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El Reloj

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El Reloj El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] album cover
4.05 | 55 ratings | 7 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

- El Single -
1. El Hombre Y El Perro (3:18) *
2. Camino Al Estucofen (3:10) *
- El Album -
3. Al Borde Del Abismo (3:09)
4. Tema Triste (4:42)
5. La Ciudad Desconocida (10:34)
6. Aquel Triángulo (3:03)
7. Harto Y Confundido (4:09)
8. Tema De Todas Las Epocas (1:08)
9. Aquella Dulce Victoria (3:14)
10. Egolatría (7:26)

Total Time 43:53

* Only in Master Edition

Line-up / Musicians

- Juan Esposito / drums, vocals
- Eduardo Frezza / bass, vocals
- Willy Gardi / lead guitar, vocals
- Luis Alberto Valenti / keyboards, vocals
- Osvaldo Zabala / guitar

Releases information

1976 - EL RELOJ (RCA Victor AVSL-4401) C
LP Record Runner (1976)

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Buy EL RELOJ El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] Music

EL RELOJ El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EL RELOJ El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The iconic Argentinean band EL RELOJ had been playing for over 5 years, they already had personnel changes, one dead member and were only able to release one previous album called "El Reloj". Despite this circumstances they managed to get a very large fan base not only in Argentina but also in all South America and mainly in Perú, something I witnessed.

This fan base was mostly interested in a Hard Rock approach close to a blend between Deep Purple and Uriah Heep with a slight touch of the Symphonic Argentinean personality and their debut album was a compilation of all this years recordings.

But it was time for a change, but not of name because their second release had exactly the same name as the previous "El Reloj", that's why it's known as "II", "Al Borde del Abismo" or "Segundo Album", but the style surely changed, they became a heavy Symphonic band, keeping the influence of the first release that gained so many fans but at the same time they went for a more challenging sound with a certain approach to King Crimson's first two albums and a bit of Italian Symphonic School.

They took the risk of loosing all the popularity they earned through the years so they kept alive the original rough atmosphere and the result was excellent for the band, they became more popular than ever, I would dare to say that "El Reloj II" is probably the grandfather of Latin American Prog Metal and at the same time a Symphonic album.

The songs that describe best this collision of styles are:

"Al Borde del Abismo" (The album is also known by the name of this song which was a successful single prior to the LP Release), still with a clear Purple influence but this time with dramatic changes all along the track, making clear reference to King Crimson, the guitar tandem of Willy Gardi and Osvaldo Zabala is simply outstanding specially for the rhythm guitar often powered by a strong rhythm section and David Byron influenced vocals.

"La Ciudad Desconocida": A dramatic Symphonic Power Ballad very close to Italian School but still with some remembrances to Deep Purple, the vocals sound better than ever showing some similarities with songs like "July Morning" or even "Stairway to Heaven"

Another single "Harto y Confundido" also made it's path to the LP but two other excellent ones "Camino al Estucofen" and "El Hombre y el Perro" released after the first LP were not included in the original release for reasons I ignore, mistake that has been repaired in the remastered edition.

If you love Latin American Prog and want to know the evolution from Heavy Rock to Symphonic Prog in one album, you must get El Reloj II ( "Al Borde del Abismo" "Second Album" or however you want to call it) because it's a great addition for any Proghead and essential for any Argentinean Prog fan.

Four solid stars for a very solid album.

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars One of South America's better groups, El Reloj had an all too brief recording 70's career and just two albums, their debut being in a much harder rock vein in the Purple line. This one is much proggier and is in my top ten South American records. Just like its predecessor's reissue, the album starts out with bonus tracks (which I always found rather unsettling and non-respectful of the album itself. Fortunately this occurrence is rare enough in prog (I can only think of Germany's Parzival with an even stranger set up where bonus tracks bookend the album tracks.

Nevertheless these bonus tracks are worthy of the album's quality even if they do not sound like they came from the album session, but this is minor and they actually extent the disc length to acceptable duration. And this album is rather unlike a lot of other Argentinean prog album, which have a tendency to sound Italian Symphonic-like prog rock. It is rather more in the line of Bubu's superb sole album, with plenty of power, demented music a bit of a cross between Crimson and ELP, but without Emo's doodlings. The line-up is your standard prog quartet with an added guitarist/violinist, but unfortunately, the violin is not used enough, but the group does not really need it to sound original and unique.

