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Egregor biography
Coming from Arica, Chile, EGREGOR was founded in 2015 by Magdalen OPAZO (vocals). The band became official with the release of their debut album "Karma" after which they were invited to participate in various festivals and shows throughout Chile, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. Their second album "Pachakutiwas" released in August of 2020.

Their style is a melodic progressive metal that reflects the band's cultural diversity in both the lyrics and the music as thoughts, traditions and beliefs of its members are combined with progressive overtones and ethnic mysiticism.

----Thanks to nick_h_nz and to Egregor for information used in the Bio----

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 Pachakuti by EGREGOR album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.50 | 2 ratings

Egregor Progressive Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Pachakuti is the second full-length album from the Chilean prog metal band, Egregor, and on the strength of this I will definitely be checking out their debut. Wow! Just wow! By the time I heard Pachakuti near the end of 2020, I had listened to around 300 albums, but very few had the initial impact, let alone lasting resonance that Pachakuti had. And prog metal is not even a genre I tend to be overly fond of, nor expect to excite me. But there is something so visceral about the music, that it did not just get under my skin. But wormed it's way into my heart.

The music of Pachakuti is chunky and heavy enough without knowledge of what the band is singing, but a little Googling reveals the lyrical content is pretty damn weighty too, making this heavy in every sense. The Aymara are an indigenous race of the Andes and Altiplano regions across the South American countries of Bolivia, Peru and Chile, and it seems than the Aymaran words 'pacha' and 'kuti' mean 'land' and 'return'. The lyrics of the title track speak of repressed peoples, and conclude with a final refrain that translates as "Subjugated roots will be reborn; Humiliated roots will return". Likewise, lead single Grito Insurgente (Insurgent Scream) speaks of "the strength of ancestors", and ends with the cry "In the face of death you will scream? Freedom!"

There is anger and aggression in much of the instrumentation and the vocals, but it is never at the expense of the beauty that is overwhelmingly present. Before I listened to a note, I was engaged by the beautiful cover art, and the music within is no less beautiful. There may be anger, but the passion with which it is expressed shows it to be righteous and, yes, beautiful. This is apparent from the outset, as the album opens with the ambient introduction to the title track, filled with the sounds of nature and ancient culture, before the music crashes in with radiant energy. Magdalena Opazo'a powerful vocals are glorious, and potent. Generally speaking, even when lyrics are in English, I pay little attention to them, hearing the vocals more as another instrument in the mix rather than thinking about what they have to say. Magdalena, though, almost demands me to find out what is being sung ? which, given it is in a foreign language to me, is quite impressive.

Impressive also are the vocals of Giancarlo Nattino, and the contrast of his harsher vocals with Magdalena's clean is easily the best I've heard in a long time. When these two trade lines, they sound incredible. Giancarlo's screams are perhaps closest to Joe Duplantier of Gojira, and even for someone like myself that more often than not shies away from harsh vocals, are very pleasing to the ear, and perfectly fitting to the pounding and insistent music of the title track. What I love the most is the way the music sounds both entirely modern, yet evokes the sounds and history of the indigenous culture of the Aymara. This is in part due to the traditional instruments (charango, zampoña, quena and quenacho) played by Martín Romero, but by no means entirely. That would be only superficial, and it's readily apparent that the composition and performance of the music wholly serves the past, the present, and the future, celebrating not just what has been, but what will be again. The music of Egregor is authentic, immersive, and as aforementioned, passionate. Return the Land, indeed.

El Principio Único is more subtle, if no less impressive. This time, rather than the twin guitar attack of Giancarlo Nattino and Richard Iturra, it's the bass of Alejandro Heredia that dominates, providing some very tasty and nifty basswork on this track. While there are still aggressive breakouts, this track is notable for its restraint, which has the benefit of really highlighting how the band play in a precise, complex and intricate style that could easily sound mechanical and static, but which instead sounds organic and fluid. The music just flows. And in fact, flows so well that it's easy to miss when El Principio Único ends and the following Indolente begins. They are actually quite distinct songs, but fit together more perfectly than some jigsaw puzzles. Indolente was the second single released from the album, and I can tell why: it's anthemic and catchy, and in my opinion would have made a more impressive lead single than (following track) Grito Insurgente.

Don't get me wrong, though, Grito Insurgente is fantastic, and definitely a contender for my favourite track on the album. As might be expected from what I've already divulged about it's content, it's insistent and aggressive. It might well have the most powerful vocal performance from Magdelena: impassioned, angered, and pained. The struggle of indigenous people to be heard and respected is tangible. The guttural cries of Giancarlo only heighten this feeling. My only criticism of the song is I want it to go on. It always ends before I am ready. The band does well to follow it with the near instrumental Origen (with only wordless vocalisations), as any song would struggle to compete with what came before. Instead, Origen just crescendos and swells from its humble beginnings, and sweeps the listener along with it. It's far more bombastic than might be expected from its delicate piano-led introduction.

