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Anima Mundi - The Way CD (album) cover

THE WAY

Anima Mundi

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars Wow¡¡¡

!!!What an excellent symphonic prog rock¡¡¡

Who can imagine in this small caribean island with such restrictions in many ways(it seems not in the artistic one) could born such a fantastic band.

Well now of course is fantastic .Prior albums were promising something good but I never realize such as good as this work.

Virtuous long compositions with virtuous arrangements and instrumentation .

It seems that Transatlantic,Glass Hammer and Steve Hackett joined together (with It Bites vocals?)

Such an occidental progrock .It seems a band of any of the developed countries who create the symphonic prog.

This guys maintain the symphonic prog. alive.

So for their addition to life of prog rock 5 stars.

Long life to Anima Mundi

Report this review (#301974)
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely unbelievable symphonic prog band from Cuba

Please somebody wake me up. I don't know what to say about this magnificent work of art. "The Way" by "Anima Mundi" is the quintessence of what we loved for years about symphonic prog.

I've been to the paradise island of Cuba 6 times in the last 10 years and I know how these extraordinary people are suffering from the dictatorship of Fidel Castro but moreover from the US embargo. Hearing this extremely sophisticated music from a Cuban band surpasses my understanding.

First the quality of the sound is excellent, the instrumentation, while close to the 70's is also as good and modern as anything from well known modern prog band, such as Transatlantic, Spock's Bear, Haken, etc..

The album is composed of 4 masterpiece songs, 3 mini epic and one 27 minutes of pure heaven. The influence of Yes are obvious but still, these four accomplish musician are unique in their approach. It's a mix of classical and avant-garde influences all along the 4 songs. The arrangements are extremely complex and sophisticated. The singer is excellent with a high pitch voice but no imitation of Jon Anderson around. Even if we are in well known territory, this music is very challenging. There is always something new that grab your attention. They have a unique way of doing things.

The closest I've heard to this album is Yes Relayer. IMO " The Way" it is the best symphonic work since the Yes masterpiece. But don't get me wrong, it is not a Yes clone.

So far, there is only 4 albums of symphonic prog on the list of best of 2010 on PA (Kaipa, Spock's Bear, Odyssice and Glass Hammer). This is by far the best of all.

For your information only (I have no connection at all) you can purchase the album (and their beautiful 2008 Jagannath Orbit) in flac download at Mindawn.com.

5 stars - Absolutely essential.

Report this review (#302194)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Wow, a prog band from Cuba! This I gotta hear." Was what went through my mind when I read about the new release "the Way'of Anima Mundi. Also encouraged by some very positive ratings here on PA I decided to download the album from Mindawn.

After listening to the album a couple of times I am rather disappointed. Sure its pretty good stuff; The playing is more then competent, The tunes are good, the singer has a nice voice and the production is clear. But there's nothing 'Cuban' about the music of Anima Mundi. This is pretty standard symphonic prog in the vein of Yes, Glass Hammer and Neil Morse. Nothing I've not heared plenty of times before. I really hoped to find something with a little more edge and identity.

But still, symphonic prog lovers will find plenty to enjoy. Other prog fans should approach this with a little more caution. "Good, but not essential" seems like the right qualification.

3 stars.

Report this review (#303542)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Strong album from Cuban band! Very melodic, heavily influenced by classical symphonic music, this album really surprised me! Haven't heard about Cuban progressive rock existence at all!

Four epic compositions, seriously influenced by Yes (or better - by their American followers), nice musicianship, great vocals. Sound and production both are ok as well. For sure it will be naive to search on experimental or just new elements in album's music. Genre's rules are different, but for new band's album, especially coming from such "non-prog" land as Cuba, this release is really great one! And to be honest, it's even better than many neo-symphonic prog (or just neo-prog) releases from more traditional markets,as UK or US.

I believe fans of melodic,romantic symphonic neo-prog will like this album. It was interesting for me to listen it. But this release didn't change my preferences in Cuban music - I will stay with Buena Vista Social Club though.

Solid 3+.

