Press play, and your walls immediately reverberate with the deep, rumbling echoes of a church organ. After a minute the bass, drums and guitar join in – it's a huge sound, and as the simple riff repeats several times you know this is going to be a really interesting ride. As that thought settles, the lead guitar and a synthesizer come to the fore with a tight passage of brilliantly traded leads. And you're just getting used to that, and the clear, strong vocals kick in. Hold onto your hats, folks, this should be fun!
Entrance is a five-piece progressive rock band from Chile. En la Tierra is their second album, and with just one or two minor adjustments they ought to find an enthusiastic fan-base. It is hard-edged progressive rock, reminiscent of the best of the '70s, fairly melodic and very well played. They claim to be heirs of the progressive tradition of Yes, ELP and Genesis, and those influences are very apparent.
You will hear the bass guitar – you won't have to listen for it. The sounds produced by Rodrigo Godoy's bass are dominant and played aggressively in the higher registers. But the signature sound in the instrumentals is the tightly combined keyboard / guitar work. Jaime Rosas's keys are very reminiscent of early Wakeman, and his dominant sound is the synthesizer –which is rich and melodic but may be slightly over-used for some tastes. What you'll remember most is Jaime Scalpello's vocals. They are strong mid-range tones with a crystal clear delivery, sung in the style of the best Italian prog. All lyrics are sung in Spanish.
This is not an album you would pick up because of its cover-art. The CD's cover is a mess of green and brown with white shapes and the notes and lyrics are printed entirely in Spanish. Now – most progressive rock fans don't mind foreign languages, but we'd like some kind of English-language description in the liner-notes.
Aside from the failure to accommodate their English-speaking audience, if there's a criticism it is that the songs lack individuality. The musicianship is stellar and the long multi-part tracks are rich in changes in key, tempo, and time-signature, and there are long intense passages that will tax your energy. Production is good but the mix attempts to force every note of every instrument to front-and-center. A wonderful wall-of-sound is one of the huge rewards of listening to progressive rock, but it can get exhausting after a while. You can't help thinking that the occasional ballad and a more subtle mix would considerably enhance the listening experience.
Considering the overall quality of the album, those are minor complaints. Let's leave it at this: The 1970s Italian prog scene is not dead – it is alive and well and living in Chile