Animal is an emotional ride, and it's no wonder when translating the lyrics appears to confirm what I had already inferred from the title. There's a lot of hurt conveyed in this song. The following Portadores is a completely different beast, and probably the most unique sounding on the album. It sounds joyous and celebratory, and has some wonderfully hair-raising chanted passages. Even Giancarlo's harsh vocals sound triumphant. It almost sounds out of place, and yet it feels completely right. It provides a terrific preface for Con la Fuerza del Sol, which is as forceful and radiant as its title implies. This song would not have worked as well if it came immediately after Animal, so again I have to praise the band for their thought in sequencing. Just as Origen was placed perfectly to balance what came before and after, so is Portadores.

And so we come to the end, and likely the only competition for Grito Insurgente to be my favourite track on the album, Somos Uno. A recognition and exhortation that we are one, that takes in the full spectrum of the band, from its most peaceful and delicate, to some of the heaviest. And again, like Grito Insurgente, my only complaint is that it ends far too soon. Given how unique in vision and execution Pachakuti is, the intensity of emotion and passion, and the balance and restraint shown, this was a definite contender to be one of my albums of the year, and justly ended up one of my favourite releases of 2020.

 Pachakuti by EGREGOR album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.50 | 2 ratings

Egregor Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Emerging from the far northern Chilean city of Arica, EGREGOR has so far released two albums beginning with 2015's "Karma" and took off many years to craft the followup. Finally after setbacks due to the pandemic and other world madness, EGREGOR at last returned in 2020 with its sophomore offering PACHAKUTI which features more progressive compositions and higher octane metal heft than its debut and it's making some waves around the world.

Led by guitarist Richard Iturra, the band is completed by bassist Alejandro Heredia, drummer Rodrigo Cerpa, guitarist / vocalist Giancarlo Nattino and the divine feminine charm of Magdalena Opazo on vocals. The band comes off somewhat as the Latin American version of Epica with lush symphonic orchestration, chugging metal heft and strewn out compositions that offer the possibilities of mixing in Andean folk music influences into a standardized from of European extreme metal.

The title PACHAKUTI is derived from the Aymara language with PACHA meaning "earth" and KUTI meaning "return" with themes revolving around the mythological world of the ancient South American indigenous peoples. The entire album is performed in the Spanish language so unless you speaka the lingo then you no get it, dig? Musically EGREGOR engages in a thick mash up of metal styles along with symphonic and folk influences. Atmospheric dominance is ubiquitous on PACHAKUTI with lush symphonic backdrops providing the heft of the album's epic stature with the chunky metal parts merely adding a bombastic contrast.

While Magdalena's feminine charm dominates the album's sensual side, Giancarlo Nattino provides more extreme vocal contributions with angsty screams thus providing the classic beauty and the beast approach. The tracks are highly melodic steeped in not only contemporary metal chops oft from melodic death metal bands such as Arch Enemy but tinges of Andean flavors infused into the melodic scales. The dynamics vary between lusher piano driven ballad moments to the more dramatic chug-infused guitar riffing with the occasional guitar solo thrown in for good measure.

For all its magnanimous glory though, where PACHAKUTI falls short is in its ability to really stand out from the legions of similar minded prog metal acts that have appeared in great numbers in the last 20 years or so. Taking cues from various bands ranging from Epica, Nightwish and other female led symphonic metal bands, EGREGOR unfortunately doesn't really strike me as a band that has much to offer outside of the fact they sing in Spanish and incorporate a few local folk flavors to the mix. Likewise Magdalena's vocal range just doesn't seem to have enough gusto to tackle the more operatic demands that this style of music requires to make it a compelling musical experience.

In the production department EGREGOR excels with beautiful lush atmospheres seamlessly blending together along with a well-defined separation of the sensual cadences with the more aggressive metal orotundity however most of the tracks are rather forgettable as EGREGOR doesn't deviate significantly form the pre-established European model of status quo symphonic metal. Nevertheless PACHAKUTI is a decent albeit underwhelming slice of symphonic metal that showcases Chilean acts finding influences from North American and European extreme metal bands. While PACHAKUTI is hardly a bad listening experience, it seems the lofty goal of some sort of concept album isn't matched by the actual results. Lots of room for improvement but certainly a band on the rise when compared to the lackluster "Karma" that preceded.

Thanks to tcat for the artist addition.

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