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CAST

Symphonic Prog • Mexico


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Cast picture
Cast biography
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


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

2.84 | 23 ratings
Landing In A Serious Mind
1994
3.20 | 31 ratings
Sounds of Imagination
1994
3.50 | 30 ratings
Third Call
1994
3.48 | 37 ratings
Endless Signs
1995
2.93 | 31 ratings
Four Aces
1995
3.59 | 47 ratings
Beyond Reality
1996
3.71 | 53 ratings
Angels and Demons
1997
3.69 | 53 ratings
Imaginary Window
1999
3.33 | 32 ratings
Legacy
2000
3.16 | 19 ratings
Infinity
2002
3.69 | 44 ratings
Al-Bandaluz
2003
3.35 | 35 ratings
Nimbus
2004
2.95 | 13 ratings
Pyramid Of The Rain
2005
3.32 | 28 ratings
Mosaïque
2006
3.54 | 49 ratings
Com.Union
2007
4.05 | 79 ratings
Originallis
2008
3.76 | 71 ratings
Art
2011
4.01 | 79 ratings
Arsis
2014
3.95 | 63 ratings
Vida
2015

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

3.64 | 12 ratings
A Live Experience
1999
4.33 | 17 ratings
Castalia
2000

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

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
A View of Cast
1996
3.06 | 8 ratings
Laguna de Volcanes
2000

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

CAST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pyramid Of The Rain  by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.95 | 13 ratings

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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
3.95 | 63 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

 Endless Signs by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.48 | 37 ratings

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Endless Signs
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars When I wrote my first review here in PA in August 16, 2009 (review #231937), the chosen band was the Mexican CAST, and my reasons for this choice at that time was my perplexity on perceived which, this fantastic band was so underrated . This rejection or indifference by the prog fans ( I think) is due by the low record and mixing quality in some of their albuns. But this isn't the case of "Endless Signs" 1995, a superb albun, and in my humble opinion one of the best releases from that year in the same level as for instance "Back in the World of Adventures" from TFK and "As the World" by ECHOLYN, another great albuns from that year. In my vision this is the moment of their career in which the sound of CAST reaches (for the first time) his plenitude, after the almost "without-energy" first album "Landing in a Serious Mind", their first approach into real progressive "land" in "Sounds of Imagination" and their worst records (in terms of recording and mixing process) - "Third Call" and "Four Aces" ( both very good albums , but with a terrible sound quality). Well... returning to object of this review , in "Endless Signs" ,CAST starts the disk with the first track "Signs of Future" in a melancholic" atmosphere" which makes the track acquire a certain "air" of introduction, where appears detached the vocals with a soft melody conducted by keyboards and electric guitar. The second track "Hidden Poems" shows a clearly overture like a "erupition" and assault the listener with a nervous rhythmic section side to side with a "saltatory" acoustic piano and almost crying guitar, soon the theme turn into a heavy-prog theme open the way to one fantastic lyrics which leads the track to a martial melody whit a pulsating bass guitar and after this moment isn't more possible resist to a involving instrumentation with guitar/keyboards duos and about 4 min 36 sec emerges the climax of music whem electric Guitar/ keyboards medlodic counterpoint "against" a broken beat conduction of bass and drums and retakes the initial "eruption" theme and his sequence closing the track in superb way. The Third track "Spirit of Man" is another martial theme, however more calm and slow, but also captivating, specially in their middle section where besides the keyboards prominence I want detach the great guitar melodie and the fantastic drums. Other remarkable tracks as track 6 "Allow Me" a very beautiful ballad and the last track "Nostrabamus", an instrumental track , which recall in certain moments musical passages from other previous tracks (mainly of track 3 "Spirit of Man") and closes the album with the initial theme from secound track "Hidden Poems". My rate is 5 stars !!!
 Vida by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 63 ratings

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Vida
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by robbob

5 stars Another great work by this old and so accurate Mexican band .

While symphonic prog super groups fall in the temptation of adecuation to the present times (Genesis ,Yes, Rush, ELP..etc....)..this guys maintain in a classic inspirited and very well performed symphonic prog rock .

Maybe the last 4 albums were not so good(nevertheless near 4 stars), but I think we always have to be grateful for Cast, s quality music .

This album has very nice songs ,original and so well played songs. A strong work of synthesisers ,strong vocals ...a symphonic prog that in every song takes your fully attention

All long and very well structured songs .

