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ORBITAL

Pig Farm On The Moon

Symphonic Prog


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pig Farm on the Moon is one of those many South American bands that are currently giving a renewed strength to the prog movement from the periphery of the Anglo- Saxon musical market: with English lyrics and a style robustly based on classic Yes (multicolored nuances and massive polyphonic layers) and classic Genesis (deep melodic approach), PFOTM did a great job with their debut effort "Orbital". Their musical roots are heavily stranded on the ground of old vintage symphonic prog, but they manage to provide a modernized spirit to their music - not unlike Galadriel, H2O or Glass Hammer - in this way, managing to create something somewhat original under this recurrent prog pattern. At times, some aggressive passages may sound similar to the average prog metal (like DT circa "Images and Words"), but the band's main essence remains as old- fashionable symphonic prog. This group certainly feels quite comfortable creating, delivering and arranging wide-range numbers: three of the album's five tracks range between a 12-19 minute duration, while the remaining two are not too below the 10 minute frontier. This interest in long stuff is complemented by the penchant for epic textures and dramatic mood shifts, two things that this band accomplishes quite proficiently: the clever use of the contrasts between the energetic passages and the relaxing ones is the band's main virtue. The opening track may not be completely successful at this, but generally speaking, the diversity of musical ideas and the links between them are very effective and executed in a refined manner; the 12-minute long 'I Lost My Wings' is, in comparison, more cohesive. The 5-part 'The Queen Maibe' goes to more places, it is a very successful composition, and so is the stunning instrumental 'Genesis' - these two numbers are, IMHO, the highlights of the album. The closure 'The Return of the Rain' starts with a very up-tempo motif, displaying some of the punchier lines in the album, until the coda brings a slow, ceremonious motif that conveys the usual epic ambience - after this coda's conclusion and a few seconds of silence, a delicious Renaissance-inspired sarabande emerges upon the sound of a very worn-out vinyl record. This evoking moment serves as a proper ending for an album like this, full of nostalgia for the good old days of progressive glory. PFOTM have made a damn good entrance in the recording business with this amazing debut album: based on what I find in "Orbital", I have good reason to believe that the latin American progressive scene will continue to generate new great music in this genre.

[I dedicate this review to my Venezuelan brothers Ernesto Caldera and Felipe Martins]

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#35338)
Posted Sunday, June 05, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars Wow what a mindblowing, original album from the Venezuelan prog group PFOTM. If you want to hear some top notch symphonic rock which pays homage to the prog forefathers while remaining wholly unique, check out this South American gem. Every instrument is amazing here with organs and guitar being especially brilliant. The english vocals don't sound foreign and are beautiful and almost make me want to hear more vocal passages at the expense of the brilliant layered textures and heavy melodic riffage. One of the best prog albums I've heard in a while and a breath of fresh air from South America which has never been topped in the continent in my humble opinion.

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Send comments to robertplantowns (BETA) | Report this review (#39302)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This progrock band from Venezuela delivers very pleasant and alternating music on five compositions between 8 and 20 minutes, the running time from this CD is almost 70 minutes. We can enjoy lots of changing climates, accellarations, breaks and good soli on guitar (from sensitive to fiery) and keyboards (often bombastic). The instrumentation is varied (from Spanish guitar to classical orchestrations) so the style is, from folk and classical to psychedelic and metal. I notice traces from Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson and Marillion but this band features such a varied progrock sound that this is not disturbing. CATEGORY: PLEASANT AND VARIED PROGROCK!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#39310)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars From the name of the band to the title of this release I was expecting some Psychedelic influenced tunes, or at least some PINK FLOYD sounds to come forth, but no and no. What we do have though are some varied and pleasant songs, with lots of time changes and flashes of Metal , but mostly keyboard dominated Symphonic music. They are from Venezuela but the vocals are sung in English.

I really like the second song "Genesis" an almost ten minute instrumental, with some cello and violin added to the mix. This album just didn't impress me enough to reward 4 stars, and it's a bit long at almost 70 minutes.

