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Alms - Beyond CD (album) cover

BEYOND

Alms

Symphonic Prog


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Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Like a breeze of fresh air from the 70's with a 21st century approach

Except for the usual suspects as MIKE OLDFIELD or VANGELIS, I'm not too fond on one man bands, but the first time I heard ALMS debut Beyond, was positively impressed, AITOR LUCENA is very talented in all the instruments, but what I liked more were the drums, being that this is usually the weakest point of multi-instrumentalists, but in this case, the sound is great.

Beyond is a conceptual album about the journey of man after death and it's divided in three epics with clear Symphonic structures, but deliciously blended with Folk and Hard Rock sections, creating a unique experience with his eclectic sound.

The album is opened by the Hypnos, a 14:14 minutes epic that starts with a percussion and flute intro, after almost two minutes and without any warning, a full orchestral sound hits the listener whio can only applaud, but when you're getting ready to expect an orchestral Symphonic album in the vein of Heaven & Hell, Aitor surprises us with a heavy passage, from then on, the changes are so radical that the only rule you need is to expect the unexpected.

Sweet piano, Moog, acoustic guitar, full orchestra, one after the other, fused with dexterity and great taste crossing through every imaginable style, from Medieval to Baroque and frenetic Rock as a musical travel in time, simply delightful

Even when Thanatos maintains the Symphonic structure, Aitor adds abundant Folk with Celtic references, but after a medieval passage, the drums announce a change and the music starts to go in crescendo leaded by a dramatic organ, and then, as in the first track, the listener must be ready for anything, this time sounds a bit as Symphonic Metal with the usual classical references. Aitor again hits the nail right in the head with the second of three epics that remind me of the heavier JETHRO TULL albums.

The album is closed by a third epic called Caronte (the ferryman of Hades), much more dramatic and Classical oriented than the first two pieces, with more unexpected changes specially the one from a frantic organ passage to a sweet flute in the vein of THIJS VAN LEER, then to an almost Metallic style to end with a Celtic passage, all in a matter of two minutes. Really loved this track, has every single detail and excesses that obsessive progheads as myself enjoy so much.

As a rule, I almost never rate a debut album with 5 stars, because that would be like admitting that the artist has reached his peak, and in the case of ALMS I expect much more. To be fair, Beyond deserves no less than a 4.5 rating, sadly the system of our beloved site only admits full stars, so I will have to go with four solid stars, and wait with anxiety for ALMS next release.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#973842)
Posted Saturday, June 08, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
3 stars This is a nice instrumental album with plenty of symphonic arrangements. The tone is mostly rather light with a few heavy and fast moments thrown in, though I feel they don't really accomplish much. Flutes are the driving instruments here, and the musicians really power through the solos and accompaniments. I was quite impressed with this. Aside from that, the other instruments are lackluster, especially the drums.

This album has problems, though. The structures are messy. Very messy. The flutes overpower everything else, and erase any subtlety that may have been displayed in the other instruments. Sometimes, it seems like the flutes are playing a different song entirely. Sometimes it's the violins that feel this way. The album just comes across as beautiful, but incoherent and chaotic. Maybe that's what they wanted, but it doesn't make for a good listening experience. It's a pretty album, but the music needs work and maturity.

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#975412)
Posted Monday, June 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now to the third and the best of 2013 I have listened to today, the Spanish artist Alms debut album "Beyond". It has earlier been examined by two professional, I a remember I was very inspired of Ivan Melgar's review this summer.

Alms, which real name is Aitor Lucena is a Spanish multi instrumentalist, which music travells between a medieval word and a bit of Mike Oldfield. What I hear here is excellent and the record wasn't far from being a perfect one. I think the cover has a very old style, both the fonts and the items you see represents a time not fix in modern world.

"Beyond" consists of three song songs and according to me they become better and better and I have rated the songs: 3.5, 4 and 5. But if I listen again perhaps my favourite would have been another. This music contains so much of interest. Perhaps I like the parts of acoustic guitar most, or the barock parts, the classical and the medieval. It could also be like this that I like the parts that sounds just like symphonic rock most.

The listening of Alms' Beyond is very enjoyable time. We hear wonderful flute, organ, guitar and a nice wholeness. Many influences of folk music seem to be a part of this too, I hear something celtic and in the last track we hear a moments of very special percussion.

"Caronte" would I say is the peak of this record, but as I wrote, it could also be "Thanatos" or "Hypnos", it is a very good record. I wonder how just one person can do such nice music.

What I miss is not much: perhaps some vocals and something standing out more than it does.

Recommended record!

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Send comments to DrömmarenAdrian (BETA) | Report this review (#1067818)
Posted Sunday, October 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Alms from Spain is a one man project - Aitor Lucena. He is responsable for everything is to be heared on the debut named Beyond from 2013. Well, despite some good parts, the album has only 3 pieces, but all are clocking around 14-15 min in length, that mean are lots of tempo changes, odd signature, and quite good overall playing. The album all instrumental with a clear symphonic prog direction taken influences from bands like ELP most of the time, and from italian school like Le Orme or PFM, also there are some folk passages who remind me sporadicaly of Focus or Jethro Tull. I can say I like this release, not particulary very strong, because in some parts the arrangements are little chaotic, no clear direction of the pieces. The highlight for me is the opening Hypnos, the rest two are just ok. So, for me 3 stars, good but nothing special.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#1131483)
Posted Friday, February 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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