So long live to Cast ...maybe the best Latin-American prog rock band ...(Sagrado Coracao...near....and Nexus too)

For these days a masterpiece of symphonic prog rock

 Arsis by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 79 ratings

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Arsis
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Mexican band CAST was formed back towards the end of the '70s, although it would take them a good decade and then some before they started to record and release their material. Ever since their debut album appeared in 1993, they have been an active recording unit, as well as a live band, and to date they have a grand total of 23 full-length recordings to their name. "Arsis" appeared in 2014, self-released by the band.

"Arsis" comes across as a strong and well developed production by a veteran band that is very much aware of what they want to accomplish and how to go about doing so. Symphonic progressive rock is the style explored, with a distinct foundation on piano motifs and with a sound, style and especially approach that makes this a production I feel should have a strong appeal to fans of Camel, and then those who enjoy the band's earlier albums first and foremost.

 Endless Signs by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.48 | 37 ratings

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Endless Signs
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars The show at the pre-Progfest Festival at Barnsdall Theater made only good to Cast, not only their performance was satisfactory, but they also managed to hit big time sells on the running ''Four aces'' album and their next work ''Endless signs''.Self-produced by the band, this marked the fifth full-length album by Cast in a 2-year period!

I am dissapointed to say that the bulk of recording sessions and written tracks did not end up to a really strong album this time.They haven't moved an inch from a refined symphonic-oriented and occasionally melodic Symphonic Rock, I think that the front covers with the main figure of jester just say it all regarding the direction of the group, but the music sounds not that inspiring as on the last few albums.Nevertheless, it would be a statistical error to release so many albums in a limited time with all of the being equally good.The tracks are pretty long with plenty of different segments and mood changes, influenced by GENESIS, MARILLION and the likes, featuring lots of guitar and keyboard fests, but I am afraid that the material is rather forgettable, especially the two longer pieces, the title-track and ''Spirit of man'', seem like the weakest links on this CD.Production was never Cast's strongest point, but with the music being just above average, it certainly hurts the consistency of the album.Latter pieces do include some very good moments, on par with Cast's best efforts on the previous albums, like the romantic and more Neo Prog-flavored ''Allow me'', the dramatic ''Mayday'' with the huge organ waves, while ''Hidden poems'' excels through the first bunch of tracks, being heavily Classical-oriented and containing some good switches between different themes.

Not a bad album, but one of the less interesting works on Cast's repertoire.The talent is there as always, it has not been translated though into really satisfying compositions on ''Endless signs''.Anyway, Neo Prog and Symphonic Rock buffs will apprecaie some of the contained material...2.5 stars.

 Art by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.76 | 71 ratings

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Art
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Cast's musicianship is beyond competent- it has to be to keep up with so many demanding passages that come back-to-back and rarely let up. A number of these compositions are harried displays of technique, which, though impressive, should ideally come in bursts. The vocals have that slippery Neo-Prog texture that appeal to some but not others. Overall, this is a fine symphonic album, one that could have been stronger with some pruning that would have enabled the brightest moments to shine a little more.

"Duction from the Intro" Wasting no time, Cast plaits a medley of jarring instrumental passages together, pairing strident lead guitar with various wind instruments, walking a tightrope between symphonic and heavy jazz,

"A Night of Candles" / "Our Many Hands" Where that introductory piece was a commendable exercise in controlled chaos, this one comes from all directions, with the drummer in particular sounding unsure of what should happen when; in places it's all far too busy.

"Handing a Challenge" An abrupt change of pace, this piece is a peppy blend of jaunty symphonic music and tacky jazz. The dramatic vocals ring out over swirling keyboard and crunchy guitar riffing.

"Equal Strokes" The hectic pace is hard to follow, again with the snare receiving a lot of attention. The bass pops nicely from time to time, and the keyboardist offers both a fast synthesizer solo and a whirling organ workout, the latter of which is marred by overwhelming, ghostly vocalizations.

"Between the Face and the Mask / Reprise" The opus moves right into another busy movement, with the guitarist and the flautist sharing the spotlight in between the keyboardist's thematic recitations. This instrumental feast demonstrates a high level of sophistication. The vocal section of the song does not appeal to me, again because of the barrage of activity all crammed together, which continues on during a squealing, shredding guitar solo.

"Return to Same" In stark contrast to all that has come before, "Return to Same" begins with confident piano, darker vocals, and woodwind accompaniment. In some ways, it reminds me of one of the many "filler" tracks on an album from The Flower Kings, but at times it sounds like something from Ritual's "The Hemulic Voluntary Band," which appeals to me.

"Ojales" Following the respite of "Return to Same," Cast returns to the heavy commotion of before. Electric guitar and saxophone take turns, with the latter exploring more exotic phrases.

