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Cast (Mexico) - 2004 - "Nimbus"
(79 min, Musea)


1.  Ladrona si Suenos-I 5:26
2.  911 9:32
3.  Next Day 3:16
4.  My New Home 2:39
5.  Volando en Uno Mismo 5:01
6.  Sucio Nino Bien 5:56
7.  Suenos di Platino 5:53
8.  Dias de Sol y Luz 5:03
9.  Ladrona si Suenos-II 2:04
10. Ladrona si Suenos-III 3:58
11. Cataclismo 6:24
12. Esperanza Austral 5:10
13. En la Cueva y il Bosque 3:21
14. Reunion 5:16
15. Hojarasca 5:29
16. Extension 4:34

All tracks: by Cast.


Alfonso Vidales - keyboards
Francisco Hernandez - vocals; electric guitar
Carlos Humaran - electric and acoustic guitars
Flavio Jimenez - basses
Kiko King - drums 
Jose Torres - reeds
G Acuna - backing vocals 

Produced by Vidales.
Engineered by J Madrid.

Prolusion. The Mexican band CAST, the invariable organizer and inspirer of the annual Baja Prog festival, was formed precisely 25 years ago, in 1979, by keyboardist Alfonso Vidales and several of his schoolmates. Their first two albums were recorded in 1985 and 1989, but were released only in 1993 when the band founded their own label. Starting with 1994, Cast nearly every year gladdens their fans with new efforts, and "Nimbus" is already their twelfth studio album, while in all there are no less than 17 titles in the band's official discography. The reviews of Cast's previous studio albums are also available on Progressor and can be read by clicking >here and >here.

Synopsis. I've always liked Cast, which is not only the most prolific among the contemporary Art-Rock bands, but is also the most stable. What is more, these Mexican men are always searching for new ways in their creation, and it won't be far from the truth to say that each of their new albums is better than its predecessor. It seemed to me it's just impossible that the band would create anything better than the last year's "Al-Bandaluz". Yet, released just ten months after, "Nimbus" has just thrown down all my presuppositions on the matter. So once again, I won't say anything new or unexpected by establishing the fact that this is Cast's most profound and interesting album to date. In addition, this is their most brave effort, opening many new horizons and covering many new, exceptionally diverse, territories. Just listen to the opening number Ladrona si Suenos-I. With the huge amount of RIO-like angular melodies, twisting rhythms, dissonances and highly eclectic and intricate arrangements in general, can this really be considered Neo as many still describe the band's style? A similar unique combination of the RIO-infected Symphonic Progressive and Classical music performed by dints of Art-Rock and Prog-Metal in many ways determines the sound of Next Day, Suenos di Platino, and Volando en Uno Mismo and is just the essence of two more compositions: Suenos di Platino and Ladrona si Suenos-III. A highly complex Prog-Metal is presented on Cataclismo and Esperanza Austral. My New Home and Hojarasca are pieces of Classical music, both of which, as well as the Folk music-inspired Dias de Sol y Luz, En la Cueva y il Bosque and Reunion, were performed without the rhythm section. But this is still not all. The last track Extension is a pure first-rate Jazz-Fusion, and this is just Cast, with no signs of resemblance to anything else. Classic Symphonic Art-Rock as such is only on 911 and Sucio Nino Bien with the former being the only track on the album where the genre's traditions, laid in the '70s, are evident. Both are as brilliant as nearly everything on this 16-track / 80-minute monster where, by the way, the number of songs and instrumental pieces is equal, and most of the songs are largely instrumental. (Regarding "nearly everything": the short Ambient-like Ladrona si Suenos-II is the only track here, which hardly possesses any special virtues save originality.) Francisco Hernandez is in his best form as a vocalist, and not only. Unlike "Al-Bandaluz" where he was a free singer, the guitar parts here are shared between him and Carlos Humaran. The band made the right decision having engaged Jose Torres last year. Now, this excellent jazz and classically trained musician has become a permanent member of Cast, and his eccentric solos on saxophone and flute give a very specific flavor to the music. Nevertheless, it's still keyboardist Alfonso Vidales who sets the mood on "Nimbus", too, and the most prominent instrument on the album is piano. Really.

Conclusion. The band is exceptionally tight and masterful on "Nimbus" and shines with an innovative approach to the arrangement as never before. Generally, which of the other bands, at least those from the Symphonic Progressive camp, so-called Titans included, are notable for such a strong devotion to vital progressive principles as our heroes and would've been able to create masterpieces as frequently as Cast? You know there aren't many, to put it mildly. Cast remains true titans themselves, and regardless of the opinion of those who still don't realize this for some reason, the band has reserved a seat in the pantheon of the genre. (>Top-20)

VM: October 4, 2004

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