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Medina Azahara - Medina Azahara [Aka: Paseando Por La Mezquita] CD (album) cover


Medina Azahara


Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 45 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the record that put Medina Azahara (from the Andalusian towen Córdoba) on the Spanish rock map. This namesake debut follows the path of many other Andalusian bands, a symphonic progressive heavily infused with Flamenco colours, but unlike the jazzy guys of Guadalquivir, the Camelesque Cai, and the Pink Floydian Triana, Medina Azahara gave preferential space to the ways of hard sounding art rock (not without its notable progressive touches, of course). The electric guitar is the prominent instrument here, with a solid rhythm section supporting its riffs as well as the symphonic textures played on keyboards. Martínez's vocal style and timbre is very hard-rock oriented, though its most norable feature is that typical Flamenco overwhelming passion. The opening track was also the first single, a huge hit in the whole country (its catchy introductory riff even served as background music for a bunch of radio and TV programs), keeping the commercial success of Southern Spanish prog a bit longer (just a nit, before its impending decline). Though their music is not as complex as Cai's, Mezquita's or Triana's, these guys sure can expand creatively on their own musical ideas and recycle the evocative nature of melodic Flamenco through an ambitious rock filter. Their compositional efforts reach a peak of progressive creativity and emotional richness in tracks 1 (the aforementioned banner 'Paseando por la Mezquita'), 3 ( 'Hacia Tí', more symphonic a-la classic Yes and less Flamenco), as well as the lat 3 numbers, in which the band really approaches the exuberant complexity of their neighbours Mezquita. 'Amiga' and 'Sé' keep a special folkish flavour among the hard rocking sounds of guitar an keyboard soloing and harmonies on a solid rhythm pace, with a lead singer that never gest tired of wearing his heart on his sleeve with every word, every verse, every chorus; 'Recuerdos del Ayer' remains consistently engaged to beauty, althoug with a slightly decreased Flamenco flavour. An excellent musical work that was destined never to be surpassed or even equalled by the band in their following reordings: though not a masterpiece, "Medina Azahara" is really worth adding in any good collection of Spanish prog... or prog, in general.

Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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