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(53 min, Azafran Media / Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Pasta Mental 6:52 2. Seres Humanos 10:18 3. Sublime Muerte 4:37 4. 10:27 5:55 5. Odisea 8:17 6. Lenguas de Trapo 16:55 LINEUP: Juan Carlos Casanova – el. & classical guitars Mauricio Hooker – bass & ac. guitars; vocals Daniel Lopez Gutierrez – keyboards Victor Otarola – drums, percussion With: Diego Sue – bass & ac. guitars; vocals (2, 6) Luciana Derteano – lead vocals (2, 6)
Prolusion. “Seres Humanos” is the second album by the modern Peruvian band KHARMINA BURANNA, but is my first encounter with their work.
Analysis. There are six tracks on the disc, four of which, Pasta Mental, Odisea, Lenguas de Trapo and Seres Humanos, are long and for the most part complex. The first two of these consist of purely instrumental arrangements, while the latter two are the only vocal tracks here. The composition and arrangements are both interesting and engaging in all cases and filled with very appropriate guitar and keyboard playing. The guitarist leads the musical attack with a fairly wide variety of timbres and settings: from purely acoustic to crunchy and distorted, at times shifting gears rather suddenly. Keyboards also have a strong presence here, with just that right mini-Moog tone and a variety of other monophonic tones, and also lush patches. Interlocking arpeggios of guitar and keyboards lend to an ever-so-slight ‘80s King Crimson influence, while some other parts have a lighter late ‘70s Camel sort of flavor. To put it in a different way, the influences are well absorbed and at no point would they be considered derivative. Most of the music is definitely original, moreover. The band obviously has a more than ample supply of solid musical ideas. Now romantic, now dramatic, but always captivating melodic themes are littered throughout each of these, drawing even the most skeptical listener back into them again and again. The vocal sections are probably every bit as good as any other prog-rock band with a female singer did (due to Luciana Derteano’s singing in particular), yet the prominent instrumental explorations, heavier and more complex than late ‘70s Camel, are more interesting. What unites the former three compositions is that each of them is fairly heavy Art-Rock in style, finishing as Prog-Metal (sic), whereas the latter belongs exclusively to the genre of Symphonic Progressive, never deploying heavy elements, additionally standing out for its several acoustic and semi-acoustic interludes. The remaining two (shorter) tracks, Sublime Muerte and 10:27, are both mellower sympho-prog affairs, not without a balladic sense in places. The writing isn’t more intricate than one normally finds in the Neo-Prog world, but each of the pieces consists of varied textures which are used to good effect. The first of them has only passages of classical guitar in its beginning, while the latter one reveals as many as three piano interludes.
Conclusion. Now intricate, now instantly accessible, “Seres Humanos” is a solid art-rock album that would be of interest to fans of both the classic and neo manifestations of the style. The fact that the band’s sound is for the most part original makes it even more impressive. Recommended.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: December 16, 2013
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