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Azabache - Días De Luna CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 15 ratings

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4 stars From 1979 comes Azabache's seemingly little-known gem, Dias De Luna. In my opinion this album has been criminally overlooked on PA; only one previous review, and that was posted in July 2005! Azabache hailed from Spain but there is very little distinctly Spanish flavour on the album, although vocals are in their native tongue. The music does however consist of some great light symphonic prog, with a definite Yes influence throughout. Just listen to the guitars and bass to see what I mean. Unlike Yes, there are no 20 minute suites here. The longest track is 7.22... hardly an epic; what you do get is a collection of melodic tracks that blend soothing soundscapes with catchy hooks and riffs. With the exception of the drummer, lead vocals are shared by all band members. Various short sound effects link all the tracks on the album; the sound of gushing water, a car crashing, sounds of a rainforest etc. I'm not always sure how these effects relate to the songs, if at all, but they add to the general ambience.

Cuidado Con La Marisol opens the album. It's a fairly short and simple song; really it's like a pop tune, very upbeat and having a catchy chorus. However it features Mellotron, synth and a nice guitar solo that make it more worthwhile. Los Dias Sin Sol begins with synth and bass, followed by electric guitar and vibes. This intro is slow and has a lovely melody, with strong echoes of Steve Howe and Chris Squire in the guitar and bass. The song then builds into a romantic ballad with heartfelt singing and another catchy chorus. Track 3, Cuando La Luna, is quite dreamy in mood and features some liquid flanged guitar as well as more Steve Howe reflections. Tio Carlos also starts off in atmospheric mood with electric piano, guitar, whispered vocals and a great melodic bass line. The chorus contains falsetto vocals, then the tempo picks up midway with some nice guitar and synth interplay. The song then reverts to the opening theme with synth and vibes, before finishing with a guitar solo and some quacking synth. This is the most symphonic track thus far on the album, and prepares the way for the fantastic second half of the disc.

Algun Dia is the 7.22 focal point on the album. After a rocking intro with Mellotron, synth and electric guitar, the bass and drums provide a groove that is pure Yes. Kickin'! Around the two minute mark things settle with acoustic guitar and vocals. Electric piano and guitar lead to a pitch-bend synth solo and another of those booming Squire-esque bass lines. Further tempo changes ensue before returning to the main theme, and another guitar solo a la Steve Howe then brings the track to a close. Great stuff. Noche De Meigas Galopantes opens with some suitably galloping drums (the title is Night Of The Galloping Witches in English). This is an instrumental track and may be based on a Galician folk melody. It's an exciting, bombastic chase through the night forest with electric guitar and Mellotron playing the first theme, synth and bass then playing the second subject. Solo En Mi Ruta starts off acoustically before developing into a medium tempo rocker. It then goes into an atmospheric section featuring synth pads and tubular bells, played by a guest percussion group from Madrid. We also hear strums on a chromoharp and some brief flute, again played by a guest. The main theme then returns with Mellotron in the background. The album finishes with a short instrumental piece featuring bass and bell-chime electric piano, along with sounds of a rainforest.

This is a great symphonic prog album that undoubtedly deserves a higher profile. I hope I haven't overplayed the Yes influence. Guitars and bass are very reminiscent of Howe and Squire, but vocals are nothing like Jon Anderson. Most of the songs have fairly simple structures; it's not the most complex of music, but the melodies are just so memorable and there are more guitar solos and classic keys than you could shake a large stick at. This is one of my favourite albums to come out of Spain in the late '70s and I recommend it highly to fans of the more song-oriented prog.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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