If you like keyboard driven music though, you should check these guys out.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#89293)
Posted Friday, September 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chus
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.5 STARS, ROUNDED TO 4 STARS.

I actually borrow the unmastered sample of this album from a Salomon Lerner's friend, and I had the chance of meeting the guitarist (I think it was Dario Sosa) who also happened to play at a wedding gig with my dad, so let's say I'm a bit familiar with them. You may suppose that as a fellow venezuelan I would give them plain 5 stars. First of all, I'm not a nationalist so I don't feel warmhearted by nationality alone or by the fact that I've met some of them. This is a fine work, probably the best rock album that has been produced in my country in a long time, but still it leaves me a bit disgusted. It has more influence from Dream Theater than I can swallow, but still, while I just rate 1 star to virtually every album that Dream Theater has produced (or 2 stars at the most), this certainly deserves better, as it is, in my opinion, the improved version of DT. They still founded their sound with Dream Theater, but added a bit more of Yes, Genesis, some ELP and, especially, there's a great resemblace to Steve Hackett's "Spectral Mornings" style (and if you listen carefully, you will hear a reworked version of Hackett's "Every Day" main guitar riff on "Awaken From Reality").

The musicians are as good technically as Petrucci, Myung, Portnoy and Rudess. However, their focus is not in showing their technicality but in the compositions and arrangements, and that's where they BLOW DREAM THEATER. The songs are still filled with power chords, whilst not so frecuently, so the songs are much smoother and soft- edged, with a balance of acoustic and electric passages. I will not get to review the individual song one by one, because every song has it's charm, so the whole album is very listenable without giving a headache. I just have trouble with two other things: the amount of power chords (again not as much as DT, but still a lot, considering that this is categorized as Symphonic prog) and Lidian's vocals: I don't know if it is because he is not plain american or english, so the pronunciation is not perfect (not a thing to blame... he's venezuelan), thus the singing lacks dynamics and appeals soulless; or, it just lacks dynamics and appeals soulless itself without regards of the pronunciation; his voice is a mix of LaBrie with Jon Anderson, only with lack of colour,and although he has a nice vibrato, I guess he's just not my type of vocalist.

Even with those low points, this album is 3.5 stars, rounded to 4. It's a great addition to fans of old-fashioned symphonic prog with modern touches.

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Send comments to Chus (BETA) | Report this review (#95585)
Posted Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Very courageous album of this Venezuelan band, that shows great compositional and technical skills in the vein of classic Yes, Genesis and other giants.

There are some intricate, masterful rhythm and mood changes. Compositions vary from seven to twenty minutes with lots of ideas and imagination. Band has a unique face and a strong sense of melody. Singer's high pitched voice is a reminiscent of Geedy Lee, Jon Anderson or James LaBrie.

The main complaint is, that album, despite having a lot of potential (in prog rock circles), suffers quite a bad production. On places it sounds almost like demo recording. But from the point of view of creativity and music itself, it stands out. It has also its own, varied, a bit raw atmosphere. Good 3 stars. Recommended for those who search for complexity, melody and a bit of exotic flavor within prog rock.

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Send comments to stewe (BETA) | Report this review (#204124)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A nice surprise from Venezuela.

........Although I would not call this album original or fresh. The music is too much based on the US pomp prog sound and the old English bands like Yes and Genesis to be original or even fresh.

The album have a very faltering start with the epos Awaken From Reality which frankly falls flat on it's face. I am not sure what the voyage on this album takes me after listening to that rock'n'grub epos. AOR ? That's a good description of that epos, although it is a failure. But the album thankfully takes of in a majestic flight after this epos and really opens up a symphonic/pomp prog album. The sound is based on tangents, electric guitars, bass, drums and a good vocalist. The band is very competent to pull this album off and there are some really great melody lines along the way.

Original, this album is not. But it should really appeal to any symph prog fan looking for a new band and a new album to indulge themselves in.

