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El Reloj - El Reloj II [Aka: Al Borde del Abismo, or Segundo Album] CD (album) cover


El Reloj


Eclectic Prog

4.06 | 56 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars Technically the second album by EL RELOJ is the second eponymous release but is more often referred to as EL RELOJ II and also known as "Al Borde Del Abismo (On The Edge Of The Abyss)" after the first track. While the debut album showed the band with some serious hard and heavy rock with progressive chops, it is this second album that turns up the creative nature of the band even more without sacrificing any of the brilliance that made the debut so enjoyable. The heaviness is still here, the melodies are abundant but where the band really went to town is in the eclectic progressiveness department. There is just a lot more ideas and creative outbursts finding their way into every nook and cranny.

The song structures have become more complex than ever where individual instruments are assigned much larger roles in fleshing out new territories and moods. The keyboards aren't as pronounced as on the debut leaving behind the Deep Purple similarities but they still have their moments where they burst onto the scene and dazzle the senses. On this one we get a lot more mood swings with frenetic rocking segments trading off with sensual mellow ones. This kind of reminds me of the Mr Bungle approach at times which i can't think of any other 70s acts who tried it but the stylistic trade offs aren't nearly as extreme and the focus is still on maintaining a strong melodic flow even if the melody itself is ridiculously complex in nature. At times i am reminded of the heavier proggy side of Rush mixed with some avant-garde leanings of King Crimson but the Italian prog influences of the heavier side of PFM, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and especially "Palepoli" era Osanna are the most pronounced.

Willy Gardi and Osvaldo Zabala have mastered their twin guitar assault leaving bands like Wishbone Ash and The Allman Brothers in the dust. The energetic outbursts are furious enough to pass for 80s metal while Luis Alberto Valenti's organ delivery points more to the early part of the 70s bringing all those proto-prog sounds into play. The harmonizing vocals of four of the five members have been perfected creating an impressive command of blending with the complexities on display here. Ah, this was love at first listen and has just gotten better. All the ingredients for early symphonic heavy proggy metal are here and i can't seem to get enough of this one.

Generally speaking if you're more into the early metal aspects of EL RELOJ you will like the first album better whereas if you have strong prog fetish then this second album will more than scratch that itch. This album tends to leave less of an impression upon first listen but rewards in repeated listens which are needed to collect all the frantic ideas into a cohesive understanding. I, for one, love both albums but the overall sophistication of this one blows me away while still delivering more than enough heavy bombast to satisfy my headbangin' needs. EL RELOJ is a really cool band that i have been getting way into. I wish i woulda been around in 1970s Argentina to see these guys play, they REALLY know how to deliver on the goods. After this album the band wouldn't release anything new for several years and then toned their progressiveness down a whole bunch to conform with the 80s. This album remains the crown jewel in their musical career and what a sparkling jewel it is.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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