Anima Mundi: The Lamplighter
"Patience is a virtue". Guess we've all heard that one. But with epic music it is absolutely essential. The wine must have time to ferment, in the minds of the creative talent which thankfully we are still able to witness in independent musicians like Anima Mundi. Imagine keeping this type of album bottled up for so long and wanting others to hear and appreciate it. Yah, it's tough on the artist as well as the fan. But in the end, it has to be just right.
It has been since 2010 that The Way, Anima Mundi's third album was released. A lot has changed. My original suggestion that AM pursue an album cover designed by Ed Unitsky was graciously considered, and the benefits to you the music purchaser will last for years. Unitsky went above and beyond, as he always does, to generate a stellar piece of artwork which canonizes the concept of this album so well. More on the artwork and concept later.
With The Way, many reviewers noticed the intricate bass rhythms and out of this world keyboard work. I and many other reviewers immediately placed it in the same category and level as Classic Yes. For me it was like the 'Yes' debut album, 'Going for the One', 'Topo Oceans', 'Fragile', and 'Close', all wrapped together as one. When I reviewed it I did not have a lyrics sheet. So I guessed at the themes. When I finally was able to buy the album, the lyrics and themes just blew me away. You need time to appreciate this creative art. 'The Way' vastly surpassed Yes' 2011 production, 'Fly From Here', to my humble ears.
And again, patience will be worth the wait on The Lamlighter, because this album is different. In many ways. First, they have a new lead singer, Emmanuel Pirko Farrath, who has known members of the band for over ten years. I do miss Carlos Sosa's vocals on this album. However, Farrath's vocals fit more with the new direction AM is pursuing with this album. The band is made up of José Manuel Govín on drums, Yarosky Corredera on bass, Emmanuel Pirko Farrath on vocals and the historical leaders and founders Virginia Peraza on keyboards and Roberto Díaz on guitars and vocals.
If The Way was Anima Mundi's interpretation of Yes, then I think The Lamplighter is an AM interpretation of King Crimson. The guitars, both intricate bass and innovative lead guitar, command this album, where the keyboards did the last. But, wait, those who love Virginia's keys will not be disappointed.
So…let's dig into it. ;^)
'The Lamplighter Suite' opens with 'On Earth Beneath the Stars' set to soft keyboards and flute. You can tell from the start that this will be another epic journey. Taking you back, this time to the sounds of 'In The Court of the Crimson King'. Well, this isn't 'Schizoid Man', but that flute and soft keyboards will definitely amaze. The welcome back, from Farrath. As if he was always there, begins, "You ask me who I am. A simple answer is always deep. I am the voice that calls hearts. When they pretend to quit".
Everybody in? Yes, it's great to be back! Farrath sings, "Come to the Lamplighter house. Walk to the lighted human house". Then, yes, take it away Virginia! Amazing keyboards. The guitar work already is creating new signature sounds which will get even better further on. Off on another great adventure!
'The Call and Farewell Song' picks up the tempo. Virginia's bold marching keys will stun and amaze, as always. This may be the closest they get to 'Schizoid Man'. Farrath sings, "Pilgrims have emerged, from the labyrinth of ground". Yes, the drums will rock your walls or earphones. Farrath sings, "Farewell caress of the wind. Prophets and all men's kings. I know sleeper's dreams remain. Planets will turn once again". Reaching back through time to pull forward that feeling you get when you first heard, 'I Talk to the Wind'. Excellent lead guitar from Roberto. Yarosky Corredera's bass right there…keeping time. Farrath sings, "Unpredictable tides. Will make our ship sail and wreck sometimes". Yes, "In the Wake of Poseidon'…ok, I'll go back there with you. But this ship sails through the air, Farrath sings, "While in the core of the sun, souls cast no shadow".
Now, before I go on…this is not King Crimson. Impossible…they don't have Greg Lake. But it will take you back to that period of classic prog.
'Light the Lantern of Your Heart' is the unveiling of the story and concept of the album. The flute and deep bass return like on the wings of butterflies, (to borrow a line of lyrics off 'The Way').
Excellent Genesis era keys and guitars re-open the second part of the track. Farrath sings, "Light the lantern of your heart. Everything will be embraced. By the almighty once again. Light the lantern deeper inside". Digest that for a while as Virginia lights the sky with those 'Going for the One' pipe organ sounds. Then, later, Farrath sings, "Unite this great legion of lighted heart. Come on nothing can stop us now! Gathering souls looking far beyond. Blessed eyes by wisdom and dusk. Let's defeat this tempest hailing from the dark". Just what the doctor ordered and the world needs.
