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Neo-Prog • El Salvador

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OVNI biography
OVNI is a progressive rock band from El Salvador. OVNI's beginnings go all the way back to 1978, when the original members came together under the band name KARN and began playing music in an English Beat style. In 1982, the band changed its name to OVNI and began playing progressive rock. At this point the band consisted of Rafael Alfaro on guitar and vocals; Kristian Calderon on guitar; Mauricio Alfaro on Drums; Ajax Calderon on bass; and, Mauritius Parades on keyboards. The band started off singing in English. The band began playing concerts and releasing singles, some of which garnered the band some local radio play, but the band's first album would not come for another 8 years.

In 1986, Rafael Alfaro went abroad to study sound engineering, effectively putting an end to the band OVNI. The three members remaining at the time stayed together and went under the name ARC. Rafael returned the following year and OVNI was reformed, with the lineup of Rafael Alfaro on guitar and vocals, Kristian Calderon on bass, Maricio Alfaro on keyboards and Robert Monk on drums. At this point, the band, who had previously sung all of their lyrics in English, began singing in Spanish. Over the next couple of years the band played live and also recorded several songs. Prior to the release of their first cassette, Robert Monk left the band and Maricio resumed drumming duties, along with playing the keyboards.

The band began releasing cassettes in the early 1990's, with "En El Reino De La Rosa/Tus Signos" in 1990, the concept album "Palabras" in 1991, and "Arcoiris" in 1993. Kristian Calderon left the band after the release of "Arcoiris" and was replaced by Gabriel Catena. The band then released the album "En Algún Reino" in 1995, the band's first CD, which was a compilation of previously recorded songs. Following the release of the CD, the members decided to pursue separate interests and the band broke up. But in 1998, Rafael Alfaro and Kristian Calderon reunited, and bringing Mauricio Alfaro back into the fold, OVNI was reborn.

The band released a single in late 1999 which gained quite a bit of popularity on local radio. In 2000, the band released a double CD "Entre Seres Y Sus Raíces". The first CD included all new music, while the second CD included songs which had previously been played live but had never been recorded. The live album "La Experiencia" followed in 2001. In 2004, the band released the concept album "Humanos Pero ...
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OVNI discography

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OVNI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 6 ratings
En Algún Reino
3.19 | 7 ratings
Entre Seres Y Sus Raíces
3.42 | 12 ratings
Humanos Pero No Terrestres / Humans but Not Terrestrials
3.82 | 11 ratings
Los Verdaderos Propósitos De Dios/The True Purposes Of God
3.90 | 12 ratings
Salvadoreno / Alien
4.00 | 4 ratings
2.75 | 4 ratings
Personajes... Out of the Window

OVNI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 5 ratings
La Experiencia

OVNI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OVNI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OVNI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OVNI Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Humanos Pero No Terrestres / Humans but Not Terrestrials by OVNI album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 12 ratings

Humanos Pero No Terrestres / Humans but Not Terrestrials
OVNI Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 2001 Ovni release their first live album ''La Experiencia''.This was also meant to be the trio's farewell recording, as Mauricio Alfaro and Kristian Calderon parted ways with Rafael Alfaro, who was left alone behind.However he recruited new musicians to continue the idea of Ovni and these would be bassist Javier Gomez, keyboardist Jorge Lara and drummer Octavio Salman.The fresh line-up recorded the concept album ''Humans But Not Terrestrials/Humanos Pero No Terrestres'' in 2004, released on Fragile Producciones.

For the first time Ovni would choose English as the main language of their lyrics, propably aiming to a wider recognition, with only a few tracks sung Spanish.With the new album a more focused and solid style by Ovni comes in evidence, like a heavier version of THE FLOWER KINGS and close to another Latin-American group, ANIMA MUNDI.Ovni's sound has become more symphonic, the arrangements more elaborate and the grandiose side of the group is fully revealed in the long epics of this work.Three out of the nine tracks are over the 12-min. mark, showing Ovni at their best, combining modern symphonic vibes with heavier and more furious textures and a bit of Neo-Prog aesthetics.Deep orchestral passages and sharp synthesizers along with diverse guitar themes, ranging from melodic to even jazzy vibes, combine for soundscapes, that can be ethereal, atmospheric or more aggressive.The vocals, provided by Rafael Alafaro, are pretty great with a clear color and nice tone range.YES, KING CRIMSON and even some GENTLE GIANT influence in the multi-vocal lines are the more obvious inspirations from the Classic Prog era with MARILLION, SPOCK'S BEARD and THE FLOWER KINGS being more recent sources of inspiration.Rich instrumental themes, atmospheric breaks and a strong sense of melody are the basic elements of the new adventurous Ovni sound.The six remaining and rather short cuts present the already familiar side of Ovni, a sound that balances between Prog and Heavy/Melodic Rock, twisting from refined rockers with catchy choruses and solid music structures to sensitive rockin' ballads with a more emotional content.In general the sound of Ovni has a wide range of music performances: One foot has fully stepped on symphonic-inclined Progressive Rock with polished and demanding arrangements, the other being a tribute to Melodic Rock with both atmospheric and easy-going lines.

