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Chac Mool - Sueños de Metal CD (album) cover


Chac Mool

Prog Folk

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3 stars In 1980, I had the oportunity to saw Chac Mool Live in the Tecnológico de Monterrey auditorium (I was stuying there) and they presented a great show not for the scenography but for the good tasty music of their first album... but they played various songs from the second, like "Brillo de Luna", "Que buena razón" (*), or "El rey del Rock" (not issued in this CD). Unfortunately, bad management and differences between parts end with a good Mexican band with international talent, as happened in a same way with "Caifanes"...

The music was really good and at a high level. The tracks written here had the same thematic essence of the songs of the first album (*), and "El Rey Del Rock" was a little exercise of the Rock & Roll kind; but in general, the second recording, lacks of the force, power and creativity of their first effort... It's really a shame that the Record Industry in México don't let the musicians work alone and transform the real message of the music into a selfish mediocre Pop hype, or that the musicians really don't know how to make a team to work out a recording. And that's why, between other reasons, Carlos Santana, is making records in U.S.A. and not in México City. It's a shame, but it's true!...Good Luck!

Report this review (#40095)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album combines some folk, some symphonic music (which is fine) but also some electro-pop (which is not so fine).

"Paranoia" is one of these type. If you add pretty weak vocals during this song, you get the picture.We are far from their very pleasant and symphonic sounds of their debut album. Actually, this song is very poor and it is a bit strange that it was chosen to open this album. Maybe that its commercial structure was the reason for this...

On the contrary, "Kandahar" combines very strong flute playing which conveys this folk-prog feeling to it. But the sound is somewhat harder. Rather upbeat for the most of it, this song brings us back to their good debut album.

One of my favourite is "Brillo De Luna". A simple and repetitive guitar work provides a strong structure and again, the flute (aaaaargh, I really love this instrument) brings us in another dimension. It is true that Mauricio Billieto is not the best vocalist on earth but this time, I admit that he sounds better than usual. Some good percussion work also enriches this song very effectively.

"Que Buena Razón" is somewhat in the same vein, but it has this inducible flavour of "Living In The Past" during some flute passages. Very pleasant (but I am biased.). It is another song of the big man in the band. Carlos Reyes signs (or co-sign) no less than five of them on this album leaving only "Libertad" to Armando Suárez. But this song is the second weak track. Simple and popish.

On the contrary, the closing and long number "Sombras de la Noche" (shadows of the night) opens with a brilliant and ethnic part (similar to "Aymara" from their first album). It is a great combination of native Mexican music and the symphonic style. It should have been a full instrumental IMO because as soon as the vocals get in, it is not so strong any longer. But since they are rather short, let's not complain too much.

It's a very melodic piece of music with spacey keyboards and powerful bass playing. By far the most interesting song from this good album. A special note for the last section of this beautiful song which combines a passionate guitar work with some good orchestrations.

Three stars. Arriba México.

Report this review (#157050)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Nadie es Profeta en su Tierra" ("Nobody is Prophet in their Own Land"), as an old Mexican saying says. That means that (as I understand it): "sometimes the most severe criticism of your work comes from the people of your own country".

I have to say that that I never have listened (until now) to a full album by this Mexican Progressive Rock band. I only listened to several songs from their albums, and I learned about their history because a Cultural TV channel in my city broadcasted a very good documentary done about them some years ago. I also in the early eighties knew about them thanks to some articles written about them in some Mexican Rock magazines and I saw their albums in the record shops. But that`s all. In 1980- 1981, as a teenager, I wanted to attend one of their concerts in a venue called "La Carpa Geodésica" in my city (which I don`t know if still exists), but at that time Rock music in Mexico, particularly Rock concerts, were a bit like "out of the law", and having attended at least two Rock concerts in my city by that time, where there were riots (not very serious, but somewhat violent, but fortunately nothing happened to my friends and me) I was a bit "scared" to attend Rock concerts in my city again, with or without justification in the particular case of Chac Mool. Fortunately, by the late eighties the situation changed and Rock music here became more or less "approved by the law" and one could attend Rock concerts with more confidence about security. I`m going to write about each song in this album:

"Paranoia": more close to Pop rock music with lyrics which in some parts sound to me as a bit funny.

"Kandahar": a very Progressive Rock song with very good arrangements, very good keyboards atmospheres and a very good flute solo. This is maybe the best song in this album. In general, all the members of the band play very well in this song.

"Brillo de Luna": with good musical atmospheres in general. It has some "Pre-Hispanic" musical influences, but still with some influence by bands like the seventies version of King Crimson and a bit of Jethro Tull in the style of the flute playing.

"Qué Buena Razón": with some Folk-Rock influences and very good arrangements, but again the Jethro Tull musical influence is very clear in some parts.

"Libertad": more oriented to Pop Rock again, but still Progressive. It has a bit of influence from Premiata Forneria Marconi.

"Sombras de la Noche": a good Progressive Rock song with good atmospheres at the start of the song. It has very good arrangements. It is one of the best songs from this album. It includes some mandolin playing, and a guitar solo (the only song on which the guitar has a prominent place doing a solo).

Well. In conclusion I have to say that this band was a very good Progressive Rock band. But there were some "problems": the lack of a good lead singer (the vocals are in tune but are thin and it is not very easy to understand the lyrics even if they are written in the Spanish language; maybe the sound mixing of the vocals in particular is not very good). The late guitarist Jorge Reyes was a better flute player and composer than guitarist and singer (a thing that even some people interviewed in that documentary that I mentioned above recognized). But I have to say that despite all these problems, this album is still very good, and this band really deserves the respect that their Mexican fans give to them.

Report this review (#1023927)
Posted Monday, August 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1981 was a good year for Chac Mool and they even flirted with playing alongside Queen in Puebla, but financial conflicts with the promoter prevented what would be a lifetime experience for the group.Anyway, there were no particular reasons for them to slow down, they were still under contract with Phillips and they secured a second album that same year with ''Suenos de metal'', recorded at Estudios Golden.

Looking at the Glam Rock-like frontcover, considering the year of releaseand even listening to the opening track ''Paranoia'' and its rhythmic, synth-based, almost Space/Electronic sound one would expect a huge drawback from the band, but fortunately this was not the case.With ''Kandahar'' Chac Mood presented a trully original mix of Folk, Symphonic Rock and Space Music with archaic flutes, soft piano and cosmic synths, surrounded by poetic lyrics and wrapped up in a varied mood, while ''Brillo de luna'' follows a more Prog Folk vein with slow, psychedelic electric guitar and melancholic flute.''Libertad'' is a weird piece, where orcestral moves meet with heavy bass, sharper electric textures and spacious synthesizers, ending with a nice dramatic section.With ''Que buena razon'' the band sinks again into a diverse, folky enviroment with an orchestral background, very original music with a symphonic arrangement, sentimental vocals and rich instrumentation.The 9-min. closer ''Sombras de la noche'' is among the darkest pieces written by the group.An odd, trippy listening experience of nostalgic flutes with pre-Hispanic orientations, doomy rhythms, powerful symphonic strings and cosmic synthesizers.Personal and intricate approach on Rock music, moreover showered by another sensitive singing effort by Mauricio Bieletto.

The strongest among Chac Mool's early albums.Space Rock meets Mexican Folk meets Orchestral Rock in a trippy and consistent album.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#1320308)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2014 | Review Permalink

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