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Astralis - Bienvenida Al Interior  CD (album) cover





3.72 | 27 ratings

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4 stars This debut album though is rather encouraging. The melodic music played by this South American band is quite personal even if during some passionate guitar breaks, the influence of Nick Barrett is definite. Still, the band is original enough and doesn't abuse from any too obvious filiation (''Bienvenida Al Interior'').

Of course, some might say (accordingly) that the intro for ''Nocturno Urbano'' has some Floydian relations, but it doesn't last for long actually. As soon as the vocals start, some sort of gloomy feeling surrounds you. It is mostly due to the scary mood that Patricio Vera Pinto is putting into his vocals (which aren't too many here). This is a very oppressive track (and the few lyrics are also going into this direction). A highlight IMO.

''Noventa y Nueve'' is again a long song which mixes several musical influences: neo-prog, symphonic music and a harder edge. Still, the band uses the latter scarcely. It features great synthesizers and a powerful riff to start, and then all of the sudden, it turns into a wonderful and symphonic part. Vocals are again excellent and what to say about the guitar work?

Their leader (vocals and guitar) Patricio seems to be well known on the Chilean rock scene for quite a while (the late seventies according their site); so there is no wonder that he feels at ease here. ''Astralis'' also started to play as soon as 1999 which corresponds to the title of this wonderful song (''Noventa Y Nueve''). But I don't know if there are any relation. It is another highlight.

There are few to none weak pieces on this album. The ballad ''Doble Arcoiris'' is maybe a bit behind but a rather peaceful and enjoyable track as well. ''Bajo El Domo De Cristal'' is probably the track with the best vocals. I really like like the style: a perfect elocution but at the same time he doesn't seem to exagerate his work (as some Spanish singers tend to do: Ņu'', ''Triana''). The middle instrumental part is ''Yes'' oriented (''Awaken'') and introduces the closing section in the best manner. Do I need to add that the guitar solo is splendid? Probably not: it goes without saying by now.

The most symphonic and beautiful track from this album is the long closing number ''Kinnara''. It is so melodic, so brilliantly interpreted: both vocally and musically. It is a sumptuous song which should please most prog lovers (symphonic, neo-prog and Italian ones). Again, the work from Patricio is outstanding even if his improvisation was probably not necessary.

This band is quite a surprise, believe me. It definitely deserves your attention and I hope that they will release a follow-up to this very good debut album. Four solid stars without hesitation. Thank you Erik for the addition.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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