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SONUS UMBRA

Crossover Prog • Mexico


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Sonus Umbra biography
US based outfit SONUS UMBRA started out as Radio Silence back in the early 1990's, and was founded in Mexico, where they were an active and increasingly popular live unit prior to breaking up in 1994. Shortly after the main members of the band relocated to the US, with a reunion seemingly unlikely.

However, when bassist Nasser auditioned to become a member of Baltimore outfit Kurgan's Bane events started unfolding in unexpected ways. While recording the debut album of Kurgan's bane Nasser got to know John Grant, who worked at the studio, and also started discovering the underground progressive rock communities that had formed after the advent of the internet. They started to work on assembling earlier demo material of Radio Silence, and soon after Gomez and Aullet were back and Radio Silence resurrected as a band.

The album that came out of these sessions got rave reviews, sold out in a few months and landed Sonus Umbra a deal with a small, independent record label. With Jeff Laramee added to the line-up and a change of name from Radio Silence to Sonus Umbra for legal reasons, this revitalized version of the band started moving forward. Three full length albums have followed in this new guise, "Snapshots From Limbo" in 2000, "Spiritual Vertigo" in 2003 and "Digging for Zeros" in 2005.

What the future may hold in store for the band is uncertain, as the members are spread out far and wide these days, but their website does inform that a fifth full length effort is in the making.

Sonus Umbra official website

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SONUS UMBRA Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy SONUS UMBRA Music


Winter SoulsticeWinter Soulstice
CD Baby 2013
Audio CD$11.90
$7.99 (used)
Spiritual VertigoSpiritual Vertigo
The Orchard 2010
Audio CD$15.99
$40.06 (used)
Digging for ZerosDigging for Zeros
CD Baby 2005
Audio CD$11.98
$9.00 (used)
Snapshots From LimboSnapshots From Limbo
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$18.75
$130.68 (used)
Snapshots From LimboSnapshots From Limbo
Original recording
Moon Child
Audio CD$18.00 (used)
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SONUS UMBRA shows & tickets


  • Rosfest on 1 May 2015

SONUS UMBRA discography


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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Laughter in the Dark (as Radio Silence)
1999
3.76 | 20 ratings
Snapshots From Limbo
2000
3.90 | 29 ratings
Spiritual Vertigo
2003
3.31 | 25 ratings
Digging For Zeroes
2005
3.82 | 56 ratings
Winter Soulstice
2013

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

SONUS UMBRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

SONUS UMBRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 56 ratings

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Winter Soulstice
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band SONUS UMBRA originated some 20 years ago in Mexico, at first operating under the moniker Radio Silence, if I have understood their history correctly, but since sometime around the Millennium the band has been US based. Their first album under their current name was released back in 2000, and a further three have followed since. "Winter Soulstice" is the most recent of these and was released in 2013.

Sonus Umbra's fourth full length production "Winter Soulstice" is an album that isn't easy to place within a carefully defined context. There's elements of acoustic rock and progressive folk rock in here, alongside classic hard rock or hard prog elements as well as passages that arguably have more of a symphonic oriented expression. All elements are combined into carefully assembled compositions where subtle details and controlled nuances dominated to a much greater extent than the flamboyant and dramatic. Progressive rock for feinschmeckers if you like, an album to be enjoyed by those who love listening closely and with full attention to an album and find joy in discovering the finer details.

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 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 56 ratings

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Winter Soulstice
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by RJN

5 stars It's almost criminal to me the almost total lack of attention being given to the new album by Sonus Umbra. Easily the best album yet from this band, and I liked the other 3 but Winter Soulstice raises the bar big time , mainly because it is almost a totally different band , the exception being Luis Nassar who is the leader of this band and always was he is and has always been the principle songwriter and is also a fine bass player, getting to for the first time concentrate almost solely on playing bass whereas in the old formation he played a little bit of everything. Funnily enough as good as this album is, especially musically , the band now consists of 7 full time members (including the lead singer who I don't believe plays any instruments) and these guys bring it, Nassar has assembled an outstanding group of musicians. But back to the funnily enough part, it still sounds like a Sonus Umbra album, thanks to the lyrics that Luis writes. But this new band takes it to another level musically. For me this is one of the best albums I have heard in 2013 and I hope it gets the recognition that it deserves. And there is more good news , they are getting ready to go into the studio in January , 2014 to start recording the next one, I know I'll be looking forward to it.

