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Sonus Umbra

Crossover Prog

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Sonus Umbra Beyond the Panopticon album cover
3.86 | 39 ratings | 3 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Grotesquerie (6:33)
2. Alone Together Alone (8:52)
3. Blood and Diamonds (9:00)
4. Paramnesia (5:06)
5. Love Undone (4:33)
6. Channel Zero (9:10)

Total Time 43:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Roey Ben-Yoseph / lead vocals, percussion
- Tim McCaskey / acoustic & electric guitars
- Brittany Moffitt / lead vocals
- Luis Nasser / bass, sounds effects, percussion
- Rich Poston / electric guitar, keyboards
- Steve Royce / flute, keyboards
- Andy Tillotson / drums, acoustic guitar

- Colleen Corning / clarinet, bass clarinet
- David Keller / cello

Releases information

Format: CD, Digital, Vinyl
January 5, 2016

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SONUS UMBRA Beyond the Panopticon ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SONUS UMBRA Beyond the Panopticon reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is wonderful!

In the mid 00s when I started listening to progressive rock, I remember I went so some prog sites in order to look for Mexican bands, and, though Sonus Umbra is actually not a Mexican band, its roots, and its mastermind are, which is why I felt the need to know their albums. Later, for some years I did not follow their tracks until a couple of years ago, when they visited Mexico City for a wonderful and intimate concert in which we could witness them playing mostly songs from Beyond the Panopticon, their latest release which believe me, is great.

The album is not that long (43 minutes approx), which I love because it runs so fast that I can play it twice in a row without a problem. It features six compositions that show a different face of the band, an eclectic, fine and delicate sound made by low profile but first- class musicians. There are killer instrumental moments but a think I loved is they have both male and female singers, making an equilibrated ambitious experience.

It kicks off with "Grotesquerie". Heavy prog in the first seconds contrasted by softer moments that make a very cool prog rock journey in which the band show their fine skills. The bass is always present as a main instrument, it has to. Piano, flute, guitars (acoustic and electric) and drums, all sum-up a wonderful combo that make this a very good instrumental opening track. "Alone Together Alone" is a longer and colorful track. I love that Sonus Umbra doesn't have a specific classification, I mean, their eclecticism shares heavy prog moments, some folky passages or symphonic arrangements. After almost three minutes Ben-Yoseph's vocals appear for the first time, adding a soft and delicate sound to the already great music. Later, Lee-Moffit's voice also appears and both sing together over a flute and acoustic guitar background, creating some kind of joyous atmospheres.

"Blood and Diamonds" bring to my mind Jethro Tull immediately, and not actually due to the flute's sound, but due to the guitar and that initial part that is repeated later. The music develops different phases and structures, so the music is never plain, it fact, its changes could work as a novel so you can create your own mind story. I love Tim McCaskey and Rich Poston's work, their delicate playing can be so profound that it hits you deep inside. Lovely! This is a great and friendly prog rock song without a doubt. "Paramnesia" is a magnificent instrumental rollercoaster; it was my favorite song when I first listened to the album. Once again the musicians show their wonderful skills and how they understand each other. The song adds a clarinet so they bring a kind of chamber rock sound in the beginning. Later it makes some changes, becoming a bit more aggressive for an instant just in order to calm down and reach for a spacey sound made by keyboards. Then a calm moment but all of a sudden electric guitar appears with a killer solo. Awesome!

The album is reaching its final part. "Love Undone" is the shortest composition here, it brings both singers adding their soft but passionate vocals while acoustic guitar works as background. Then there is an instrumental passage with some cool percussion that is developing a new structure little by little, in order to reach the climax, which is the final part of the song. Last but not least, "Channel Zero" which is, in the other hand, the longest composition of the album. It has a dark atmosphere created by the bass sound and a cello. Later it becomes more colorful and though that dark nuance is kept here and there, the light and peaceful moments appears later with the exquisite acoustic guitar. It is an excellent song to finish a wonderful album.

Of course, I recommend this to you. Sonus Umbra is a great whose music should be spread to more and more ears in the whole world. Enjoy it!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars About 20 years ago I used to be in contact with Brian Hirsch, who set up Moonchild with Andrew Robinson (Magus), and once he realised there was someone who was as mad about music as he was, he flooded me with material from tapes to CDs. One of these was an American progressive rock band who used to be based in Mexico, and their second album, 'Snapshots From Limbo', which I thoroughly enjoyed. Brian and I lost contact, and apart from Jeremy Morris, I don't believe I heard from anyone else involved with the label until earlier this year when Sonus Umbra again came onto my radar. They released four albums in fairly quick succession, before an extended break, with their fifth not coming out until 2013. There had been some significant line-up changes, with only bassist and founder Luis Nasser and guitarist Andrew Tillotson playing on the albums either side of the break.

However, between 2013's 'Winter Solstice' and 2016's 'Beyond The Panopticum' the band had remained fairly stable, although by now Tillotson had switched to drums and acoustic guitar. They also had changed considerably in size since I last came across them as whereas they used to be a quartet (admittedly with 3 guests), now they also included Roey Ben- Yoseph (lead vocals, percussion), Tim McCaskey (acoustic & electric guitars), Brittany Moffitt (lead vocals), Rich Poston (electric guitar, keyboards) and Steve Royce (flute, keyboards) as well as guests Colleen Corning (clarinet, bass clarinet) and David Keller (cello). Given the huge change in personnel, with only Luis remaining from the group I first came across, I would have expected a major change in musical direction, and while that is what has happened in some ways, it makes perfect logical sense. One thing I really liked about their music used to be the musicality and melody, and less on the neo- prog, and that is exactly what we have here. They have two singers, but there are long passages where they leave the stage for a well-earned break as the rest of the guys weave a magical spell. In some ways they come across as American with their polish and finesse, yet at others they are looking strongly into the UK for inspiration, although at the very beginning of "Love Undone" they remind us that in another lifetime they started in Mexico.

The CD comes in a four-pane digipak and I was amazed at the care and attention which has gone into the physical release, which contains all the lyrics, especially when this is independent and not signed to a label. Coming back to them after a break of two decades has been something of a revelation, as this complex progressive rock album is a delight from beginning to end, with hugely layered musical arrangements and two very fine singers indeed. This is a superb album that any fan of the genre would do well to investigate.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A new SONUS UMBRA album is always someting exciting and it deserves to be signaled in the prog rock community!2 years only after the excellent WINTER SOULSTICE album,mastermind Luis Nasser and his talented musical companions,are back with a new album!And what an excellent surprise is this alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#1526342) | Posted by Ovidiu | Sunday, February 7, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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