Report this review (#303855)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team
5 stars After 2 very good cd especially "Jagannath Orbit", Anima Mundi is back with his third one that contains four long tracks, with a epic of 26 minutes. This is another symphonic cd with a take back to the glorious days of Yes with the modern sound of bands like Nexus and Simon Says. The band like to developp their songs with multi movements parts in a classical approach, and by using flute, cymbals and piano when it's time to slow down the tempo or to punctuate some parts of songs. The Epic song differ from the rest by his slow tempo, but it's not dull by no means, the melody is beautifully crafted with a classical introduction and the magnific sounds of the guitar player, that has a Stolt/Howe sound. The keyboards play a major role in Anima Mundi sound with the big symphonic sound but on the epic, their is also some spacey sounds that reminds me of Porcupine Tree. The bass sound is high in the mix and the vocals does a good job to support the music without being outstanding like the best english bands.

So, in conclusion, this is a great symphonic symphonic cd, well produced, that is on top of my list for this year.

Report this review (#303859)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Central and South America are quickly becoming my favorite places to check out recent and new prog releases. There is a rich vein of very inspired and accomplished musicians creating gorgeous, stimulating, melodic and breath taking music.

Not the least of these bands is Anima Mundi. The closest thing I have heard to compare them to is Venezuela's (I believe) Pig Farm on the Moon, which had one release in 2003 and then seemingly folded, which was a real shame. Anima Mundi hale from Cuba, and quickly have put their country on the prog map for highly listenable, highly enjoyable symphonic prog.

The songs are mostly epic length, as there are only 4 tracks on this CD, "The Way". Every one of them is a gem in its own right. Do pick it up anywhere you can if you are a fan of bands like Genesis, Aisles, Gentle Giant, or PFM. I don't believe you will be disappointed.

- beebs

Report this review (#308922)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Once again, Cuba is in the prog map!

It is not common to see (hear) a progressive rock band from Cuba, but when I first listened to Anima Mundi, I really love their music and say "wow", since then, I've been following their efforts. First it was "Septentrion", a promising debut album with symphonic and folk tendencies, also the only one with Spanish vocals; then it was "Jagganath Orbit" where they expressed their skill at their highest level; and now is the turn of "The Way".

When I knew they would release a new album I was really excited because I love their music, and now, after several listens, I can say I am pleased, they did not let me down. This 2010 they gave light to this ambitious album called "The Way" which features four compositions, and a total time of 58 minutes, so as you can imagine you will find long songs here.

It opens with "Time to Understand", a fourteen-minute track where you can easily appreciate their symphonic tendencies, and where you will listen to first-class progressive rock. Throughout those fourteen minutes they offer a salad of sounds, a mixture of rhythms and moods and a great musical execution, it is evident that we are listening to trained and talented musicians.

In a symphonic prog band, I normally feel attracted by the sound of keyboards, and this time is not the exception, so pay attention to Virginia Pedraza's work, it is awesome. Returning to the song, when it reaches the eight or ninth minute it slows down, it makes great changes in mood and rhythm, a delicate guitar appears. But then the music begin to increase again until the final minute where it fades out.

"Spring Knocks on the Door of Men" is a giant composition that reaches twenty-six minutes, so you better sit comfortable and listen to this wonderful track. The first part covers the first four minutes, where you'll listen to soft and charming instrumental music, then it makes a little stop, delicate guitars and vocal appear and give it a new direction. The rhytm is semi-slow but it easily catches your attention, it keeps like this until minute eight where a new musical passage begins. Again, instrumental music with great keyboard work and also wonderful guitars; it is important to say, that despite I may feel more attracted by guitars and keys, all the instruments are equally important here, so open your ears and appreciate also bass and drums, because they are great.

At minute ten, there is a beautiful passage where you can close your eyes and let the music take you to another realm, I imagine myself in a beautiful place where peace reigns, with fields of green and pure air, just figure it out. There is a fantastic change after minute fifteen, the song explodes and becomes stronger and at the same time creates a new atmosphere, I also can imagine this part as if it was part of a film, in a scene where a new situation is taking place.

What a song this length can offer speaks for itself, there are a lot of sounds, emotions, textures, colors, images and several elements that help the music succeed and left a mark on the listener, as this band has left with me. After minute twenty there is another beautiful passage where a delicate flute appears accompanied by acoustic guitar and a nice keyboard atmosphere. Seconds later vocals return and add its special flavor. The final part of this is just the conclusion of a great effort, an ambitious track that reached his goal, at least with me.

