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CAST

Symphonic Prog • Mexico


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Cast picture
Cast biography
Founded in Mexicali, Mexico in 1978 - Still active as of 2017

Due to the lack of support from the Governments who see art as a way to get more taxes or private industry who prefer to invest in foreign acts, and the difficulties to reach the USA or British markets, it's unusual for a Latin American band to have a long and prolific career, but 31 years and 15 studio albums make of CAST from Mexico, one of the exceptions to this rule.

The story of CAST begins in 1978 when the first golden era of Progressive Rock was agonizing, when the Keyboardist Alfonso Vidales had the idea of creating a Rock band that blended Symphonic passages in order to keep his beloved Prog alive.

Very little information can be found about the first 16 years of their existence, until 1994 when "Landing in a Serious Mind" is self released, an album that presents us a serious Symphonic band with an original sound, maybe the only problem is the strong accent when singing in English.

1994 and 1995 are years of great activity for CAST, the band releases 5 albums, the already mentioned, "Sound of Imagination", "Third Call", "Endless Sounds" and "Four Aces", what makes me think this material was recorded during the previous years.

After two more albums and three years, the band signs with Musea for the release of "Imaginary Window" in 1999, an album that shows us a band that leaves behind the few Neo Prog leanings to embrace fully the Symphonic genre

The years keep passing and still in 2009, the band is preparing a new album that will be called "Cast Arte" and knowing the band is, we have CAST for several years more.

Being such a prolific band, it's hard to define a unique style, because the have evolved through the decades, performing Baroque, Medieval, Ethnic, Fusion, etc, but always keeping the unique sound in which we can here references from ELP, GENESIS and several more bands, but to be precise, I believe it's more the sound of the 70's rather than a direct influence from any band.

No Prog collection is complete without a least three or four albums of this Mexican band who defied time and won.

:::Iván Melgar Morey - Perú:::

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CAST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.87 | 28 ratings
Landing In A Serious Mind
1994
3.24 | 35 ratings
Sounds Of Imagination
1994
3.51 | 34 ratings
Third Call
1994
2.95 | 35 ratings
Four Aces
1995
3.47 | 42 ratings
Endless Signs
1995
3.60 | 54 ratings
Beyond Reality
1996
3.72 | 61 ratings
Angels And Demons
1997
3.70 | 58 ratings
Imaginary Window
1999
3.35 | 37 ratings
Legacy
2000
3.18 | 24 ratings
Infinity
2002
3.70 | 55 ratings
Al-Bandaluz
2003
3.38 | 44 ratings
Nimbus
2004
3.30 | 37 ratings
Mosaďque
2006
3.51 | 57 ratings
Com.Unión
2007
4.00 | 92 ratings
Originallis
2008
3.70 | 81 ratings
Art
2011
3.96 | 100 ratings
Arsis
2014
3.87 | 89 ratings
Vida
2015
3.96 | 149 ratings
Power And Outcome
2017

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

3.65 | 16 ratings
A Live Experience
1999
4.26 | 24 ratings
Castalia
2000

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

4.75 | 8 ratings
Sands of Time Live
2016

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

4.00 | 8 ratings
A View of Cast
1996
3.09 | 10 ratings
Laguna de Volcanes
2000
3.04 | 16 ratings
The Pyramid Of The Rain
2005

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

CAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

5 stars 5 out of 5 Stellar Symphonic-Progressive Signatures

This is Essential Progressive Music

In an alternate universe, where musicians were honored as much as war-mongers and wealth-accumulators, where intelligent, virtuosic, passionate, stunning music was as heralded as pop-showmanship and pandering, where kindness, wisdom, and public concerns mattered as much as financial piracy and cold-blooded near-legal theft and exploitation- CAST would be world renowned, loved, and respected.

Longevity

"Power and Outcome" has been reviewed various times before. It's fitting to honor it now, at the forty-year anniversary of this venerable, prolific, force-of-nature band of musicians.

It is fitting to honor Luis Alfonso Vidales, who in 1978 founded CAST, which has become a symbol of nearly unbelievable virtuosity and musical passion, and who provides most of the musical composition and direction upon which other musicians build, together giving us these gems.

Promoting progressive music

CAST and CAST members have traveled the world, performing their progressive music for audiences who love and admire this band.

Most of all, the music

Here, "Power and Outcome" represents much if not all that makes CAST and this album essential progressive music, and to quote from this website, "a masterpiece of progressive rock music".

