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(41:58; The Foxholes)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hex 2:02 2. Quarz 4:21 3. Elvira 3:20 4. Corey 12:35 5. Hexe 15:00 6. Escaparatismo I 4:40 LINEUP: Jonah A Luke - guitars, programming Angel Millan - drums Max Moritz - bass with: Javi Lopez - violin Maese 1001 - programming Societat Coral "El Valles" - Choir Abel Sequera - drums Txosse Ruiz - guitars, bass
Prolusion. Spanish band The Foxholes have a history that goes back to 2006, and from 2009 and onward they have been releasing new material at a fairly steady rate. "Hex" is the band's latest album, and was self released in the fall of 2021.
Analysis. While I do not recall the specific details at this point, I do remember that the previous album by The Foxholes impressed me quite a bit, even if perhaps a bit open and expressive in form and function at times. While I do not recall where I placed that album in a progressive rock oriented context, this new album by them is a somewhat eclectic creation. That this is an instrumental album merits an initial mention, and while backing vocals does feature in one of the songs here it's role is more atmospheric and thus serves more like an instrument and less than a vocal presence. The opening cut 'Hex' is a dark and atmospheric laden start to this production, and comes with something of a horror movie soundtrack quality to it. 'Quarz' is more of a classic heavy progressive rock affair, with symphonic qualities, effective use of the violin and here and there we get references to a band like classic era Kansas. 'Elvira' blends elements from 70's playful progressive rock with 80's harder edged rock following a more electronic and bass driven opening sequence, while 'Corey' features an elegant acoustic guitar driven middle section, backed and followed by a more distinct heavy symphonic progressive rock oriented arrangement. 'Hexe' play around with ambient music, progressive electronic music of various kinds as well as electronic rock, with a borderline magnificent end passage that combines a dark undercurrent with an arrangement that overall has a more jubilant quality to it. The concluding track, a rerecording of their 2013 song "Escaparatismo I", is a more hard and tight example of heavy progressive rock with a nice blend of retro-oriented elements and alternative progressive rock elements. While this is a production that hits out in a number of different directions, my impression is that heavy progressive rock by and large is the main recurring element here, and that a certain retro quality is pretty much just as much of a substantial element here. For my specific taste in music this is more of a pleasant than a convincing album experience though. The moods and atmospheres all work very well throughout, and the most distinct of them are truly fascinating and brilliant too: With the opening song 'Hex' and the concluding part of 'Hexe' as the prime examples for me. Some of the other songs do lack a bit in the nerve and tension department for me however, entertaining songs with a pleasing sound and atmosphere, but lacking that little bit that will manage to engage me on a stronger emotional level.
Conclusion. To my ears this new album by The Foxholes is something of a niche production. An instrumental production with an eclectic content ranging from film score oriented material and various instances of more or less electronic tinged material through to alternative progressive rock and a more retro-oriented variety of heavy progressive rock with some symphonic flourishes. Hence I gather that those with a more widespread taste for different aspects of progressive rock should be something of a key audience for this production in general, and then those who prefer music inside such a context to be instrumental in particular.
Progmessor: October 2021
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