Now the other two tracks are the shorter ones, despite they can also be considered as long ones. "Flying to the Sun" offers nine minutes of cool symphonic prog music. It starts with a mellotron sound which always produces me goosebumps, then vocals enter and a bombastic rhythm appears. A couple of minutes later nice bass lines mark the pass of a new passage where some choral keyboard appears and an excellent guitar work by Roberto Díaz highlights the track. Before minute six there is another change, actually in the mood because of the keyboards one can imagine some kind of terror scene, so there is a sense of tension and nervousness. The music itself is conducting you to several ways, you are exploring and knowing them, until you find your way: The Way.

And finally the shortest track, "Cosmic Man" which I have to admit is my least favorite on this album, which does not mean it is a bad track, not at all, not even weak, but in moments (the first minutes) I felt it repetitive. However later, more specific in the instrumental parts I felt caught again and my interest increased again. The last couple of minutes produce that sensation of an end, the music little by little is vanishing and saying goodbye.

Anima Mundi from Cuba is a band worth listening that I highly recommend. So far their three albums have caused several things on me and I fully enjoy them. Now, I am looking forward to their next effort, and I keep my fingers crossed in order to see them on stage, maybe soon, I don't know. My final grade will be four strong stars, it would be more accurate if I could add half star so it would be a 4.5 star record.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#368097)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I had high hopes for this one. But I tend to agree with thedunno´s review. This is Cuba´s biggest (or, as far as I know, only) symphonic rock band and they show they have all the elements to be placed among today´s most promising artists in that field. However, I found their sound here lacking originality and a little edge. Coming from Cuba I was expecting a little more local colors and sounds to make a difference, but I hear nothing like that. Of course I wasn´t waiting for a Buena Vista Social Club with mellotrons, but still...

Their main heroes are easy to identify: Yes and King Crimson. My main gripe with The Way is the fact that they sound a bit too much like other comtemporary bands from Europe and USA that had the same influences, notably The Flower Kings and Neil Morse´s Spocks Beard. The four epics presented here are quite good technically, no question about it. The musicians involved are excellent and the singer is also very competent, with a voice that reminds of Marillion´s Steve Hoggarth (the high tones and the dramatic delivering). However, songs like Time To Understand and Flying to The Sun sounds too much like Spock´s Beard, while several parts of the long (26 minutes) Spring Knocks on the Door of Men seems to come directly from a Flower Kings CD. There was not a track on this album that didn´t uncomfortably recall one of those two groups. I was expecting more for their third release already.

In the end I can say I like this CD. After all, I´m a fan of the style and Anima Mundi is more than capable of doing a great job, even though they have yet to find their own personality if they want to leave a more permanent mark in prog´s history. Rating: 3 stars, good but non essential. Again, promising. Let´s see what the future might bring from these hermanos.

Report this review (#381461)
Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have waited some time from first Spin to this review, mainly because I also had lots of other CD's to run the old ear over! Anyway this CD has had a REALLY big impact on me since the first spin blew me away. Yes this is definately a five star Essential addition to your collection if symphonic prog is your bag. It starts with a peach of a track - "Time to Understand" a nice 14 minute's that flows from am agressive ELP like opening into flowing string synths and Yes like vocal passages. The opener ends with an epic Hackettesque solo with awesome mellotron chord's filling in for the thrilling orchestral finale that is also featured in the magnificent epic, track No 2 "Spring knocks on the door of Men". This track is like the Flower Kings - a point a few other reviewers have pointed out - but it's not direct plagiarism - it's just bloody brilliant, again you have Hackett like guitar breaks - and a bit right out of "Spectral Mornings" - I just can't get enough of it. This nicely long track ends with a symphonic riff that would bring a tear to the eye of a pickled gherkin, picked out with a woodwind instrument then reprised with soaring layered synths - just gobsmacking really. Then you have two delightful shorter tracks which again showcase magnificent musicianship and they just have a feel of English prog from 1975/76 - and the fourth track "Cosmic Man" end's with a bit that lifts "Wurm" from Starship Trooper - but it's a progressive lift. If you like the Flowerkings/Yes/Genesis with a bit of Floyd/IQ and I suppose "The Enid" then you are going to like this - Trust me I know what I'm talking about......
Report this review (#745396)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I really have to force myself not to indulge in my other great passion HISTORY and intro a review from a Cuban prog band without mentioning my thoughts on matters non- progressive. The silly and counterproductive US embargo only serves to solidify a harsh regime that stood the test of time. Lessons hopefully learned, but I doubt it. Well, so has prog withstood near extinction seemingly all over the world, even in countries that used to frown on 'Western musical excesses' to quote Pravda, the USSR's revolutionary but untruthful mouth piece! Poland and Hungary have been stalwart prog banner wavers for decades, so maybe that is how this Cuban band developed its taste for the symphonics they distill with Rum-like gusto. Nothing remotely Latin-tinged here, in fact, these 'compañeros' can easily pass as westerners (oops!) with mind-music compositions that divulge waves of slippery synthesizers, cascading mellotron , liquid axe leads and passionate vocals in non-embargoed English . The Yes, ELP, Genesis and Camel influences abound with a tinge of RPI romanticism to boot. The result is just jaw-dropping, so go have a cigar and enjoy these 4 humongous tracks!

