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TRACK LIST: 1. Cosmologia 10:05 2. Alcazaba 6:49 3. Holocausto Exquisito 6:29 4. Eclipse 5:25 5. Mi Planta Alexandra 5:14 6. Zona Crepuscular 2:31 7. Los Enanitos 6:21 8. Algo Mas que un Processo 7:35 9. Retornando por un Largo Camino 6:17 All music: by Padilla, except: 3, 4, & 7: by ONZA. All arrangements: by ONZA. All lyrics: by Padilla. LINE-UP: Jaime Padilla - guitars; vocals Alejandro Perez - keyboards; flutes David Navarro - drums (+ drum programming on 8) Alfonso Romero - basses
Prolusion. The Spanish band Onza has existed since the second half of the 1980s, and their debut album: "Reino Rocoso" was released in 1991 (by Musea Records). Unfortunately, I could not connect to Onza's web site to learn whether there are any other albums in the band's discography.
Synopsis. The hero of this review and > Omni'a "Hormonal", reviewed by me previously, are similar among themselves by many aspects. "Zona Crepuscular" is also a serious, tasteful, and very interesting album, and the parts of a string ensemble play quite a noticeable role here, too. Furthermore, there are some obvious stylistic similarities between both of these albums. However, the main 'common' feature uniting these two outputs is the fact of their exceptional originality, which is true regardless of contradictory feelings that all I said here may arouse. There are nine tracks on "Zona Crepuscular", the four of which are songs: Cosmologia, Holocausto Exquisito, Mi Planta Alexandra, and Algo Mas que un Processo (1, 3, 5, & 8). The second of them contains only a few vocal parts and is the only composition on the album, the music on which represents a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion. Cosmologia and Mi Planta Alexandra, as well as the instrumental Retornando por un Largo Camino (9), are about Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal. Although the album's title track (6) consists exclusively of passages and solos of acoustic guitar, this is nothing else but the Classical Music-like piece. The remaining song (8) and all of the other instrumental compositions: Alcazaba, Eclipse, and Los Enanitos (1, 4, & 7) are the representatives of a pure Symphonic Art-Rock, though the second of them is also rich in melodies that are clearly of an Eastern origin. The arrangements on the instrumental pieces on the album, including those featuring the interplay between passages of acoustic guitar and solos of flute, are mostly dynamic and up-tempo, while all four of the songs here are notable for the alternation of harsh and soft structures. The amazing contrast between dramatic instrumental arrangements and romantic vocals is one of the central hallmarks of each of them.
Conclusion. Onza's "Zona Crepusular" is filled with everything necessary to be regarded as one of the best Symphonic Art-Rock albums released this year and a real classic for the future as well. I am familiar with the creation of about two tens of Spanish bands. Along with Kotebel, Alquilbencil, and Amarok, Onza is certainly one of Spain's brightest progressive hopes for the new millennium.
VM: May 31, 2003
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