Consider the bold musical maelstrom opening track, "Rules of the Desert". True, there are spoken words (minor quibble, lyrics are not easily found for this album), but this is mostly instrumental beauty.

I review all sorts of music under the Progressive Rock rubric, and try to evaluate it on its terms. Does it succeed in fulfilling its stated aims? Does the band play well together as an ensemble? Is it mixed and produced in acceptable fashion? Is the art work appropriate and appealing? What are the lyrics telling us about this work? What level of musicianship is demonstrated? Any stand out performances? What are the quibbles and concerns and growing edges?

I review albums I don't personally like, yet value for what they are and what they say.

"Power and Outcome" however, strikes me where I live, "scratches my itches" in most ways.

Its stated aims

CAST was intended to focus on symphonic progressive music at a time when progressive music was under attack in the late 1970's, as the intelligentsia of that era were pontificating that progressive music was bloated, pompous, and overblown foolishness.

By contrast, "Power and Outcome" and opening track "Rules of the Desert", fulfill these stated aims. The music is superb.

Superlatives come to mind

For instance: grand, vibrant, glorious, majestic, seething, relentless, passionate, joyful, inventive, energetic, creative, and soaring. The heart of the music is the vision brought by Luis Alfonso Vidales and his use of keyboards- grand piano, organ, orchestral settings, synthesizers.

If I'm not greatly mistaken, he's had excellent classical training, and brings that plus a progressive music lover's heart to the mix.

Musicianship

Each musician appears to be technically skilled. I was captivated by the interplay, sometimes quite intricate and interwoven, of guitar, violin, synthesizer, organ, undergirded by the superb rhythm section. At times I found the drumming exquisite- notably on "Through Stained Glass", but always present. Tasteful, rambunctious, dynamic.

Guitar work was amazing- leads flowing like a hot knife through butter, tones and textures bringing various moods. The dancing violin added zest and fire.

Perhaps because of the instrumental fire and purity, the vocals sometimes seemed like an afterthought, and the lyrics I was able to capture were adequate. I found myself thinking that an all instrumental CAST album would definitely be a must-have.

In sum

An "Essential: masterpiece of progressive rock music."

Originally published in www.progressiverockfanatics.wordpress.com/

 Originallis by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.00 | 92 ratings

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Originallis
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I hadn't heard any Cast prior to listening to Originallis - I knew of them mostly as an extremely prolific Mexican band who hit the scene in the mid-1990s with the feat of releasing five albums in the space of two years. Nobody can accusing them of lacking a work ethic - but does this rapid release schedule mean a lack of editing and care?

Well, apparently not - at least, not on the strength of Originallis. Many acts would struggle to knock out a 90 minute album of all-new music a mere year after their latest release without stuffing it here and there with filler, or belabouring the point to the extent that the 90 minutes drag out. If anything, Orignallis does the opposite, with its musical journeys keeping up my attention to the end and its running time flying by like a breeze.

What you get here is largely pleasant symphonic prog with strong instrumental performances and the occasional pastoral touch, played in a style distinctive to Cast but with a broad range of influences from the major bands of the 1970s to more local scenes. Not a classic, but far from an embarrassment.

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Mexican band CAST are veterans in the progressive rock scene, with a band history going back to 1978 and a recording history that started in 1994. They have been signed to several labels over the years, and have a grand total of 19 studio albums to their name, in addition to live albums and some compilations. "Power and Outcome" is their most recent studio production, and was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records in 2017.

If vintage era symphonic progressive rock is a type of music you tend to appreciate, Cast is a band you should be familiar with at this point. If you aren't, this is a band you need to have a go at. With as many albums to their name as they have finding a good place to start can be challenging, but as far as I'm concerned any of their three most recent productions are excellent points of entry to the charms of this veteran act. This most recent one is perhaps a tad more intriguing than the duo that came before it. All in all a high quality, excellent example of vintage symphonic progressive rock.

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Review originally published in www.therocktologist.com

The legend continues!

I love reviewing prog, but I definitively love reviewing albums from Mexican bands (I am Mexican) whose talent should be noticed even in the furthest frontiers. One of those bands is Cast, a legendary band with over 30 years of belonging to this amazing musical realm that gives us a lot of satisfaction. Cast has a prolific discography with some line-up changes but with an intact symphonic prog spirit, which can be appreciated in this new 2017 release Power and Outcome, an album I like a lot and that comprises a magnificent line-up in which Carlos Humar'n returns to the band on bass, along with the inclusion of violin-maestro Roberto Izzo. In this album I noticed also singer Bobby Vidales much more comfortable and with a mature voice, and of course, Alfonso Vidales continues creating amazing compositions with the sum of the talents of Antonio Bringas on drums, Claudio Cordero on guitar and Lupita Acu'a on backing vocals.

