Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

SONUS UMBRA

Crossover Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sonus Umbra picture
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 forum topics / tours, shows & news


SONUS UMBRA forum topics Create a topic now
SONUS UMBRA tours, shows & news Post an entries now

SONUS UMBRA Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to SONUS UMBRA

Buy SONUS UMBRA Music



More places to buy SONUS UMBRA music online

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)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Laughter in the Dark (as Radio Silence)
1999
3.76 | 43 ratings
Snapshots from Limbo
2000
3.85 | 44 ratings
Spiritual Vertigo
2003
3.41 | 40 ratings
Digging for Zeroes
2005
3.92 | 74 ratings
Winter Soulstice
2013
3.86 | 37 ratings
Beyond the Panopticon
2016
3.85 | 18 ratings
A Sky Full of Ghosts
2020

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
 A Sky Full of Ghosts by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 18 ratings

BUY
A Sky Full of Ghosts
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This 2020 album is very much related to the previous one in terms of story and style, with a major difference being the departure of co-lead singer Brittany Moffitt, and Roey Ben-Yoseph now working on his own. The other change is that cellist David Keller has been rewarded for his work on other Sonus Umbra albums and is no longer a guest but is a full member. Again, this is an album of complexity and layered arrangements which is an absolute delight from start to finish. By having both a flautist and cellist in their mix, along with three people providing guitar and a couple of different keyboard players, they can bring in many different influences and textures.

Luis never truly forgets his Mexican roots, and there are times when those influence come shining through, and yet again it is only the polish which makes one realise that here is an American band as they are far more rooted in the styles of classic prog coming out of the UK than the US. They are also not afraid to have long passages with little or no drums, which gives the music a very different feel, and often it seems as if they start building songs on picked acoustic guitar, which provides them with a different starting point to many. Some albums can make the listener feel like they are having a snack, and while it is filling at the time it does not take long for the stomach to feel empty, but this is much more like a rich banquet where the listener not only does not know where to go first but knows that by the end they will be truly fulfilled. They are constantly moving, even within the same song, rarely staying with one melody or style for too long but are constantly shifting, changing the lead instrumentation and time signatures so that one truly never knows what is coming next.

They may have dropped off my radar for 20 years, but now I am aware of them once again I am going to ensure I hear the next album when it comes out. As I write this, there has not been a single review on PA of this album in the year since it was released, which means there are a many other progheads out there who have yet to discover the delights of what is a thoroughly enjoyable album.

 Beyond the Panopticon by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 37 ratings

BUY
Beyond the Panopticon
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars About 20 years ago I used to be in contact with Brian Hirsch, who set up Moonchild with Andrew Robinson (Magus), and once he realised there was someone who was as mad about music as he was, he flooded me with material from tapes to CDs. One of these was an American progressive rock band who used to be based in Mexico, and their second album, 'Snapshots From Limbo', which I thoroughly enjoyed. Brian and I lost contact, and apart from Jeremy Morris, I don't believe I heard from anyone else involved with the label until earlier this year when Sonus Umbra again came onto my radar. They released four albums in fairly quick succession, before an extended break, with their fifth not coming out until 2013. There had been some significant line-up changes, with only bassist and founder Luis Nasser and guitarist Andrew Tillotson playing on the albums either side of the break.

However, between 2013's 'Winter Solstice' and 2016's 'Beyond The Panopticum' the band had remained fairly stable, although by now Tillotson had switched to drums and acoustic guitar. They also had changed considerably in size since I last came across them as whereas they used to be a quartet (admittedly with 3 guests), now they also included Roey Ben- Yoseph (lead vocals, percussion), Tim McCaskey (acoustic & electric guitars), Brittany Moffitt (lead vocals), Rich Poston (electric guitar, keyboards) and Steve Royce (flute, keyboards) as well as guests Colleen Corning (clarinet, bass clarinet) and David Keller (cello). Given the huge change in personnel, with only Luis remaining from the group I first came across, I would have expected a major change in musical direction, and while that is what has happened in some ways, it makes perfect logical sense. One thing I really liked about their music used to be the musicality and melody, and less on the neo- prog, and that is exactly what we have here. They have two singers, but there are long passages where they leave the stage for a well-earned break as the rest of the guys weave a magical spell. In some ways they come across as American with their polish and finesse, yet at others they are looking strongly into the UK for inspiration, although at the very beginning of "Love Undone" they remind us that in another lifetime they started in Mexico.