The resounding "Time to Understand" was the piece that caught both my progressive attention and my capitalist wallet. Guirarista Roberto Diaz' string stretching is overpowering to witness, full of glimmering aptitude, glistening pearls of notes straight from the 'corazon', both his ornate acoustic and soaring electric work are first-rate stuff. As well, the ivory prowess in the deft hands and fingers of Virginia Peraza stands out as an emphatic disposition towards texture and substance. She has the Emersonian ivory poetry down pat, with erupting synths, riveting piano and churning organ! Vocalist Carlos Sosa does the whooping arrangement total justice, his expressive voice fluidly enveloping the sonic scenery. Drummer José Manuel Govin is no slouch, bashing his plethora of drums and percussion with gusto which is no surprise as Latinos in general have the strongest sense of 'ritmo' ever. Finally bassist Yaroski Corredera resonantly booms about, keeping things firmly anchored, the crucial bridge between melody and rhythm. What an opener, phew!

The band wastes little time with dilly-dallying, as they submit the colossal 26 minute + 5 act suite "Spring Knocks on the Door of Men". A sultry bassoon weaves forth, the playful organ waltzes, mingling with seismic bass and then shrilling synths that recall the Flower Kings, Glass Hammer or that other Brit prog relic (Yes) join the fray. Then Diaz rips it up a la Steve Howe (Gates of Delerium) or Mario Neto of Bacamarte, adorning the piece with a wide palette of tones and textures (volume pedal, wah-wah, echoplex etc). Peraza is no slouch caressing her multiple ivories with supreme zeal and confidence within a massive symphonic wall, carousel synthesizers ululating like loco. The extended mid-section quieter part is simply divine, moody pools of reflected revelation and spiritual journey, a sweltering lead guitar screeching towards some surreal azure sky, weaving bass palm trees and searing sandy keyboard beaches expand toward the horizon. And then, a sudden drum hurricane blasts forth, devastating in its fury and swirling density, pushing the musical parameters of time and space further still. The symphonic luxuriance is beyond expectations, grandiose and majestic, very much in the spirit of classic Close to the Edge or the afore-mentioned Gates of Delerium. Easily one of the better 20 minute plus epics ever produced.

"Flying to the Sun" is of a sunnier disposition, scorching mellotron rays bronzing the skin, brooding synthesizer massaged into the raging bass arrangement and a howling butterfly axe solo that spreads its mighty wings effortlessly. Throw in a typical Wakemanesque church organ-synth duet to provide some sparkle. "Muy sinfonico"!

"Cosmic Man" is quite the opposite, more psychedelic/space in its disposition, with a harder edge, perhaps even a tad more accessible (rockier) , garnished with a scintillating synth solo and a vocal chorus you feel you have heard before. Sosa really stretches the limits of his lungs and the middle section evokes fond souvenirs of prog legends from the past without falling into overt plagiarism. The bass solo does have a Squire touch but not the trebly tone and the slippery guitar solo is furry, fuzzy and fantastic, mellotrons on fire in the background.

Montecristos, Ron Cubanos, Boxing, Baseball, Son music and now Anima Mundi. Lovely album cover to boot!

4.5 guantanameras

Report this review (#755888)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This my first contact with this group and I have to tell You is a pleasant one. Anima Mundi hails from a part of the world We often overlook when We are looking for prog music: Cuba. The band is well balanced and no instrument is more important than other, no even the voice, and a very good one It is. The compositions are on the epic side of prog and You can hear that Howe guitar been played over and over so You will be in familiar territory. Don't expect surprises, the music is good but It is not opening new ventures, staying the course of familiar paths so I am giving them 3.5 stars rounded to four because of where They come from. ¡Mas música chiquiticos!
Report this review (#1696004)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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