While over half the tracks are sung, the vocals are not overly present and plenty of space is given to the music. If most tracks are rather short (except for an 11-min slightly flawed epic) remaining around the 4-min mark, the album is a very even affair with all tracks being eventful and energetic, if not frantic. In this light, it is rather hard to find one track that is a highlight, so if I must risk myself, it'll be a trio: Tema Triste, Harto Y Confundido and Egolatrio. A real must if you want to check out what Latinos can do in prog, but it is not really representative of their country's output. Nothing wrong with that , on the contrary. Rounded to the upper unit.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Wild fire from Argentina

I can't believe that it has been 5 years since the last review of this little thing. Man you've got a powerful album coming your way, if you choose to acquire El Reloj's second outing. Of the few Argentinean albums in my collection, I rank this magnificent album along with Bubu's Anabelas, Pescado Rabioso's Artaud and Luis Alberto Spinetta's debut as my absolute faves. Though different in textures and feel - I would say that the vocals of El Reloj sound a lot like Spinetta, if the guy had chosen to walk the progressive hard rock path. To those of you who are unfamiliar with either one of these artists, then imagine a sweeter and slightly more sensuous South American version of Robert Plant.

To start off, I'd like to recapture a bit about El Reloj's rather bumpy start into the musical lands. Already early on in their career these guys faced what very easily could have been the end of the band, as guitarist Gregorio Felipes were killed en route to a concert back in 1970 at the Olimpia Theater. The terrible accident involved a car crash and a drunk police officer, who managed to steer clear from any subsequent accusations. Incredibly the band pulled through and did the gig in front of 1500 people the same night. The reason why I mention this is not because I wish to induce a series of misty eyed reactions and the following empathic buy. No it has infinitely more to do with me trying to convey what I truly feel must be one of the main engines behind this band. I feel a turbulent, jagged and hectic energy associated with El Reloj. Maybe more like a sonic guided rage that shows itself in every piece of the puzzle, whether that is the furiously pumping drums, those sensuous yet highly manic vocals or the eruptive masses of shredding guitars - it's always there, this rage.

The sound of these guys as a whole is not that far from other hard rocking proggers of the time, such as Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster, although El Reloj sound completely different. I realize the contradiction of this sentence, but I still claim there to be what I'd personally call "influences"(although I'm using the term loosely here) from the aforementioned bands - yet you'll find a distinctive nerve - a melodic sense and flow to this band which feels totally original and endemic to the South American peninsula. What comes closest in terms of reference to the European progster is perhaps the melodic feel of the early and more gritty RPI acts. There's something there that rings a bell - most definitely yes, and if you are sitting out there with a huge boner on for that particular scene, then you should be placing your order of this magnificent album as soon as possible.

This second outing is packed full of steaming hard rock with a boot full of progressive tendencies - in fact a truck load more prog than many of the British bands of said genre were conjuring up around the same time, -which again leads me to one of this album's greatest attributes: Chops. Man oh man do these guys know their way around their instruments. The drummer is easily one of the best and most intricate I have ever heard. He plays everything with ease, like a regular jazz nut - yet what he hits he hits with the force of a small sumo wrestler, and to top it all off - he plays like all of my fave drummers, which means that he is all over the kit - using the toms like it was second nature. Even when the natural structure of the track craves for a steady beat, he is all over the place with wonderful results, whilst still being astonishingly tight. Tight as a rooster's anus - just like the rest of the band actually...

Then we've got the guitars which are played with the virtuosity of a male figure skater using his hands to pirouette around the ice. Jagged, fluent and everything in between - coming very close to the perfect hybrid of Fripp and Page with a teeny tiny twist of spicy salsa thrown in. It's rock n' roll with an infinite amount of melodic twists and turns.

All in all El Reloj's ll boasts a powerful series of hard hitting, virtuosi and at times slightly symphonic tunes that are as prone to melodies as they are to letting the music run wild in a sea of democratically performed musical rides that get my juices flowing like an adolescent labrador pup mounting a teddy bear. 3.5 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I can't get over how much better this album is over their debut. They are still a hard rocking band but the songs are much more interesting, in fact i'd say they've improved in every area.

"Al Borde Del Abismo" gets things started and it hits the ground running. Vocals before a minute and they come and go. I like when it settles 2 minutes in then builds. "Tema Triste" is a top three. There's something dark and powerful about this one that is so appealing. A calm with vocal melodies before 3 minutes. Such a great track. "La Ciudad Desconocida" is the longest track at over 10 1/2 minutes and also a top three for me. Violin early in this one as the organ floats in. A change around 2 1/2 minutes with intricate guitar and drums taking over. Vocals a minute later. Excellent stuff. It turns heavy then picks up 7 1/2 minutes in. Nice. The organ helps out late. "Aquel Triangulo" has a good heavy intro then the organ joins in. Ripping vocals 2 minutes in.

The vocals come in quickly on "Harto Y Confundido". Love how this sounds. Guitar to the fore after 2 minutes then the vocals return a minute later. It settles late. "Tema De Todas Las Epocas" is a short tune with acoustic guitar throughout. Back to the fire and brimstone on "Aquella Dulce Victoria". The guitar is strummed before 1 1/2 minutes then it picks back up some with the electric guitar returning. "Egolatria" is my other top three. This is an uptempo rocker. Nasty guitar here. The organ and drums lead after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound.

