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Chaneton (Argentina) - 2004 - "The First Light of the Century"
TRACK LIST: 1. The First Light of the Century 9:18 2. Faces Melting in Your Islands 6:35 3. Infinite Line 6:20 4. Across the Sex 8:33 5. Black Mountain 8:52 6. Six Flowers in the Room 3:57 7. On the Edge 4:53 8. The Man in Grey 6:02 9. Apocalypse Seller 7:23 10. Lost Prophecy 12:55 All tracks: by Chaneton & the band. LINE-UP: Alex Chaneton - electric & classical guitars; vocals Charly Kleppe - keyboards; acoustic guitars; vocals Patricio Villanneva - lead vocals Jano Perez - drums Adrian Gomez - bass Produced by Chaneton. Engineered by A. Costelli.
Prolusion. "The First Light of the Century" is the second full-length album by the Argentinean quintet CHANETON led by the musician of the same name. Their recording debut had place in 2000 in the form of the CD "Questions Inside the Picture". Apart from the titles of the albums and related songs, all the contents of Chaneton's website are in Spanish.
Synopsis. The band's lyrics, however, are exclusively in English. They play an important role in the music, and the vocal-based arrangements cover no less than a half of each of the ten songs presented on the album. As you can see in the track list above, most of them are long, so there is enough space for large-scaled instrumental arrangements, too, and it's quite another matter if these correspond to what we usually expect from such or not. Overall, it will be correct to say that Chaneton goes the path paved by Marillion during their first 'classic' years, in the mid-eighties. However, the album is constructed in a rather curious way. The music on the first five tracks is more diverse and is noticeably heavier than on the others. Here, the Marillion influence becomes apparent only in the vocals and in some synthesizer solos. While when the band goes 'heavy', which mainly occurs in the instrumental interludes, the music is not only more complex than in the quieter places, but is also much more original. Only structurally there is something in common with Garden Wall, especially on the album's title track and its follow-up Faces Melting in Your Islands. Well, if here we have a blend of Classic Prog-Metal and Neo Art-Rock, only the latter can be found on the album's second half. As a matter of fact, all five of the remaining songs are merely variations on early Marillion with corresponding instrumental arrangements and an open Fish-ism in vocals. Only the last track, the nearly 13-minute Lost Prophecy is notable for some originality, and also for classic Genesis influences, which makes it sounding more diverse and interesting than the preceding four songs. It's the best among them, yet, still worse than most of the first five songs with the only exception being Infinity Line (3).
Conclusion. Unlike most of Marillion's imitators, these guys are nearly by all means on par with their idols, as they're really masterful musicians. From this standpoint I could have rated the album higher, especially if I had looking back to A Sparrow-grass Hunt's release. However, I hardly tolerate a heavily derivative sound. So, those looking for a more original and versatile Prog should look elsewhere. Neo fans might be more than merely happy to meet "The First Light of the Century" with this Argentinean band.
VM: September 10, 2004
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