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The Circle Project - Bestiario CD (album) cover


The Circle Project

Symphonic Prog

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars 4.5 would be a more accurate rating, but the system doesn't allow half stars.

About a month ago the Spanish band 'THE CIRCLE PROJECT' was suggested to the team, as usual we got involved in the ritual of listening whatever samples we could find, voting and notifying the band or sending the suggestion to another team, but this time the process was a bit different. I read the suggestion on November 29 (9:30 pm) and 'The Circle Project' was approved by the three team members by November 30 (1:00 pm), not impossible but unusual, because it was so obvious they belong in Progarchives that we didn't even had a doubt.

Immediately contacted Angel Lajarin (Manager of the band) who was extremely nice and after a long chat forwarded me to 'Rafael Pachas' who sent me all the required info for the addition and gently offered a copy of Bestiario Yesterday as a delayed Christmas gift received the album and had enough time to listen it from start to end just to discover again that it's simply delightful.

Bestiario (Bestiary) is a conceptual album about eight mythical creatures, each one with a complete description that reminds me of 'Jorge Luis Borges', not only for the style, but because the strong Argentinian accent of the narrator Alexandro Baldassarini who places the listener in the mood for each track.

The CD starts with Manual de Criptozoologia (Cryptozoology Manual) that works not only as a narrated introduction to the album but to the impressive title song, from this point we will talk only about the pair tracks, being that the odd ones are exclusively narration and numbered from Chapter 1 to 8.

Bestiario opens the album with a piano intro that leads to a powerful blend of guitars, keys and percussion, somehow reminds me of STEVE HACKETT due to the heavy guitar that continues until the third minute and then starts to constantly change from heavy to dramatic. A nice musical opener

El Gusano Del Bosque Gris (The Worm from the Gray Woods) is a song about a gigantic worm elevated to the category of divinity, to the point that received sacrifice of young virgins, and the band manages to reflect the story with a very heavy track sung in Spanish where the strong guitar and percussion take the lead along with the almost metallic vocals that remind me of 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by IRON MAIDEN in some moments (But with keyboards), due to the radical changes. Another strong track

Equus Neptunialis more or less 'Neptune's Horses' must be one of my favorite songs from the album, has everything a Symphonic fan enjoys, lush keyboards, soft melodic passages, dramatic changes and even some Moorish overtones, somehow reminiscent of GENESIS but with a modern sound, enjoyed it from start to end, despite the fact that the lyrics are in English with strong accent.

Xiul' Farcit: is a track about a legendary alligator that gains weight until the moment of procreation eating whatever small animal is in it's path, and the song reflects the story perfectly, because it's very rhythmical and goes 'in crescendo' as the animal hunts and at the end hunted by men when it's too fat to escape. Interesting and very descriptive. The keyboard solo is impressive.

El Hada De Las Volutas De Humo (The Smoke Scroll Fairy): Is a soft and heartbreaking song without lyrics where the voice is used as another instrument that enhances the nostalgic nature of the story of an insect that lives in the smoke from the bitter herb that comes from the Shepard's pipes and vanishes when the smoke stops. The piano is extremely beautiful and sad.

Hyosube: As we can expect of a song about a nasty demon that inoculate deadly bacterias un humans, the song is strong and Heavy, closer to Hard Rock than to Symphomic, but equally enjoyable, the vocals are extremely dramatic and the guitar is powerful.

Pectoide Verde is probably the track that I find less interesting, not bad, but bounds a bit out of place as if the band members were making a homage to late 70's AOR and the lyrics are not strong enough.

The next song Umatodo Obscuro is a real surprise, somehow as we were listening a blend of mid 70's GENESIS (The Mellotron choirs are brilliant), early CAMEL and a bit of late PENDRAGON, really a brilliant song that has everything a Proghead loves, and that instrumental break is simply out of this world, by far the best symphonic song I heard in some time.

The last musical piece is Nubes Vivere , some sort of Power Ballad in the vein of late 70's YES with a nice surprise, the beautiful voice of Clara Morant in a nice duet with Daniel Campa'a, lovely ending for an excellent album.

A everybody knows I very rarely give 5 stars to a debut album, because I always expect something more of the band, and this won't be the exception, so will go with 4 solid stars and will wait for their next release with great expectation.

NOTE: A special recognition for the impeccable presentation and the amazing drawings in the booklet.

Report this review (#1869369)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rather an excellent collective coursework at a hypothetic Prog Faculty (with a cryptozoologic elective course) of a conservatory of music than a genuine prog album. I got an email info about this band from a friend, with the subject 'Spanish prog is still alive!'. Yes, indeed. And I was especially glad to hear that it was a new Spanish prog band singing in Spanish. Since 1990s, when I discovered Spanish prog scene for myself and realized that I prefer it even to Norwegian, Brazilian and Japanese prog scenes (other faves of mine), Spanish lyrics themselves sound like a fairy-tale music in my ears, no matter if I don't understand what I hear (I don't speak Spanish). But when I listened to Bestiario I caught myself at a thought that I constantly felt... even difficult to express correctly what I felt. Lack of Guadalquivir's Camino Del Concierto? Lack of something Fragua- or Cuarto Menguante-like? The music sounded like it was turning around something very essential but steadily missing it. All the best was done by means of arrangement, not melody making, not generating fresh ideas. I.e. Circle Project's music surely contains ideas, but mostly generated not by Circle Project. I tried to imagine hypothetic feelings of a person who will listen to this album 50 or 100 years later but failed to find any moment in it which could thrill him/her. Perhaps it would be a great music if there were no Coto-En-Pel, no Gotic, no Cai, no Ibio, no Iman Califato Independiente etc. And especially if there was no Rivendel and their exceptional second album from 1996, The Meaning. I think this is what Bestiario is closest to, both structurally and functionally, - and what it loses to at all. Oh yes I read the band's biography here on PA, and I am aware that initially it was a Facebook interest group and the album was just a game. But let's be beyond random details and circumstances. This is the music. And if it cannot be appreciated if the listener is unaware of its background and not into cryptozoology, then maybe Facebook is not the best place for forming a prog band?
Report this review (#1869839)
Posted Saturday, January 27, 2018 | Review Permalink

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