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Aisles: In Sudden Walks

I am not sure how well known Chile is for producing quality symphonic and neo progressive music but the band Aisles have surely done that with the release of their second album In Sudden Walks. The band formed in 2001 and released their debut The Yearning in 2005 which I have yet to hear. The seven member band includes Alejandro Mélendez (keyboards, vocals), Rodrigo Sepúlveda (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals), Germán Vergara (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals), Felipe González (bass), Luis Vergara (keyboards), Sebastián Vergara (lead and background vocals, flute) and Felipe Candia (drums and percussion).

If you enjoy your progressive music in the neo/symphonic styles and with an overall mellow sound you will probably like In Sudden Walks. The band's music is very melodic and many of these tunes incorporate quieter sections, bordering on ambient, demonstrating a nice contrast of styles, although the music of Aisles never approaches heavy prog. At times I was reminded of Marillion, the softer side of Pink Floyd, and Camel. The band's sound has a decidedly European flavour, but Latin American influences do show up occasionally. The album was quite a long time in the making and it is obvious a lot of thought went into these songs. The band has also incorporated some theater in the compositions, especially prevalent in the album opener, "Mariachi", where the progressive soundscapes are inundated with Spanish dialogue between various actors. The sound is very symphonic with a nice melody and Floydy lead guitar. The dreamy "Revolution of Light", with traces of Camel and Marillion, is catchy and melodic and has a smooth sound. The vocals of Sebastián Vergara are very good, ideally suited for the band's softer style of prog. "The Maiden" is a nice blend of neo-prog and folk with Latin influenced acoustic guitar before the band gathers some momentum and shows some pretty good chops.

The album's final song is "Hawaii", beginning with gentle acoustic guitar and atmospheric keys. The song takes a romantic ballad approach and requires a couple of listens before hidden nuances and textures are revealed. The moody backdrop at times invoked Roxy Music's Avalon, especially the Manzaneraesque guitar playing and the band's attention to detail.

While not overly complex or completely original, if there is such a thing, In Sudden Walks is still a fine listen that should appeal to fans of melodic progressive rock done in a mellower vein. Well done gentlemen.

Track Listing:
1. Mariachi (9:59)
2. Revolution of Light (4:41)
3. Summer Fall (9:56)
4. The Maiden (9:28)
5. Smile of Tears (4:00)
6. Hawaii (14:58)

Added: August 5th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 3841
Language: english

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Aisles: In Sudden Walks
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-08-05 14:42:09
My Score:

In Sudden Walks is the latest release from Aisles, a contemporary progressive rock band from Chile. We don't often see many prog acts from Chile, so that alone is a reason to look up and take notice of Aisles. Their music is very lush, romantic neo-prog, with the emphasis on the vocals and melodies, rather than musical bombast. This is kind of refreshing actually, as their sense of restraint works for them rather than against them on this very enjoyable CD.

Though most of the songs are in the 9+ minute range, don't expect a wide assortment of solos and uber-complex instrumental passages, though the band does strut their stuff from time to time. Take the excellent "The Maiden" for example, a lengthy piece with a very South American flavor, filled with layers of acoustic & electric guitars, gentle keyboards, and melodic vocals, but with a wonderful middle section packed with intricate guitar & keyboard unison lines.

The band evokes images of late 70's Genesis or early Marillion on the atmospheric & moody "Smile of Tears", and combines symphonic prog with catchy pop on the upbeat "Mariachi". Rodrigo Sepulveda & German Vergara add in some tasty Steve Hackett inspired guitar lines on this one that are not to be missed. "Revolution of Light" again shows the bands pop leanings, and "Summer Fall" also displays those great hooks, addicting vocal melodies, and tight instrumental interplay. Ending 15-minute epic is all about mood, an atmospheric landscape of dreamy keyboards and lush guitar patterns.

Vocally, Aisles has a lot going for them. Sebastian Vergara has a fine voice, and with the rest of the band contributing backing vocals, there is a nice full sound to be heard throughout the album. For some serious prog fans there might not be enough challenging musical passages here on In Sudden Walks, but make no mistake about it, these guys can play, and their sense of restraint here works out much better for them I believe. It would be hard to envision these songs with too much soloing or endless noodling, so I think they made a good choice with keeping the bombast to a minimum.

End result is, Aisles have arrived, and In Sudden Walks is a very charming CD that fans of lush, romantic, melodic modern prog will certainly want to check out.

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