I recently could see them live and I must say this line-up knows the business, I mean, they are friends and family, so what they share in concert is as great as in studio, their current live sound is amazing, which is why I am really happy to know they are touring and happy to know I will see them again soon in Chicago, when the Progtoberfest takes place. Well, this new album is very solid, maybe a bit long, it has a symphonic tendency for the likes of people who love old school prog and neo-prog. It features 10 songs and a running time of 70 minutes.

The album opens with the bombastic 'Rules of the Desert', a 12-minute epic in which Vidales and co. take us to a wonderful journey of first class instrumental prog, there are some vocals whispered, though, but not sang yet. Cordero's guitar offers its first solo at minute two; he's been a crucial member of Cast this new millennium. Izzo and his violin has also been a wonderful addition to the band, adding classical, jazzy and even metal nuances to this symphonic prog feast. Keyboards are outstanding as usual, Alfonso Vidales is a first-class keyboard player and composer, believe me. The title track comes next. 'Power and Outcome' brings vocals for the first time, Bobby Vidales as I mentioned earlier, is now a very mature singer, his voice produces loads of nuances and emotions, of course, the music might guide its strength, but his voice is a very good instrument on Cast's music.

A two-part suite entitled 'Details' comes next. First 'Circle Spins' brings a soft and tender sound, maybe a bit pop- oriented. After the first bombastic tracks they made a considerable change with this first part of the track, which is a bit weaker. Its second part is 'Start Again', is instrumental and much faster and elaborate than its predecessor, here we can find the perfect synergy between strings and drums. It is much more powerful and enjoyable, without a doubt. 'Through Stained Glass' is a great song where their potential is shown every single minute. Both, the instrumental and vocal passages are great, once again I point out the violin's participation because it is something we weren't use to enjoy in Cast's music, so its addition has hit the nail.

One of the best tracks has to be the amazing 'Illusions and Tribulations', almost 10 minutes of authentic progressive rock in which all the instruments play an important role. As you can imagine, it brings a salad of sounds and a diversity of changes that let our mind play and picture different passages. The first half of the song is completely instrumental, then it slows down and vocals appear and a new passage is created for like 3 minutes, then the last part becomes more emotional and when it finishes you will have a smile on your face, I assure you. You will not take a deep breath because 'The Gathering' starts right away with a fast spirit and believe me, that spirit prevails the whole track, so be ready for another bombastic symphonic episode here.

'Conquest' is a very visual track, I mean, it sounds like a soundtrack of some film so one can imagine different things while the music speaks. This is a nice short instrumental song. Another short one is 'Full Circle', piano and vocals are here first, then the other instruments join little by little, creating a nice soft atmosphere that leads to 'Dialect for the 21st Century', the last song of the album, a very good track to finish an extraordinary, lengthy but solid album by Cast. Not to be missed.

Enjoy it!

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Virtuosic instrumental symphonic prog from these Mexican masters. "Power and Outcome" makes me want to go back into their discography since my last listen to anything by them was 2008's "Originallis"--which was brilliant. How can such an amazingly talented band fly so far under the Prog World radar?

1. "Rules of the Desert" (Instrumental) (11:35) the first four and a half minutes are monotonous but after that things take off and impress. Definitely has at times an "overture" feel to it. The final five minutes are jaw-dropping astounding. (9/10)

2. "Power and Outcome" (7:25) great start with awesome piano work and beautiful strings support. Awesome vocal, never over the top, always fully invested and in the pocket. Great synth bank supported electric guitar solo followed by beautiful violin solo in the middle instrumental section. A top three song for me. In the same vein as 1995 Polish NeoProggers COLLAGE. (9.5/10)

3. "Details: a) Circle Spins (5:47) sounds as if it came from an off-Broadway musical. The whole production is very theatric, with the piano-base and solo lead vocal delivering some very poor lyrics. Way over the top. (7.5/10)

4. "Details: b) Start Again (Instrumental) (8:43) uses too many tricks of the late 1980s hair-band heavy rockers (kick drum, guitar and synth sounds, and machine gun guitar soloing). (8/10)

