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Elfonía This Sonic Landscape album cover
3.45 | 28 ratings | 7 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. IV (2:21)
2. Máquina (4:01)
3. Soundscapes (5:20)
4. Desaciertos (5:45)
5. los libros del tiempo (5:29)
6. Camaleón (5:21)
7. Letargo (3:22)
8. Mañana (5:00)
9. Traveling (3:41)
- Gigantes:
10. Gigantes I (4:54)
11. Gigantes II (7:03)
12. Gigantes III (4:56)

Total Time: 57:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Marcela Bovio / vocals, violin
- Roberto Quintanilla / guitars
- Alejandro Millán / keyboards, concertina
- Pablo González / bass
- Javier Garagarza / drums

- Arjen Lucassen / guitar solo (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Arturo Leal

CD The Note Garden Records ‎- tng0001 (2005, Mexico)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ELFONÍA This Sonic Landscape ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ELFONÍA This Sonic Landscape reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
4 stars I discovered one of the most beautiful and entrancing voices in progressive rock music a few weeks ago while listening to another out of this world Arjen Lucassen project called Stream Of Passion. The vocalist is Marcela Bovio from Mexico. She has her own band called Elfonía.

They have a fantastic album, their second, ready for release. The music fits the title of this CD in a literal sense. This Sonic Landscape is a diverse array of musical persuasions.

This music did remind me of Stream Of Passion because of Marcela's vocals and some of the music; however, Elfonía certainly makes an impression as an original band with their own unique style and sound. They combine a mix of prog-rock, jazz, and classical influences that creates, well, need I say it again-a sonic landscape. Ms. Bovio's vocals are the kind that you find yourself enamored with immediately, she sings in Spanish and English throughout the recording and at times stretches out and sounds like an opera singer, her range and command is quite impressive.

On my favorite tracks is "Camaleón" and it does not surprise me why it was, one the most respected and world renowned artist stands in to play guitar, Arjen Lucassen. It is one of the most powerful songs on the CD; featuring hard driving guitar lines backed by a solid backbeat from the rhythm section. They have some of their most spectacular moments of transition in the three-part suite "Gigantes." Each part is extensive and leads you into each progression with a balance of elements and subtle yet obvious nuances throughout your journey. This musical omnibus is comparative to taking several cans of paint and splashing it on a huge canvas, what you get when it is complete looks like a montage of bright colors spectacularly clashing with each other. In a musical sense, this process encourages creativity and exploration, which ultimately ends in the beauty of each individual composition.

The 70s Latin jazz fusion band Caldera came to mind a few times while listening to this music. They were one of the first bands I discovered while I was discovering jazz fusion in the early 80s. I can hear influences from bands like that in their sound. The most difficult thing for any band to do is to take that cornucopia of influence and come up with an original sound that has a recognizable stamp on it. They most definitely succeed in that process on this recording. Bovio is one of the most distinctive female vocalists I have heard in years and her contributions are extremely important to this band's sound. I would not be surprised if she becomes an international star within the next few years.

This is a fantastic collection of recordings, the sound mix is superb and the musicianship excellent, what more can I say.this is one great band. Even when Bovio sings a song in Spanish, and I do not understand a word, I love it. The music and her voice have this effect on you that you will have to experience for yourself to understand. As 2005 is ending, discovering Elfonía has been one of the many joys I have had the privilege to hear coming through my speakers. © Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck October 31, 2005

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Elfonia, one of thelatest mexican bands of progressive rock, this is their second album, with a mix of some metal and folkish , and some classic things.

Elfonia has one of the most beautiful voices nowadays, well, in Mexico of course is the most beautiful voice, Marcela Bovio, you maybe know her because of Stream of Passion, and he was "The Wife " in The Human Equation, her voice is one of the most important "parts" of the ban, also the musicians are great, Alejandro Millan, also in Stream of Passion makes the most of the music, lyrics were done by Marcela, but i have to mention the other guys because they are part important of this project, Pablo Gonzalez is the bassist, always consistent, good lines in some moments, Javier Garagarza, another excellent drummer for my country and Roberto Quintanilla , the guitarist, great work, the music of Traveling and Camaleon were done by him.

