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CLIMAX

Heavy Prog • Bolivia


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Climax biography
Painfully obscure trio from Bolivia that made a bold, raucous but jazzy and deceptively simple heavy prog during the early 1970's. The band formed in 1969 (or possibly even '68) and was constituted by guitarist/keyboardist/singer Jose EUGENIO, drummer Alvaro CORDOVA, and Javier SOLDIAS on bajo [a 12-string bass/guitar]. They recorded throughout the early '70s but no official album was released until 1974's 'Gusano Mecanico' on Discolandia. On the surface the material may remind more of hard rocking cousins Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix than anything Prog but the jazz elements, sense of experimentation, and clear influence from ELP and PINK FLOYD on certain cuts - as the three-part title on the '74 LP - leave very few doubts this is a vintage Heavy Prog band worth its salt.

-- Atavachron (David) --

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2.75 | 19 ratings
Gusano Mecanico
1974

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gusano Mecanico by CLIMAX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.75 | 19 ratings

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Gusano Mecanico
Climax Heavy Prog

Review by PROGNATURE BEAST

4 stars I don't "get" the low ratings and the negative reviews on this one.... frankly, I trust only my ears at last. Whatever, I think we have an excellent Southamerican psych heavy prog album here. A Bolivian power trio who promises to blow your mind and is inspired equally by Jazz in general, Cream, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Keith Moon, Keith Emerson in particular. The music is mainly instrumental because you dont need a voice with so good playing. Bass and drums really compliments one the other and both, pave the way for Jose Eugenio's energetic and psychedelic guitar pyrotechnics that never stay in one place. Also, in rare occasions you get Eugenio's Keys in a NICE psychedelic manner ! Obviously, I like Climax powerhouse very much and find them in close (and strong) competition with other European acts of the period especially the German ones (check out the similar and more experimental sounds of the " Silberbart " group alone). It strikes me more that this gem never came out on cd.... Four stars
 Gusano Mecanico by CLIMAX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.75 | 19 ratings

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Gusano Mecanico
Climax Heavy Prog

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars A while ago I managed to listen to a video posted in our respectable forum, and although the sound quality was poor something grabbed me, what I remember hearing between the lines is great guitar, fast rhythm and some nice percussion. Placing this one on my turntable, at first I thought this is nice and energetic, but repeated listenings revealed that there isn't much behind this album.

This trio from Bolivia were much more influenced by the playing of artists like Hendrix, Blackmore and Budgie rather than the progressive rock presented by Yes or ELP, they just wanna rock. The music is leaning heavily on the wild guitar played by Jose Eugenio leaving drummer Alvaro Cordova no choice but to follow him on their quest to fast-madness city. The music is mainly going on one direction and is not trying to branch out to much, they are certainly not trying to be the world's biggest rock band. The compositions here were written as guide lines to the band to jam on, the riffs are fast and rocky and always leading to some crazy jamming with electric guitar soloing. One refreshing addition are the percussions accompanying the music and giving it a southern american tribal vibe, really cool although in some cases are useless and does not add anything, they should have censored it a little bit to a greater effect, but I don't mind, it is better than not having it at all.

What we have here in this short LP are six compositions (if you can call them like this), all are played with enormous amount of energy, maybe too much energy, there is no logical line that the band is following or developing, it's as if they are not listening to each other. The drummer is clearly on a few ecstasy pills, it doesn't matter what the other two are playing he's always improvising like a mad man, he can't just lay back and produce a good beat or throw a few imaginative ideas, it's really tedious at some point. Guitars has some good riffing and a few occasional good solo moments, his playing is furious and fiery but lacks any feel, he's one of those fast guitar player dudes that doesn't really know how to generate anything good, but gets something nice by accident. But actually I've heard far worse albums than this, some moments does work out nicely and I gotta give them some credit for their enthusiastic playing. "Pachacuttec" is the album's opener and although it starts very promising, the band just didn't know how to go from one idea to the next so they just faded away in the middle of the song and turned right away with something different, stating that they weren't that creative or experienced in writing an effective essential prog piece, still as a whole this track actually works fine and the music is ok. "Gusano Mecanico" the album's title song can be considered as the highlight and their most progy track, since it does switch from one part to the other and have an overall progy feel. Since the drums are filling an importanat role here, the band thought it would be wise to include a drum solo track, like we didn't hear enough drums already. I'm glad it didn't lasted more than 3 minutes, as nice as it is. The closing track actually shows some diversity, featuring a jazzy tune and a more relaxed atmosphere, with some nice piano.

The album has "debut" written all over it, since it's supposed to be fun and energetic but it still contains all the mistakes a band can do on their first album, which is fine and acceptable. They should have worked on and polished their compositions more, before recording the album. So if you are a guitar freak or just like high energy music without being so progressive, this is a good find.

