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TRACK LIST: 1. The Safe 12:07 2. Universe of Fields 6:46 3. Baghdad I: The Gates 4:52 4. Baghdad II: The Market 6:17 5. Baghdad III: The Suburbs 4:02 6. Sir T. Weaver 5:44 LINEUP: Ricard Rius bass; vocals Gerard Marrugat vocals; guitars Guillem Laborda keyboards Santiago Arderiu drums Victor Gil guitars
Prolusion. The Spanish band ILVCIA was formed back in 2010, and is based out of Barcelona. The band describes their music as one that incorporates influences such as progressive rock and post rock, a landscape they first explored on their debut album "In the Nature of Reason", which was self-released in 2013.
Analysis. While I wasn't able to pick up too many post rock tendencies on this album, although that may well be for technical reasons, it becomes obvious that this is a band that does know their progressive rock, and especially the symphonic oriented parts of that. They are fond of plucked instrument details and dampened guitar riffs as recurring elements, with elegant plucked guitar solo sequences or strictly melody based guitar soloing too, and when they have the acoustic guitar going their cultural roots, often become apparent due to the inclusion of details and movements of the kind that invites to flamenco associations. Vintage sounding keyboards, organ, what sounds like the Mellotron and a curiously sounding brittle organ that to my ears tries to combine the identity of an organ with a harpsichord, are all elements used to add a distinct symphonic touch to the proceedings, and the rhythm section backs it all up in a fairly good manner too. The vocals, when used, are a weak point however, partially due to accent, partially due to the technical delivery, and partially for other reasons in the technical department. Further details of note are that some of the plucked guitar details gave me associations to the likes of New Order, others to Wall of Voodoo, and occasional details in the keyboards department actually made me think of Gary Numan. The compositions appear to be fairly well worked out too, and the one case where the main style doesn't appear to be oriented strictly towards the symphonic realm, Universe of Fields, opts for a warm, fuzzy guitar motif as a dominant trait early on, the keyboard embellishments only added after this specific composition has developed a bit. Normally I would most likely praise the qualities of this production as a fairly impressive debut album. Not in this case however, and that is for technical reasons. The recording quality isn't the best, and while it improves as the album unfolds, opening epic length piece The Safe suffer rather harshly from lo-fi production, some severe balancing issues, and most likely less than ideal recording circumstances as well. Universe of Fields improves somewhat on that, and the three part creation Baghdad even more so, at this stage the quality at least being mostly passable. Still, this is an album that suffers from a lack of quality in the technical department, and one extensive enough to have a detrimental impact on the overall album experience.
Conclusion. Symphonic progressive rock liberally flavored with acoustic guitar details in general and touches of Flamenco in particular is what Ilvcia has to offer on their debut album "In the Nature of Reason", with a few nice details that invite associations to artists residing outside of the progressive rock sphere as well. Poor quality recording, production, mix and mastering are a serious detrimental feature sadly, but as long as you can live with the rather poor demo quality of this album this is a promising specimen of its kind.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: August 17, 2014
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