Hispanic progressive rock is rising up. After the review of J to the last CD of the Venezuelan Témpano, now I offer you the opportunity to know about the Mexican group Kromlech, a band that started in 1997 and that includes Jesús Lomeli (bass and acoustic guitar), Fernando Baraja (keyboards), Leonardo Patiño (drums) and Carlos Ruíz (guitars). This first album "La soledad de las sombras" is an almost instrumental conceptual piece of 51 minutes divided in 9 parts and that is based on the original story of the band Todo fue que nada había...
Space sounds with references to Hawkwind and Tangerine Dream are the base for the narration that starts "La encomienda", the bass says hello and presents the guitar, keyboards and percussion, uniting all them in a colorful ethnic instrumental development that it finishes in fragment similar in conception to "Grendel". "Primera travesía" (2:30) is an impressive piece a la Pär Lindh built by the talent of Barajas at the keyboards it is a pity that they have not been able to use an authentic tube organ- that finishes with a brief guitar solo merged with a small drum show. Then we have "Un príncipe sin sangre en las venas" (8:56), developed from electronic and space sounds with all type of percussion and a guitar a la Rothery/Latimer. A crescendo that ends in a sudden cut takes place. A very circular bass creates with the percussion (good plates), the substrate for the guitar and later the keyboards to shine with their own bright light in multitude of instrumental developments replete of sounds and sensations. The topic finishes suddenly with a medieval and melancholic clavichord sound to which an electric guitar endows more intensity. Acoustic guitars and dreamy keyboards submerge us in "Segunda travesía" (2:43) a very electronic piece with folkie sounds and highly descriptive moments.
The noise of wind and a ferocious electric guitar are the prelude to "Desterrado en el desquicio" (5:40). An endless riff of sad guitar unites to a rich rhythm section to create a very progressive piece with reminiscences of Djam Karet and Arabic music. The guitar floats carrying out arabesque acrobatic exercises while the rest of the band fills the music with great ease. To conclude, more guitars and keyboards solos constantly changing rhythms and shining light. "Tercera travesía" (1:50) begins with a bass to which are gradually added layers and layers of keyboards and delicate guitars that conclude in a pleasant melody in which Baraja shows his quality again. "Frente al arroyo del tiempo" (8:00) is a very country and lyrical composition with a beautiful melody in crescendo that remembers from the more pastoral Camel cocktails with Lito Vitale's Latin prog touch. The pianos and acoustic guitars become more beautiful than ever offering us exquisite moments, with some moments in which the best Oldfield comes to mind as for arrangements. At the end of the song a jazzy Emersonian eruption opens the way to a tremendous guitar solo. "La cuarta sombra: el suicidio" (2:38) is another short but intense topic, full with tension, beauty and accents. To end up, "Largo escape hacia la muerte" (9:18) is the culmination of the mighty Kromlech power, guitars suffer, keyboards speak and transmit, the bass and drums are possessed by the spirits of Wetton and Bruford. The experimental moments of fierceness and rhythmic writhing are inserted with medieval melodies in the undoubtedly most progressive piece in the album.
In definitive, "La soledad de las sombras" is not only a step ahead for the progressive rock of Hispanic origin but a reference point for the international progressive. Fresh, impressively executed and original. Keep an eye on these Mexicans that are already beginning to play in the big league. They deserve it.