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VIGESIMUS

Cast

Symphonic Prog


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5 stars The 20th album release from Mexican band,Cast,formed by keyboard maestro,Alfonso Vidales,in 1978. Power and Outcome was my album of the year in 2017.They since released Sinfonico live in 2018,and so to Vigesimus in March 2021.Almost 80 minutes of music -10 tracks -4 of which are around 10 minutes long. If you had to compare,I would say early PFM,simply because of the interplay between keyboards,violin and guitar -but Cast have a more symphonic,almost Ayreon-type operatic sound.. Solos are brief and not over extended -the band create more of an orchestrated sound with vocals similar to Power and Outcome. Track 3 The Unknown Wise advise is a representative,complete band sound with brief guitar,keys and a constant violin backing. Manley is an odder track - thinking of ELP but more violin.All in all an excellent album - production is great - I think a contender for best of 2021.
Report this review (#2526147)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars Awesome symphonic, heavy prog album. Cast's 20th album...where have you been all my life? You're my favorite Mexican prog album! That said, Vigesimus doesn't adorn herself with Mexican musical baubles. Truly, I could never guess what country this devilish ditty sprung from. The singer offers no clue. His English enunciation is perfecto.

Bouncing back and forth between dramatic instrumentals and lyrical "what's is life?" songs, Cast never loses focus. Four ten minute mini-epics! We die alone, yet we share a common soul, hurtling toward a future unknown, powered by something delightful, I can't quite fathom, but we'll celebrate with every fiber of our senses, our energy bound up this corrupted flesh. Mature compositions. Melodies abound. Highly recommended. Easily, a top ten 2021 album.

Report this review (#2530325)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the first album I have heard by Cast and it is fantastic. The melodies here are magnificent and each song is written with perfection. This album is definitely a solid contender for the best album of 2021. The keyboards are especially great here. The vocals also shine on almost every track. There is not one bad song on this album & every song perfect or near perfect. My favorite songs on this album would be The Unknown Wise Advice, Location and Destination and Dredging to the Higher Plane. I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys symphonic prog rock.
Report this review (#2535287)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars STILL ALIVE AND PROGGING AFTER 40 YEARS!!

In the Nineties I listened to a serie of albums, and witnessed Cast on a Dutch progrock festival. But then I lost the band, this new studio album (#20 since Landing In A Serious Mind from 1994) is my first musical encounter with Cast since the late Nineties, so I was very curious to Cast its latest effort entitled Vigesimus (the successor of Power And Outcome from 2017). Well, during my first listening session I could hardly believe my ears, because in my memory Cast was a fine blend of symphonic rock and Neo-Prog, no more or less. But this 2021 version of Cast blows me away: outstanding musicians and interplay, tastefully arranged compositions (between 3 and 11 minutes) with flowing shifting moods and lots of musical ideas, the Holy Trinity of keyboards, violin and guitar, and what an exciting blend of classical, symphonic rock, jazzrock and Heavy Prog!

The album opens with Ortni, one of the 3 instrumentals. This track showcases the huge progress and skills of this current Cast line-up. The band starts with an exciting up-tempo in a bombastic atmosphere, featuring outstanding interplay between heavy guitar, keyboards and violin. Then the music turns into a slow rhythm with wonderful piano and violin, soon followed by a virtuosic acoustic guitar solo. Then a mid-tempo with propulsive guitar riffs, the amazing interplay is in the vein of the best jazzrock, including swirling violin work. In the end a sumptuous atmosphere, topped with with fat Minimoog synthesizer flights, intense violin, and heavy guitar riffs, welcome to Cast its the New Musical World, wow! The other two instrumentals are also amazing, often Kansas come to my mind. Manley delivers propulsive and dynamic percussion, a bombastic climate, awesome interplay guitar, violin and keyboards, and finally a blistering guitar solo. Contacto features lots of captivating musical climates (alternating between dreamy and bombastic), embellished with intense violin and piano, heavy guitar, sparkling piano, an acoustic guitar solo, romantic work on piano ' and violin play, and halfway a break with Heavy Prog, including a blistering guitar solo. So many thrills, this instrumental part of Cast reminds me of 76-82 jazzrock master Al Di Meola his exciting solo work.

The other seven outstanding and alternating tracks (from dreamy to bombastic) feature strong contributions from a male and a female singer (solo and duo), from warm to powerful, at some moments the use of the vocals brings Ayreon to my mind. Prime mover Alfonse Vidales shines with his varied and tasteful keyboard work: from sparkling Grand piano and orchestral keyboards to flashy Minimoog flights. Alfonso is the leader of Cast but he gives plenty of room to his talented fellow musicians: the classical sound of the violin (from warm to swirling) and the heavy sound of the guitar (from moving to blistering) create lots of tension and dynamics in the music.

What a very tasteful stew of classical, symphonic rock, jazzrock and Heavy Prog, check out!