"Selajo" Another restless instrumental, this one is less memorable than many of the other works found on the album, but it does contain some satisfying keyboard passages.

"Intrada" After an explosive beginning, the listener is treated to light flute, piano, and energetic guitar and synthesizer. As a whole, the grand atmosphere of the piece is like that found on a Proto-Kaw album.

"Less Complicated / The Rescue" Immediate vocals, low and sinister, pulse over softer music before that music transforms into what could be rousing battle music for progressive rock fans. The keyboard passages are reminiscent of classic Genesis, while the uplifting vocal section brings IQ to mind.

"More Complicated" Another heavy instrumental, this time chock full of staccato and demanding snare work, "More Complicated" consists of several rapid-fire sections that, after the excess of the previous tracks, feels like overkill.

"In Front of My Eyes" One more peaceful section introduces the vocalist again. The heartening melodic themes of this piece serve as a highlight of the album, although further instrumental gymnastics occur.

"Pyrolamb" The final track is a semi-metal addendum that comes across as unnecessary and unnecessarily flashy.

 Al-Bandaluz by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.69 | 44 ratings

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Al-Bandaluz
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars The beginning of a new stage.

From Al-Bandaluz, Cast became a stable and homogeneous band, IMHO. Strange, when you consider that this is the 11th studio album. It is also true that "Angels and Demons" is a callable work, as well as some parts of the good "Imaginary Windows", especially the fabulous 'Moving Universe' .

While Alfonso Vidales remains the principal mentor and leader, the arrival of Carlos Humarán (guitars and vocals), Kiko King (Drums), José 'Pepe' Torres (Saxophones, Flutes, Clarinet, Kena) and Flavio Miranda Jimenez (Bass ), gives way to a different musical product, slicker and more original than before. Adding some indigenous touches and originating in music and especially in the lyric. Becoming one of the most important bands of symphonic rock from Latin America.

Music never loses dynamic and lively way. Great instrumental virtues are perceived and contains captive jewelry, El Puente (central section is reproduced in formidable 'Arsis'), Viento, La Ballesta, Viajero Inmóvil, Encrucijada and Damajuana. Some instrumental parts are not so memorable; plus added some touches of Jazz-Rock, which do not set too well. Some people accuse Cast of lack of originality, may have some truth, but I find no active similar group for so long in the scene, especially by its Latin distinctive.

Although there would be some personnel changes in the future; most of his subsequent works are significant and worthy of being considered.

I mention some Latin artists who deserve to be in ProgArchives I think: Vox Dei (La Biblia), Astor Piazzolla (Libertango, Zero Hour) and Rodolfo Mederos (Generacion Cero).

 Arsis by CAST album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 79 ratings

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Arsis
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars a beautifully crafted album you should not miss ...!

It's a pity that this excellent album has not been reviewed yet by anyone. I am totally surprised with this fact as I have been for such a long time not paying particular attention to this great prog band from Mexico where at its initial years I collected all of their albums and only lately I realized that I do not follow this band until this album even though I have their previous albums before this from my colleague prog head. In fact I only knew from him that some tracks featired here in Arsis album are basically taken from previous album (?). Well, I don't know. Just give a chance to write my view of this album the way it is.

First off, the opening epic La Iliada (30:13) opens beautifully with a piano work under its first movement that sets a wonderful tone for the whole album : a) Atrida Agamenon - 4.29. In fact through this piece the band tries to bring back my memory of opening track of Angels and Demons album with a wonderful instrumental of Initiation. Of course the composition is different but the nuance of the piece is quite similar only that under this part it's a piece of the whole epic. The guitar solo by Claudio Cordero is really stunning and he plays as wonderful as previous guitar player Francisco Hernandez Reyes - or probably better in a way that Claudio is much rocking. I don't feel any sense of change to the next movement b) Helena en la Muralla - 2.25 as they have crafted the transition piece beautifully - I only realize there is a tremendous change on the next third movement c) Diomedes el Tidida - 3.08 which s still another excellent instrumental using flute as one of the melody altogether with guitar and piano / keyboard. I can sense the bass playing is also really good throughout the song. There is an element of classical music right here at third moment but the band play it in relatively fast tempo and it's really an excellent piece!'