Another strong work by Ovni towards the right direction.It lacks any sign of personality, but these are certainly some 70 minutes of well-played, passionate and interesting music.Recommended.

 Entre Seres Y Sus Raíces by OVNI album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.19 | 7 ratings

Entre Seres Y Sus Raíces
OVNI Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ovni is the only well-known prog band from El Salvador, found by two brothers, Rafael and Mauricio Alfaro in 1982 in the capital city of the country San Salvador.Initially the band wrote tracks in English, but by mid-80's they turned into their native language, releasing two cassetes in early-90's, material of which was included in their first CD ''En Algún Reino'' in 1995.Shortly after Ovni fell in hiatus but by the end of the decade Rafael (guitar, flute, percussion, vocals) and Mauricio Alfaro (drum programming, keys) returned with bassist Kristian Calderon to release the ambitious 2-CD album ''Entre seres y sus raices''.

The album contains some brand new material, taking the whole first CD, and older re- recorded songs from the band's past live recordings, which capture the second one.Ovni are not really helped by the bearable production, the annoying drum machines and the somewhat cheap synthesizers here and there, but the truth is that this band has some talent.Overall this is a bit of inconsistent release with both good and weak tracks and the length of the album seems sometimes too much to handle.The keyboard instrumental tunes are nice with a decent virtuosic performance and good technique, always with the needed symphonicism, but the sound of synths and organs is a bit plastic.The more straightforward tunes are mostly forgettable and far from the prog side of the band, not to mention the awful digital horn sections.On the other hand there are some very interesting ideas to be found on this double CD album, mostly in a modern Symphonic/Neo Prog vein with flashy synth parts, grandiose symphonic passages, dramatic instrumental sections, careful electric solos and complex breaks in the vein of PENDRAGON, JAIME ROSAS, GOVEA and BEPPE CROVELLA's TOWER.The organs sound really cool on these proggy compositions next to the bombastic synthesizers and the ability of the trio to come up with some tremendous interplays is often amazing, while Rafael Alfaro's vocals are clean and expressive.These tracks, and fortunately these occupy the major part of the album, will definitely reward the listener.Especially the second CD contains a couple of great long epics, much along the lines of good quality-Symphonic Rock.

''Entre seres y sus raices'' has its black and white side.The mediocre keyboard sound and the non-prog uninspiring compositions are a negative factor, but a listener with patience is sure to find some great musical pearls in here, full of keyboard flashes, interplays and nice atmospheres.Recommended overall, especially for fans of keyboard-based modern Progressive Rock.

 Salvadoreno / Alien by OVNI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.90 | 12 ratings

Salvadoreno / Alien
OVNI Neo-Prog

Review by Thandrus

4 stars I confess I was quite afraid of this album. Just think, a double album by little-known band from El Salvador, lasting more than 2 hours, containing 37 songs sung in two (Spanish and English) languages. It would have required much stamina and patience to be fully listened. To be honest, I was expecting to be bored halfway. But what I heard was a big and pleasant surprise. Music here is very eclectic and diverse. You can find everything from full blown symphonic pieces to flamenco and even good old Rock & Roll! There are no interludes. Almost every song from those 37 can stand well on its own. That means, you shouldn't even have time for a relieving breath, but surprisingly all this stylistic "mess" is very enjoyable to listen and not very tiring. Maybe because music is not overly pretentious; band makes it simple, but with taste. There is no aiming for a masterpiece either, but whole album is of solid, very good quality. Relative highlights can be traced though: "Feels Alright Salvadorean", which is simple but very catchy Rock & Roll song, "Salvadoreno / Alien", the piece Ovni goes full-on prog, "The Monsigneur / Alguna Razon", where beautiful instrumental is followed by as great dark ballad sung in Spanish and "River Of Knowledge", which recalls mellow Neo Prog ending with very inspired and dramatic way. Some of the songs may be a bit less distinguished, but there's no real blunder. Album's overall patriotic concept and quality of lyrics is very good too. It's very hard for me to rate this album; Actually it won't be easy for anyone, for its full apprehension would require weeks. But now, after several listens, I feel my rating is in 3,5 stars territory. And since this is the first review of any of Ovni's albums on PA and I think this band shouldn't be so criminally underrated, I will upgrade it to 4 stars. And yeah, I think this could pretend for the title of the most epic album of 2011. El Salvador can Rock!
Thanks to the doctor for the artist addition.

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