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Fernando Refay - The Paradox CD (album) cover


Fernando Refay


Crossover Prog

3.06 | 13 ratings

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3 stars Review originallt written at

Nice debut from this Argentinian talent!

He is Fernando Refay, a trained and independent musician whose love for progressive rock has led him to create his first solo album entitled "The Paradox" in which we can find his influences from symphonic rock, to classical music and jazz fusion. He studied at the National Conservatory of Music of Buenos Aires, since then he has collaborated with several musicians and has been member of different bands.

Fortunately, he chose progressive rock as his favorite genre so people who like this genre can feel pleased with the coming of a new talent. I am pleased also because I like supporting bands and musicians from Latin-America (if they deserve it, of course). "The Paradox" is a one-hour-album divided in eleven compositions. Important to say that Refay composed all the songs and plays all the instruments, being keyboards his specialty. There are some guest musicians who collaborated with him here, such as the gifted Rodrigo San Martín.

The album kicks off with "The Paradox", a two-minute introduction in which we can appreciate a symphonic and keyboard-based sound. "The Hour of Justice" is the first track featuring vocals. The sound is pretty cool, sometimes closer to metal, and with a folk-a-like touch made by violins. After two minutes there is a nice guitar solo and then great piano/keyboard ones. The song overall is well elaborated and good.

"The Wicked" is one of the two ten-minute songs featured on this album. It starts with spoken voice and after a few seconds a neo-progressive explosion begins. Its challenging sound, complex rhythms and ambitious structure makes this song one of the best of this album. Here the voice is different than the previous track (guest singers) and I like it more, actually. There is a nice change after three minutes, drums appear and once again spoken words enter along with some war sounds such as guns, bombs and screams, the atmosphere created is deceiving, so you can imagine the scenarios it is proposing. Later you can listen to fabulous keyboard and guitar solos, interplaying with each other. After six minutes the song suffers some other changes, it slows down and both the rhythm and the feeling morphs into a calmer track.

After that ambitious song now Refay gives us some shorter ones. Starting with "El Paraíso a sus pies", the first one sung in Spanish, which I liked. What I don't absolutely loved is the song itself, it is like a ballad, nice piano and guitar playing accompanying vocals. According to the lyrics, I may assume that Fernando was inspired by his mother to compose this song, which is a wonderful detail, but well, as I said, i don't think this is his best song at all. "My Oh My" is a one-minute interlude which would perfectly work for a mobile phone TV commercial.

"Welcome to the Show" has a good keyboard background at first, and then the song begins to build up a structure, a kind of rockish and friendly track. The guitar solo is nice, and the inner song changes cool, I like how that rock element is calmed by some softer passages, mainly by a delicate piano sound. "Reflection", well, this is probably my least favorite track here. The music is fast and a bit strange, the vocals are not that good, and honestly I sometimes feel this track was just like a funny experimentation. But it is important to say that it has its good passages, mainly the instrumental ones when keyboards lead. From minute three to five and a half, the song is actually pretty good, but later the last minute has that annoying sound, just as it began.

"She's Like A Green Meadow (because she makes me happy)" and "Trespassing??" are both short two-minute songs. The first has a soft sound, nice acoustic guitar and delicate keyboard as background. The voice reminds me a bit of A.C.T. The second song has a charming sound made by keyboards and percussion; it is like a latino-prog track at least for the first half, later it turns rockier. Both short songs are actually good.

Now "A Frozen Nightmare" offers a new epic with a rich amount of sounds and textures. The rock element is not that evident here, instead, we have a classical and symphonic piano sound accompanying nice and constant drums, and good vocals. I like the fade out after five minutes, when the first part ends. And I like more how it rises from the ashes and now becomes a wonderful fast and bombastic keyboard-driven track in which we can truly appreciate Refay's passion for that instrument, and of course, for the music he composes. The song is pretty interesting, well elaborated and intelligently performed.

And finally "Walking on Air", honestly I thought it would be a King Crimson cover, but I was wrong. It starts like a classical piano song for a couple of minutes, then vocals, drums, guitars and bass appear and turn the song into a catchy and rockier tune and it continues like this until it finishes. A nice song to end the album.

This is a great debut album from Fernando Refay, I liked it and enjoyed almost all the tracks, with the exception of "Reflection" which I would honestly have left out. Good news for the Argentinean people because they have here a talented musician who is willing to gain recognition, which I am sure is arriving little by little. My final grade is 3 stars!

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |


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