Much to my regret, I wasn´t going to review this CD. But after receiving the album by the label, I thought that if this album isn´t reviewed at progVisions because of a mistaken idea of morality, not only the band would lose a promotional channel but also you (specially non Spanish) would lose a good album.
And you´ll think.. why this introduction?. Well, Germán Villén (keyboardist and alma mater of Abyss), is not only an extremely sexy guy.. he´s also reviewer at progVisions and, of course, he´s friend of mine since 1997. So I´d like to remark that this review hasn´t written led by passion (you´ll see).
Let´s go to the point..Abyss is a young – but veteran – band that comes from Andalucia (Spain) hardened with lots of live shows across Spain on their shoulders and, why not?, some strange conspiracies (the band was going to open for Stratovarius at Mijas Rock Festival and suddenly the supporter was replaced). Well.. after an insipid debut album, “Redención”, with a poor sound and filled with all kind of power metal topics, the band joined Diamantes en Bruto Tour along with Sphynx and Furia Animal, proving that their power metallic songs were played on stage with progressive arrangements.
Now there´s no excuse. Abyss has released the album they wanted to, without any “influence from the youth” and focused on an ambitious blend of metal and progressive influences. There´s no excuse for infantile lyrics, melodies with a deja-vu feeling, poor sound, etc.
Jaime García (vocals), Marcos Escaño and Adolfo Vergara (guitars), Israel Fuentes (bass), Raphael Fedriani (drums), and the aforementioned Germán (keyboards and synths) release an album with nine tracks that show the style of new Abyss, everything with a great graphic design.
Although Abyss has dust all topics inside “Redención”, we can find some short rocker songs in “Sin Angeles” –later on I´ll write about the suites- but this time the short songs are not influenced by Stratovarius, Sonata Artica and other metal warriors; now the influences come from bands like Shadow Gallery, Symphony X, Magellan or Dream Theater. A token of this change is the second track “Dulce Mal” (6:18), the best song of the album in my opinion because the band mixes energy, power and metal with lots of changes of rhythm (the one before the chorus give the creeps). The opening track is “Sed” (6:06), a catchy song that is the first single.
After a simple song (“Sed”) and an intricate but easy to listen song (“Dulce Mal”) it´s time for the first surprise of the renew Abyss.. a track with a length of 14:08 about war in Iraq and entitled “Medio Oriente”. The song starts with soft guitar arpeggios and the intensity grows up until a short electric storm. Then Jaime starts to sing the verses and choruses with different shades in his voice. In the middle of the track we can listen to amazing changes of rhythm, alternating sweetness and fierceness, and then appears Ana María León´s beautiful voice printing eastern aromas, before a vocal duel between Jaime and guest vocalist Fernando Pleite. The rest of the song follows the same path: prog metal at its best.
After the progressive storm, we return to metal reality with “Por siempre jamás” (7:26), a song with lots of nastiness in its subject and a great final instrumental development.
Now it´s time for the second suite “De fuego y traición” (11:22), not as effective as “Medio Oriente” if the listener is not into progressive rock, but instrumentally much better. In fact the intro is amazing.. a great crescendo built from an acoustic guitar that ends with devilish rhythms played by Fedriani and keyboard races played by Germán. There´s a lot of Shadow Gallery´s Tyranny inside this track. The vast instrumental developments are great, especially the guitar duels between Marcos and Adolfo over Israel´s tireless bass.
The album is 100% but there are good things to come. “Sin Angeles” (7:08) is a wonderful ballad with a moving lyric. Its spirit reminds me of “Seasons of Faith´s Perfection”, the only good song of last Stratovarius album (no plagiarism here, in any case the plagiarizers would be Strato). Jaime literally pushes his throat to the limits.
After the tears it´s time for the heaviest track of the album, “A costa da morte” (6:54), with Symphony X influences. The song is about Prestige, the oil tank ship that destroyed the coast of Galicia. Good keyboards by the end of the track and lots of metallic adrenaline throughout the seven minutes.
And this is almost the end..“Esclavo de mis sueños” (7:29) is another track that blends power metal with progressive rock in few minutes. Vaste instrumental intro (two minutes) and a long instrumental development by the end of the track with guitarist Alberto Rionda duelling with Adolfo and Marcos. The closing track is “Un poco más cerca del cielo”, a moving instrumental track with two acoustic guitars.
If I were a rich man I´ll return the money to everybody into progmetal who dislikes this album. The first album is mediocre, but “Sin Angeles” is the definitive progmetal album made in Spain. If the songs had been sung in English language, the album could be at the same level of any international masterpiece. Definitely this band deserves all the support from its label.
Of course if you don´t like progmetal forget my words… but if you love Shadow Gallery, Magellan or Symphony X, don´t forget “Sin Angeles” in your list.
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