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Asturias Electric Asturias: Elementals album cover
3.96 | 54 ratings | 2 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Deadlock Triangle (6:04)
2. Time Traveler (9:09)
3. Tangram Paradox (5:07)
4. Honeycomb Structure (5:44)
5. Suite of "Elemental" (28:42) :
- Undene: Water Elemental (8:18)
- Salamander: Fire Elemental (6:34)
- Sylphide: Wind Elemental (8:06)
- Gnome: Earth Elemental (5:48)

Total Time 54:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Satoshi Hirata / guitar
- Yoshihiko Kawagoe / keyboards
- Tei Sena / violin
- Yoh Ohyama / bass, composer
- Kiyotaka Tanabe / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Jiro Oshima

CD Asturias ‎- AS-0005 (2014, Japan)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ASTURIAS Electric Asturias: Elementals ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

ASTURIAS Electric Asturias: Elementals reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars First of all, this is NOT neo-prog in any sense of the term, wrong label and labels suck when they are patently false. Japanese veterans Asturias released "Elementals" , a 2014 album that was very highly rated and having already their first two albums ("Circle in the Forest" and "Brilliant Streams") in my collection, I was intrigued enough to take a slight gamble on their newer stuff and spend the money. I am very delighted in my foresight though I had a pretty good idea of what was going to be in store. Masterful instrumental performances from a slew of ridiculously talented pros, led by the enigmatic multi-instrumentalist Yoh Ohyama. "Elementals" leaves very little to complain about, a blistering fusion of powerful jazzy compositions, spiced by some creative meanderings that hearken back to more classical styled experimentation, namely the prominence of the violin, that absurdly majestic instrument that defines so many different styles of music from all around the globe. Yoh handles the bass guitar with gusto, my favorite anchor in all forms of expressive music, and he certainly keeps the low end interesting and exploratory.

While evidently a jazz-rock outfit, there are numerous influences at play here, the leadership of the Tei Sana's luxurious violin notwithstanding, there are plenty of King Crimson-styled moments that keep surfacing here and there, armed with scorching guitar pirouettes from Satoshi Hirata, dexterous piano additions played by Yoshihiro Kanagoe and polyrhythmic beats from masterful drummer Kiyotaka Tanabe. They have the chops, believe you me! For technical music like this to be successful, the composing needs to be first-rate, deliberately steering away from rambling noodling tendencies and focusing stringently on mood creation. Keeping sections vibrating and fresh, with occasional and unexpected instrumental sniper fire from the soloists, is what makes or breaks an album like this.

All the tracks from the scorching opener "Deadlock Triangle", as well as 3 follow-up tracks that prepare for the 4 part Elemental Suite that spans , are blistering compositions played with perfection as well as deadly speed , that will leave the listener enthralled, mystified and utterly spent. That does not mean that it's all 'strum und drang' bombast, as the violin in particular takes a few romantic exits from the whirlwind and wallow in some deep romanticism, as expressed on the second track, the voluptuous 9 minute "Time Traveler", that veers off into some delicate piano work before morphing into the classic King Crimson 'bicycle' math-rock, clicking with intricate guitar phrasings that defy logic or gravity. The jazzy onslaught is pure hard-fusion, perhaps closer to fellow Japanese proggers Kenso but ornamented with some softer pools of reflection and groove.

Falsely creating the impression that this might be a Tangerine Dream-like electronic workout, "Tangram Paradox" is a tortuous, polyrhythmic convulsion that hurls at Mach 3 speed, both into conventional and experimental zones that gain defy the norm. Again, this is no Neo, sorry Matrix fans! The sheer delirium espoused by all soloists is mayhem, but of a controlled kind. The bass and drum work impress to the nth degree and the 3 soloists are just all guns ablaze! "Honeycomb Structure" is a musical maze of labyrinthine proportions, fluid violin in the lead, screeching while the guitar scorches, rambling organ undertow, while the bass and drum duo wallop and bruise. Another piano solo takes this straight into Chick and Herbie territory, very jazz and very much controlled fury. But the clincher is the rollicking, blues- infested guitar flip out from Satoshi Hirata, a pure marvel to behold.

Things get decidedly more orchestral and symphonic with the nearly 29 minute suite, as the violin continues to guide the pack, a flawless example of how 5 rock musicians with classical and jazz backgrounds can compose music that is both vivaciously contemporary, yet still retain all the qualities of timeless classical legend. Defiantly effortless and concise, heavily loaded up on melody and technique, the quintet smolders like a radioactive fire, sizzling fusion of styles and sounds that mark their muse with incomparable gusto. Hard then soft, majestic and sub-atomic, swift and measured, this is simply phenomenal, whatever your musical taste might be limited to. Funny how a repetitive piano chord can provide the platform for a sumptuous violin waltz that is easy to master in terms of accessibility, yet still complex and technically proficient. The second part (the aptly named "Salamander") flies straight into the darker clouds of heavy symphonic bombast, with trilling synthesizer runs, fiery violin forays, brooding organ runs and monster rhythmic gymnastics. A roller coaster of rippling notes and dense arrangements make this quite a breathless ride. Dive into the volcanic flow and come out on the other side, unscathed but exhilarated. The third section is "Sylphide" and it showcases the gentler romanticism of melody and passionate musical discourse, an arsenal of keys keeping the carpet rolling for some gorgeous violin runs from Tei Sena, enveloped in mellotron waves and ethereal beauty. Occasionally playful, often serene, the soloists keep the tense fusion of sounds within a very linear furrow that refuses to back down and kneel at the shrine. The bass guitar takes over and leads with uncommon valor and spunk. Just beautiful.

The finale "Gnome" chooses a more playful theme, altering the melody only slightly, thus providing reassurance and yet adventure on a different plane. Choppy, intense and explosive, the masters empty their creative juices with abandon , giving the impression that this complex music is only second nature to them, a true sign of genius, in my opinion. This band played on the 2014 and 2017 version of Cruise to the Edge and blew the audiences away, same at Rosfest 2013. Perhaps the most underrated artist in the prog world, Asturias deserves huge recognition and massive applause. Getting "Fractals" next!

An easy 5, my dear Watson!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. This is the followup to "Fractals" with the same 5 piece lineup. Both of these albums are the electric version of the band as opposed to the acoustic version or the Neo version(haha). Listed under Neo Prog here which is laughable if you've heard either of these two electric albums, but I get that on this site you can only list a band under one sub-genre. More Symphonic and Jazz at this point in their careers. A Japanese band who can play Chamber music or whatever you want because this is a very talented instrumental band. I find the violin to be almost overbearing on this one and while I do like the violin as a flavour I'm not big on it dominating the way it does much of the time on here.

The other issue for me is that this sounds so samey from start to finish. Again this is so impressive with the powerful bass/drum rhythm section with the piano, guitar or violin soloing over top. It's just kind of relentless with this style even though there are so many "wow" moments. So a slight step down from the low 4 star rating I have for "Fractals". We get close to an hour of music and no one track stands out for me but there's no duds either as this is a consistent album in the same style throughout.

I think most Prog fans give both of these electric albums 4 stars minimum but you really need to be a big fan of the violin in doing so. Well I'm keeping "Fractals" around by this band if that means anything. There is a 4 song suite called "Suite Of Elemental" at almost 29 minutes to end the album and the second tune of these opens with the wind blowing maybe not so surprisingly since it's called "Sylphide:Wind Elemental". I just like that part the best. Just sayin'.

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