'The Human House' re-opens with soft flute and keys. Farrath sings, "You already know who I am. I've left the flame with you. Wait for others. Their time will come. As once it came for you". Now sit back as Roberto's guitar and Virginia's keys blow your mind. Side one of a traditional album ends full of powerful music, emotions, and lyrics.
The second side of the album, 'Tales from Endless Star Suite ', opens with the track, 'The Dream Child Behind the Mask'. This side will convince you that you just might have purchased the prog album of the year. While Steve Wilson and others are trying to create a new road for prog intertwining melodies from pop and metal, others, like Anima Mundi, Comedy of Errors, and The Watch, are going back to the roots; and re-defining the genre from its seminal beginnings. Both off to improve the sound and vibrancy of progressive rock in their own way.
Then the slow intricate guitar you remember from King Crimson matched with that ethereal web of sound from 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' and other Genesis classics surrounds your ears. The slow wheel grind of this one picks up pace as Virginia's keys weave their magic to the deep sounds of Corredera's bass. Simply irresistible. Farrath sings, "Once we heard her voice that arrived, telling the tales from endless star, in timeless songs". Now that is what I have been talking about! Then, Virginia's awesome Genesis deep keys, (I only hope the next AM phase will be a Gabriel era Genesis one), before Roberto provides another mind – bending and blowing guitar experience.
Then Farrath sings, "Call her dawn, call her truth. The highest secret for me and you". Just try to sit still with that guitar and stellar key extravaganza going on.
Since Roberto Díaz and Virginia Peraza are the founding members of the band, it is only fitting that they each have their own showcases. 'The Return - Part I' is Roberto's. His acoustic and electric mixed guitar assault is both beautiful and phenomenal. The soft keys, drums, bass, and flute decorate the soundscape well.
The 'Endless Star' opens like a journey into space, complete with otherworldly keys and wide rimmed guitar sounds. This is the longest track at over ten and a half minutes. Then Virginia turns up the volume and action on those keys. Roberto's electric guitar solos rival some of the best you have ever heard. I only wish it was endless. If it wasn't enough already…prepare for the piano dessert. Freshly filled with power drums and pounding bass. Some nice Hackett-like riffs only add to making this one of the best instrumental tracks on the album…maybe any album this year. I told you if you had patience we'd get there.
'The Return - Part II' is the epic closer for the second half of the album. Just like all the great bands, they know how to close an album well. Farrath sings, "Their eyes reflected all past glory and memories". with that glorious slow acoustic guitar and flute surrounding the soundscape. Then, just as a last reminder Roberto plucks the strings, from the memories of 'The Court'…just one more time. Thank you.
Yah, I know there was an 'Epitaph' on ItCotCK, but this is the 'Epilogue', which begins with 'His Majesty Love'. Farrath sings, "His Majesty Love. The highest above. A cradle below. His Majesty Love". More excellent guitar, bass, flute and keyboards, as Farrath sings, "Cast his nature and he became. In his universal embodiment. Moves his brush and paints once more, His unfinished masterpiece of love". They close with beautiful acoustic guitar…as it should be.
Easily one of the best albums of the year. The artwork by Ed Unitsky must be experienced. This small pic on our website is simply not enough. Go to Ed Unitsky's website: http://www.edunitsky.com/, for the larger pics. Or… even better yet, buy the album. You know the music is good from the review above.
The artwork captures the theme perfectly, with the hearth representing your heart, full of flame, along with the other Earth signs. The pride and freedom of the peacock, the tenderness and transformation of the butterfly, the vivacious wisdom and attitude of the lizard, and the patience, tolerance, and evolution of the frog. Ed's art also graces the inner pages of the CD, where the lyrics unfold in front of Ed's otherworldly visions.
Please, experience this record…this year. It is worth every hard earned note and idea. Progress takes time. The effort is definitely there. For those that love deep, emotional music, this is what you crave.
Suite The Lamplighter
1- On Earth Beneath the Stars (4.24)
2- The Call and Farewell Song (6.20)
3- Light the Lantern of Your Heart (6.09)
4- The Human House (3.57)
Suite Tales from Endless Star
5- The Dream Child Behind the Mask (9.05)
6- The Return - Part I (3.29)
7- Endless Star (10.38)
8- The Return - Part II (3.24)
9: His Majesty Love (6.58)
Added: May 30th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: www.animamundimusic.com
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