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Ünder Linden - Ünder Linden CD (album) cover


Ünder Linden


Symphonic Prog

3.36 | 26 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After years and years of creating a cult following and actively pursuing the perpetuation of prog rock in their native Argentina (this band also works as organizer of the annual Sinfo-Prog festival, at La Plata), Ünder Linden has finally made it - the release of their debut album. This instrumental ensamble is so well ordained and cohesive that it is comes as no wonder that you find aout that all of them individually are veteran experts with a long past as prog rockers. This band is full of skills on an individual level, but generally speaking, the showing off comes more recurrently from the ensemble itself than from pyrotechnical duels between this and that musician. having said that, it is clear that the compositions are arranged and performed in order to allow the guitar and violin share most of the spotlight, with the keyboards mostly creating background atmospheres and pertinent orchestration, plus very occasional soloing. Even this statement has to be understood as a symptom of the band's pristine musical sensibility, since the guitat and violin leads are perfectly based on the main melodic structure of the underlying theme that happens to be developing at the moment. Also, their moments of duelling are very controlled, but none of this means that the band lacks energy or uses it with neglect - on the contrary, both the patently powerful moments and the reflective ones are delivered with crucial energy and emotional allusions. Classic Camel and Focus (their symphonic side) come out as their major influences, with additional influences from UK, Hackett-era Genesis and melodic hard rock a-la Satriani/Vai. The rhythm section is very polished and very tight, in this way impeccably complementing the overall atmospheres sustained by the keyobards and enhanced on the guitar and violin's lines. The opener 'New-New / Danza de Ballenas' starts with soaring cosmic textures, based on low-tone keyboard layers upon which the bass, guitar and violin ramble for a while with phrases and/or effects. Once the mid-tempo is set on, the main theme goes settling in, gradually going to a faster crescendo that is so full of majesty that the listener must feel moved by it. 'Desolación' is just a scene of a door opening, sounds of wind and the door closing, just a prelude to 'En la Piedad de los Dioses', a piece the somewhat follows the path of the opening piece: it starts with a sense of serenity that borders on sheer melancholy, before a second section wraps things up in a more dynamic manner, albeit keeping things relaxing (ocasionally reminding me of KBB at their softest). 'Casi Fue' is focused on the melancholic side of Ünder Linden, even straying a bit apart from standard symphonic prog and elaning closer to Satriani's slow tracks: the energy is still there, but this time is it clearly constrained in terms of both composition and delivery. The level of power takes a dramaic turn upwards with 'El Conducto', one of the most explosive numbers of the album. It recaptures the prog vibe of tracks 1 and 3, only to take it to a more robust dimension. The band deals with the tempo and mood variances without losing an inch of focus on the track's overall spirit - 'El Conducto 'is a second highlight after the amazing opener. 'Gravitaciones' kind of drags the rocking flourishes of the preceding track, even flirting with melodic hard rock in places. By now, the album has reached a very interesting level of musical power, and surely the symphonic-prog fiendly listener has felt hooked on this band for a while. 'El Cortito M.K.' finds the band returning to the Satriani/Vai influence, at least for a couple of minutes (I suspect that this pieces is performed only by the trio of guitar-bass- drum). Anyway, 'M.K.' seems like an interlude within the whole repertoire's scheme. 'Tiburón en Marcha' (Spanish for 'Shark on the Road'), despite its title alluding images of animal horror movies from the late 70s and early 80s, is neither creepy nor aggressive at all. It is actually the band's most candid exercise on melancholic moods, based on their most simplistic melodic idea: the ambience is not sad, but relaxing, even refreshing. This is very pertinent, since the last two pieces are designed to increase the intensity. Don't be fooled by the opening textures of 'Linden', full of languid mystery as they are - for the second half, things will speed up in an explicit fashion, turning into an exciting progressive voyage that totally confirms the Camel-meets-Focus reference. 'Parafinal' is credited as a bonus track (like a homage to Farenheit, an older band that a few members of UL used to play in), but it actually works as a proper closure for the album. It's got enough dynamics and complexity as to bring a pleasant final taste in the heart and mid of the listener: the sense of joy reflected in the main motif and enthusiastic performances make this track sound like a marriage of Camel, Crucis and early solo Hackett. Definitely, these last two tracks are other highlights to consider the value of this "Ünder Linden" album as a whole. Arguably, this is the most accomplished Argentinean symphonic prog album of the year; undisputedly, Únder Linden is a band that has earned to be acknowledged as a major symphonic prog act nowadays, both Latin-America wide and worldwide. I have said this before (and some others have, too): a whole bunch of the best current prog items comes from outside the predominant Middle European/British/North American scenes, and this album proves it for one more time.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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