I first came to know this band from there fantastic release Jagennath Orbit. To my ears this was one of the best progressive metal releases I have heard in a long, long time. Hoping that they were not just a flash in the pan, I was thrilled when they contacted me about their newest release The Way. I put it on with just a bit of trepidation knowing that they were going to be hard pressed to compete with their previous offering. Well, I guess I should have put more faith in this band from Cuba as The Way proves without a shadow of doubt that Anima Mundi has to be considered one of the best bands in the genre.
Only four songs but there is so much to love in these songs that you will find them each becoming an integral part of your musical life. I have been totally mesmerized by what they have crafted on this disc. Superb musicians and powerful songwriting combine to make an album that is easily one of the best offerings of this or any year for that matter.
The dramatic and gripping "Time To Understand" kicks off the disc with 16 minutes of pure progressive bliss. Synthesizers soar before Roberto Diaz brings in his guitar magic to electrify this little slice of majestic music that melds old school sounds like Yes and ELP with a newer breed of prog rock that is totally Anima Mudi. Lead singer Carlos Sosa shows off here also. With this song as an example his powerful and dynamic vocals are inspiring and although he might not be well known yet, it won't be long before we hear his name spoken in the same breath as the best in the field.
With the 26 minute "Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men", Anima Mundi takes you into a musical world that is an enchanting and exhilarating as you are going to find. You first hear an oboe and then keyboards come in to set the tone and before you know it you are swept away into a musical world that brings together rock, metal and jazz in such a dynamic way it paints a picture of spring awakening that really can be appreciated here in Michigan on a cold snowy day! Think of the groups Yes and Porcupine Tree with a little bit of Spock's Beard thrown in and you will have kind of a picture where they are coming from. This melodic piece of progressive beauty captures the essence of all that we look for in this type of music.
Anima Mundi is a band that you know instantly from the music and that is something unique in itself. Too many try to sound like someone else and it is great to hear a group that uses its influences to shape and mold their own sound. This is a band that deserves the respect of the whole music world for what they have accomplished with this disc. When they unleash the trippy "Flying To The Sun" on you it shows how someone can take the music that shaped them and make it into something their own. When I first heard this song I thought of The Beatles but it came to me as something that they might be doing now-a-days if they were still a band. This is not a bad thing at all and one that makes Anima Mundi so special. They make you think of other great music but in a way as to how you might rank them among their peers.
The final song "Cosmic Man" is the shortest song on the disc at just over 8 minutes and is the heaviest song on here. This very aptly titled tune had me thinking…Ground control to Major Carlos with its spacey exuberance and his heavy guitar foundation upon which keyboardist Virginia Peraza weaves an outer space fantasy. Virginia is the secret weapon in the Anima arsenal. Well, not that secret as she shines throughout the disc. She is really the canvas upon which most of the terrific music is painted upon. When musicians of this caliber harness their abilities in such a dynamic way, the outcome is usually something special. This band is no exception to that rule. They have created what is easily one of the best albums of the year and one that I am running out of terms to tell you how good it is. Remember the name Anima Mundi, it will soon become one that other bands will be compared to!
1. Time To Understand
2. Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men
3. Flying To The Sun
4. Cosmic Man