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Arbatel - Gamadion CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.09 | 11 ratings

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3 stars RPI influenced progressive rock from Mexico

Sometimes when people are trying to convince me that Italian Prog is not a legitimate subgenre, one of the bits of nonsense they use is that RPI never influenced bands outside of Italy. First, I wouldn't necessarily agree with the premise that influencing others is a requirement for a rock sound grouping, but if it is, Arbatel is one example of a Mexican band clearly influenced by Italian progressive rock. Latin America seems to be a part of the world who have embraced RPI with great enthusiasm, and in Arbatel you can hear the influence pretty easily. Back in their early days they cut their teeth with covers of Orme and Balletto di Bronzo. Their debut "Gamadion" was initially released by the band and picked up later by Mylodon Records, currently it is distributed by Black Widow Records.

"Gamadion" is a turbulent and passionate progressive rock, nothing dry about it. The best non-musical image I can think of to describe it would be that of a thunder cloud, though the music itself is not dark in a negative emotional way. It is a mix of unsettled and uplifting passage built from bold keyboard presentation and fairly crunchy, distorted electric guitars. The lead playing is beautiful, soaring and fluid, quite expressive. Composition features good dynamics and variables. "Xólotl" is a standout track which opens with church bells and a gothic pipe organ to a militaristic snare drum, the organ soon doubled to the lead guitar and later some lovely piano enters. The title tracks is very dramatic, it utilizes a Hitler speech as the set-up for a musical look at the horrors of war. Bullets and bombs sound effects fill bombastic, intense riffing and feedback sections, brilliantly placing the listener into the hell and confusion of violence, simply one of the best musical interpretations you'll hear of such a horrid subject. "Tu che sei" is another favorite because it so reminds me of Italian prog, featuring traditional prog-folk melody with dreamy vocals, violin, and piano. At the end is a bonus version of Xólotl with lovely female vocals. I realized while listening that parts of the melody resemble the verse melody of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" and certainly Arbatel are delivering that level of excitement with this music.

This is a very good debut album showing amazing potential and featuring some real highpoints. While it falls just a hair short of the 4-star mark for me, I do recommend this album to any prog fan. It is a must-listen for fans of RPI who wish to hear the influences of Italian prog rock moving overseas and what it sounds like, in this case, in Mexico. The influence is there in sound and arrangements, but also I believe in mood, in spirit. A very enjoyable debut, I can't wait to hear more from this band in the future. 3 ˝ stars.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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