The CD comes in a four-pane digipak and I was amazed at the care and attention which has gone into the physical release, which contains all the lyrics, especially when this is independent and not signed to a label. Coming back to them after a break of two decades has been something of a revelation, as this complex progressive rock album is a delight from beginning to end, with hugely layered musical arrangements and two very fine singers indeed. This is a superb album that any fan of the genre would do well to investigate.

 A Sky Full of Ghosts by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 18 ratings

BUY
A Sky Full of Ghosts
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars A new SONUS UMBRA album is always a major event in the prog rock community ! Why ? Because this band offers only high, top quality albums and the wait always worth, cause we are always rewarded with great music from the guys ! A SKY FULL OF GHOSTS offers something which is rare and more and more difficult and hard to find, to discover in todays music! Passion, sensitive artistic display and soul ! SONUS UMBRA music is something very unique , complex and emotional !The vocalist is exceptional and expressive and the music itself as a sense of sensitivity, drama and eclectic presentation !It's a great combination between vintage prog, old school a la Jethro Tull ( because of the flute, obviously ) , Gentle Giant, Kansas and other old school prog rock icons! Never too demonstrative, but always spectacular and catchy, SONUS MBRA music is something that causes surprises on each album and proves that the inspiration and imagination of this band is endless! Hard to find any particular song, the whole album is very organic and is inviting the listeners to an marvelous journey, full of interesting musical twists which wait to be discovered ! Definitely, to get 100 % into the message of this exceptional album, you need many auditions, cause it's a complex music ! The use of acoustic guitar and a soft electric one makes a clever and attractive combination ! Everything is so well composed and arranged, this album is an ear candy for all prog rock top class quality fans.4 stars for the exceptional music and 0.5 stars for the wonfderul artwork !.Endless respect for some uncompromised artists which have a precise, clear and noble mission in todays musc!
 Beyond the Panopticon by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 37 ratings

BUY
Beyond the Panopticon
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is wonderful!

In the mid 00s when I started listening to progressive rock, I remember I went so some prog sites in order to look for Mexican bands, and, though Sonus Umbra is actually not a Mexican band, its roots, and its mastermind are, which is why I felt the need to know their albums. Later, for some years I did not follow their tracks until a couple of years ago, when they visited Mexico City for a wonderful and intimate concert in which we could witness them playing mostly songs from Beyond the Panopticon, their latest release which believe me, is great.

The album is not that long (43 minutes approx), which I love because it runs so fast that I can play it twice in a row without a problem. It features six compositions that show a different face of the band, an eclectic, fine and delicate sound made by low profile but first- class musicians. There are killer instrumental moments but a think I loved is they have both male and female singers, making an equilibrated ambitious experience.

It kicks off with "Grotesquerie". Heavy prog in the first seconds contrasted by softer moments that make a very cool prog rock journey in which the band show their fine skills. The bass is always present as a main instrument, it has to. Piano, flute, guitars (acoustic and electric) and drums, all sum-up a wonderful combo that make this a very good instrumental opening track. "Alone Together Alone" is a longer and colorful track. I love that Sonus Umbra doesn't have a specific classification, I mean, their eclecticism shares heavy prog moments, some folky passages or symphonic arrangements. After almost three minutes Ben-Yoseph's vocals appear for the first time, adding a soft and delicate sound to the already great music. Later, Lee-Moffit's voice also appears and both sing together over a flute and acoustic guitar background, creating some kind of joyous atmospheres.