5. "Through Stained Glass (8:46) styled and vocaled like a 1980-ish STYX song, I must say I enjoy the melodies and chord progressions. So long as the drummer stays in support, it's very good (could be great. The repeated "chorus" of "Vaults, arches, with the windows" is the weakness.) Amazing soli and support structures, sounds, and performances. Those fourth, fifth, and sixth minutes are PURE PROG MAGIC! As good as COLLAGE ever did back in the mid-1990s. At the six minute mark we get a shift and what feels like a switch in direction, but it's only a side road; a little mellower but just as well woven and melodically enrapturing. Violin is given full stage all too briefly in the eighth minute before the band comes back together for the full whole-band weave to end. Another top three song--one of the best prog songs I've heard this year! (9.5/10)

6. "Illusions and Tribulations (9:27) starts out feeling as if it's a continuation of the previous song. At the two minute mark there is a distinctive shift which ends up establishing a setup for an amazing virtuoso guitar solo--the longest one on the album. As usual, nice keyboard work throughout. (I love how often little "sneak" "glimpses" of some rather perfect and awesome organ work sneak into my ears. At five minutes male vocal joins piano and strings "classical" aria section. Nice background vocals here, too. (9/10)

7. "The Gathering (8:16) opens, again, feeling as if a continuation of the song before, with a minute of wicked-fast keyboard, guitar, and violin mirrored riffing. The vocal that enters at the end of that minute is calm and meaningful, sung and supported instrumentally and b vox so beautifully. A shift at 2:23 into a kind of Celtic/country them with piano, organ, and amazingly fast guitar shredding is unexpected but quickly winning. What a solo! Almost two minutes worth! Eddie Van Halen would be proud! This is followed by a turn taken by the violinist--rather sedate and melodic at first, but then sneaking into Mark O'Connor or territory. Another shift at 5:10--back to the wonderful second section with a reprise of the vocal structures--is sudden but works. My final top three song from this album. (9.5/10)

8. "Conquest" (Instrumental) (3:30) pretty instrumental with another theatric-recap feeling to it. Great melodies and soli. Probably the best theme on the album but it's one, it's short, and it's difficult to compare it to the long epics above. (9.5/10)

9. "Full Circle" (1:57) a vocal piano song that again gives this album a concept theatric feeling. Not unwelcomed as this one has more of a Renaiassance/Classical music feel. Nicely done. Awesome vocal; practically flawless. (9.5/10)

10. "Dialect for the 21st Century" (5:16) a nice song, quite an intricate weave, in which the drumming is just too front and center during the first two sections. Once the third section sets up for the flaming lead guitar solo, the drummer falls into background in a perfect way. Man, he is SO good when he's there, in the background, in support, laying down the base for the instrumentalists to create their weaves over the top. (8.5/10)

The drummer is much better as a follower and time keeper. When he tries to lead and fill with his flourishes and nuances it becomes overwhelming and often detracts from the rest of the music. I also dislike when his bass drum part seems to replicate the finger play of the keyboard melodies.

4.5 stars; a near masterpiece of progressive rock music. Were it not for a few weak spots, this would surely be one of the finest albums of the year--especially as it contains five or six of the finest songs I've heard of the year and a band of some of the most virtuosic instrumentalists and songwriters in Prog World.

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Very bombastic and majestic symphonic prog straight out of the 70s but with modern arrangements delivered by Cast in their 19th (!) studio album. Strong references to classical music, guitars often verging on neo-classical themes and riffs and a very strong violin presence in Roberto Izzo sort of complete the puzzle. In the more than 70 minutes of this album, the music is very diverse, at times overfilled with complex structures, relentless soloing and changing of speeds and themes, almost a cinematic approach to dragons, queens and castles. The album cover points to that sort of thematography with clear references to Genesis (is that Peter Gabriel?) and Marillion.

The strongest references are to Kansas and especially their earlier works. Cast are not afraid to experiment with extended song structures and this pays off to a very inspired and majestic outcome - the lengthy opener ''Rules of the Desert'' is a great example of this. Musically and lyrically there is not much that I can pick upon, apart from the vocals and vocal lines. The effort to over-express themselves leads to vocal lines that sound to me slightly out of tune with the music, while the accent and the way of singing can put the listener off from enjoying the full grandiose of the compositions. There is something here that does not quite match and is difficult to figure out, but definitely an area for improvement in order to produce a truly memorable output.

Other than this, ''Power and Outcome'' is an orgasm of melodies and structures, a 70-min Song for America or Cheyenne Anthem missing the catchy vocals and refrains. The musicianship needs to be discovered even if you don't enjoy the full spectre as I did.

