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Uranian - La Ciudad de los Sueños CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.68 | 37 ratings

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4 stars Regarding the young age of all musicians in Uranian, we could outline this band's debut album "La Ciudad De Los Sueños" as a bright promise, but it would also be unfair to focus solely on the band's potential for a future developing when this debut album itself reveals strong arguments for a mature voice in the present. Uranian's position is installed in the realms of instrumental melodic prog-metal, with LTE and Dream Theater's symphonic side as major references, together with other secondary factors ? among them, neoclassical prog-metal, vintage Rush and even some nuances of prog-metal fusion. All these elements are cohesively orientated toward a symphonic, tonal compositional strategy, not redundant on technical excesses or dissonant tensions, whatsoever.

Pointing out influences mostly serves as an indication for the reader, never as a diminishing of the band's own identity. This band clearly defines its sound on the basis of sonic amalgam, melodic symphonism, harmonies in the instrumental interactions that consistently establish dialogues as opposed to long monologues. The album is very even and equilibrated throughout its 70? minute time span, so do not expect any "guitar hero" expansions here. True, Federico Larrosa's technical prowess is real and clear, yet it is not pyrotechnics but a healthy balance between the inputs by his lead guitar, Fabián Castilla's keyboards and Matías Bouquez's bass: specifically speaking, the keyboards' role is not limited to just providing ornaments or layers in the background, but bringing decisive elaborations of the themes' moods while Larrosa's guitar keeps its power and lucid variety.

The album begins with "Amalgamas de soledad", a vibrant opener that right away reveals the band's essential stance, with "Alter Ego" following as some sort of 6+ minute long mini-suite that comprises variations of intensity and leading timbers, as well as changing melodic bases stated on a symphonic basis. "Regreso al origen" has a powerful keyboard-based motif that sustains the guitar layers; later on, a slow passage hangs on in the interlude;, finally, a reemerging guitar lead states the final mood over a busy keyboard orchestration that alternately builds arpeggios and electrifying phrases. "Melancólico recuerdo" is more deeply based on a ballad motif, including a middle section that gives room for the guitar to state appealing variations. Next are two highlights: "Paradoja ancestral" and "0 bytes". The former establishes a set of playful rhythms and fusion-oriented ventures, developed through folkish reminiscences skillfully inserted in a metal-centered scheme. The latter is a 9 minute carrousel of symphonic-meets-metal mid-tempo moods, which once again state the midway of symphonic prog and prog-metal where the band feels quite comfortable; the balances between the frontal and background guitars and between the high and low sonorities are simply delicious. The track's development features a very luminous acoustic-based middle section. Yet another peak in the album is "En busca del sol", a track that I find somewhat similar to early 80s' Rush: it explores melodic riffs and variations in both the peripheral and central sonorities, with motifs that come and go and return in a fluid continuity. "Transiciones" also bears a powerful framework, only this time on a mid-tempo pace. The namesake track is the longest one (almost 11 minute long): it takes its time to develop the intended ambiences, but it ultimately works very well once the idea is completed. "Un tiempo después" closes down the album with coherent cohesiveness, recapitulating the album's overall moods: the guitar's role is featured in sonic storms that aim at creating a final source of emotionality.

A special mention goes to Charly Cid, whose labor on sound production and mixing was terrific, bringing the perfect balance between the instruments.

My personal view on the way that this band has forged its style of choice is that it must preserve itself from over-extending its themes and avoid futile repetitions of motifs, all of which would eventually make the music redundant. Hopefully, these guys will continue delving into some facets that still are laid on an incidental level, such as the attempts into fusion territory ("Paradoja ancestral") and acoustic-based atmospheres ("0 bytes"): by doing so, these Uranian guys will enable themselves to deepen their compositional variety and create more distinctly crafted pieces in the scope of future releases, therefore, making the listening experience more fun. But, all in all, "La Ciudad De Los Sueños" is an excellent progressive rock effort that states the band's credentials with authority, a band that from the starting point makes its way among the best in the current progressive scene. Playing the game of instrumental prog metal is no easy deal for either audiences or musicians who must support it in an appealing fashion, yet Uranian manages the challenge quite successfully.

(Translation from spanish by Cesar Inca)

JulioZtop | 4/5 |


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