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 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.82 | 56 ratings

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Winter Soulstice
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars So,8 years since the last SONUS UMBRA cd was released-8 years of a long wait to see ,to listen the new album of one of the most original and sensitive bands in today's prog rock world! Finally WINTER SOULSTICE sees the day and we are spoiled with a superbe album in a great digipack presentation-and-the most important thing-we have more than 70 minutes of great music!The most important thing is that Luis Nasser,the mastermind behind this band-is now surrounded almost by only new musicians!A new vocalist-that's the most important thing- only the drummer seems to be the same like on the previous album!The typical SONUS sound is present-because we can speak about a particular and unique SONUS UMBRA souns-yes,it's still here,and I like it so much!Not overproduced,but with a very nice and clear sound-WINTER SOULSTICE is a very sensitive and beautiful album,loaded with long compositions and long instrumental passages!The voice of the new guy in the band fits perfectly well with the music ,sometimes it reminds me about Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull,but less nasal anyway!Hard to find the strong and the weak points of the album-or the strong or the less strong compositions of the album!There's a strong cohesion and clever balance between the songs-most ot them are midtempo and the superbe sound of the acoustic l guitar is impressive-some nice interventions of the cello are very inspired-the whole SONUS UMBRA music is so different compared to any prog band-it's a strong neoprog music,out of trends and modern musical directions-it's music from the soul,made with burning passion for the love of good music !We are invited in a musical journey,there's a marvelous experience-and,in the end,we don't feel how exciting more then 70 minutes can pass!Definitelly,the most mature and elaborated album to date for SONUS UMBRA-a very solid effort,intelligent compositions,nice and poetic texts-strong musicianship too,all the musical conception of this unique band is wonderful!Strong 4.5 stars for a very special and sensitive album,a musical delicacy!

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 Snapshots From Limbo  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.76 | 20 ratings

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Snapshots From Limbo
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Apart from knowing that Sonus Umbra used to be called Radio Silence, I know virtually nothing about this band. In the credits, they thank various bands, but the only name I recognise is Illuvatar (if anybody knows anything about Kurgan's Band, Uncle Gut, Chaos Code, Mad Crusade or Kromlech then please let me know). I get the impression that they used to be based in Mexico but am now in the States, but I could be wrong.

The bandleader is bassist Luis Nasser (who also provides keyboards and backing vocals) who wrote or co-wrote all of the material, and he has put together an album that is much more in depth than one that I would normally expect to hear from many American bands. The emphasis is on music and melody, while not going down the neo-prog route favoured by many. There is much more in the way of songs than even Spock's Beard and the result is an album that moves from guitar-based to keyboard-based very fluidly and easily. Andres Aullet has a very warm voice, and he sings in a lower register, which complements the music. Drummer Jeff Laramee and guitarist Ricardo Gomez complete the line-up.

Yet another very enjoyable album from the Moonchild stable

Originally appeared in Feedback #60

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 Digging For Zeroes  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.31 | 25 ratings

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Digging For Zeroes
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars What a wonderful album!After a first audition of this trully amazing album,all I can say is that I discovered indeed something exceptional and so well done that I am more than impressed! This album is the third of this so talented band and I must confess that I didn't had for a long time such a musical revelation!It's definitelly intelligent music,intelligent texts and amazingly well performed!Wonderful musicians,great vocal parts and a shadow of RUSH is around and sometimes PINK FLOYD moments with noisy interludes,in the sense thet some water are flowing...coins are making their specific noise and so on!Impressive musicianship and well contured musical ideas on this album!Marvelous piano parts assembled with inspired guitar riffs ,very clever use of synthesizers ,modern keyboards sounds too and 2 beautiful voices- LISA FRANCIS is perfect as always -and the shadow of KURGAN'S BANE is very present and PETE LARAMEE-not only a fabulous drummer but a very likeble vocalist too!DIGGING FOR ZEROS is a strong concept album and has all the ingredients for a very exciting audition,all serious prog rock lovers will be plenty satisfied!The whole album is catchy and full of wonderful musical ideas,rich in it's expression and message ,varied and attractive from the very first to the last note!I repeat,the first word that it cames in my mind to appreciate this album is intellligent!A strong release from the talented musician LUIS NASSER-the true masterimid behind the concept, and we hope it isn't the last one,because this band has a huge potential-absolutelly huge!4.5 STARS without any discussion!

