Atempo is a new band from Argentina. My attention was drawn to the fact that the band invited Mariela Gonzalez to sing the lead vocals. I knew Mariela from the two albums she made with keyboard virtuoso Lalo Huber’s formation Nexus. That band made two incredible studio albums, “Detrás del Umbral” and “Metanoia”. The later was my favorite album of the year but the year was finished before I received the album. So we never reviewed the album for progVisions. This time Atempo’s guitar player Eduardo Aguirre was so kind to send me the album just after it was released.
Eduardo Aguirre – acoustic and electric guitars; Sebastian Chiarini – electric guitars; Hiro – piano and keyboards; Pablo Villanueva – bass; Claudio Fazio – drums and percussion. Special guest: Mariela Gonzales – lead vocals.
Paula Uzal, Sofia Uzal, Umi Romeo and Jorge Diez – voices and backing vocals; Fabian Fazio – flute; Marcelo Donantueno – guitar.
The album has only four tracks but the total running time is 71:55 minutes! This is because the last track “El Final” is a big suite which counts for 47:20 minutes. The first track is called “Héroe de la Soledad” (Hero of loneliness) (11:21). Atempo makes long epic symphonic rock pieces which most of the time have a slow tempo. There are nice rhythm changes and breaks but in overall it is not so hectic like Nexus or bands like the Mexican Cast. The music is more melodic and warmer. This first track has for me some early Marillion influences. The dark voice of Mariela fits better in slow pieces I think. Listen for instance to the second track “Lluvia Mistica” (Mystical rain) (7:29) and you know what I mean. This slow track has beautiful melodies and Mariela’s voice is shining in this warm South American sympho piece. In “Cárcel de Sueños” (Jail of dreams) (5:27) we hear acoustic guitar, piano and fretless bass. This is a slow and delicate ballad with some up-tempo parts in the end.
But the album is build around the long epic “El Final” (The end) (47:20) which is divided into nine acts. “Voces” (Voices), “Lo poco que queda de micorazon” (The last part that remains of my heart), “Lamentos” (Sadness), “Silencio de Otoño” (Autumn silence), “Requiem” (Requiem), “Recuerdos” (Memories), “Sinfonia azul” (Blue symphony), “El final” (The end) and “Las ruinas del honor” (The ruines of the honor). Well this composition has everything you could wish for. The part “Lamentos” (Sadness) is breathtaking with beautiful melody lines, delicate vocals and an epic soaring guitar solo. Also I have to mention the beautiful classical piano work (“Recuerdos” - Memories) of Hiro. His keyboards sounds have often a classical touch (“Requiem” + “Sinfonia azul” - Blue symphony) which I like very much and which fits very good in the concept of the music. Also the use of both acoustic (classical) and electric guitars in a composition provides the band a broader musical spectrum.
Atempo has made a very good debut album. If you like the Symphonic side of progressive music and especially the classical side of it, you will love this album. This South American music is melodic and has a warm atmosphere. I am very curious how this band will develop and if Mariela Gonzales will appear also on a next album. If this band with capable musicians stays together they can have a bright future.