Anima Mundi is a symphonic prog rock band from Cuba that is influenced by the progressive rock masters of the 70s. It all started In the spring of 1996. Guitarist, composer and singer Roberto Díaz is the founder of the band. Playing all over Cuba for years the band managed to get the attention of the proglabels. In July 2002, Mellow Records from Italy released “Septentrión”, their first album, with music that could be described as neo prog symphonic rock with Celtic influences. Both of the two guest musicians (Anaisy Gómez and Regis Rodríguez) played Galician bagpipes, Celtic flute and tin whistle. This gave the album that special Celtic flavour. After several changes in the line-up of the band, the French label Musea Records released the second album “Jagannath Orbit” in October 2008. This gave the band more exposure in Europe and good reviews followed. The band is now returning to a more pure form of symphonic rock with their new album “The Way”.
Roberto Díaz - guitars and vocals; Virginia Peraza - keyboards and vocals; Yarosky Corredera - bass guitar; Carlos Sosa - lead vocals; José Manuel Govín - Drums
Guests: Javier Maury - percussion; Mónica Acosta - Bassoon; Yailín Martínez - Flute
Can you believe this, a band from Cuba that has managed to make three symphonic rock albums so far. This shows that the musicians has an unbelievable dedication to progressive rock. It is not the easy way ... and I hope that the band will get the full support of their label Musea Records to promote their wonderful symphonic rock album “The Way”.
The album opens with a Roberto Díaz composition entitled “Time to Understand”. This piece of music is a kind of transition from the previous album “Jagannath Orbit”, hectic and complex music with a lot of rhythm changes and the strong influences of a band like Yes and the later Anglagárd to a more pure form of symphonic rock music on “The Way”. In the second part of the composition the music becomes more symphonic and has more melody.
After this strong opener of 14 minutes you can enjoy the newer sound of Anima Mundi in the epic “Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men”, a mega composition of more than 26 minutes. The bassoon of Mónica Acosta in the classic intro reminds me of the works of Igor Strawinsky. The influence of Yes is still there but is not so prominent. You hear it in the sound of the instruments. The overall atmosphere is that of a classic symphony orchestra. There is more detail, and the music has more depth. You can hear breathtaking melodies on guitar and the keyboard orchestrations and vocal lines are very beautiful. Sometimes the sounds of the instruments reminds me of the still underrated masterpiece “Tales from Topographic Oceans” from Yes. “Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men” has five acts but you can listen to it as one big piece of symphonic music that has a breathtaking climax. Only for this piece you must buy the album ... this is progheaven.
The next composition “Flying to the Sun” opens with Melotron samples and develops into a piece of symphonic rock with a pounding bass and at one point the music reminds me of IQ. Virginia Peraza uses some great church organ samples in this track which she wrote together with Roberto Díaz. Roberto and Virginia are the driving force of this Anima Mundi.
This wonderful album closes with the track “Cosmic Man”, another symphonic composition of Roberto Díaz with orchestral keyboards, strong bass lines of Yarosky Corredera and beautiful synth and guitar parts. There is more room for the vocals of Carlos Sosa in this composition. Slowly the tension of the music is building up towards a climax. A worthfully ending of this album full of great symphonic rock that goes straight for the heart.
Only four compositions on this third Anima Mundi album. The first and last composition is written by founder Roberto Díaz. The two others are composed by the duo Roberto Díaz/Virginia Peraza. First of those two is the epic “Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men” and is my favorite song. Because this track is the closest to real symphonic music. The symphonic orchestra is substituted by a symphonic rock band. This is symphonic rock in their purest form. You can hear that this line-up of Anima Mundi is working together for more than four years now. They are developing their own sound but the ghost of Yes is still wandering around. Therefor this album is also a must for Yes lovers. But personally I think “This Way” is one of the strongest symphonic rock albums of the past years ...