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Rodrigo San Martin - A Lullaby For Mankind CD (album) cover


Rodrigo San Martin


Crossover Prog

4.23 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars After the success of his third album (Eyes), Rodrigo San Martín was in a tough place: how do you follow such a critically acclaimed masterpiece? This might seem like an overstatement to you, but his figure in the argentine prog scene was becoming more and more important, specially after his breakthrough album Eyes, and the formation of the super group Vanished from Earth (which had released a fantastic album the year before)

San Martín chose to rely on his strenghts: the long songs. And he wrote his longest to date. A Lullaby for Mankind is a one song album much in the vein of Thick as a Brick, but it was divided into 18 shorter tracks.

To back him up on this ambitious project he chose a few recurring figures from his latest album (Jelena Perisic and Fernando Refay) and a few new faces: Osvaldo Mellace on vocals, Robert Lynch on Bass and Michael Black on drums.

The result is fantastic but the album was, mostly, overlooked even on the argentine prog scene and I can't understand why. Maybe the attention was drawn into Vanished from Earth. Maybe it was because the album was never presented live (and up to this day San Martin has never performed any music from A Lullaby for Mankind). Maybe it was because of it's deeply antireligious content. Or maybe it was just because the promotion was non existent. Playing the whole album on a radio station was impossible, and the 18 tracks in which it was divided where not really independent enough to work well on their own. Eyes, on the other hand, has very strong short songs that were completely independent of the bulk of the album and that worked fantastic as singles.

1 - A Lullaby for Mankind I (Intro): instrumental introduction to the album featuring some amazing keyboard passages by Fernando Refay, as well as guitar solos and riffs by Mr. San Martín. This is a typical Sanmartinian overture (like Chao's Obertura and The Veil is Broken's Before my Eyes), featuring many passages that would be developed later on the album. At least it seems that way in retrospect, but it's the first time this compositional technique (which would be much more polished on future releases) appears on a Rodrigo San Martín album.

2 - A Lullaby for Mankind II: the first vocal piece (sung by the lovely Jelena Perisic, one of San Martín's main partners in crime) is a nice acoustic section with a slown buildup and a steady rhythm. The melodies, as expected, are deeply beautiful and are the focal point here.

3 - The Sky Falls Down: the electric guitar and hammond organ make an entrance, followed by the powerful vocals of Osvaldo Mellace (who is considered the Argentine Greg Lake, in my country). Here the album starts taking a metallic Jethro Tull sound and we are presented with a great guitar solo.

4 - The Masterplan: after the storm we are faced with the calm once more. A beautiful guitar arpeggio over which Mellace sings a heartfelt melody. The melodic bass work by Mr Robert Lynch is the centerpiece of the first section of this track. The second part of it is comprised of a crescendo revolving around a vocal line sung by both Mellace and Perisic that is breathtaking.

5 - Intermission I: when we think we would have a resolution to the beautiful crescendo of the last piece we are interrupted by this short jazzy interlude which the band pulls with grace and groove. San Martín guitar sounds like Pat Metheny and Refay's piano solo puts him up there with the best keyboardists in Argentina. Nice Walk section in a weid time signaure at the end.

6 - The Dark Ages: this section sounds like San Martín's first albums. It's dark prog metal, filled with strange time signatures and mellotron, the hindu vocal intersections by Perisic and the synth solos have the trademark Sanmartinian sound. It's odd that the chorus itself, sung by Mellace, was chosen to be calm rather tan continue the power that came before and after. Great track, one of the best parts of the album. Kudos to Mr Refay once more for his excelent moog solos.

7 - Colonization: how can you follow such an epic number? By doing something completely different. Colonization is a flamenco piece sung in spanish by Mellace (about the conquest of the Americas) and has San Martin kick ass (Paco de Lucia style) on the nylon string guitar, as well as a terrific piano solo by Refay.

8 - Intermission II: a nice bass riff by Mr Lynch is followed by another grand hammond solo by Fernando Refay. This is a great rock intermission before...

9 - A Lullaby for Mankind III: the reexposition of the themes from track two. The crescendo from track four comes as well, but this time it's not interrupted by anything and flourishes beautifully into a Grand Prog Climax featuring San Martin´s trademark epic guitar sound (reminiscent of his own Con los Ojos Abiertos). This is the moment of the piece we have been teased and when it actually arrives is just fantastic.

10 - Two Children are Born: Pinkfloydish ambient sounds, Oldfieldean piano riff and crazy interruptions by the band in full power that make you jump off your seat.

11 - He's Here: this one reminds me of pre-The Yes Album Yes. Verse sung by Perisic and Mellace over a moving rhythm, chorus sung by both. There's a flute intersection presenting one important melody that would become recurrent on the album, and a terrific solo, once again, by Rodrigo San Martín, where he showscases both his clean and distorted sounds. There is also a Tull vibe somewhere in there.

12 - No One Knew: ALL CHANGE. Groovy bass, electronic drums and rhodes chords over which Mellace sings sensually. The chorus is completely different: acoustic guitar, string arrangements, mellotron and Jelena Perisic singing a precious melody. What's keeping this giant song together since it features so many different styles? The fantastic development of the core themes, that appear thruought all the album, giving logic and consistence to the Song as a whole.

13 - Mass: a perfect example of what I was saying. Rodrigo manages to pull of a gregorian chant section, sung by Canela Sol (who will appear much more in later albums), how does he does this? Well the main theme from Colonization appears, not in a flamenco style this time, but played in a moog synthesizer and backed by a church organ (making it sound completely logical after the gregorian a capella chant).

14 - The Sky Falls Down II: the vocal piece from track three appears, this time sung by Jelena Perisic instead of Mellace, and it's followed by crazy solos by San Martín and Refay.

15 - For Everyone to See: A weird waltz (in an odd time signature) sung by the always lovely Perisic. The polyphonic section at the end sounds like Queen.

16 - We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen I: the track turns rockier once more witha strong guitar and flute riff. Nice vocal line delivered by Perisic.

17 - We Will Drown in a Sea of Ignorance Until We Evolve Into Something That Can Turn It To Oxygen II: All the intensity that has been building since the beggining finds it's climax here as the bands let's all it's power loose in an instrumental track featuring the virtuosic duel between moog and guitar.

18 - Coda: after the progressive explosion of the previous track we are left in creepy fade out where San Martín plays in his trademark Gilmour style over the piano riff from track 10. The album ends in a sad manner and it's beauitiful.

So, did San Martín manage to beat his own Eyes? I don't really know. He did manage to pull off the one song album and showed a remarkable inspiration to do something so different but still being in touch with his own sound (that had come to perfection in the preevious album)

Like all this guy's discopgrahy, it's free on bandcamp.

Anesthetized | 5/5 |


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