Cast - Vigesimus - 2021
"... TOP-NOTCH keyboard orchestrations ..."
Fans of the Mexican prog band Cast had to wait for more than three years to welcome a new album from their favourite band. In the meantime, they released the Bluray "Sinfonico", to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the band. In the year 2017 the band released "Power And Outcome" on the German Progressive Promotion Records label. That same label has now released the new album entitled "Vigesimus". In my review of the album "Vida" (the predecessor of "Power And Outcome") I already told you that at the moment the band has a killer lineup. Luckily this line-up hasn't changed on the new album "Vigesimus".
Alfonso Vidales - keyboards; Claudio Cordero - guitar; Roberto Izzo - violin; Carlos Humaran - bass, backing vocals; Antonio Bringas - drums & percussion; Bobby Vidales - lead vocals & backing vocals; Lupita Acuña - lead vocals & backing vocals
The album includes three instrumental compositions, the hectic opener "Ortni", halfway the album "Manley", and the almost eleven minutes long "Contacto" (I. Primer Acto, II. Profundi) of the penultimate piece. The other seven compositions have vocals. As mentioned above, the instrumental opener is a hectic up-tempo piece. Those hectic passages alternate with beautiful passionate parts with melodic guitar and violin. Those hectic passages are a little bit a trademark of the band. I think that this is the reason that prog fans will love or hate the music of the band. As a long time fan of the band I grew up with it, but I must admit that the music of the latest releases have more diversity and those albums are just fantastic. Opener "Ortni" seamless flows into the track "Black Ashes And Black Boxes" which is hectic and slowly is working towards a climax. The first parts of "The Unkown Wise Advice" (9:44) therefore work as a small resting point. But also this track is slowly working towards a climax. It has a brooding atmosphere and with Bobby Vidales, the band has a first-class vocalist. The orchestration of the piece is wonderful, but this counts for the whole album. The battles between, synths, guitar and violin are great. With almost 10 minutes this is the first big highlight of the album. "Another Light" is a shorter track with beautiful vocal melodies and a nice keyboard orchestration. This is followed by the five minutes instrumental "Manley" in which Alfonso Vidales and Roberto Izzo are impersonating the orchestra while supported by a great rhythm section. "Location And Destination" (7:53) is a typical Cast composition with great diversity. I repeat myself but the orchestration is again beautiful and the vocal melodies are strong. Of course, guitarist Claudio Cordero is throwing in some high-speed guitar work but there are also nice delicate piano and violin parts. The next song "Crossing" (10:00) has a slow classical piano opening with some melodic guitar parts. Maestro Alfonso Vidales continues to impress me with his orchestrations and fine keyboard playing. In those long tracks, the band is in its element. Every musician can showcase his qualities. Another strong Cast composition that is working towards an abrupt ending. "The March" (7:21) opens with beautiful delicate vocal parts and classical piano and strings. The classical influences become stronger and stronger towards the end of this amazing album. The combination of the male and female voices of Bobby Vidales and Lupita Acuña works fine. After an abrupt ending, it is time for one of my personal favourite tracks of this album. Almost eleven (10:45) minutes of pure symphonic rock with a lot of classic influences. Beautiful classical piano, violin, acoustic guitars and an impressive keyboard orchestration. This instrumental piece is divided into the parts "I. Primer Acto" and "II. Profundi". In the later more uptempo part guitarist Claudio Cordero is once more showing his skills. The album comes to an end with the track "Dredging To the Higher Plane" (10:13). It all comes together in this fine composition. Once more the music slowly is working towards a climax. The classical influences are all over the place and we can enjoy fine guitar and violin solos.
Long time fans of the band will get what they expect, typical hectic South American progressive rock with classical influences. Since Roberto Izzo is playing the violin this is emphasized even more. Composer and leader Alfonso Vidales is developing more and more as a classical composer. His keyboard orchestrations are top-notch on this album. You will get an overwhelming symphonic rock album with some metal injections of guitar maestro Claudio Cordero. As your reviewer, I have a problem because I get out of points to reward the Cast albums. I gave the previous album "Power And Outcome" a five-point rating, but this album is even better. Especially if you also like classical music and therefore will love the classical influences on this album. With "Vigesimus" the Mexican band Cast made another great album. Highly Recommended.