Toundra are a band from Madrid, a group who have been around for a decade with now five albums to their credit, but their latest for InsideOut Music, Vortex, is my first experience with their music. Vortex is all instrumental, a set of brooding, pulsating compositions that touch on progressive & post rock, richly textured with layers of guitars and fast moving rhythms. After a brief opening piece, "Cobra" sweeps the listener away with a variety of colors & tones, giving way to the more aggressive "Tuareg", as heavier guitars, almost extreme metal in nature, paint a crushing palette. "Cartavio" drops things back into more tranquil pastures, the lilting guitar strains quite lovely, giving way to the even more pastoral "Kingston Falls", which is chock full of guitar loops, synth, and luscious effects before the band changes pace and deliver some stunning heavy rock riffs. "Mojave" blends Tangerine Dream with Anathema, the alluring sounds drifting through the cosmos, before the more accessible sounds of "Roy Neary" blast in with plenty of intricate drumming and wave upon wave of delay tinged guitar patterns. Upbeat closer "Cruce Oeste" again sees Toundra return to the heavier side of things, the riffs menacing, the lead guitar work gorgeous, and the rhythms stacked with catchy grooves.
Overall, Vortex is a damn beautiful instrumental album, the uplifting melodies sure to bring a smile to your face as the musicianship impressive every step of the way. Score another winner for the InsideOut team as Toundra now instantly becomes a powerful force on their roster.
01. Intro Vortex
05. Kingston Falls
07. Roy Neary
08. Cruce Oeste