If you like hard rocking music with a Latin flavour then you need to hear this.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Despite releasing two warmly received albums in mid-70's, El Reloj were well-known in Argentina since the early-70's as a premiere Hard Rock band, led by bassist Eduardo Frezza and lead guitarist Willy Gardi.They had played numerous lives, before taking a break around 1971, when second guitarist's Gregorio ''Goyo'' Felipes life was cut short due to a terrible accident.They returned the following year with new member Osvaldo Zabala on second guitar and the standard entries, Juan Esposito on drums and Luis Alberto Valenti on keyboards.In 1973 their debut single sold about 30,000 copies and in 1975 they released their first full-length, self-titled album on RCA Victor's Vik sublabel, recalling the powerful Heavy Rock of Deep Purple.The following year a second self-titled album came out on RCA Victor, today known as ''Segundo album'' or named after the track ''Al borde del abismo''.

El Reloj sounded a lot like an Italian Hard Rock/Prog band, let's say somewhere between OSAGE TRIBE and CAPITOLO 6, featuring high-pitched, irritating vocals and basically a largely guitar-based sound.The DEEP PURPLE influences are still apparent in some of the tracks, mainly due to the rhythmic tunes or organ-based passages, but this second album of the band was much closer to RUSH.Even more impressive their incredible guitar workouts and complex twists evolved a slight ''Red''-era KING CRIMSON edge.The material is very energetic, often quite complicated with unexpected tempo changes and strong, mascular riffs, surrounded by very good work on organ and piano and featuring a third guitarist in a few numbers, Carlito Mira.All pieces are quite short with the aforemtioned surprising musical values, played mostly in fast tempos and delivered with an angular edge.The exception to the rule comes from the 10-min. ''La ciudad desconocida'', a nice, melodramatic attempt on Symphonic Hard Rock with a bit more emotional vocals compared to the rest of the album, epic proggy passages with crying guitars and fiery riffs and some trully great and dynamic Hammond organ waves.

Cool Argentinian Hard Prog, very similar to the Italian bands of the period.Dual and even triple guitar fests with complex themes, supported by pinches of keyboard dominance.Quite attractive and warmly recommended.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars Technically the second album by EL RELOJ is the second eponymous release but is more often referred to as EL RELOJ II and also known as "Al Borde Del Abismo (On The Edge Of The Abyss)" after the first track. While the debut album showed the band with some serious hard and heavy rock with progressive chops, it is this second album that turns up the creative nature of the band even more without sacrificing any of the brilliance that made the debut so enjoyable. The heaviness is still here, the melodies are abundant but where the band really went to town is in the eclectic progressiveness department. There is just a lot more ideas and creative outbursts finding their way into every nook and cranny.

The song structures have become more complex than ever where individual instruments are assigned much larger roles in fleshing out new territories and moods. The keyboards aren't as pronounced as on the debut leaving behind the Deep Purple similarities but they still have their moments where they burst onto the scene and dazzle the senses. On this one we get a lot more mood swings with frenetic rocking segments trading off with sensual mellow ones. This kind of reminds me of the Mr Bungle approach at times which i can't think of any other 70s acts who tried it but the stylistic trade offs aren't nearly as extreme and the focus is still on maintaining a strong melodic flow even if the melody itself is ridiculously complex in nature. At times i am reminded of the heavier proggy side of Rush mixed with some avant-garde leanings of King Crimson but the Italian prog influences of the heavier side of PFM, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and especially "Palepoli" era Osanna are the most pronounced.

Willy Gardi and Osvaldo Zabala have mastered their twin guitar assault leaving bands like Wishbone Ash and The Allman Brothers in the dust. The energetic outbursts are furious enough to pass for 80s metal while Luis Alberto Valenti's organ delivery points more to the early part of the 70s bringing all those proto-prog sounds into play. The harmonizing vocals of four of the five members have been perfected creating an impressive command of blending with the complexities on display here. Ah, this was love at first listen and has just gotten better. All the ingredients for early symphonic heavy proggy metal are here and i can't seem to get enough of this one.

Generally speaking if you're more into the early metal aspects of EL RELOJ you will like the first album better whereas if you have strong prog fetish then this second album will more than scratch that itch. This album tends to leave less of an impression upon first listen but rewards in repeated listens which are needed to collect all the frantic ideas into a cohesive understanding. I, for one, love both albums but the overall sophistication of this one blows me away while still delivering more than enough heavy bombast to satisfy my headbangin' needs. EL RELOJ is a really cool band that i have been getting way into. I wish i woulda been around in 1970s Argentina to see these guys play, they REALLY know how to deliver on the goods. After this album the band wouldn't release anything new for several years and then toned their progressiveness down a whole bunch to conform with the 80s. This album remains the crown jewel in their musical career and what a sparkling jewel it is.

Latest members reviews

3 stars One of the coolest albums of Argentine progressive rock! This quintet was one of the most pioneering groups in the country. Symphonic rock and British influences took a long time to establish themselves as a trend to follow in Argentina, achieving steady sales numbers around 1972-73 thanks to Pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#2604031) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Friday, October 15, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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