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Spectrum - 2003 - "Alucinante Ritual"
(55 min, Mylodon)

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Alucinante Ritual 5:33
2.  Desnuda Mujer 3:53
3.  El Mensaje de la Tierra 6:07
4.  Hermano Cosmico 5:42
5.  Naturaleza Sicodelica 5:32
6.  Maestros de Luces 5:47
7.  En la Noche 4:00
8.  Ojos Negros Tristes 4:20
9.  Noche en Ilamas 6:11
10. Entre la Tormenta y la Niebla 8:17

All tracks: by Spectrum.
Produced by Spectrum.
Engineered by F. Straub.


Pablo Valenzuela - guitars; backing vocals
Felipe Rojas - keyboards; backing vocals
Rodrigo Lorca - vocals; percussion
Ignacio Garcia - drums
Sergio Gonzalez - bass

Prolusion. "Alucinante Ritual" is the debut album by SPECTRUM from Chile. It's difficult to learn more of the band, as all the information on their website is in Spanish.

Analysis. This album has the distinctive sound of the '70s, as if it was recorded in the middle of the decade by some mighty Hard Rock-related outfit that just accidentally didn't become part of the legendary triumvirate of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Spectrum's music is at once as interesting and incomparable as that of any of said titans. The band did manage to raise Hard Rock to the highest progressive power, successfully combining that genre's traditions with the achievements of contemporary Prog-Metal and, what's especially amazing, elements of authentic Jazz-Fusion, which vastly distinguishes Spectrum from most of their stylistic congeners, if not any. (Well, Black Sabbath's "Never Say Die" is also rich in improvised solos and jazz-like textures, but overall, this album is the entity of Prog-Metal, not Hard Rock.) The music on six out of the ten songs fully corresponds to the conception laid in the last but one sentence, and those with different characteristics will be named below. The principal soloing instruments are guitar, piano, Hammond and / or Moog, the solos of which almost relentlessly interact with each other, even in the vocal-based arrangements. The only more or less significant difference between the songs forming the album's primary style lies in the sound of guitar riffs. In most cases, it is purely 'metallic', dense and harsh, while on a couple of songs a guitarist doesn't use such a specific sound processor as Distortion, managing with Compressor and Overdrive. In my view, Desnuda MujerM, taking the second position, should have been placed at the top of the album's track list, as this is the only traditional Hard Rock number here, with harmonica. It's bright and inflammatory, but is instantly accessible unlike any of the other tracks. The intensive up-tempo arrangements are typical for the entire album, including the remaining three songs: Hermano Cosmico, En la Noche, and Ojos Negros Tristes. These, however, don't feature pronounced guitar riffs and are filled with the parts of acoustic guitar instead. All three represent an effectual combination of guitar Art-Rock and the piano-laden Jazz-Fusion with some bluesy intonations.

Conclusion. Concerning the level of progressiveness displayed on this album: I can bravely assert that it's much higher than that which we usually meet in Hard Rock, and only few of the genre's other representatives can reach such heights as Spectrum did. The Italians Wicked Minds would probably be the best point of comparison in this case, though it would be hard for that band to vie with Spectrum in originality. Those exclusively into an RIO and the like highly sophisticated music forms are the only category of Prog Rock lovers to whom I wouldn't dare to recommend this CD.

VM: December 13, 2004

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