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Sonus Umbra: Winter Soulstice

Sonus Umbra has been making music for over 20 years from their Mexican home. They are returning to release their latest work, Winter Solstice this year. Previously the band has released Snapshots From Limbo in 2000, Spiritual Vertigo in 2003 and Digging for Zeros in 2005. Despite the long hiatus, Sonus Umbra has returned with a strong dark symphonic progressive rock album.

There have been some lineup changes and the band now includes: Roey Ben-Yoseph, who performs lead vocals; Rich Poston, plays electric guitar; Brian Harris, plays keyboards; Steve Royce, plays flute and sings; Tim McCaskey, plays acoustic guitar; Andy Tillotson, plays drums and acoustic guitar; and Luis Nasser, plays bass.

This is a great album that combines many sounds from some of progressive rock's historic presence, all composed with new harmonies and original compositions and built in a classical progressive rock structure. You can hear elements of Rush, (especially driven, deep, and experimental bass and revving lead electric guitar); Jethro Tull, with Steve Royce's flute, and other keyboard based bands with Brian Harris' ELP/King Crimson sounds. Roey Ben-Yoseph, lead vocals are not comparable to any of the legends of the genre. He sets his own standard.

"Wounded Animal" an over ten minute epic is a favorite track displaying the talent and ambitious ability of the band to create something impressive. In fact, the band has four other tracks over seven minutes long. "Silence Kills", "Haunted", and "Rebuke the Sea" are the other epics that make this album worth inclusion in your progressive rock collection. The acoustic guitar at the opening of "Silence Kills", along with the spirited synth keyboard accompaniment will grab your attention immediately, but there are plenty more inspired keyboard excerpts within this nearly nine minute opus. "Rebuke the Sea" with its sounds of the ocean, flute, and deep string arrangements is the best track on the album. Classical prog in every sense of the word. "Adrift", the closer is also full of the sounds of the sea mixed well with acoustic guitar. A stunning way to finish an album.

With a title like "Bar at the End of the World" I was hoping for more, but this short, 1:25, acoustic guitar interlude is a perfect transitional track. "Let it Rain" is another favorite. "It's Only Fear" is another keeper track full of interesting keyboard, deep bass and guitar playing.

Overall, I highly rate Winter Solstice . It is a great introduction to a new band I will be watching in the future. If you have their other albums, then this album should definitely be added to your collection. If not, please take the time to listen to this album. Much effort and care was put into its development and creation.

Track Listing:

1. Last Train to Kimball
2. Insomniac Blue
3. Palestinian Black
4. Wounded Animal
5. Let it Rain
6. Silence Kills
7. It's Only Fear
8. Bar at the End of the World
9. Haunted
10. Rebuke the Sea
11. Adrift

Added: November 16th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Language: english

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