Report this review (#2535554)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2021 | Review Permalink
5 stars CAST, known by chance in 2006 thanks to Musea when they had been playing since 1978, released their 20th album! CAST is a symphonic sound added to a basic neo-prog tune tinged with medieval, ethnic, belonging to this distant continent having something to do with it; a little GENESIS and ELP, KANSAS for the violin, a little MARILLION just by the covers and a little prog metal with metallic structures. This twentieth is due to his mentor Alfonso who did not hesitate to leave the instrumentation more important to convey a modern sound, after 43 years, based on the epic, the fantastic and in fact the symphonic. CAST has this hallmark of filling their albums to the maximum and often offering jazzy and alternative experimental tracks.

'Ortni' for an energetic instrumental debut, make way for the good violin if I say KANSAS or SOLSTICE; a twirling theme, a grandiose, hard violin-guitar fight, from violin to synth, a conciliating power and progressive tune, breathtaking title, setting the bar high, followed by "Black Ashes and Black Boxes" sung by Bobby and Lupita for a sustained tune ; oozing energy, a frantic rhythm, the violin behind boosting this flamboyant, fruity and dynamic track; you have to be used to melting pot musical effects to fully appreciate this deluge of notes; the air slowly rises to a basic melody embellished with fresh and airy moments. "The Unknown Wise Advice" and one of the 4 great titles arises with the pride of melodic synths, it goes up keeping the rhythm of the power prog, pause of the piano then it swells,the violins and the guitar solo (Ah a bit of SAGA here) start off on verbal jousting at ARS NOVA; the tempo increases again, goes to semi-oriental tunes, the symphonic remains in place, electronic too, the KANSAS-style violin firmly in place ending in joust with Claudio's immense guitar, the voice on ARENA, in short it is complex and one feels the great instrumental mastery. 'Another Light' short, dark, melancholy, flirting on alternative rock more digestible, less stamped; the voice on an a la FAITHFULL in softer, violin and guitar bringing sounds of enjoyable romantic spleen, rock-pop is here with a short but fruity solo as it should be. 'Manley' for an anachronistic instrumental, violin variation on a jazzy tune, then metal, a little on the land of THERION without voice.An air of suspense, of fear linked to this chopped, aggressive violin which sets off to rave film music, a good refreshing interlude in fact, the drums frantically ensuring this colorful title which changes from the original sound. 'Location and Destination' for an ersatz ' la KANSAS, the voice making me think of MAGIC PIE and KERRS PINK, a good track which stretches but without much progression, more melodic, violin like RONDO VENEZIANO; you have to wait for the guitar solo that tears to have the break that kills, final rhythmic military to have a beautiful sequence of Roberto limit spleen which then makes me melt.the drums frantically ensuring this colorful title which changes from the original sound. 'Location and Destination' for an ersatz ' la KANSAS, the voice making me think of MAGIC PIE and KERRS PINK, a good track which stretches but without much progression, more melodic, violin like RONDO VENEZIANO; you have to wait for the guitar solo that tears to have the break that kills, final rhythmic military to have a beautiful sequence of Roberto limit spleen which then makes me melt.the drums frantically ensuring this colorful title which changes from the original sound. 'Location and Destination' for an ersatz ' la KANSAS, the voice making me think of MAGIC PIE and KERRS PINK, a good track which stretches but without much progression, more melodic, violin like RONDO VENEZIANO; you have to wait for the guitar solo that tears to have the break that kills, final rhythmic military to have a beautiful sequence of Roberto limit spleen which then makes me melt.rhythmic military final to have a beautiful sequence of Roberto limit spleen which then makes me melt.rhythmic military final to have a beautiful sequence of Roberto limit spleen which then makes me melt.

"Crossing" begins on the divine piano, you can feel the epic piece, the cavalcades of horses, in short, a title which makes you react, which takes you wherever your thoughts want it, full of drawers which make the piece very pleasant; after this instrumental interlude (ELP and GENESIS in the crosshairs), it's time for languid vocals, a calm air that will slowly rise in a fruity, jerky crescendo and at the limit of prog power metal, I find DREAM THEATER not for nothing. A flagship title with all the sensitivity and power of CAST, timeless. "The March" with a dark, intimate intro, the moving voice of Bobby on Roberto's violin and daddy's piano amplifying this moment; sweetness of a track which digests with a riff in the background starting, giving a classic metallic impulse, bathed in the romantic,sudden fall that goes out of context. "Contacto" for a centerpiece: symphonic, medieval, romantic, epicurean intro, majestic variation of the violin and keyboards, acoustic addition then it launches into a frantic race where all the instruments go to party, the pride of the guitar boosted; quality, technique, uncompromising progression, the synchronic sound of CAST in fact where everything is piled up to create the best, that's it; master-piece. 'Dredging to the Higher Plane' for a KANSAS-style sound by this twirling violin and its ubiquitous keyboards: it starts with an agreed theme, fruity, energetic and entertaining; the voice halfway through jerks just adds to the developed tune; it starts again in a thunderous way, hold a rhythm which starts on the tango, it becomes more modern like sound,less vintage in fact, with instruments that work to finish the album in the most beautiful way by intoxicating you.

CAST made prog symphonic at CAST, mastering his titles from start to finish; CAST may surprise you given the debauchery of disparate titles and sounds released on this album; very high level, current sound and a wonderful moment that I did not expect so intense; I have to say that it will reach my top potential, a guarantee of quality.

Report this review (#2540255)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2021 | Review Permalink

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