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Guapo - Black Oni CD (album) cover





4.02 | 82 ratings

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5 stars After the brilliant '5 Suns', we get deeper and darker into Guapo's bag of Magma/KC/Univers Zero inspired tricks. The result is equally intense and powerful but with greater care of dynamics within the pieces, as well as a knack for more unpredictable song patterns. An uneasy ride, yet highly intruging in it's suspense. Onto the tracks:

I Recalls Univers Zero's 'La Faulx' with similar droning and feedback to create a tense and hellish effect on the listener; if you listen closely, the deliciously ominous harmonium lurks perfectly in the background just like on the UZ piece and things start to get slightly noisy. A sudden demented Krimson?ish riff smash in front of you without warning for a minute and by now you got a nice taster on what to expect here before seguing into the 2nd part to really start this dark journey off..

II A nearly 12 minute suite containing everything I could ever dream of in a dark avant-prog composition; twisted riffs and bizarre time-sigs directly from the UZ school delivered with merciless power from the band. An eerie harmonium interlude introduces us to the main theme melody of the album for a short time before the band fades back in with more madness up the sleeve that result in an amazing climax at the end. The dynamic and ideas in this piece definitely makes this in my top 5 favorite songs from this band and they did nail that UZ and Present vibe right on the head.

III Only two main sections in this song but used to a massively great effect. A strangely hypnotic piano interlude is introduced and calms the listener down for a few minutes until suddenly you'll notice the riff progresses into something slightly more deranged. Marching bass and drums follows and the band breaks into classic frantic Zeuhl territory in 7/8 with some crazy atonal soloing from O'Sullivan before dropping into darkness yet again. Another excellent piece overall!

IV Electronic effects and distant cymbals for about five minutes, it's like entering a cold, quiet and alien universe. Usually people's least favorite piece but works fairly well as a bridge to the conclusion piece. I really miss some eerie harmonium here though...

V Starts out like a powerhouse similar to the best moments of Part II and III and even featuring some tasty mellotron similar to Krimson's 'Starless' before going completely into sonic horror territory with the albums main theme. The effect is bombastic and even scary and leads the album to a close similar to how it opened. At 13 minutes I really hoped they could have mixed this one up a little bit more, like the 2nd part, but instead it goes back to the (excellent, mind you) sonic terror drones of '5 Suns'. Still a great piece, but somewhat anti-climactic.

4.7 - rounded up. Essential for fans of dark RIO/Avant. Their knack for mixing old with the new is unique and Guapo remains one of the better bands in the genre. A personal favorite!

Bj-1 | 5/5 |


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