Iconoclasta - La granja humana - 2000
Iconoclasta is definitely one of Mexico's most classic bands. For Y2K the band celebrated their 20th anniversary with the release of a great album: "La Granja Humana". Fronted by guitarist/keyboard player (and composer) Ricardo Moreno, the band also includes Ricardo Ortegón (guitars), Nohemi D'Rubín (bass) and Victor Baldovinos (drums).
For those who are not familiarised with Iconoclasta's works, it is actually the band's 9th studio album (if we include the EP "Suite Mexicana"). Their style goes from symphonic instrumental pieces (see "Adolescencia Crónica") to nice female-sung tracks ("De Todos Uno"), Mexican folklore ("Suite Mexicana") and even jazzier themes ("Soliloquio").
As it is usual with the band, their albums follow in series of two, and as the two previous albums: "La Reencarnación de Maquiavelo" and "De Todos Uno", are partly similar, "La Granja Humana" sounds quite different to them. First of all, there are no sung parts, it is a wholly instrumental album; and second, the music is more energetic. Nevertheless, Iconoclasta's approach is easy to recognize thanks to the keyboard sound, to Moreno's own guitar style and to the acoustic passages that characterize some of their music.
The rhythms change on most tracks: there is a jazzy-bossa touch on "Alquimia"; a more symphonic keyboard-guitar led rock on "Hoy fue la oveja, mañana el pastor", a highlight; twin guitar melodic riffs on "Ruleta Genética"; a soft Spanish guitar intro on "El Ultimo de los Dodos" (which is actually one of the best tracks on this album); acoustic guitars and flute leading to more rocking sections on "Sabiduría Viviente" and "Destruyendo el Mito de la Cración".
The balance between the instruments is fine, even if the guitar is mostly the lead instrument. The rhythm section works fine: D'Rubin is a great bass player whose melodic lines always step in the right place; Baldovinos is a precise drummer, the rhythms are carried out perfectly, even though it is necessary to say that he sounds more energetic live. There is also a balance between Moreno's and Ortegón's twin guitar parts or keyboard-guitar works.
Another point that has to be mentioned is the artwork: the cover painting (signed Carlos Tello, as on other Iconoclasta's albums) shows what the group wants to express with their music: cloning and the reproduction of living creatures in an abstract way.
To conclude, "La Granja Humana" is a great record. Nevertheless, we can not say that it is the most innovative album of the year. The music is nice, the compositions are good, the instrumentations have a great quality. Nothing to say on that side, we could even applaud them. However, there is something else. Iconoclasta creates good music, but I think that now, what they need is to record a more surprising album, I would dare say their masterpiece. The group can be happy with what they compose and play, but they should be thinking seriously in doing something that would place them among the best bands worldwide, and not only in Mexico or in the Hispanic world. They have the level and the talent, they need the will.