3.5 stars

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars The last album I reviewed from the Mexican prog masters was 'Beyond Reality', more than twenty years ago, so when I saw this pop out of the envelope I had a huge smile on my face. I have lost touch with the guys and the many albums they have released in the intervening period, but I know that I used to like them and was sure that I would enjoy this. It wasn't too long afterwards, that I was telling everyone who would listen that this was a masterpiece, and I found that those who had already heard it were saying the same thing. The comment I had back from one reviewer I value very highly was that as soon as he first started playing it the only decision he had to make was whether it was a 4* album or a 5* album. I knew exactly what he meant, except that it was only halfway through the first listen that I was convinced that here was an album that not only deserved a 5* rating, but I knew that I was going to fall in love with it even more every time I played it, and that has turned out to be just the case.

This release is a "review killer" in the sense that it prevents me from listening to all the other albums I should be playing as it is just so good in every single aspect. The majority of this is instrumental, as there is just no room for vocals, but the two singers (Bobby Vidales and Lupita Ancuna) make their presence felt when they have the opportunity. It's just that when there are maestros such as those on display, then there just isn't always the place or time for that element. They even start with an instrumental that is nearly twelve minuts long, I mena, is this prog or what? With three lead melody instruments in guitar, violin and keyboards, there is an incredibly amount going on, but they rarely really show off. One of the exceptions to that is guitarist Caludio Cudero who tears his instrument to pieces and shreds like a lunatic in "Ilusions and Tribulations"; yet this is also a thoughtful number with some great emotive vocals and beautiful repetitive piano motifs.

This is an album that has made me incredibly excited, wanting to shout to the rooftops that the band I knew and loved in the Nineties have released a stunning album, yet it is tinged with disappointment that I lost contact for so long, and what are the albums like that I have missed out on! This is definitely going to be a contender for my personal album of the year as for me this majestically sums up just about everything I love about prog music. It is powerful yet melodic, full of instrumental brilliance and simplicity, layered and complex yet also is full of space and plenty of room for everyone to breathe and show just what they can do.

This is a stunning album, and to my ears is essential. Nothing more, nothing less.

 Power And Outcome by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 149 ratings

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Power And Outcome
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars

The first song "Rules of the Desert" starts the album in such uptempo mood and with a punchy style that I thought it was another band. This song is instrumental and the presence of the violin that will be constant throughout the album add a little touch to the music. The second song "Power and Outcome" bring back the vocals and reassure me that it's still the Cast traditional style. The band is back with his style of symphonic music with piano and classical arrangements. The vocals remind me of some Neo-Prog bands of the 80's and 90's which fortunately is not ruining the talented songwriting. The third track is a beautiful and peaceful ballad. "Start Again" is another instrumental track taking us back to the first song tempo but this time the guitar is taking his spot with the keyboards of Louis Alfonso Vidales. The song shows some impressive instrumental parts where the guitar is left lose in some exquisite solos. "Illusions and Tribulations" is another great track and the best way to enjoy the vocals when the music is quieter. This is a strong album of the band with some Genesis and Kansas influences that will please a bunch of Progressive Rock fans.

 The Pyramid Of The Rain by CAST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.04 | 16 ratings

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The Pyramid Of The Rain
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Progresearcher

2 stars Cast is one of the best contemporary progressive rock bands - along with French TV, Garden Wall, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson and Opeth, to name just a few. I have all the official studio releases by Cast (received them directly from the band - for review), and I must note one should have a high IQ to dig most of the albums they released in the new millenium, especially "Al-Bandaluz", "Nimbus" and "Mosaique", all of which are underrated here. Well, this is not a review actually, even though I have heard "Pyramid Of The Rain". The point is that this is a compilation which, according to (band leader) Alfonso Vidales, was never sent out as a promo. Why it is placed among the band's full-fledged studio albums is completely beyond me. In other words, it should be removed from that section.
 Vida by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.87 | 89 ratings

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Vida
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Mexican band CAST is among the more senior bands still active on the progressive rock scene today, with a history going back to the late '70s and a recording history that started in 1985. Since 1993 Cast has released new material at a steady pace, the band having almost two dozen albums in their discography as of 2016. "Vida" is their most recent studio recording, self-released by the band in 2015.

For those with an interest in vintage era symphonic progressive rock, Cast comes across as a band one should take note of, if you're not already familiar with this veteran band. Those with a particular fondness for well-developed, keyboard-dominated compositions should have a field day with this album, and those with a special affection for violin and keyboards, used in tight interaction within such a framework should most likely find this CD to be an inspired one. This is a quality album for those with a preference for melodic and harmony-oriented vintage symphonic progressive rock

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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