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CRUZ D MALTA

Progressive Metal • Mexico


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Cruz D Malta biography
CRUZ D MALTA is a Mexican instrumental progressive rock band formed by Arturo RAMIREZ (Guitar) and Roberto RAMIREZ (drums) in 2006. Pável VANEGAS joined the band in late 2007 on bass guitar and Edgar BUTANDA completed the lineup in mid 2008 on keyboard and synthesizers.

The band released their debut album in 2011 after almost 2 years of writing, recording and mixing their highly ambitious project. The members were influenced by metal bands like DREAM THEATER, IRON MAIDEN, and SYMPHONY X while also maintaining a passion for the progressive rock acts like YES, RUSH and EMERSON LAKE & PALMER. The clash of their inspiration makes their music highly recommended to fans of progressive featuring great variety of passages and interludes; from metal riffs to elaborated fusion moments mixed with softer instrumental interludes.

Biography by Rune2000

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3.95 | 7 ratings
Cruz D Malta
2011

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CRUZ D MALTA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cruz D Malta by CRUZ D MALTA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 7 ratings

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Cruz D Malta
Cruz D Malta Progressive Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Excellent Mexican prog metal!

A couple of months ago I read a review of this album and got interested on the band, due to the positive feedback they've received, later, when I realized they were Mexican I really felt the urge of getting it, since I am an eager supporter of Mexican prog scene, no matter its branches, prog metal this time. And then I understood why the good words about them: the album is so good.

Cruz d Malta released a self-titled album last year 2011, and since then they have been trying to get to more people and places, so their music can be better known world-wide.

Coming from a small city in the centre of the country, they are looking for gig places, for places to buy their album and of course, for people who can buy it. So I truly invite you to support them, they deserve it. Well, the album consists of seven compositions that make a total time of 76 minutes, it is a long album, actually. It opens with "Antagonia" a twelve- minute track in which we will appreciate since the very first moments, their quality as composers and of course, as performers. This quartet has the basic instruments: guitar, bass, drums, keys, and with them, they create very good prog metal music with complex structures, good riffs and some emotional moments. Worth mentioning that they are an instrumental band.

"Hierro y sangre" is another long track, actually the most of the songs are above eight minutes, with the exception of the last one. In this track I can feel a Rush inspiration in some moments, though they are not actually metal, the heavy sound reminds me a bit of them. What I like of the music here, is that all the four members' job are essential to its success, I mean, it is great to listen to those inherent guitar riffs, but also great to appreciate to the heavy drums, to the strong bass lines and to the excellent keyboard atmospheres.

"Rebelión de los santos" continues with that complexity, a well-structured track in which we have a constant sound, though in moments it becomes a bit more aggressive, faster and more emotional. Here we can listen to a keyboard solo which is really healthy for the sound because it gives importance to that instrument, so they don't only focus on guitar riffs. Once again, here we can clearly appreciate the musician's skills. A great song!

"Renacer" passes the eleven minutes, and it has a different sound at least in the beginning. It is calm, atmospheric, relaxed at first. After a couple of minutes the structure changes a little bit, though the sound is still gentle, charming, letting us know that they are also capable of creating non-metal pieces. The song continues with this distinctive sound for the whole duration, making a considerable change in the album's line, a very good change actually, that let us rest for some minutes from their heavy and powerful sound.

The longest track is "Instinto animal" in whose 16 minutes we will find once again a feast of musical elements, going from guitar riffs, heavy and powerful moments, to some changes in mood and style, as well as some changes in the instruments leadership. The first minute has calm guitar notes which all of a sudden become heavier and more metal oriented, when it happens, the other instruments join so we have now a true prog metal track. After five minutes there is a passage I like where keyboards produce a dark atmosphere, a tense and nervous sound which all of a sudden vanishes in order to opens the gates to soft and delicate guitar notes. Dark and tension in one hand, peace and tranquility in the other hand are shown in this particular track. As you can notice, this is an ambitious and challenging song. Applause to these guys!

"Transición" is another long and great composition, here the soft and charming sound returns. The first minutes have pretty good guitars well accompanied by drums and the atmospheric keyboards. It is good how the song is progressing little by little, adding different elements while the seconds pass. After seven minutes that soft sound vanishes and the prog metal is shown once again, with nice musicianship and well crafted textures. A heavier sound continues for the rest of the track, with keyboard solos and an inherent power and energy.

The album finishes with "Un mundo de sueños" which happens to be the shortest composition. In these five minutes we will have some melancholy, a song that clearly says goodbye. This was a great choice to finish the album.

