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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Zyclope - Uno - 2004

What an update.. what an update!!. You know we don´t throw the ratings away, but this month all the albums are very good!. I wish all months will be like this.

Surprising is the word that defines this album, a collection of twelve tracks played by Juan Olmos (piano, programming, vocals), Javier Mira (guitars), Javier del Palacio (bass), Ernesto Sánchez (drums), Jorge Calvo (flute), and Yasia Shevchenko (violin).

Three years ago, César García (Kotebel´s guitar player), g”ave me the gem of “Uno”, titled “Locura Temporal”, when the name of the band was Ciclope. This album had eight tracks that we can also find in “Uno”, but of course now the songs are more polished, the sound is much better, and the arrangements are richer.

In the same way four new tracks are added and some misprints are corrected (i.e. “Notredam”). The graphic design is not the sleepy dragon of Locura Temporal, now it´s a strange figure of light that I think doesn´t fit with the music (it seems the cover art of a Discipline Global Mobile´s release).

The music has lots of influences by the most sympho side of the genre, emphasizing on medieval and neo-classic styles. Listening to Zyclope the names of Gryphon, Hackett, Camel, Hotsonaten, Wakeman, Vangelis, Anthony Phillips, Marillion, Jethro Tull will come to your mind.

“Asesinato en Orient Express & Desenlace” (7:44) has a cinematographic and mysterious atmosphere in the beginning but then ends with beautiful harmonies played by piano, electric and acoustic guitars. A great opening track and a style that maybe could remind of known bands, but with its own personality. But this is not the only wonderful song because the varied “Recorriendo Mundo” (3:58), or the strange but beautiful “Locura Temporal” (4:33) are every bit as good as the opening track.

We´ll find the most medieval moments in tracks like “Merlin” (4:00), with nice violins and, again, great guitar work (acoustic guitar and clear electric guitar); “Viaje a Escocia” (6:26), with Renaissance sounds a la Blackmore´s Night and (another) great guitar solo; “Fantasías del Rey Arturo” (4:27), that could have been taken from Hotsonaten´s “Springsongs”; or the marvelous “En la Corte” (3:25)

The newest tracks are the Tull-ish “Zyclopea” (4:04); “Electrickal Night” (5:18), one of the two songs with vocals, with a heavy rhythm section and a aggressive and distorted voice over beautiful violins (the result is great); “Mite & Mita”, an exercise of guitar a la California Guitar Trio in less than two minutes; and “Feeling your Breath” (3:24), the other song with vocals, with acoustic guitars and a nice violin. Unfortunately these four tracks don´t give us a clue of what Zyclope´s music will be in the future. Of course the band should go on playing instrumental tracks because Juan Olmos doesn´t have the gift of a talented voice. He passes the test in “Electrickal Night” because of the distorted vocals, but in “Feeling your Breath” he fails trying to sing like Freddie Mercury.

But it´s only a track… and there are eleven more tracks here. Although I don´t know how the band´s sound will be, this “Uno” (corrected and increased version of “Locura Temporal”) is another big hopes for Spanish progressive rock. If they keep on researching the style and sound of “Electrickal Night” I´m sure they´ll take out a very original sound. But if they go on with their sympho-pastoral-medieval rock, we´ll have enough reasons to be happy for a long, long time.

I insist: Gryphon, Hackett, Camel, Hotsonaten, Wakeman, Vangelis, Anthony Phillips, Marillion, Jethro Tull… you´ll find references to all the aforementioned bands but no carbon copies. This is Zyclope... and “Uno” is a great album.

Alfonso Algora - July 2004
rating - Musea

 

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