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Cast - Four Aces CD (album) cover

FOUR ACES

Cast

Symphonic Prog


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Greger
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album contains re-recorded tracks of songs originally recorded 1989, together with three original recordings from 1989 and 1991. "Four Aces" is also a big step forward from their previous three albums, maybe with the exception of "Sounds Of Imagination". The sound is much better, the songs and the musical performances. Best tracks: "In The Light of Darkness" and "Echoes".

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Send comments to Greger (BETA) | Report this review (#1945)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I listened already to a couple of albums of their later period, which are much better what they are presenting here. Though songs are sounding all nice and disregarding the vocals, which are rather awful, the musicians's performance is really great, I'm still hesitating to rate this album as a good one, since there are much better ones of them, especially their last two. Something is missing on this one, probably because it's just an arbitrary compilation of recordings. It's nice music, usually mellow songs with piano and keyboard, murmuring somehow in the back but there is not anything catching my attention. More rocking ones like "Scenery" are sounding quite terrible like the worst 80's NeoProg. I'd really like to advice anyone, who does not know any records of this band, to start with their latest releases, these are fantastic. This one is just a collector's item IMHO!!

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#1946)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars When I was informed by my prog colleagues about CAST, I ordered about 10 albums of the band and 2 solo projects of the keyboardist and guitarist (it's a great solo album!). When my CDs arrived, "Angels and Demons" blew me! "Four Aces" got an unfair chance for spinning it at my CD player because it did not attract me right away. When I got a chance to have another spin I realized that it's actually not a bad album.

The real strengths of this Mexican (not UK) band are on their complex and tight music composition, and the musicianship of Luis Alfonso Vidales (keyboards), Francisco Hernandez Reyes (guitars) and Antonio Bringas Caire. The album sometimes presents a bit complex arrangement overlaid at main structure that sounds sometime does not fit with the music as whole. As this album comprises some tracks from their late 80s recording this one had shown improvement. I have to admit that on musicianship, CAST is really good. Some tracks like "In The Light of Darkness", "Introverture", "Echoes" are good and they all share the same good quality of composition. The only problem I have with the band is on sonic quality of the CD which is poor. Provided with excellent sonic quality, this might be a very good album to have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#73618)
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This Mexican band will produce some good albums throughout their long career. Actually, they spent a long time together before releasing any stusdio album. This might explain their very prolific production of the mid-nineties.

The musicianship is very good, but some times the songwritting is just a bit short. On, this album, we'll get a bit of both worlds.

"In The Light of Darkness" opens the album brilliantly. Good melody, strong rhythm. Middle-East influence for the middle and instrumental part (a bit heavy). The finale is again very melodic. It is bizarrely followed with "Introverture". With such a title, I guess that this track should have been the opener. It is quite complex, with no real theme. Lots of different themes make it a bit difficult to follow. Almost Crimsonesque mood. Not too bad after a few spins.

"Last Will" is an most elaborate track. A very symphonic number actually featuring a nice opening (piano and vocals) which will evolve into a somptuous intrumental section (Cast strong point). At times again, it sounds as ELP but Cast adds sufficient own flavour to be original. The closing section is very emotional.

"Galeno" is a short (to Cast standards) and very pleasant instrumental piece. A very strong and inspired guitar has the leading role here. An incredible sound, really. Remisniscent of Carlos but more powerful. Very interesting.

The central piece of this album, is the epic "Echoes" (nothing to do with the other one). It starts brilliantly. Sensational rhythm with a powerful bass play and vigorous keyboards. No time to breathe during the first five minutes. Only after this very strong intro, a subtle and Genesis-esque part will follow. Dino Brassea, sounding very nice in this slower part.

The second half of this number sounds a bit too repetitive. This feeling is especially during the instrumental section (from 10' to 12'30"). A bit pompous, I must admit (did I say ELP ?). It might have been cut down a bit to keep the interest of the listener at the same level. Fortunately, the closing part (over five minutes) is again very nice. Same light and sweet vocal part with very pleasant piano. I am missing a bombastic finale but all in all this track is well balanced and will please the ears of lots of prog fans.

"SPVM" is a intrumental and classical interlude. I wonder why Cast felt the use of listing such a number here. The album lenght (as usual for Cast) is long enough (over sixty- three minutes) to avoid it. Anyway, the next number reminds me PFM. Probably due to the vocals. Genesis is not too far either. I quite like the drum play in this number. A very pleasant song even if definitely PFM is almost carbon-copied.

Talking of borrowing styles, the intro of "Winter" might be a tribute to Keith Emerson. This piano intro sounds so much as the master does. The whole piece is full of sweetness : from vocals to the famous piano. A nice moment indeed. "Scenery" closes the album quite beautifully. One of the few poppish Cast number : a catchy melody that makes you appreciate it at the first listening (not too often the case with Cast).

Cast's music is generally somewhat complex and needs several spins to really allow the listener to enter into their work. I would say that their music is a mix between symph and neo-prog. As for other Cast albums, some of you might feel that they are a bit lacking in personality by getting their inspiration from some mighty bands of the seventies.

This effort is not their best one, but not their weakest either. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#120682)
Posted Thursday, May 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars The path Cast were walking start to become less and less lonely with each release.In 1995 the band plays outside Mexico, receiving an invitation for the pre-Progfest Festival at Barnsdall Theater in Los Angeles, USA.At the same time they kept producing music in a prolific way and the year finds them launching their fourth full-length production ''Four aces'', where Dino Brassea and Francisco Hernandez share vocal duties.Still this was another self-released production by the band.

The front cover evokes the mighty Fish-era MARILLION, but the Mexicans' roots are still grounded in a more symphonic tradition, covered by the strong Neo flashes of British Prog.This was more than an hour of lush, refined and at times complex Progressive Rock with certain YES and GENESIS influences, becoming even more ambitious as time goes by, now with two epics longer than 10 minutes each.The music is always very good, melodic and captivating with endless display of smooth guitar lines, piano interludes and sharp synthesizers, which still sound a bit cheesy, buried by a mediocre production, but fortunately the lovely arrangements will save the day.While not a first-league album, ''Four aces'' contains all the right elements of a proper Classic Prog album, with switching keyboards and pianos, lots of themes' variations and mood changes, maybe COLLAGE around the same time could be a fine comparison.The long tracks do have a reason of existence, nothing here is stretched or excessive, from the pompous instrumental parts to the laid-back textures and from the instant melodies to the lyrical passages.The band suffers from a period sound, which wanted your prog experience to be bombastic and accesible at the same time, but they overcome these flaws with a professional performance, where the symphonic and Classical inspirations stand out.

They were yet to be discovered by a proper prog label management, but Cast kept producing elaborate progressive music, rooted in the 70's, and they would get a reward for this.''Four aces'' is another winner in their discography, pretty nice, GENESIS-linked Symphonic Rock with some beautiful instrumental moments.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1299311)
Posted Saturday, November 01, 2014 | Review Permalink

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