What a great debut from Cruz d Malta, I really hope they can get more exposure here in Mexico and why not, in the whole world. This is a strong album that I recommend to fans of progressive metal, I am sure you will like it. My final grade will be 4 solid stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Cruz D Malta by CRUZ D MALTA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 7 ratings

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Cruz D Malta
Cruz D Malta Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cruz D Malta is a young and talentated progressive metal band from Mexico who recently release theiur first opus selftitled. Well I was pleasent surprised what I've heared here, instrumental progressive metal with great musicianship, good passgaes and definetly a winner to my ears. The album is long over 75 min , maybe little to long, but is not a problem after all, because each piece is well constructed, with great interludes between musicians, the album is varied, from mellow passages to more uptempo, Cruz D Malta always done a good job. Besides couple of pieces who are more mellow but very good like Renancer, the rest of the tracks are a cascades of riffs and solos, the guitar player being a very good one for sure, the examples are the longest piece of the album Instinto Animal and to me the best , very well performed with some great arrangements, progressive metal like shoud sound this style. So, overall a great debute that will please most of the progressivemetal fans, those who are more into Dream Theater (Train of thought era). To me is quite similar with brazilian progressive metal band named Di Lallo & Band who released couple of years before Dream Interpretation. I will give 3.5 rounded to 4 this time, a quite great dubute for this talentated band.

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 Cruz D Malta by CRUZ D MALTA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 7 ratings

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Cruz D Malta
Cruz D Malta Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Cruz D Malta are an instrumental prog metal band hailing from Mexico. I must admit I rarely listen to instrumental metal as I need the vocals to make some sense of it all and keep the interest. However I was very impressed with the overall sound of Cruz D Malta. The musicianship is excellent and the tensions and release of heavy and light textures in the music, darkness and light, is quite captivating. Each track offers some excellent metal riffs and the main drawcard are Arturo Ramírez's lead guitar solos with expert hammer ons and speed picking, and Edgar Butanda's complex keyboard runs. The rhythm machine of Roberto Ramírez on drums and Pável Vanegas on bass is exemplary keeping the band tight. Here's a track by track listing the way I hear it.

'Antagonía' clocks almost 12 minutes and starts with an ambient atmosphere and then a crunching riff dominates. A keyboard run reminding me of Dream Theater style and then a beautiful acoustic flourish. As the beat locks in an incredible lead break by Arturo with fret melting finger work and wah-wah pedal captured my attention. The riff at 8 minutes 45 is very much like the polyphonic work of John Petrucci. Great start to the album or certain.

'Hierro y Sangre' is a shorter piece though still running into 8 minutes 40 in length. The riff is similar to Iron Maiden's "Two Minutes To Midnight" at first but Bruce Dickenson refuses to sing! I still wish there were vocals but this is great music to kick back to. Edgar's keyboards on this is awesome with spacey runs and phrases. The lead break is killer, high fret work and hyper fast sweeping on the arpeggios. Love the squeals at the end of each phrase on the next section. Yeah, this is a great way to spend an evening, listening to metal. Love the wah-wah guitar and there are some great percussive metrical figures on this one by Roberto. There are so many time sig changes that is absolutely compelling headphone listening. The drums pound with blast beats and there are so many mood shifts on this it really never becomes difficult to listen to; it is always exhilarating.

'Rebelión de los Santos' begins with double kick speed drumming and an angular riff with odd time sig locks in. The time sig is 3/5 at one point and then a very complex riff begins. The distortion is very low tuned and speeds up after a few very measured crunches. Just in time to break the darkness, Edgar's keyboard solo begins, a very fast run with a nice sound. There is a metal riff accented by screams at the end, then a rather pleasant keyboard pad string layered beneath a frenetic guitar chord structure. More blast beats with double kick follow and speed metal thrashing broken occasionally by 3 chords. A lead break takes over and Dragonforce style speed riffing until it breaks into a slow cadence of piano and fuzz guitar. The dexterity of the musicians is astonishing, very fast, tight and professional. Here is the highlight of the album so listen at your nearest opportunity.

'Renacer' runs for just over 11 minutes beginning with gorgeous acoustics and ambient keyboards. This pleasant music is excellent as a nice transition away from the aggression and distortion of metal. It is an oddity because it does not even sound like a quiet metal song, it rather almost sounds symphonic and like something you might hear on a Mike Oldfield album or other Crossover prog. The bassline is inventive by Pável, always maintaining a strong rhythm. This is quite beautiful in places, especially the dreamy string pads and lead breaks, but I was looking forward to the next track and some more ear splitting metal. Maybe this is one for the lovers to cuddle up to in a live audience.