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 Digging For Zeroes  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.31 | 25 ratings

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Digging For Zeroes
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is SONUS UMBRA's third studio recording,and like the last one it is a concept album. Their vocalist has left so Lisa from KURGAN'S BANE has gone form a guest on the last album to a full time member. The male vocals are performed by the new drummer Jeff laramee. This album is more dynamic than the last one with more highs, but also more lows. Tough to pick a favourite between the two. There are 20 tracks over the 61 minutes of music but some of them blend into one another.

"Zero" opens with atmosphere as the guitar comes in sounding great. A beat follows then vocals come and go. It blends into "Scream" and kicks into gear. "Sleepwalkers" features a guitar melody and female vocals. It's fuller when it blends into "Children Of Cain". "The Laughter Of The Dead" opens with bass and marching styled drums. Synths then female vocals follow. It's heavier 2 minutes in. "Foreshadows" is filled with some cool samples. "Invisible World" opens with acoustic guitar as vocals join in. Great sound when it kicks in. Contrasts continue. "Serial Grounds" is atmospheric with spoken words. "Infestation" is a big low for me. Don't like this one at all especially the chorus. "Spleen" has a beat with guitar and reserved vocals. It does get fuller.

"Bloodstains In Paradise" opens with female vocals, drums and atmosphere. Guitar 1 1/2 minutes in. The tempo picks up after 3 minutes. It blends into "Meme Puppet Waltz" has lots of drums and acoustic guitar. "Dead Numbers" has female vocals and piano early. Synths, drums and male vocals follow as it blends into "Devil's Promise". "Aleph" has a nice heavy sound as vocals join in. Chunky bass too. "The Great Fall Inwards" has female vocals, acoustic guitar and is quite mellow before it kicks in. "The Music Of The Palms" opens with bass as vocals and acoustic guitar join in. It blends into "From The Ashes". "Pariah" features dual vocals and it gets heavier. "Infinity" opens with piano and builds slightly.

3.5 stars. I really think this band is worth taking a chance on.

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 Spiritual Vertigo  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.90 | 29 ratings

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Spiritual Vertigo
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars SONUS UMBRA are a band from Mexico, this is their second record and it's a concept album. I must say there's no way I thought i'd be debating about giving this 4 stars after the first couple of listens, but it has grown on me big time. The male vocals are mostly reserved with an accent and there is a guest female vocalist (Lisa from KURGAN'S BANE) helping out. She'll take on a greater role on the next album. The band thanks ILLUVATAR, CHAOS CODE and CEREBUS EFFECT among others.

"Bone Machines" opens with some atmosphere before these banging sounds come in followed by a fairly heavy soundscape. Vocals join in with female backing vocals helping out. The bass is killer throughout this album. "Fool's Arcadia" opens with the sound of the wind as acoustic guitar and keys come in. Bass comes in followed by vocals. A fuller drum led section comes in around 3 minutes. It settles back 6 minutes in. "Man Of Anger And Light" opens with percussion and drums with acoustic guitar before the vocals join in. The bass is chunky. Nice guitar solo 3 minutes in. "Fascinoma" opens with some atmosphere before the piano comes in. The tempo picks up before 1 1/2 minutes. The guitar makes some noise after 3 1/2 minutes. "Self-Erosion" opens with acoustic guitar as vocals and a full sound join in quickly. Love the chorus. The guitar is good after 5 minutes. My favourite track.

"Amnesia Junkies Part I" opens with guitar as different vocal samples come and go. Male then female vocals. A calm before 4 minutes as we get some atmosphere to end it. "Amnesia Junkies Part II" has more spoken word samples then it picks up before a minute as piano, vocals and drums stand out. "Timequake" opens with vocal samples then we get music with vocals before a minute. The guitar sounds great 1 1/2 minutes in. A heavy sound comes and goes. "Rust In My Sleep" kicks in quickly. I'm reminded of the band UNDER THE SUN here. "Snakes & Ladders" opens with acoustic guitar as reserved vocals come in. It gets fuller as female vocals come and go. It's heavier 4 minutes in. Spoken words around 5 1/2 minutes. It kicks back in with some fat bass lines.