"Blood and Diamonds" bring to my mind Jethro Tull immediately, and not actually due to the flute's sound, but due to the guitar and that initial part that is repeated later. The music develops different phases and structures, so the music is never plain, it fact, its changes could work as a novel so you can create your own mind story. I love Tim McCaskey and Rich Poston's work, their delicate playing can be so profound that it hits you deep inside. Lovely! This is a great and friendly prog rock song without a doubt. "Paramnesia" is a magnificent instrumental rollercoaster; it was my favorite song when I first listened to the album. Once again the musicians show their wonderful skills and how they understand each other. The song adds a clarinet so they bring a kind of chamber rock sound in the beginning. Later it makes some changes, becoming a bit more aggressive for an instant just in order to calm down and reach for a spacey sound made by keyboards. Then a calm moment but all of a sudden electric guitar appears with a killer solo. Awesome!

The album is reaching its final part. "Love Undone" is the shortest composition here, it brings both singers adding their soft but passionate vocals while acoustic guitar works as background. Then there is an instrumental passage with some cool percussion that is developing a new structure little by little, in order to reach the climax, which is the final part of the song. Last but not least, "Channel Zero" which is, in the other hand, the longest composition of the album. It has a dark atmosphere created by the bass sound and a cello. Later it becomes more colorful and though that dark nuance is kept here and there, the light and peaceful moments appears later with the exquisite acoustic guitar. It is an excellent song to finish a wonderful album.

Of course, I recommend this to you. Sonus Umbra is a great whose music should be spread to more and more ears in the whole world. Enjoy it!

 Beyond the Panopticon by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 37 ratings

BUY
Beyond the Panopticon
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

4 stars A new SONUS UMBRA album is always someting exciting and it deserves to be signaled in the prog rock community!2 years only after the excellent WINTER SOULSTICE album,mastermind Luis Nasser and his talented musical companions,are back with a new album!And what an excellent surprise is this album,a true revelation!Slightly different to the previous albums,this new opus shows a more mature aproach of the band and more complicated and tortured musical vision,but in the good sense!Definitelly,BEYOND THE PANOPTICON is not an easy and superficial musical experience!Au contraire,it's a marvelous musical journey,and the whole album is very cinematic and rich in audio images,we are invited for a fantastic,transcedental journey and in the end,we have the feeling to be a a part of a great musical endeavour!For a little more than 40 minutes,the album is a little too short,but it's dense,rich and loaded with amazing musical ideas ,that's for sure!The instrumental opening track-GROTESQUERIE- is absolutelly stunning,it reminds me a little of Psychotic Waltz,we have here an unleashed display of technical scarry skills of all the band and there's someting fabulous for an opening album track!The title of the composition says everything!Then,some wonderful complex compositions,with dual -male/female vocalists,and the presence of a flute,a marvelous instrument,but with a morbid vibe,and our thoughts are going to the great Jan Anderson,but mostly to Devon Graves,or Buddy Lackey of Psychotic Waltz or DEAD SOUL TRIBE mostly!Interesting production,great vintage sound and that's a superior charm of the album,in my humble opinion!Overall,a great musical experience,where you are invited,another majestic work from the imagination and huge talent of Mr Luis Nasser,and the promise for a trully memorable musical experience indeed!All the album has a mystic vibe,something misterious and catchy...I repeat...the only minor minus is it's timing...it could have been a little longer...around 50 would have been just perfect!But it's excellent this way too!The artwork is impressive too..an elegant digipack with a great artwork,trully fantastic!4.5 stars for me and congratulations to a band with a huge potentia and a great musical identity and visionl!
 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 74 ratings

BUY
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.

 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 74 ratings

BUY
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.

 Winter Soulstice by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 74 ratings

BUY
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!
 Snapshots from Limbo by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.76 | 43 ratings

BUY
Snapshots from Limbo
Sonus Umbra Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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

 Digging for Zeroes by SONUS UMBRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.41 | 40 ratings

BUY
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!
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to kev rowland for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.