The first song, or the last?, well the first song is called IV, it is a short but beatiful introduction for the album, Marcela`s voice sounding like an angel, with ambient environment, excellent introduction i mean. Here , one of the details is that, they , or she decided to make lyrics in both languages, english and spanish, in both her voice sounds great, in some passages she plays Violin too, Soundscapes is the first song in english, is pretty good, guitar and piano work are great.

Some of their songs are very soft, suddenly with a stronger sound, i think the songs were done very well, but in some cases like Desaciertos, i found that song a bit boering. Camaleon is a very special song, because here that monster named Arjen Luccassen appears doing of course guitar solo, it doesnt sound like Ayreon, maybe a bit of Stream of Passion, but Camaleon is a very nice and heavy song, is very special, maybe it could be the favorite song of you. The last tree songs were called I, II and III, thats why i said if the first song was really tha last.

Im very happy with this album, to be honest i change my mind the last time i listened to it, because i thought to give it only 3 stars because is good, but now it is envolving me, more and more, and i think it wcould be a great addition for any prog fan.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I wanted to check out this band after enjoying Marcela's vocals so much on the debut release of STREAM OF PASSION. Of course that band is a lot heavier than ELFONIA, being as they are a Prog-Metal band.

The highlight for me on this album is the 4 part song called "Gigantes" that offers up some spacey soundscapes with some terrific drumming and angelic vocals.The odd thing is that the album starts with the song "IV" which is the final part of "Gigantes" epic. The other three parts are the final three songs on the record, go figure. "IV" is perhaps the most eerie and atmospheric of the four parts. Some good vocal melodies as well. "Maquina" contrasts the heavy, bombastic sections with the mellow vocal passages. "Soundscapes" has English lyrics as well as some pastoral sections.

"Desaciertos" is all about the vocals that are accompanied with piano.Violin to close it. Good song. "...De Los Libros Del Tiempo" has some good throbbing bass lines and a tasteful guitar solo. Another highlight. "Camaleon" makes it three great tunes in a row. This is the heaviest tune with a guest guitar solo from Arjen Lucassen. And he doesn't disappoint. More good bass and drum work. "Letargo" is an instrumental with a lot of keys. "Manana" is almost funky, while "Traveling" is a song that is sung in English. I detect some jazz influences in this one and it's not the first song that I have felt this.

Although a very good release I didn't like it enough to give it 4 stars. I felt something was missing (probably more to do with me then the band) perhaps due to the fact this has a folk flavour to it.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Major changes in the musical style of this Mexican band. While their debut album featured some very good symphonic music tinted with light folk influences, this one is invaded by prog metal sounds. This must be a new disease, I guess.So many bands incorporating metal sounds in their works...

In this respect, "Máquina" is particularly difficult to bear. Of course, there will be some very good vocal parts (one of the major "Elfonia" attraction). When you listen to the beautiful "Soundscapes", you can only be charmed by Marcela Bovio.

This album also mark a change in the lyrics. From full Spanish ones, we'll get a bilingual effort here. Probably to attract new markets. This does not bother me and I fully understand this commercial approach. Maybe therefore, "Soundscapes" sound almost as a "Mostly Autumn" song. Anyway, only two songs will be sung in English and "Soundscapes" turns out to be one of the few highlights.

If you would like to get a combination of folk-prog metal, listen to "De Los Libros Del Tiempo". You'll be delighted. Strong vocal harmonies tinted with some heavy riffs aren't bad here. Actually, when I said that this album was invaded with metal (not even prog at times), I am maybe exaggerating in terms of percentage of this album that is fully metal which is not too much actually. But almost each song has such passages. "Cameleon" is another example. It is probably the one that holds the most hard parts of this whole work.

It might be the influence of Arjen Lucassen with whom Marcela collaborated earlier on in 2005 in the "Stream Of Passion" project. As a counterpart, he will play some guitar on "Cameleon".

This album is a bit of a disappointment in comparison with their debut. A song like "Mañana" is only saved by the excellent vocals (again). This is by far the major attraction of this confidential Mexican band. Very little touring (even if home country), almost no recent news (on their official web-site).

The second English song "Travelling" is a mellow acoustic one. Beautiful chorus but that's it. There are few great moments available on this sonic landscape. The whole of my expectations reside in the closing suite : "Gigantes".

