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Rael - Mascaras Urbanas CD (album) cover

MASCARAS URBANAS

Rael

 

Neo-Prog

3.24 | 50 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars The first time I listened RAEL noticed immediately I was before an excellent band, but maybe because the unfair fame of GENESIS clones they had, never gave "Mascaras Urbanas" the attention it deserves.

After some time gave them another chance and found that a silly prejudice made leave his excellent band away, it's obvious they have some connections with GENESIS, but in no way they are clones or anything similar, just a band that inspired their music in icons of the genre they love that came before them, but at the end, everybody receives inspiration from somebody, and this guys had a lot to offer.

The album starts with "Mascaras Urbanas" (Urban Masks), an extremely good theme with a very unique sound, I honestly don't feel any GENESIS influence, and the vocals (in Spanish) have more similarities with FISH than with PETER GABRIEL,.but unlike both bands the massive use of choirs makes the difference.

Yes it's true that for some seconds the keyboards remind of BANKS, but along most of the song, their sound is absolutely unique, and the guitar sound is far more aggressive and less atmospheric than STEVE HACKETT'S so at least in this track, the fame of clones is undeserved, an excellent song to open a good album.

"Vientos del Este" (Eastern Winds) is a different story, the vocals and keys remind of GABRIEL era GENESIS, but not to a particular song, maybe the mood of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", but nothing specific. Even when more atmospheric and extremely dramatic as the Charterhouse School boys, there's an extra element they ad that makes the sound original even when not unique.At the end the use of Mellotron choirs makes it extremely beautiful.

"La Tierra del Pecado" (The Land of Sin" reminds me more of MARILLION than anybody else, but we can't expect anything else from a Neo Prog band formed in 1985. The use of keyboards is simply superb and the interplay with the guitar is very pleasant.

"Sombras en Ixtlan" (Shadows in Ixtlan) is a classical Neo Prog track, with lush but simpler keyboards and use of strong guitars in the vein of "Rothery", not my cup of tea because is a bit too slow for me, but can't deny that we are before a band that knows their business.

"Peregrinos del Tiempo" (Pilgrims of Time) is a totally different specie, for the first time the band presents us the typical Argentinean Symphonic soft sound in the vein of "PABLO EL ENTERRADOR" with a bit of "SUI GENERIS", even the vocals sound close to the interplay between CHARLY GARCÍA and NITO MESTRE. Incredibly the guys seem equally comfortable singing in Spanish and in English, something unusual for musicians of a country with strong and unique accent.

If I didn't knew that "Ignacio Rodriguez" is the vocalist of RAEL, I could have said it was FISH, because the vocal range is extremely close to the one of the Scottish vocalist. Of course the classical Neo Prog style of "Icarus" makes this effect much more evident, nice but not great song.

"Momo" is he longest track of the album and the closer this guys get to GENESIS, more because of the radical changes and theatrical singing that for the music itself, Even the interplay between guitar and keys is similar to the one between HACKETT and BANKS, excellent song, really one of their most Progressive efforts.

The album ends with "Escapando de mi Imaginación" (Escaping from my Imagination), one of heir most original works, absolutely dramatic with a hint of Latin Folk, simply delightful, and better because it's sung in Spanish because this style wouldn't match so perfectly with English.

Now, I'm in great trouble wit the rating, but having noticed that RAEL knew the difference between copying and being influenced and show extreme versatility combining different styles and moods, I have to give them a strong rating. Not 5 stars because here are 2 tracks out of the 8 that are bellow average, but the rest of their music is really good, so I will go with 4 stars.

Sadly they split after releasing their debut.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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