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Témpano - Ĺtabal-Yémal CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.90 | 53 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Témpano's debut album is one of those much appreciated progressive gems to come out from South America. The appreciation is well deserved, since the material contained in "Atabal-Yemal" is outstanding, full of a special magic created by the combination of beautiful musical ideas and inventive performances, showing their prowess but never getting bombastic. The integration created by all musician's inputs at unison is incredibly flawless; this band works perfectly as a real ensemble. The ethereal magic of Happy the Man, the delicate side of Canterbury, and the melodic sensibility of Camel are the most featured foreign influences on Témpano's music, but these guys have the clear intention of being more than mere carbon copies of the bands they look up to: they manage to create their own musical trend through all these influences, bringing their special touch to the sensuality of jazz and the exquisite beauty of symphonic prog. The first three tracks are accurate examples of the essence of early Témpano, with 'Las Olas' incorporating a major dose of romantic introspectiveness and, at the same time, a higher degree of intensity, especially in the guitar leads. 'Hecho de Horas' is closer in structure to your averagre soft rock ballad, but definitely the lus keyboard arrangements and the exquistely jazzy rhythm section provide a more sophisticated aura. The namesake track is the most impressive in the album's original repertoire: its Gentle Giant-ish counterpoints and the dissonant, almost RIO-esque, guitar solo delivered by Castillo open the door to the most bizarre side of Témpano. Yet, in a strange way, the band's melodic sensibility keeps working on intact: it hadn't been abandoned, but recycled in order to accommodate to the weird demands of this specific composition, which offers a fluid transition between all varied sections. The acoustic ballad 'Anhelos' brings an air of sheer simplicity, before the ethereal candor of tracks 1- 3 is retaken in 'Presencias y Ausencias', a captivating number that closes down the original album in a very evocative manner. Tracks 7-9 were recorded in 1998, a few months after the band's original members decided to reform the band and return to their progressive roots for the new millennium. They are well crafted pieces, which are benefited by the advantages of a more robust sound production and a richer instrumentation (particularly, in the keyboard department). They basically serve as an anticipation of the grandiose stuff that Témpano would create for their following recordings, but the funny thing is that they had been originally written in the late 70s. It is a pity that they couldn't release a strong follow-up to their debut album back then, but indeed it is a blessing that they could be recorded at last. 'KTR' is explosive but it definitel yshould have been more expanded in order to allow its closing motif achieve a more accomplished climax. No complaints regarding this strategy for the longer two tracks, which express both dynamics and musical richness unabashedly. 'Un Nuevo Encuentro' is more symphonic-oriented, portraying ethereal motifs prominently, while 'Árbol de la Vida' is more focused on the fusion side of things while retaining symphonic flavours. As for "Atabal-Yemal" as a refurbished whole, it's an excellent progressive opus that would make a great entry in any good prog collection - in Prog Archives language, 4 to 4.5 stars.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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