This Mexican band deserves to be one our page. Not only because they managed to survive all those years since the late eighties. But in the first place because they made some great prog albums. Cast's history goes back to 1978, but the first CD was released in 1994 after their dream of building their own studio came thru. The last years they managed to distribute some albums in Europe with the help of French distributor Musea. But most albums came on the market as independent releases. "Infinity" is their fourteenth album so far. For people who like to know all the album titles, here is the long list of Cast releases: “Landing in a serious mind”, “Sound of imagination”, “Third Call”, “Four aces”, “Endless signs”, “Beyond reality”, “Angels and demons” (a must for all progfans!), “A view of Cast” (live album), “Imaginary window”, “Live experience” (live double album), “Legacy”, “Laguna de volcanes” (compilation of new versions with Spanish vocals), “Castalia” (live album) and “Infinity” the new album. The main force behind the band is composer and keyboard player Alfonso Vidales. Cast is also known for hosting and organizing the important Baja-Prog festival. This prog festival of four days gives each year promising bands the opportunity to present themselves to South America and the rest of the world.
The line-up of the band was very stable. This new album introduces two new members (change of drummer and an extra guitar player) but all those years the band existed out of the following members. Antonio Bringas – drums and percussion, Francisco Hernandez – Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, Rodolfo Gonzalez – Bass, Dino Brassea – Vocals and flute, Alfonso Vidales – Keyboards.
The newcomers are: Enrique Slim – Drums and percussion, Carlos Humaran – Electric guitars and Backing vocals, Jorge Vidales – Backing vocals.
The new album counts 70 minutes divided over nine tracks. All the compositions are again from the hand of Alfonso Vidales. The first track is called "Castopolis" (5:30) and is an instrumental. Build on a basis of keyboards the melody lines are mainly also played on the keys. The track is not so hectic and temperamentfull (typical South American I think) as usual. The electric guitar parts are also more melodic as usual. Maybe this is the influence of new guitarist Carlos Humaran. A good start of the album. Next is "Movieland" (9:11) which is also packed with loads of keyboards but also includes the flute of Dino Brassea. The keyboards of Vidales have often a classical atmosphere. The last three minutes are more uptempo and hectic with vocals. In "Yuridia" (4:47) the keyboards of Vidales sounds like Tony Banks and are very beautiful. The vocals of this ballad are sung in Spanish. Most of the Cast albums have English vocals but I believe that bands must always sing in their native language. That is better for the atmosphere, I think. "Never expect them to smile" (13:53) opens with classical piano and melodic electric guitar parts. The vocals are again sung in English. The vocal line is very melodic and is accompanied with melodic electric guitar parts. The keyboards of Alfonso Vidales are sounding delicious are as always very prominent in Cast's music. They are stitching all the melodies together. In the second part of the composition we can hear melodic electric guitar and some great piano work. This long track is one of the best compositions I heard from Cast. I like the classical and symphonic sound of the keyboards combined with the melodic guitar parts. Next is title track "Infinity" (11:53) and this one starts up-tempo with heavy guitars and fast drum work. After one minute the music slows down a bit and becomes more melodic but the sound is still huge and majestic. Those long tracks are like small symphonies. The music sounds symphonic and has sometimes a kind of Genesis atmosphere. If you like keyboard drenched symphonic music, you will like those two long tracks. "Nature's way" (2:44) is one of the shorter tracks with some Yes influences in the first vocal part and a fat synth/guitar duel in the end. The next long piece is called "Illusion" (10:20) and has a real Genesis atmosphere. (listen to the guitars in the opening). The longer tracks of this album are the best ones. "Nightmare" (7:03) has a slow and mysterious opening with melodic vocal lines. But at a later point the composition becomes more up-tempo with some nice electric guitar solos. The album ends with "October winds" (4:39) an instrumental with fast keyboard work with classical and oriental atmospheres.
The music on this album is not so hectic, more melodic and it sounds more European to me. A positive development I think, because most people I know don't like the hectic and neurotic atmosphere of some old Cast pieces. The tempo of music has more variation now. I enjoyed this album very much. Especially the keyboard dominated long pieces and the melodic guitar solos. This is an album for lovers of melodic, symphonic and keyboard dominated prog with a classical touch.