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Track List: 1. Twisted Mind 5:48 (inst.) 2. Bonfire 2:37 (inst.) 3. Just In a Second 6:39 4. Gigante 0:38 (inst.) 5. Pieta 2:18 (inst.) 6. Timeless Time 5:11 7. Attimo Infinito 2:39 8. Intermezzo 3:08 (inst.) 9. La Porta Di Santo Spirito 2:41 (inst.) 10. Giudizio Universale 3:22 (inst.) 11. In Duomo 7:33 12. Final Agony 1:22 13. All Ages Tears 3:52 (inst.) 14. Imaginary Sky 7:54 15. Conspiracion 10:00 (inst.) All music: by Castillo, Noce, Echevarrenta, Ubieda, & Landaeta. All lyrics: by Alexis Lope-Bello, except 14: by Castillo. Line-up: Pedro Castillo - vocals; guitars; synthesizer, & Mellotron Cesare Della Noce - keyboards; loops; effects Angel Echevarrenta - bass & classical guitar Gerardo Ubieda - drums & hand percussion; keyboards German Landaeta - percussion & programming Guest musicians: Huascar Barradas - flutes (on 13) Marcella Mosca - Italian voices (on 2, 3, & 7) Produced by Alexis Lope-Bello, G. Landaeta, & Tempano. Engineered by G. Landaeta at "Sonodosmil" studio, Caracas. Mastered by Bernie Grundman in Hollywood.
Preamble. Most of you dear readers know that "The Agony & the Ecstasy" is the third album by veterans of the Progressive Rock movement and undoubtedly the best Venezuelan band of all time, Tempano. To read the review of their second album, "Childhood's End", and see the band's discography, click here.
The Album. There are only five songs among the fifteen tracks that are presented on the new Tempano album and four of them are in English. These are Just In a Second, Timeless Time, In Duomo, and Final Agony (3, 6, 11, & 12), the latter of which is an amazing ballad sung to the accompaniment of outstandingly diverse and tasteful interplay between passages of semi-acoustic guitar, solos of bass, and those of synthesizer. Although Attimo Infinito (7) was narrated rather than sung (in Spanish), most of all, it reminds me of a wonderful, truly magical, musical fairy tale. Just In a Second, Timeless Time, and In Duomo are the Classic Art-Rock songs with elements of Jazz-Fusion and of a highest progressive quality. In fact, though, this album in its entirety consists of really inspired, highly original and profound arrangements that, most often, develop with the use of truly innovative and unique rhythmic measures and are, moreover, marked with signs of such a musical magic that even Titans would be proud of. There is also only one ballad (a classical guitar-based ballad, to be precise) among the instrumental pieces on the album. This is Gigante (8), while all the other instrumental compositions are still about a marvelously unique and impressive Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, and a few of those of the Baroque music. All five of the songs and all ten of the instrumental compositions that are presented on "The Agony and the Ecstasy" album are complete masterpieces and are filled with the arrangements that are definitely about a lofty progressive ecstasy. To appreciate and comprehend all the wonderful contents of this pearl, you should yourselves to hear it, as it is impossible to describe all this magic (honest!), as well as express with words what I feel now - while listening to the CD for the tenth time or so. In my honest opinion, none of the real connoisseurs of the genre should be deprived of having such a wonderful festive. So try to get this album at any cost! As a last resort, ask your friend(s) to record the CD-R copy of it for you.
Summary. Tempano's "The Agony and the Ecstasy" is probably the only contemporary Classic Symphonic Art-Rock album (and I've already listened to it about a dozen of times running!) that currently impress me as much as the works of Titans of the genre. Is there a necessity to add any other words here? I think not.
VM: December 9, 2002
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