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Symphonic Prog • Spain

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Mantra biography
To research the story of this "Andalusian" Prog band, we have to back to Cadiz in Spain when a cover band leaded by Tato Macias Lamas (drums ) and completed with Juan Ahumada Caputto on guitar and Kiko Fernández on bass, a trio that was the seed of MANTRA.

After some changes and additions, the first official lineup of MANTRA was ready to start the musical adventure with the already mentioned Juan Ahumada Caputto and Tato Macias Lamas plus José Manuel Portela Ghessi (Keys & vocals), José Antonio Ramírez Harana (Bass) and Tito Alcedo Gil (Guitar).

After writing some songs and having numerous concerts, on September 28,1979, the five musicians entered to the CAI studios and in just four takes recorded the material for their self-titled debut, and with those tapes the five musicians traveled to Madrid by car.

In Madrid, they visited several labels, including Philips and EMI plus some producers as Javier García Pelayo and Mariscal Romero, who helped them with an interview for Radio Madrid, but never got the chance they so desperately required, so they returned with just broken dreams and soon disbanded.

The bad luck seemed to follow them even after the band was no longer active and the master tapes got lost, so in the period between July 14 and December 7 of 1998, they are able to clean a cassette recording and add some magic with the help of "InquixiSound", and at last they had a decent recording that was called "Maqueta" (Mockup), which reached the audience by Soulseek.

At last in 2012, a non-profit organization called "Arabian Rock" presents the first MANTRA release with a collection called "Unpublished Rock Andaluz Music", and gives us the chance to listen an excellent band with hints of IMAN that deserves to be listened.

Iván Melgar-Morey:::Perú

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4.44 | 9 ratings

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 Mantra by MANTRA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.44 | 9 ratings

Mantra Symphonic Prog

Review by Lima96

5 stars ...And all of the sudden comes an "OLE!" echoing from 33 years behind...

This band has a somewhat misleading name, as mantras are usually used as repetitive and mesmerizing chants in meditation and are associated with Indian music.

Anyway, what we have here is an amazing jewel lost in time and luckily found back more than thirty years later. And when it concerns time-travelling, if there is something that science (and science fiction too) taught us, is that one must not forget that in order to move forward (or backwards) in time, one must also move in space (Marty McFly wouldn't have gone too far speeding at only some lame 88 MpH, compared to the speed of the Earth moving in outer space).

Well, Mantra's long-delayed debut album would be proving otherwise, that time travel is possible without moving from wherever you are. The biggest proof is in the music itself: years have passed, and it's still deeply rooted in one of Spain's most notorious folk music genres: flamenco.

This record can be compared to another great Spanish band from the same years: Mezquita. Both bands' sound can be described as an excellent symphonic progressive rock with made by virtuoso musicians with a great jazz-rock background and lots of Andalusian music and flamenco influences in their sound, with its characteristic scales and the 12-beat rhythm patterns. The main difference between these two bands is that while the Mezquita sing a lot in their songs (and using the peculiar flamenco singing style, which sometimes can be really annoying), the Mantra guys only sing in one song, allowing them to shine perhaps a little more.

Despite some flaws in the production (perhaps more in the recording part than in the production one), Mantra's highly skilled musicians show their proficiency on their instruments in all the songs. The interplay/continuous races between the guitar and keyboards are the main attraction here, as they are incredibly entertaining, and meanwhile, the rhythm section anchors everything while playing at high speeds and counting all the 1-2. 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5 flamenco patterns.

After listening such a magnificent record, the fact that such an amazing musicians couldn't pursue their dreams back in the late seventies is kind of heart-shattering. All we've got left are the completely destroyed possibilites of an incredibly talented band to gain a place in the Valhalla of rock. At least this gem was discovered and now released for all of us to contemplate, behold and why not, kneel at, contrary to what the record company executives did at the time.

5 sstars, without hesitation. If you see it, take it home!

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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