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Sonus Umbra (Mexico) - 2000 - "Snapshots From Limbo"
(62 min, "Moonchild")


*****+

1.  Ghosts From the Past 2:38
2.  Doppelganger 7:52
3.  Seven Masks 7:42
4.  Demons 3:50
5.  Soul Dusk 4:28
6.  The Eagle Has Landed 4:19
7.  Erich Zann 5:27
8.  A Season In Hell 4:55
9.  Homo Homini Lupus 7:45
10. Insects (parts I, II, III) 12:13

Lyrics by L.Nasser. Music by L.Nasser, except: 1 - by L.Nasser & W.Lee, 2 - by L.Nasser & R.Gomez, 9 - by M.Capsitran & L.Nasser, 10 (part I) - by R.Gomez & L.Nasser. Arranged by Sonus Ambra.

Recorded and mixed at "Secret Sound" studio by J.Grant. Produced by L.Nasser & J.Grant.

Line-up: Luis Nasser - bass, keyboards, ac.gtr, vocals; Ricardo Gomez - el.&ac. guitars; Andre Aullet - lead vocals & keyboards; Jeff Laramee - drums & percussion, vocals. Guest musicians: John Grant - el.&ac. gtrs; Lisa Francis - 2nd lead vocals; Tapabrata Pal - tabla

The Album.

As far as I know, this is the second album from Luis Nasser and Co, though their previous (debut) album was released under a different name of the band - Radio Silence. So, here is my opinion on Sonus Umbra's album titled "Snapshots From Limbo". (Umbra-Umbrella... I think, in English Sonus Umbra sounds so: The Sound of Shadow; well, let's call the band with two aforementioned albums in their discography... Radio Sonus.)

First of all I would like to thank the "Moonchild" people for their good taste in music, as the majority of albums I have received from them are at least of excellent quality. Already now, mentally comparing "Moonchild" to such established labels like UK's "Cyclops", Germany's "Inside Out" and even the biggest US prog-label "Kinesis", I see that accessibly- melodic (commercial?) bands are the most part of their stuff.

It is obvious for me that with such a strong album as "Snapshots From Limbo" Sonus Umbra became another true progressive hallmark to come out of Mexico - together with Cast. In comparison with their famous countrymen, the music by Sonus Umbra is, maybe, less intricate and theatrical, but much more original. Stylistically, the music on "Snapshot From Limbo" is a Classic (Symphonic) Art Rock, though Indian percussive man Tapabrata with his excellent work adds alot of original Latin-American motives to the overall sound.

Doppelganger and Homo Homini Lupus are excellent examples of bombastic hard-edged Symphonic Rock with many diverse arrangements and outstanding musicianship from the direction of each musician. The majority of other pieces combine within themselves large-scale acoustic parts with wonderful classical guitar passages and two bipolar vocals - quite rough from the male lead singer, colourful and melodious from Lisa Francis - with more adventurous instrumental parts performed with electric guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and percussives.

While the bandleader, Luis Nasser, is an excellent composer and lyricist, his bass themes and (lots of) virtuostic solos are even a bit more impressive. It is really hard sometimes to distinguish bass solos from the same, made on electric guitar - they're unique, speedy, and the main thing, very tasteful. This is another very important component of the exceptionally original method of composing and performing, used by Sonus Umbra on "Snapshots From Limbo", which, IMHO, is one of the best albums released this year, all in all.

VM. September 3, 2000

Musea Records


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