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Medina Azahara - La Esquina Del Viento CD (album) cover


Medina Azahara

Symphonic Prog

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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Medina Azahara's second album finds them following the trend initiated in their debut album (ultimately, their highlight). La Esquina del Viento successfully prolongs the preceding effort's momentum in their fluid hybrid of melodic hard rock and flamenco-based symphonic prog, although it is not too hard to notice that the band is a bit less concerned with exploring their melodic ideas' potential: songs tend to be shorter and the instrumental sections are less developed. The keyboard input assumes a bigger presence in the band's ensemble, with its layers and orchestrations being more featured in the mix and having more places for soloing; nonetheless, guitarist Miguel Galán remains the most featured instrumentalist. From their third album onwards, the band's artsy aspect will begin to wane, but let's not get ahead of ourselves right now. La Esquina del Viento kicks off in a very splendid fashion with 'El Rincón de Mi Mente', a magical travel to the wonders of instrospection powerfully signaled by an impressive intro section and moving sung lines. The symphonic core so well displayed in this opener finds proper reiterations in the album's slow songs: 'Una Mañana de Mayo' and 'Tiempo de Miseria' both bear a blues-rock tempo on a slow beat, in this way guaranteeing the preservation of a solem mood and eerie keyboard layers while each track evolves. I wouldn't have minded if these two songs lasted some more time, since I think that their feeling could have been exploited with more expansive arrangements. Another track that definitely should have lasted more is the closer Amanece en la Ciudad, whose odd time signatures and rich melodies make it an aborted progressive piece that barely makes it to the 3 1/2 minutes span. 'Las Flores Blancas' does comprise a proper duration for its basic development. The catchiest tracks in the album are 2 and 5, really quite good, based on tasteful melodies that are elegantly arranged: 'Sueños de Locura' is much inspired by classic Uriah Heep, while the title track (the album's first A-side single) bears a majestic feel despite not being too sophisticated in structure. Track 6 is the least relevant, just a nice up- tempo optimistic track that adds nothing special to the big picture. Well, all things considered, tracks 1, 3, 5 and 7 are the most notable in the album: not as essential as their fantastic debut, but still worthy of a place in a prog collector's desk.
Report this review (#165533)
Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some of the hard (even heavy at times) side of their music which was present on their excellent debut are even more important in this follow-up work.

The opening track El Rincón De Mi Mente sets the pace: heavy organ, strong beat and furious guitar. Andalusian oriented vocals are very pleasant as well. You get them all here, which result in a very special atmosphere. This song is absolutely on par with their self-titled debut. A highlight? Yes!

One of the main characteristic of their debut, was the excellent work from Miguel Galán. Don't worry: you'll get here as well. He will play emotional guitar parts on almost each song of this album. He definitely adds emotion in here. One can really compare his work with the great Carlos. And it is needless to say that I like this a whola lot. This aspect is wonderfully highlighted in Sueños de Locura and Una Mañana De Mayo but he is shining everywhere.

Synthesizers in Las Flores Blancas has a definite neo-prog tint (ELP or Banks are so close.). The great Miguel is almost coming at the rescue each time that the album seems to dig into a less sophisticated mood. Arriba!

To complete the picture, their lead vocalist adds a very special touch as well. I guess that the more you are into Spanish (and to Spain in general), the more you'll be with Medina Azahara. I'm pretty close to be honest.

The songs featured are less complex than on their debut. Still, this album holds very little weak moments even if Me Invade Una Gran Pasión is not the strongest track available.

One really has to build a mausoleum to Miguel: he is so brilliant again during the whole of this album (he was already the highlight on their debut). Just listen to the wonderful intro of Tiempo de Miseria. He is turning a good song into a great one. So much feeling is coming out of his play: I can't help! I am just found of this.

There is still one thing I am sad about this album: almost no interest shown on this site for this good work. Only two reviews (including this one). Come on guys! There are some good music coming out of Spain. Have a try on this good band.

Three stars for this Esquina Del Viento.

Report this review (#187449)
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The second album from this Andalucian symph prog combo.

The band and music is unmistaken Spanish with Spanish vocals and Spanish folk rock sound. The music is a blend of Genesis aka Foxtrot and RPI bands like Banco and Le Orme. I would label Spanish symph prog as RPI's brother. No wonder in fact. Both countries are in the deep south Europe and in the Mediterranean Ocean area. Both are also bordering to the Arabian Africa spheres.

Medina Azahara is combining their Genesis like keyboards with flamenco and other folk rock from this region. The guitars are mostly heavy. The music is proper rock with some pop influences. The music is much more crossover rock than symphonic prog.

Y Amanece En La Ciudad and the good keyboards here is the best song on an album which ticks over nicely with some good music. Their vintage keyboards driven sound is really good too. This is a good album and a good example on what Spanish symphonic prog anno the 1970s sounds like.

3 stars

Report this review (#582625)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2,5 stars !!! The second album from Spanish prog band MEDINA AZAHARA ""La Esquina del Viento", in my humble opinion is just a little bit better than their first sel-titled abum, I say this only due to the fact of this one shows a more variety in terms of rhythm among their eight tracks. For instance I can cite the beat difference between the first track "El rincón de mi mente" and the second track "Sueños de locura" : the first is more adequately framed in symphonic prog (at least in their overture)... while the second is more close from a hard or heavy prog. But in meantime this album "recalls" some weak points already verified in their first realease, in all tracks the rhythm is repetitive with a very few moments of musical "landscapes" variations, a fact which makes the audition very monotonous.For this considerations my rate is 2 stars !!!
Report this review (#1301688)
Posted Saturday, November 8, 2014 | Review Permalink

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