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Rodrigo San Martin - Eyes CD (album) cover


Rodrigo San Martin


Crossover Prog

3.97 | 24 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Rodrigo San Martin continues to impress me. After the occasionally shaky "There's No Way Out," I am pleased to say that "Eyes" sees San Martin returning stronger than ever. The heavier, more metallic elements that appeared on "There's No Way Out" are back, but in my opinion they're used much more smoothly here, more seamlessly integrated and less disjointed. All told, then, this is a really excellent album that combines compositional maturity with an excellent ear for melody.

"The Mask" kicks off the album with a wonderfully melodic piano part. An awesome female vocal part quickly joins in, and with it San Martin quickly proves that he can write vocal melodies with the best of them. I feel like a broken record since I'm pretty sure I've written that in all three reviews of San Martin's material that I've done, but it really does need to be driven home. After this, there's a heavier section, which, unlike the heavier sections on the previous album "There's No Way Out," fits in seamlessly. Totally gone is the somewhat disjointed feeling that, in my opinion, marred that previous album. Here instead we have heavy, distorted vocals over pounding guitar riffs interspersed with delicate, chanted sections in a way that works perfectly. A great guitar solo, perhaps one of the best from San Martin yet, leads into a much softer, atmospheric acoustic guitar part that almost has classical leanings. The vocals return, and lead a triumphant crescendo that closes out the track.

"Destroy The Signal" comes next, immediately launching into an extremely heavy, riffing guitar part. Almost as suddenly as it appears however, it drops away, leaving very pleasant harmonized vocals singing over synth, bass and percussion. The heaviness returns for a brief instrumental section in the middle, as well as a vocal reprise at the end of the song. "Destroy the Signal" is definitely a more straightforward track than was the opener, but that certainly doesn't hurt it, and it's a great rocker.

"Amanecer" starts with a very rhythmically interesting bass part that's quickly joined by matched synth and guitar lines. These two duel it out for a while before dropping out and allowing the female vocals plenty of space to return over the bass and percussion. After a brief period of this more minimal arrangement, the guitar starts riffing under the vocals before the vocals drop out entirely for an extended instrumental section. This finally all culminates in a peaceful, Genesis-esque closing section before the riffs return and a brief guitar solo and vocal section close out the track.

"Interludio" is exactly what it sounds like: a calm, acoustic guitar led interlude that sets the mood very nicely for the second half of the album.

"Ahora" begins this second half with guitar and organ playing in tandem to create a very vintage, rock-y sound. This gives way to acoustic guitar and bass as the vocals enter, which this time around feature not only strong melodies but excellent harmonies as well. An excellent instrumental section takes up a good chunk of the track, recalling classic rock with its dueling organ and guitars but also providing a definitively metal edge with the sheer intensity of its riffs. About halfway through the track the acoustic guitar/vocals duo returns, and for the rest of the track these heavy and light sections alternate, complementing each other very well.

Finally, we have the epic closer "Con los Ojos Abiertos," which begins with a soft and atmospheric intro section occasionally joined by some minimalistic vocals. There's also some faint soundclips of people talking present, but they're hard to make out and serve the track very well as background ambience. After a brief but beautiful acoustic guitar solo the vocals proper enter, accompanied by swirling synths and delicate piano. Bass and percussion come in after a while to help build up the arrangement, and after another vocal section the song launches into a crazy instrumental that features solos of all kinds as well as more back-and-forth between heavy and light themes. This is followed by another atmospheric vocal section, with spacey, dream-like synths playing over a similar voice clip to the beginning of the track. More guitar solos follow, leading into yet another vocal section, this one over a more metal instrumentation. After another instrumental section the track concludes with a great, energetic finale, featuring orchestral arrangements and a great closing guitar solo.

While I would still recommend starting with San Martin's debut "1," I have to say that this is probably the most compositionally accomplished album from him yet. The songwriting is much more concise (with the exception of the epic closer), and with that comes a lot of tightness in the composition as well. There's no wasted time on this album, no sections that drag on or feel out of place. A really stellar effort from a great musician and composer.


VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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