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Symphonic Prog • Mexico

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Jacques Menache biography
Jacques MENACHE is a Mexican guitar player, a true progressive rock follower. After being part of several bands, he decides to take on an independent project, based on his own compositions. To do so, he gathers together a group of talented musicians, which, with strong enthusiasm and creativeness, collaborate restlessly for its realization.

As result, "Cenizas" is born, presented as a concept album, divided in 15 tracks, being 5 out of them purely instrumental. While listening to the melodies, a blend of progressive rock and classic music is well appreciated, as the lyrics to the songs talk about topics such as racism, intolerance and social ambiguities.

On this musical masterpiece, a contemporaneous togetherness between the electronic instruments and the acoustic ones such as sax, violin and cello could be listened to, closing the circle with powerful and expressive female vocals.

JACQUES MENACHE is a very proposing artist that manages to retake and renew progressive rock genre from where it's been left from by other great bands within Mexico and onwards many other Latin American countries.

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4.09 | 4 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cenizas by MENACHE, JACQUES album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 4 ratings

Jacques Menache Symphonic Prog

Review by The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm so eager to be the first one to set a review upon this album, not only because I'm Mexican, but for being the first one to spread the word out there trying to reach the ears and souls of those who haven't gave this great piece of work the chance of a good listen. The band named after founder and lead guitarist, is built from the blend of great independent Mexican musicians that started off like many others and over the basis of elaborated Prog Rock legacies of the old school such as PINK FLOYD, JETHRO TULL, CAMEL and GENESIS. First time I saw these guys perform on stage, was back in April 2005 when they started promoting "Cenizas" at this renamed record store in Mexico City. I got to catch them from rehearsal, they played "Comfortably Numb" and "Us and Them" by PINK FLOYD and I honestly raised eyebrows to the effort. Right before a little break, the show kicked off rather well! I noticed they replaced lead singer Laura BARBOSA with Adriana MORENO who matched up to Laura's work behind the mic superbly.

Thus, let's get it on with "Cenizas". This concept album has a meaningful message. Far beyond from appearing so political and controversial, it talks about realities within the nowadays Mexican society and it's cultural roots. It's determined to bring up a unique vision throughout elaborated and acid lyrics that relate us all either if you're Mexican or not. Opening theme "Vida en la Ciudad", is a very vivid track that flows down with intensity and this kind of calmness at the same time. Through the voice of a wailing guitar, it talks about values and perspectives that meddle up with the beat quite well.

"Intolerancia" engages the listener on this sort of inner battle where severe keyboards fall upon oneself striking to the point where all senses become one just to go on with the rest of the tack to the very end. Guitar performing by MENACHE is quite modest, but convincing at the same time. He really knows how to manage many kinds of moods in few minutes. By the last two minutes of the song, you'd feel totally into it, letting go of everything and getting caught by this musical climax in the pure style of David GILMOUR.

A set of compassed strings wonderfully reveals the first instrumental track of the album. "Noche de Cristales Rotos" is a beautiful piece that sort of shows the listener the essence of a peaceful melody that slowly turns into this rock ballad. Great song, short, but convincing. Coming up next, "Garras del León" manages to pick up from where last track left giving away a beautiful performance with lots of flute sparkles played by Ricardo BENITEZ. The lyrics are harsh, talking about famine, redemption and indifference. Quite a revealing passage.

Then, "Solución Final" appeared to me so strongly that I embraced right away. Arguably, the most elaborated track out of the entire album since it's got a fantastic guitar solo by Jacques and this unexpected ending that's nothing but the beginning to "Esclavo del Dolor", my favorite song in "Cenizas". The sixth chapter of this album goes far from being only a wonderful composition, the lyrics here are more revealing and impressive than the rest written down in the whole album. Dashes of sorrow, anguish, hope and passion burst up incredibly, amazing the listener to the point of not knowing what kind of feeling they're being dragged by at the time they're getting swallowed down by the music in hand with the lyrics.

"Catarsis" seems to me like this kind of brief tribute paid to David GILMOUR's contribution in MENACHE's life in a very "Shine On you Crazy Diamond" way. Not that I'm overlooking Jacques' effort on guitar, but it just reminds me of that very passage from that masterpiece crafted by PINK FLOYD, merely remembered by GILMOUR's guitar performance. And so, "Lágrimas de Dios" takes a step forward and down below the spotlight. This song holds most of the album's entire narrative, throughout soulful lyrics coming out from Laura's heart. Very touching, but mostly, so human and warm. The instruments float around MENACHE's display of togetherness in a magical way, letting us listeners get carried away by every single emotion found in each small fiber of our senses.

Second instrumental piece on spot: "Exterminio". Just fantastic. It is a massive display of strings that go hand in hand with the almost silent beat of drums that gradually show up to reveal a powerful symphonic effort. On the other hand, upcoming track "Varsovia", flows down on this sort of straightforward rock line, plagued of plain upbeats and soft piano interludes. Not bad, but nothing spectacular either.

"Caída de un Infierno" is the third instrumental effort on the record. Once again, the strings of sadness accomplish the purpose of creating this symphonic ambiance along the guitar performing brand by Jacques. Mood swings come and go rapidly, so you don't get lost in progressiveness. There's this nice keyboard display right at the end of the track, handled so well by José HOP. The flute once again, takes part of the melodic story.

Under my very appreciation, last four tracks should've been condensed in one since they've got this lyrical mixture, resembling one another in what could've been a great epic. On "Tren de mi Destino" the musical journey is completed through unmistakable excerpts that remind me of the early CAMEL days on "Mirage" and "Snow Goose" and there's this other part what appears to be a passage taken from Ian ANDERSON's school on "Aqualung". Still, a great ending to a great album.

The band hasn't released anything else since "Cenizas", but hopefully they would give us another jewel with more solid foundations and breakthrough performances that could make them set off from the rest. Keep this one on sight next time you go Prog Rock shopping, it's gonna be a pleasant surprise for you.

Thanks to landberkdoten for the artist addition. and to H.T. Riekels for the last updates

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