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Echoes: Nature / Existence

Nature / Existence is the impressive debut album from this Venezuelan collective who are based around a sextet of musicians which is further expanded by four guest vocalists - Carl Webb ('Oceanworks'), Tobias Jansson ('The Law', 'Silent Scythe'), Nick Storr ('The Third Ending') and Pedro Castillo ('Tempano/Aditus') - a smattering of saxophone and, on one composition, a Chamber String Quartet. And in keeping with the bands Latin origins they also incorporate traditional folk music, backed up by the appearance of a cuatro (a traditional Venezuelan folk instrument similar to a ukulele, apparently). Emerging back in 2005 and being welcomed in their prog-starved homeland, Echoes have taken their time in crafting their debut opus and, without the burden of expectation that can hamper releases by established artists, it proves to have been well worth the wait.

Prog metal that veers towards the mellow and melodic, Nature / Existence is weaved around an abstract concept that (in the great tradition of The Wall) ends up going full circle with thte first piece entitled "Epilogue" and the closing number "Prologue"). Mixed by Ola Sonmark (Within Temptation) and mastered by Svante Försbäck (Apocalyptica) this comes with a huge sound, packing a punch during the aggressive riffing of "Rude Awakening" and choppy instrumental "Bonfires" in particular. To single out one or two songs does the rest a disservice as there is a strong coherence about the whole piece, despite the varied styles of the vocalists, but the aching melancholia of "Winds of Dread" is a real highlight that springs to life with the sax solo and conveys an atmosphere of loss and despair. Elsewhere, the shimmering vibe of "Leaf Motif" blends lush vocals, ambient keys and a stirring melody against a backdrop of industrial riffs.

On the evidence of their first effort, Echoes clearly have the potential to evolve into something special. Innovative, sophisticated and inspired, this is one band that should be on the radar of prog fans old and new.

Track Listing
01. Epilogue - Is Where we Start 02:48
02. Rude Awakening 06:32
03. Leaf Motif 06:11
04. Lullaby 04:21
05. Bonfires 03:21
06. Unfair 06:15
07. Seasons Came to Pass 01:44
08. Far from Coincidence 04:17
09. Despair 05:33
10. Winds of Dread 03:40
11. Farewell 03:32
12. Proglogue - Where We End 04:48

Added: May 21st 2010
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3165
Language: english

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