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(52:24, Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. New-New-Danza de Ballenas 8:53 2. Desolacion 0:49 3. Enla Piedad de los Dioses 4:43 4. Casi Fue 4:26 5. El Conducto 7:03 6. Gravitaciones 4:53 7. El Cortito MK 2:42 8. Tiburon en Marcha 6:28 9. Linden 7:18 10. Parafinal 5:07 LINEUP: Jorge Dal Cin – bass Roberto Medina – el. & ac. violins Ignacio Scarsella – el. & ac. guitars Gabriela Gonzales – keyboards Mario Gimeno – drums
Prolusion. Not much to put here. UNDER LINDEN, from Argentina, is a new name on the progressive rock map. The band hasn’t had time to build a website as yet, while this, their self-titled debut CD arrived without any supporting material.
Analysis. Though there are traces and bits of a few recognizable influences on this disc, I’m so to speak forced to decide in favor of Camel, since this one often comes across as being all-absorbing. At least by and large, “Under Linden” is very much the same kind of dramatically-sublime, almost purely symphonic Art-Rock, in which the “Harbour of Tears” album by the living legend from England excels. This all-instrumental recording opens with its longest track, New-New-Danza de Ballenas: a dynamically evolving composition that sets the tone for much of the rest of the material. Judge for yourselves readers: almost all of the other longer compositions, El Conducto, Gravitaciones, Linden and Parafinal, are much in the same vein, and along with the opener run for 34 minutes, thus forming two thirds of the album. This is strong, often powerful and at times heavy sympho-prog music with quite a few unexpected transitions and plenty of excellent interplay between the five band members, three of the said pieces featuring brief segment-rooms for showcase performances of each of them. What differentiates all these compositions from those by the band’s mentors in the mid-‘90s is the presence of some speedy maneuvers with rapid guitar solos at their helm, and with guitar riffs that bring to mind Hard Rock bordering on Prog-Metal (Gravitaciones and Parafinal are both especially rich in those elements), and also Roberto Medina’s violin work, which is much stronger than Karen Bentley’s. Lend an attentive ear to Linden, and I believe you’ll agree with me that Roberto is probably on a par with Jean-Luc Ponty from The Mahavishnu Orchestra in technique. His long passage in the piece’s mid-section is, well, the only fusionesque move on the disc, but it doesn’t feel out of place there, believe me. Instead, it adds a distinct identity to the band’s sound, so it’s very regretful that Medina only once demonstrates his (really amazing) skill as an improviser. The tracks from the mellower category, Enla Piedad de los Dioses, Casi Fue and Tiburon en Marcha, all have much more in common with Camel’s creations from the implied period. Each combine peaceful symphonic landscapes with somewhat more intense movements where the electric guitar lines are done either in Andy Latimer’s fashion or (much less often) in the Mike Oldfield style, though it also needs to be mentioned that only these three involve acoustic guitar. While being relatively simple, this music is very beautiful, instantly captivating me by its great melodies and refined arrangements. Only the shortest two tracks, Desolacion and El Cortito MK, don’t bring to mind what you’re already aware of. Okay, the first of these (a 50-second cut with only a couple of strange effects present) can with great reserve be regarded as an intro to the composition following, but the latter piece (an impromptu interplay between bass, guitar and drums) seems like a foreign body here and has been apparently added to push the recording over the 50-minute mark.
Conclusion. In the final analysis, I’d call Linden, Gravitaciones and Parafinal (which is a kind of much heavier take on its track list counterpoint) as the winners – of course for being the most original compositions here. One way or another, this band performs fine Symphonic Progressive, more often in its classic-bombastic shape. Recommended.
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