The fourth movement d) Andromaca - 6.42 sounds differently even though still using flute as its melody maker but now the guitar plays critical role in providing fills and improvisation, combined wonderfully by keyboard work of Alfonso Vidales, who is I think is the chief composer of this Cast music. The guitar solo by Claudio is really rocking and stunning. He plays his guitar on his own style not representing any legendary players like Hackett or Howe. It's really nice. The fifth movement e) Batalla Interrumpida - 5.10 is naturally much classical in nature. It opens wonderfully with a flute work in classical music style. But then the music moves really fast and rocking with electric guitar takes the lead for the song. Wow! What is interesting is the keyboard augmentation after the guitar solo sometime at minute 1:25 of the piece. It's really wonderful and in some way it reminds me to Rick Wakeman. This is then repeated again at the other segments. It's totally cool! The music turns rocking and wonderful starting at minute 3:35. Oh my God ... It's really nice! You should not miss this piece! And the peak is the insertion of classical ensemble at minute 4:30 until it ends and continues to the next piece ...

...yeah ... the sixth piece is f) Embajada a Aquiles - 3.03 with still maintaining the classical nuances through flute work but then piano solo takes the lead followed with guitar work in rhythm section mode instead of solo. The musical break using piano is really nice. And the peak of the epic is the last piece g) En Donde Estabas?... - 5.16 which starts in an ambient mode with great combination of guitar and piano. What a cook opening! What follows is a simple guitar solo that represents like a melody maker even though not that long as it is continued with piano work and flute. Well overall epic of 3o minutes duration is really excellent and I enjoy from the beginning to end with all wonderful segments throughout the epic. Vocal line only happens on the next track 2. The Old Travel Book (9:10) with another excellent musical composition that accompanies the vocal. The flute still play as background music during the vocal session and then the guitar provides its short solo. You can sense the bass guitar playing is nice. The composition at this track is not that complex and it is performed in relatively slow tempo, and a bit of boring as it's too long with minimum change of style.

Next epic is not as long as the first: El Puente (18:32) with first movement a) El Puente - 6.22 starts with a vocal line accompanied by piano and bass guitar. It continues with nice keyboard work augmented with flute. The ending part of this first movement is really great and it's rocking combining keyboard, drums and stunning guitar solo. It flows nicely with great piano work that opens the next movement b) Luz Al Final Del Túnel - 4.02 followed excellently with flutework. What becomes my favorite is the third movement c) Valle de Los Sueños - 8.08 that concludes the album wonderfully. It starts with a string section using violin followed with female vocal, brings the music in crescendo with tight basslines. Violin provides nice fills and augmentation throughout the song. The guitar solo that starts entering the scene at minute 2:27 goes on and off until it takes the lead in its fullest potential with stunning solo and rocking nuances. I do enjoy the whole piece of this third movement but the climax is really at the last two minutes where guitar really take its full lead until the end. What a great closure!

Overall, this is truly a progrock album that anyone should not miss at all. All tracks are excellent and the composition is top notch! It's a four-star plus rating. The sonic quality of the record is not excellent - and it's typical of any Cast albums. But ...the composition is great! Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Four Aces by CAST album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.93 | 31 ratings

BUY
Four Aces
Cast Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The path Cast were walking start to become less and less lonely with each release.In 1995 the band plays outside Mexico, receiving an invitation for the pre-Progfest Festival at Barnsdall Theater in Los Angeles, USA.At the same time they kept producing music in a prolific way and the year finds them launching their fourth full-length production ''Four aces'', where Dino Brassea and Francisco Hernandez share vocal duties.Still this was another self-released production by the band.

The front cover evokes the mighty Fish-era MARILLION, but the Mexicans' roots are still grounded in a more symphonic tradition, covered by the strong Neo flashes of British Prog.This was more than an hour of lush, refined and at times complex Progressive Rock with certain YES and GENESIS influences, becoming even more ambitious as time goes by, now with two epics longer than 10 minutes each.The music is always very good, melodic and captivating with endless display of smooth guitar lines, piano interludes and sharp synthesizers, which still sound a bit cheesy, buried by a mediocre production, but fortunately the lovely arrangements will save the day.While not a first-league album, ''Four aces'' contains all the right elements of a proper Classic Prog album, with switching keyboards and pianos, lots of themes' variations and mood changes, maybe COLLAGE around the same time could be a fine comparison.The long tracks do have a reason of existence, nothing here is stretched or excessive, from the pompous instrumental parts to the laid-back textures and from the instant melodies to the lyrical passages.The band suffers from a period sound, which wanted your prog experience to be bombastic and accesible at the same time, but they overcome these flaws with a professional performance, where the symphonic and Classical inspirations stand out.

They were yet to be discovered by a proper prog label management, but Cast kept producing elaborate progressive music, rooted in the 70's, and they would get a reward for this.''Four aces'' is another winner in their discography, pretty nice, GENESIS-linked Symphonic Rock with some beautiful instrumental moments.Recommended.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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