It is a three distinctive parts song. It might not be a giant song but each piece is above average here. My favourite is the second (and longest part). Fully atmospheric and finally reminiscent of their earlier work (not that I dislike evolution). Another highlight.

Part I is a summary of this album : a combination of metal and good progressive folk music while the closing track (Part III) is another showcase for Marcela.

Three stars but I slightly rounded it up to be honest. My Mexican "roots", I guess...

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars When I first heard of Elfonía and Marcela Bovio's part in it I was skeptical of the progressive folk label sometimes pinned on them, and honestly I still think they're closer to progressive metal than folk. But after listening to this album a few times I can sort of hear why some would consider them to at least have some folk influences. That said, comparisons to the Gathering circa Anneke van Giersbergen and, to a lesser extent Karnateka are unavoidable.

Bovio's voice is of course both angelic and powerful, as evidenced by her stint with Ayreon on 'The Human Equation' and more importantly with Stream of Passion, still one of my favorite metal-leaning bands. The instrumentation here is sometimes similar, owing mostly to Roberto Quintanilla's guitar work that features alternately shredding, soaring arpeggios, and delicate soundscapes that complement former Stream of Passion keyboardist Alejandro Milán's synths and piano quite eloquently.

Unlike Stream of Passion ("Out in the Real World", "Spellbound", "I'll Keep on Dreaming"), there are no instantly memorable tracks on this album, but in total the songs are consistently solid and seem to make for a more cohesive overall album than 'Embrace the Storm' does. That's by design I suppose, given the album's name and many of the complementary song titles. Hints of jazz intersperse with the same sort of gothic hint that is present is nearly everything Bovio has appeared in to-date, at times in the same song as with the ranging "Desaciertos" and quietly intoxicating "Soundscapes".

At times the band even manages to sound a bit like an 80s hair band, particularly with the lead-ins to "Camaleón" and "Mañana", but these are more than offset by the quiet charm of Milán's concertina on the aptly-named "Camaleón", which manages to cram every genre- nod the band can muster into a little more than five minutes. The track is given added start power with a guest appearance by Arjen Anthony Lucassen himself.

The album closes with a trio of numbered songs all called "Gigantes" (I, II and III), each of which leads in with spacey synths and luscious Bovio vocals before building to a guitar/ drum/keyboard explosion with Bovio moaning sonically and seductively. That is, except for the finale which remains on a fairly even keel throughout but manages to elicit the same sort of passion and emotion as the other two despite its understated nature.

I'm trying to locate the band's first album before rendering an overall opinion of their work. This is a very good album, but even after several spins I'm not quite as enchanted with it as with Stream of Passion's debut or even Bovio's stunning introduction as LaBrie's disconsolate spouse on 'The Human Equation'. I'm hoping the Elfonía projects a bit more ethnic flavor than the heavily engineered veneer that covers these songs. Easily three stars, but I'd be hard-pressed to give it any more than that. Recommended to fans of great female rock vocals and technically excellent guitar, but probably not so much for hardcore progressive folk fans.


Review by b_olariu
3 stars Elfonia from Mexico was a short living band with only two albums released and then gone into oblivion, almost. I said almost because this band was discovered by many listners through Stream of Passion band that Marcela Bovio formed after Elfonia was disbanded in 2005, and through Ayreon band where she apper on Human equation. Elfonia plays an intreguing type of prog with folk influences and aswell some prog metal elements added in the mix, the result is pretty much ok, but fail to impress me big time. Some bombastic parts melted with some more key orientated parts makes from this sonic lanscape a good ride, but tnothing is outstanding to my ears. Marcela Bovio vocal abilities are quite strong, she can sing soft and with smooth parts and aswell she can be very powerful with great range. Pieces like Maquina or Chameleon show that Elfonia deliver good solid musicianship with great ideas, somehow not to be found on the rest of the tunes, who are ok but to flat and derivate. All in all, a fairly decent farewell album, not great but ok most of the time. 3 stars

Latest members reviews

4 stars SECOND ALBUM AND. FAREWELL? Like most of us, i know this band by tracking Marcela Bovio after her participation with Arjen Lucassen projects. And i´m glad I did. Elfonía is a unique band although compared sometimes with other Prog-Folk acts such as Mostly Autumn, Iona and Karnataka. I th ... (read more)

Report this review (#132865) | Posted by FranMuzak | Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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