ultimate expression of melancholy in the album: the simplistic harmonic bases are handled with elegance, including a brief delicate piano interlude and an impressive guitar solo. that fades out too soon!! Despite my (minor) objections regarding some pieces' time span, I am far from considering the repertoire's whole situation as a failed one. On the contrary, "Charybdis" is a perfect example of successfully conceived avant-prog music in our current progressive scene. October Equuus has managed to stay loyal to the basic sound while taking it to another level of reinvigoration.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#183837)
Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars October Equus are battling a sea monster

The third album by October Equus, released in 2008 is named after Charybdis, daughter of Gaia and Poseidon that was turned into a sea monster by Zeus. If one looks at the title of the tracks on the album, he'll notice that mythological and nautical themes are at use here. This album was released through the RAIG label, who has been delivering intriguing and captivating experimental and avant- rock albums in the last years. It is therefore very fitting that Spanish band October Equus release their album through this label as this is a spectacular example of boundary breaking rock.

Starting in your face with the first track Architeuthis Dux, the band mixes great zeuhlish and symphonic elements in the form of heavy thumping rhythm and rich and lush keyboards sound, respectively. This tune and most others in the album carry a feel of atonality, a whimsy approach and a "typical" RIO- esque and to lesser extent zeuhl-ish characteristics reminiscent of the way other avant-rock and chamber rock bands play (the music and sound of Univers Zero, Far Corner and Yugen come to mind among others). There are also a jazzy element woven into this mix and all of these together make this a fantastic and thrilling album. The opening track in particular is a great example of that with its high energy level and even bombastic quality.

Strong jazzy and zeuhl-ish feel and elements are present in the second track Frozen Sea as well. Composed of a slow and somewhat sludgy, dirty sound and rhythm yet powerful, this track portrays well how, much like the short fast segment in its midst that quickly dissipates back to the original sluggish pace, a sea can shift from being stormy and agitated to being frozen and still.

This album seems to be more daring, more bombastic in approach than its predecessor, keeping in the same path, but expanding on it, making their sound broader, fuller, richer and much more appealing even. There's an orchestral feel in the album that was not there in the previous s/t album from 2006. However, like in their previous album, the Univers Zero universe of sound seem to still function as a source of inspiration, as a guiding element, though, as I mentioned above, they expand on it, adding new elements to their overall sound to have it more majestic-like; with the orchestration aspect, the chamber-rock feel with the fusion elements and the use of zeuhl-ish pounding rhythms and energy, the band achieves a new level, a new construction of style and sound and make this album better than previous efforts. This album not only mixes styles wonderfully, it sounds as rich and plentiful as the number of influences it encompasses. There is terrific musicianship here, and you can clearly hear all the instruments, and make out how wonderful the play is. For instance the gorgeous keyboards in Architeuthis Dux, the powerful bass in Fata Morgana and the enchanting saxophone in the title track, Charybdis. A good example of how the band works together very well is given with the brilliant chaotic track Forgotten Sirens with its entrancing rhythm. This album puts emphasis on both attractive tunes and on various moods and atmospheres it creates; in this aspect there's a good balance as some tracks focus more on one (Architeuthis Dux and Trylobites with their relative catchiness) while others on the latter (the appropriately named Abyssal for instance, which focuses on creating a chilling atmosphere).

With 11 tracks culminating at around 46 minutes, this is not an exhausting listen at all and in fact could have used perhaps a few more minutes. In fact, the closing track, Helgoland, could have been prolonged and given a better closure, which as it is feels to me a bit missed.

As I was listening to this album, I got to think about Panzerpappa and their album Koralrevens Klagesang. I did so because like October Equus, Panzerpappa too got much of their influence and inspiration (as I hear it) from (among others) Univers Zero and their ilk of chamber and avant-rock. But, if Panzerpappa took that influence into their particular niche of positive and frisky style creating thus their own sound, October Equus in this album do a similar thing, only in a different direction, building a niche of their own.

An excellent release, even better than their previous splendid effort, this will please fans of the aforementioned styles and bands, and music enthusiasts who like the idea of mingling those influences together to form an OE sound.

Get it!

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#184743)
Posted Saturday, October 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars First of all check out Avestin's excellent review of this album not only to see what the concept is about, but because it's a really good review. I'll try to describe the music. I should mention that their previous album was a much more powerful album than this and much better for my tastes as well. It did remind me of "Heresie" at times. In fact I played it on Halloween this year in my foyer where the kids would come to the door to get their treats. This latest album from them is still great though and a solid 4 stars.

"Architeuthis Dux" hits the ground running with some excellent organ.The sax comes in. The keyboard style here reminds me of PRESENT.The tempo slows after 2 1/2 minutes with organ and angular guitar. Sax follows. Great start to the album. "Frozen Sea" is the longest track at almost 7 1/2 minutes and it's rather eerie to start with as the organ slowly plays. Drums a minute in and sax after 2 minutes. A change before 3 minutes and we get some chunky bass a minute after that. Great sound as there is so much going on including the angular guitar. "Trylobites" has a jazzy vibe to it and it has a dark atmosphere as well. Interesting song to say the least. "Fata Morgana" has some incredible growly bass with piano then angular guitar. Sax after a minute with synths. Powerful organ follows. "Unknown Pilot" reminds me of ANEKDOTEN in the beginning. We get a haunting soundscape after 2 minutes that's quite intense. The tension is relieved before 3 minutes.

"Forgotten Sirens" features some great organ as the drums come in. Angular guitar starts to make some noise after a minute. Nice. Huge bass lines too. "Abyssal" is dark with organ. Angular guitar before 2 minutes followed by drums and sax which start to lead the way. "Thera" features more angular guitar and fat bass. This is dark too. "Niarsek" features what sounds like harmonium and synths. A fuller sound before 2 1/2 minutes as organ and drums start to dominate. It ends as it began in a creepy way. Haha. "Charybdis" features drums, angular guitar and organ.The tempo picks up and sax joins the fray around 2 minutes. Organ and angular guitar lead the way in this one. "Helgoland" is led by sax until the piano takes over. Some bells too.

For those who like this style of music you should really check these guys out..

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#194025)
Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars While i love the 2 albums they released after this (the excellent self released rehearsal CD-R, and the Alt Rock released, Saturnai) here you find the band kinda still searching for their sound. The drummer for instance does not have the best sounding kit ever at times sounding very un-acoustic and rather artificial. The same goes for the guitarist who has great tone on the other subsequent cds but here it is submerged in effects that don't really spotlight his great playing. Of course the compositions are good and what you would expect from this band (Henry Cow-ish with a pinch of Hatfield or The Muffins added for good measure). Recommended to completists...but for new comers i would direct them to the other 2 mentioned releases, or wait for their 2013 release which will come out soon.

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Send comments to mhiraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#937510)
Posted Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Review Permalink

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