 Gusano Mecanico by CLIMAX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.75 | 19 ratings

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Gusano Mecanico
Climax Heavy Prog

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

2 stars About a week ago, while searching my LP's collection I found a rarity called "Gusano Eléctrico" (Electric Worm) by the Bolivian band CLIMAX, I remember buying it in the mid 70's just because the store dealer told me it was good Rock from Bolivia, and had forgotten why haven't listened it for almost 35 years.

So placed it on my old turntable expecting some Andean Rock with the class of Los Kjarkas, but the explanation of why it was gathering moth in a box fell by it's own weight, the album is absolutely amateur to say the best, I honestly don't know why it was added, because it's some sort of very late Psyche, with some leanings towards folk, but with an incredible lack of imagination and no Prog connection or originality.

"Pachacutec (Rey de Oro)" (Pachacutec King of Gold) opens the album and the first question comes to my mind...What are this guys doing?

It's obvious that they are trying to play of Andean Hard Rock, but the folk component is so poor that gets lost inside the horrendous distorted guitars, there's absolutely no coherence or structure, they seem to jam without any purpose or idea, it's clear that the guitarist is a Jimmy Hendrix wannabe, but of course very far from the original.

When I listen "Transfusión de Luz" (Light Transfusion), I wonder why they took the time to write it as a separate song from "Pachacutec ...", they could just had made the first track longer and add some vocals, it's exactly the same chaos, but even worst because the vocals.

By this point a second question arises...Why did they credit keyboards if I can hear none? It's just a noisy guitar shredding and a fast drummer who abuses of the cymbals.

"Cuerpo Eléctrico - Embrión de Reencarnación" (Electric Body - Reincarnation Embryo) is as lack of sense as the name of the track, the song is more calmed but the drummer continues playing as in the same tempo as in the first two tracks, at last I can listen a bit of keyboards lost behind the loud guitar but nothing special.

Close to the end there's a break that seems to announce a radical change, but it's just a loud Blues that you can listen in any pub...Where is the Prog?

"Gusano Mecánico" (Mechanic Worm) seems to be a multi part 10 minutes epic (well at least in the credits), but still I don't know what this guys are trying to do, an Emerson inspired keyboard gives some hopes, but the drummer continues playing the first track (as he has done up to this point), and ruins the effort of the band do something different......It's evident that trying is not a synonymous of achieving, because the multi parts can't be noticed and the sound is as basic and loud as in the rest of the album.

"Prana - Energía Vital" (Prana - Vital Energy) is a pleonasm, because Prana means Vital Energy in Sanskrit, but it's a pompous name for a drum solo of 3 minutes.

The album ends with "Cristales Soñadores" (Dreamy Crystals), a jazzy but repetitive track with nothing special or worth to be mentioned, they base their sound in a couple of chords repeated ad nauseam while the guitar keeps jamming without any idea of what they are trying.

I won't insist in my question about the Prog connection of this band, because everybody in the mid 70's had some relation with our beloved genre, and I respect the teams opinion, but I have to say that hardly heard an album with less imagination than this one, loud, chaotic and lack of originality, will go with 2 stars, even when 1.5 would be the correct rating.

 Gusano Mecanico by CLIMAX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.75 | 19 ratings

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Gusano Mecanico
Climax Heavy Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars A band so obscure and album so painfully rare it makes those underground acetate reissues look like garden variety pop and the only Bolivian group listed in these archives, Climax is a rough and scratchy sheep in wolf's clothing, a progressive power trio in the finest tradition that bloozes its way through this only release from 1974. They'd been together since around '69 and it shows, with plenty of post-Cream atmosphere, the bass-heavy swing of Zep, Hendrix's acid funk, and the not-quite-right jazz of Tempest.

But there is definitely something else going on here. You can let the fumbling grandeur of 'Pachacuttec' roll over you but you'd miss the subtle Latin hints, continual variance, and Alavaro Cordova's not so subtle Keith Moon drums. You may dismiss 'Tranfusioin de Luz' as mere Page-baiting with its near-distaterous tempo and awful guitar solos, and you'd be right. And 'Cuerpo Electrico' sounds like all the B-list heavy psych you ever heard rolled into one unsure cement block of love, face-blushing mistakes and all. But then there's the 3 part title cut and suddenly guitarist/singer Jose Eugenio's keyboard breaks out the Keith Emerson and we have a whole new ball game, a heavy prog opus in miniature that belies this band's shameless lack of polish. It makes us realize there was mediocre Prog that still cooked and had hidden away in it something for those wishing to dig a little deeper, made by unassuming musicians who wanted to be part of what was happening. The piece is an epic in a toilet and Cordova, Eugenio and 12-string bass player Javier Soldias were ambitious if woefully inadequate. The result is rather fascinating, a brief meeting of the salty dog bluesmen of the 1960s and art rock sophistry that was to follow.

Only recommended to those willing to jump into this ice-cold water but if your taste for raucous and leathery heavy prog of the vintage variety needs saitiating, check em out one Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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