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Alux Nahual - Alux Nahual CD (album) cover


Alux Nahual


Crossover Prog

4.13 | 19 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars It's surprising that, even when I'm from Guatemala, Alux Nahual is a very recent discovery for me. I knew about this band only from their greatest hits compilation "Leyenda" and thought they were a very good rock band. A couple of tunes drew my attention because of their proginess, specially "Hombres de Maiz". When I heard this album for the first time, I was amazed at the fact that Alux Nahual was actually a full blown prog band, at least in a phase of their career.

Well, on to the music. The album, as Hans said, is very folky, but also very symphonic. Jack Schuster's violin and Paulo Alvarado's cello dominate the arrangements in every song, while the songs itself are based sometimes on bass, guitar or piano. I'd like to congratulate specifically Jack Schuster because of his playing on this album. The violin is top-notch. Because of the violin and cello, the sound is something like Kansas, but the main difference is that they play a lot more in slow tempo and the guitar isn't as hard rocking.

I, opposing to Hans, think that "Alux Nahual" is a crossover album, because of the shortness of the songs, and the references to popular music.

The album opens up with "Cola de Golondrina", an instrumental based on a flamenco theme ("La Malagueña"). For me, "Cola De Golondrina" is the a highlight of the album, because the band gets to flex their instrumental muscle. Then we get two beautiful, but not too astonishing symphonic ballads, "A Ti" and "Un Poco De Paz". The first one is sung by the lead vocalist, Alvaro Aguilar, and the second one by the guitarist, Ranferí Aguilar. Both are full of acoustic guitar, which makes them very folky.

The first climax of the album is next, in my opinion. "Un Minuto De Ilusión", starts off very slowly, like the previous ballads, but builds up to the last instrumental part were the violin, cello, drums, and specially the bass go nuts. After that song, the album slows down to yet another ballad, "La Fábula Del Grillo Y El Mar" this one slower and less symphonic than the previous two. This song will grow to be one of their classics. "Posada" another symphonic-folk ballad shows what will be a constant in Alux's sound, which is the use of native Guatemalan instruments. In this case, they use the "Turtle" which is percussion instrument used in the tradition of the "Posadas". The closing number, "Hombres de Maíz", in contrast to the other songs opens up with a blast of cello, mandolin, guitar and drums, and doesn't come down from there. This song rocks very hard but focusing on cello and acoustic guitar, instead on a conventional rock instrument. Only the main riff is played on electric guitar, maybe too loudly.

An extra for this band is the message in their songs. They are very down to earth and easily understandable. For example, "Un Minuto De Ilusión" is about a woman that has lived her life superfluously, and regrets this at the end of her life. "Hombres De Maíz" is about us, Guatemalans. We are the people of the maize. The song portrays very beautifully the concept of the world according to the indigenous people from Guatemala, which is simple and humble, but also adaptable to change.

I don't think that this is a perfect album, but maybe this is best from "Alux Nahual". The biggest let downs from this album are the voice of Alvaro, which isn't as mature as it will be later in their career, overuse of the slow tempo and the sound quality. For me, neither the slowness nor the sound qualities are a problem. It makes the album feel organic and real.

This album is unique when put in the context of the centralamerican rock scene of the early 80's. Alux will keep a similar sound for their next album, but will gradually lose the symphonic side.

4.5 stars rounded up to 5, because of my love and pride for Guatemala's music.

RaúlGuate | 5/5 |


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