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Flor de Loto - Eclipse CD (album) cover


Flor de Loto

Prog Folk

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4 stars "Good news from Peru"

As a huge fan of prog blended with folk or ethnic music (from Los Jaivas and Triana to Flairck and Kitaro) I am delighted about the development of Peruvian formation Flor De Loto, rooted in the late Nineties. In 2005 Flor De Loto released their eponymous debut album, followed by 7 studio-albums between 2007 and 2018, and one live album in 2015 entitled Medusa: En Vivo En Buenos Aires. This review is about their latest effort Eclipse, two years after their previous album Arbol De La Vida (2016).

Looking at the recent line-up only Alonso Herrera (vocals and guitar) and Alejandro Jarrin (bass) are members from the start, Gabriel Iwasaki has turned from a guest musician into fifth member of the band, and producer Roy Z plays a guitar solo on Locomotive and Elvira Zhamaletdinova violin on Almas Perdidas. In comparison with the 'keyboard-less' album Mundos Bizarros (I am only familiar with their first three albums) I notice that this latest effort contains a pleasant amount of keyboards. But in general the focus is on heavy guitars and a powerful rhythm section, often tastefully blended with Andean flutes (zampona and quena), an exciting combination that is rooted in the music of the legendary Los Jaivas.

The album starts with a wonderful rendition of the known Latin-American traditional El Cóndor Pasa, featuring very moving play on the distinctive quena. Halfway the music turns into a strong version of Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull), wow, what an exciting blend of heavy prog and ethnic music: from propulsive guitar riffs and a biting wah-wah drenched guitar solo to powerful flute, a swirling Hammond organ solo and strong vocals, in Spanish, I love that.

Tempestad sounds like a Latin-American answer to the spanish Heavy Prog band Medina Azahara, not with flamenco guitars but Andean flutes, in combination with thunderous drums and excellent heavy guitar work, Flor De Loto rocks, in an unique way!

The intro of Animal strongly brings early Rush to my mind, due to the raw and propulsive guitar riffs, again tastefully blended with Andean flutes, a powerful rhythm-section and fiery guitar. Halfway a sensational synthesizer solo, evoking Japanese keyboard wizard Toshio Egawa. From prog metal to Andean folk, this is trademark Flor De Loto and I am in the mood.

The titletrack is an up-tempo song, between harder-edged prog and prog metal featuring strong Spanish vocals, Andean flutes and again a spectacular synthesizer solo in the vein of Toshio Egawa.

Esclavitud De Tu Ser starts wonderful with soaring keyboards, twanging guitars, warm flute and tender vocals. Then rock guitar, sparkling flute and a tight and powerful rhythm-section, what a pleasant bridge between rock, prog and ethnic music, very melodic and harmonic, not very elaborate but tastefully arranged.

Támesis (instrumental) has a strong classical undertone with the flute and electric guitar, supported by a dynamic rhythm- section, halfway embellished with another sensational pitchbend driven synthesizer solo. At some moments Hungarian prog band Solaris come to my mind.

The intro of Paraíso delivers soaring keyboards, then heavy guitar riffs and drums and sparkling Andean flute in a mid-tempo with pleasant Spanish vocals, pretty straightforward rock meets folk. Halfway a blistering guitar solo, culminating in a prog metal atmosphere.

The first part in Almas Perdidas is melodic rock with delicate flute and rock guitar, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section. In the second part we can enjoy another exciting harder-edged guitar solo, blended with violin and thunderous drums.

Eterna Proyección starts with spectacular synthesizer work and sparkling flute traverse, again evoking Solaris, but harder- edged. Then a more heavy atmosphere, culminating in a fiery guitar solo and a spectacular synthesizer solo. After a short break with tender piano the song is concluded pretty rocky.

Líneas de Nazca is the second instrumental on this album, it begins with soaring Andean flute, then rock guitar and a catchy mid-tempo beat with propulsive guitar riffs and Andean flute. The keyboard part sounds a bit too soft in the mix. The blend of Andean flute and thunderous drums is exciting, the Flor De Loto trademark sound. The second part delivers a dreamy sound, wonderful.

The final track El Cóndor Pasa / Locomotive is a live version of the first track, recorded in 2018 during the Rosfest (Florida, USA, along other prog like Brand X, PFM, Threshold and Barockproject) with the announcement "Now it's time to introduce to you the last Inca, the Ian Anderson of Peru, the master of the quena, 'Checho' Cuadros!" It sounds a bit more sparkling and dynamic than the studio version and showcases the skills and interesting ideas of this awesome band. And I like the final part with the mighty Hammond organ!

Highly recommended to fans of prog folk who are into rock guitars and heavy atmospheres.

By the way 1: Flor De Loto will also perform on Rosfest 2019, with bands like Riverside, Phideaux and Martin Barre's 50 Years Of Jethro Tull, I am sure they will make fans!

By the way 2: I am fed up with making all those corrections after publishing a review ('kapcha' or something like that) so dear progrock bands, sorry for some hocus pocus words.

Report this review (#2120977)
Posted Thursday, January 24, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars I have a saying I use quite often when discussing reviews with friends, and that is "so much music so little time". I mention it here as that is the excuse I am going to use for not previously coming across a band who are often stated to be the finest progressive act from Peru, and having heard their eighth studio album (they only released their debut in 2005 ? puts plenty of other bands to shame) I can only wonder how I have never come across them before this. Here we have a progressive band who have obviously been influenced heavily by Jethro Tull, yet also bring in South American influences. The team that voted them onto PA as a prog folk act obviously never expected them to hear them blast through "Locomotive Breath" (which here segues from a delicate take on "El Cndor Pasa"). They use a traditional quena as opposed to flute, but it is obvious from what I have read that these guys have moved on a long way in terms of style since their early albums.

I was very taken with the sound on the album, as the guitar contains a harsh edge not normally found on a prog album, so I looked to see who had been involved in the recording and was amazed to see it had been produced and mixed by none other than Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Halford, Judas Priest, Driver, Sebastian Bach, Helloween, W.A.S.P, etc) who also undertook the pre-production so knew exactly what the band were about and how he could drive them. And drive them he did, as while they are never truly prog metal there is certainly a great deal of metal in their approach, mixing the attack of the guitars in with the quena and keyboards to create something that is in your face and also containing a great deal of beauty. If Horslips had been Peruvian instead of Irish (yes, we all know Charles O'Connor was actually from Middlesborough, but if any musician should be counted as Irish it should be him), and had arrived in the 21st century instead of the Seventies, then I am sure they would have sounded like this. The folk elements are front and centre at times, such as on the title song, whereas at others they are a little more subdued, but the overall mix is always a delight. My version contains an additional song, namely a live version of "El Cndor Pasa/Locomotive Breath", which bookends the album nicely. This is a wonderful album, one I have enjoyed playing immensely. Just have to find the time to start on the back catalogue and see what I have been missing!

Report this review (#2183573)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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