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October Equus - October Equus CD (album) cover


October Equus



3.89 | 34 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An awesome debut album by a Spanish band that is already more than just a mere promise: October Equus revelas itself as a mature avant-garde prog force with its outstanding eponymous album. Lovers of the rockier side of RIO (Present, early 80s- Univers Zero Happy Family) and the rougher side of King Crimson should not miss this 2006 gem. The repertoire is full of sinister, thanatic motifs, moods and counterpoints, usually with Ontalva's guitar taking center stage while Rodríguez's keyboards lay disturbing orchestrations and ambiences (mixing Univers Zero and Gentle Giant, at least, that's how it sounds to me): all this stands solidly sustained by a rhythm section that moves proficiently all through the complex dynamics of all ten tracks. The opener 'Lupus in Fabula' bears a dark, intrepid feel, which restlessly defies the listener from second 1: the band invites the listener to take it or leave it right away, without delay or compromise. This opener is really powerful, although it is probably the sequence of tracks 2-7 that will call for the attention of the empathetic listener. This sequence conforms the namesake suite, occupying 32 minutes of the repertoire. The foursome allow themselves to explore a variety of moods while keeping a very clear focus on the kind of sonic resources that they constantly stick to. 'Fields of Mars' and 'Bigas' portray a continuous oppressive storm, each one concluding with majestic mellotron-like layers that seem to rest heavily in a hellish atmosphere. 'Sacrifice' bears a more ceremonious aura on a languid tempo, which doesn't stop the guitar from providing one of its most electrifying solos in the album right before the mesmerizing coda. 'Vestals' follows in the ceremonious vein, but this time with more sinister nuances. 'Head of the Winner' bring back the oppressive frenzy of the first two sections, adding an enhanced incandescence to it, and even some occasional joyful colors, too. Things get more obviously melancholic for the suite's final section 'End: On a Lance' - the recurring main motif is really captivating: it is provided an extra majestic flavor in both the guitar leads and the versatile keyboard ornaments. The random mellotron-like layers and storm sound effects add drama to the ever present sense of oppression. The last three tracks have to face the challenge of succeeding the ambitious suite, and they manage to keep the momentum. 'Reliqua Tempora' begins with an inscrutable prelude that soon gives way to the intense main motif: the splendorous ending passage has little to envy from the preceding suite's highlighting moments. 'Minus Nihilu' starts as a well-crafted exercise on minimalist introspection, leading to a powerful climax for its final 1 ˝ minute. 'Hydra' closes down the album in a fashion related to the opening number, albeit with a more pronounced Crimsonian vibe. General conclusion: the "October Equus" album is a most brilliant avant-prog item. This prog genre is not too common in Spain, but definitely, October Equus prove to be an important musical force for the preservation of radical prog rock in our current times.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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