3.5 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#445861)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rather good one from these Venezuelans whose primary influence seems to be fellow countrymen Gerardo Ubieda and Témpano but also showing symptoms of mid-period Rush, U.K., the catchy romance-rock of Journey, a notable DT coloration, and sometimes reminds of Andy Tillison's Tangent who formed around the same time. Fairly ambitious for a debut but still with plenty of maturing left to do, PFotM do a perfectly fine job here. Little if any new musical ground is explored but the players' chemistry is excellent and the vocals tolerable, often good, and that counts. 'Awaken From Reality' is huge and varied, a bit scattered in theme but getting there with plenty of heavy guitar/keyboard volleys from Salomon Lerner and the Sosa/Ivanov twin attack. 'Genesis' better and more succinct with strong melodies, a firm direction and an engaging piano break. Strange adventures turn to useless syrup in 'I Lost My Wings' ended with a nice Schon/Perry-style flourish, difficult and cumbersome but very good five-parter 'The Queen Maibe' sees a few great passages, and sci-fi sweeper 'Return of the Rain' a thematic reprise. Three stars is just about right for this first album; it whets the appetite, and is one this extended trio can be proud of.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#519337)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Venezuela doesn't have a big prolific prog scene like other counties from South America, but when appear some then be sure that they mean bussines in this field. On some previous reviews I've said that the band RC2 is the best band Venezuela ever had, but with the listning on this obscure outfit Pig Farm on the Moon I'm saying that this is the most intresting and inventive one from this country. They released only one album in 2002 named Orbital, quite hard to find. The music is complex, symphonic prog with lots of keyboards, but not necesarly in ELP direction, more towards bands with similar apraoch like italians H2O, Tempano, RC2 with metal flashes here and there remind me of Dream Theater, . This is definetly a very solid release, who besides the concept who is a fantastic and surreal story about the pigs on the moon who had a big farm and everyone is living peacefully there are some top notch and great skills, lots of twists and breaks, catchy arrangements and all ingredients for a great prog release. Lenghty instrumental passages and aswell pieces, with one of them clocking around 18 min min. My fav are for sure the opening Awaken From Reality and very well performed and composed instrumental Genesis. All in all this is a very courageous and well performed prog album with lots of memorable parts. I'm really shocked that they didn't recived much more rave reviews and for that reason they gone into oblivion, Orbital is one of the best albums from Latin America without doubt in prog rock field. As a plus the art work is excellent made by famous designer Michael Bennett, responsable for lots more ccover in prog zone like on Cast, Sailor Free, Wobbler and others. To me a real great surprise and easy 4 stars.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#1207418)
Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sometimes I´m lured into finding out about a band because of its name, or a nice cover. In this case, it was the name. Pig Farm On The Moon! What a name! It must be a very good band or a very bad one.I must confess I was not aware of Venezuela´s prog scene, so I had to get this CD. And it was a real nice surprise. First class keyboard driven symphonic rock with lots of 70´s influences. Orbital reminds of several Brazilian bands in terms of style and originality is not their forte, but I can live with that, as long as the music is good. And good it is!

Lush vintage sounding keyboards are all over the place, along with some good guitar lines. Although they have two guitarists, this is surely a keyboard dominated group, which is not bad, if you´re fan of symphonic rock, right? I found this CD to be extremely pleasant to the ears, with several terrific passages along with a few less interesting ones, but none are bad. The tracks are long, with many tempo and mood changes as one should expect. This group balances very well both british and american influences, the later are specially clear on the vocal parts. Nods to Rush, Yes, ELP and Genesis are evident, with a few fusion bits thrown in here and there. Singer Lidian is good, but not exceptional. The musicians are superb and the production is also first rate.

As for their debut album, this is really a very promising band. I´m really sorry nothing else came from them since Orbital. While not a masterpiece, this CD proves to be an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. I think I´m gonna take a closer look now at the musical rock scene from Venezuela from now on.

If you like old fashioned symphonic prog, this is a nice pick. Four stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#1214157)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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