This brand new release from British trio Guapo might just be the most ominous, intense CD you will hear all year. Like a head-on-collision between King Crimson, Magma, Univers Zero, and perhaps NeBeLNeST, Guapo's Five Suns is a gripping and haunting platter of dark progressive rock that at times will send chills up and down your spine.
The three members of the band, Daniel O'Sullivan on keyboards, Matt Thompson on bass, guitar, & electronics, and Dave Smith on drums, conjure up an alluring musical nightmare of intriguing sounds here. O'Sullivan creates a huge wall of sound on the five part epic title track (over 46 minutes long!) with his array of classic keyboards, including a Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, Harmonium, and organ, while Thompson's huge bass lines bubble and boil beneath the surface alongside Smith's acrobatic drum work. This is creepy yet compelling stuff, squarely in the prog rock camp, yet there is an abundance of jazz sounds as well as post-punk aggressiveness, especially when the band throws some molten sounding guitar solos at you. The way they go from quite, eerie moments highlighted by intense Mellotron washes, to manic and loud frenetic bursts of energy reminds me so much of Larks/Bible/Red era King Crimson.
"Mictlan" is very Zeuhl sounding, and much like the great Magma, Guapo mixes jazz with brooding atmosphere and complex interplay, all supported once again by shiver-inducing Mellotron cascades. The last track, "Topan" , starts off as the most melodic tune on the CD, with some great Fender Rhodes electric piano tones and huge bass lines, before becoming a spooky descent into the netherworld.
This is a suberb release from the always intriguing roster of Cuneiform artists. Be prepared to journey to the dark depths of your mind and soul...be afraid, be very afraid.
1) Five Suns: Parts 1-5 (46:34)
2) Mictlan (8:58)
3) Topan (6:37)