3.5 stars but i'm still listening so the rating may go up. Regardless this is a good album.

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 Digging For Zeroes  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.31 | 25 ratings

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Digging For Zeroes
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Sonus Umbra is a Mexican six piece band (with additional guest musicians) that has released their third album late 2005. The running time is at about one hour and this CD contains 20 melodic, tasteful and very varied compositions: an electronic atmosphere with wonderful interplay by acoustic - and electric guitar along pleasant sounding keyboards in Zero, lots of shifting moods (from dreamy with twanging guitars to mid-tempo with a fat guitar riff or sultry with swinging piano) in Invisible World, first propulsive, then mellow and in the end fiery guitar with howling licks in Infestation, prog metal with raw vocals and biting guitar in Aleph and dreamy with piano arpeggio's and ... English horn in Infinity. My highlight is The Great Fall Inwards: first dreamy, then a mid-tempo with fiery guitar and flashy synthesizer flights and a final part featuring a bombastic climate with propulsive drums. If you are up to varied and melodic prog, this album is fine one to checkout.



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 Snapshots From Limbo  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.76 | 20 ratings

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Snapshots From Limbo
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by geezer

2 stars Sonus Umbra is a Mexican group or should I say that they are of Mexican origin because it seems that they live in the USA nowadays. Their music can be described a mixture of symphonic and neo-progressive. However, it does have this melancholic, almost gothic, feel that is not usually prevalent with groups of the same style. It's a good thing and gives some originality. The overall feel is quite soft despite this dark atmosphere. The music is very accessible, maybe even a little too commercial for my taste.

This debut album is very average. The music isn't bad and it is clearly professional but it just doesn't grab me in any way. It could be that the partial neo-progressive sound prevents my enjoyment of this album. There is quite a few interesting bands coming from Mexico these days but I do not include Sonus Umbra in this group of bands based on this release.

Conclusion: A rather uninteresting album.

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 Spiritual Vertigo  by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.90 | 29 ratings

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Spiritual Vertigo
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Muzikman
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Did you ever hear of Spiritual Vertigo? The band Sonus Umbra knows what it is. The point is clear on their new release. This project is all about having a fear of being spiritual and standing up tall without getting dizzy and falling because we believe in a God of our choosing. This serves as a reminder that we are indeed spiritual beings regardless of whom or what we choose to call our God. The problem since the beginning of time is all the arguments humanity has created over this subject, which makes for a "Fool's Arcadia" that promotes "Self Erosion." This album is an improvement on the 2001 release Snapshots From Limbo, which was an excellent release. I was pleased to hear that the band is progressing and developing since their last studio outing.

This music is very progressive, combining the elements of rock and jazz. This band is comparable to a tropical bird displaying its splendid plumage, showing off their colors with a wealth of fusion elements within each track. The Alan Parsons Project came to mind frequently while listening to this CD, particularly with the vocals of Andres Aullet. I did not recognize that aspect on the last album, which indicates that they have indeed improved. The lead guitar playing of Ricardo Gomez (Carlos Alomar, who recorded some great albums with David Bowie, may have been an influence at some point) is superb and the rhythm section of Luis Nasser (bass, keyboards, acoustic guitars) and Jeff Laramee (drums, vocals) are an outstanding team that lays the foundation that this musical stronghold is built upon. Nasser is a fine multi-instrumentalist with an acute ear for the rhythm of each musician in the band; he is the beating heart of the unit.

Most of the tracks are typical prog-rock compositions with extended run times and the complexities that you would expect in a song over three minutes. Their magnum opus is the nearly 11 minute closer "Snakes And Ladders," which ends with a brief empty space . an eerie silence, which has you thinking the album is over, but it is not. A woman starts singing to the sound of a honky-tonk piano and you then hear a disgruntled individual groan, then suddenly a loud gunshot goes off, which will scare the hell out of you, and then the CD ends. This ending comes as no surprise, considering the premise of the album. This is how many arguments in the name of God have ended. It is sad but true, as the history of humankind has shown us that the acceptance of one another for who we are is our biggest downfall.

This recording will not require many listens to understand, however you will want to hear it several times, as it grows on you with each subsequent listening experience. Trust me, this one was well worth the wait.

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