'Instinto Animal' is the longest track stretching to over 16 minutes and I was preparing, after all the relaxing music of the previous track, to be pummelled to the wall with massive blasts of metal and virtuoso lead soling. This mini epic begins with clean guitar like the intro to a Metallica song that is about to burst into fiery power riffing. The blast of metal comes suddenly and delivers what my ears needed at this point. The riff is off kilter, choppy and then locks into a moderate beat. The drums are terrific, powering out time sig changes and the band somehow keep up. The clean guitar returns, and then the melody is distorted with metal delivery. Suddenly the sig shifts into a chugging metal riff and an awesome lead break hammers over. Arturo is in his element here and it ascends and descends up and down the scale as fast as Dave Mustaine's 'Hangar 18' soloing. The riff that follows has a low ominous tone and builds steadily to a break on keyboards, and then a beautiful acoustic and keyboard string passage. At 7 minutes an exquisite lead solo sparkles like fresh wine, then it gets faster and more urgent with speed hammering and fast picking with high string bends. Another riff is launched and it is one of the best on the album, very inventive and infectious. Edgar has a chance to shine with staccato keyboard pounding. At 9:50 a lead break using fast scales begins and some fret melting fingering with Steve Vai speed sweeps. The chunky riff that follows moves off the metronome rhythm quite sporadically and it is augmented by a blast of unusual scales. At 12:20 the riff chops and changes all over the place and it is quite a jarring segment of tight musicianship. A bass solo follows and the guitars and keys follow along. At the end of the song it slows as if out of breath, but there is time for a smoking lead break at 14:40, and finally at 15:20 a frenzied rhythm ends it. At the end of this track one word can only sum this up: masterpiece!

'Transición' is another long song at 14 minutes, and it begins with some dark chord changes with an ominous atmosphere. It switches to a more pleasant sound with very nice keyboard symphonic strings. Every band member lights up on these tracks whether it be a fast metal tirade or a beautiful sweeping majestic piece as this one is. The serenity continues with gorgeous keyboard lines and clean guitar melodies. Some vocals would have been appropriate on this track I felt, perhaps a Kim Serviour, or Heather Findlay vocal, just to augment the beauty and mystery of the music. It gets moody at 5 ½ minutes in, but it is short lasting as the pleasant melodies return. The violin sounds on keys are mesmirising. The pace builds to a faster tempo and more aggressive metal, and there is a terrific lead break at 10 ½ minutes. It continues to build in energy and is then backed up by dynamic riffing and finally a Mexican guitar sound at 11 minutes. Other instruments join in and highlight the music creating a wall of sound. Time sig shifts dramatically and there is a rather esoteric sound, to end yet another highlight of the album.

'Un Mundo De Sueños' is a nice short track at 5 minutes length to end this complex arrangement of music. The final track begins with a beautiful melody, acoustic, orchestral mellotron sounds, and a steady beat. The lead break is similar to the style of Andy Latimer, emotional and restrained. It is a tour de force of lead work. I am overwhelmed at the virtuoso musicianship and inventiveness of the band. This is the best of the slower songs on the album. It still retains an edge with accomplished soloing and an ambient layer of keyboards.

At the end of the album I feel refreshed and happy that I have been treated to some wonderful symphonic metal from a country that I hear little music from. Mexico have certainly got some talent here with Cruz D Malta and this is a band that the prog metal world will soon hear from. I hope they continue to create incredible music such as that on this debut. I am glad that I was introduced to this band and have had the pleasure of hearing some of the finest musicianship in the prog metal world.

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 Cruz D Malta by CRUZ D MALTA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 7 ratings

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Cruz D Malta
Cruz D Malta Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Cruz D Malta play a style of progressive metal which sounds to me to be rather unique and individual to them - which is a good thing. They certainly display a wider range of sounds than many more typical prog metal bands; for instance, Edgar Butanda's keyboard playing at points where he gets the spotlight puts me in mind of Tim Blake of Gong and Hawkwind fame, whilst Arturo Ramírez is an absolutely fantastic guitarist, whose solos put me in mind of the likes of Steve Hackett, Mike Holmes from IQ, and a range of thrashier metal guitarists besides. The band tends towards long, epic instrumental pieces which wind their way through a variety of musical territories, putting me mind at points of a metal version of the Ozric Tentacles (or perhaps a proggier version of instrumental metal wonders The Fucking Champs).

Their debut album comes highly recommended, and I'd like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to listen to it for this review. Prog metal fans will be delighted with the original and organic sound found on here; other prog fans may find this a bit more to their taste than more typical prog metal fare.

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Thanks to Rune2000 for the artist addition.

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