It is not common to see (hear) a progressive rock band from Cuba, but when I first listened to Anima Mundi, I really love their music and say "wow", since then, I've been following their efforts. First it was "Septentrion", a promising debut album with symphonic and folk tendencies, also the only one with Spanish vocals; then it was "Jagganath Orbit" where they expressed their skill at their highest level; and now is the turn of "The Way".
When I knew they would release a new album I was really excited because I love their music, and now, after several listens, I can say I am pleased, they did not let me down. This 2010 they gave light to this ambitious album called "The Way" which features four compositions, and a total time of 58 minutes, so as you can imagine you will find long songs here.
It opens with "Time to Understand", a fourteen-minute track where you can easily appreciate their symphonic tendencies, and where you will listen to first-class progressive rock. Throughout those fourteen minutes they offer a salad of sounds, a mixture of rhythms and moods and a great musical execution, it is evident that we are listening to trained and talented musicians.
In a symphonic prog band, I normally feel attracted by the sound of keyboards, and this time is not the exception, so pay attention to Virginia Pedraza's work, it is awesome. Returning to the song, when it reaches the eight or ninth minute it slows down, it makes great changes in mood and rhythm, a delicate guitar appears. But then the music begin to increase again until the final minute where it fades out.
"Spring Knocks on the Door of Men" is a giant composition that reaches twenty-six minutes, so you better sit comfortable and listen to this wonderful track. The first part covers the first four minutes, where you'll listen to soft and charming instrumental music, then it makes a little stop, delicate guitars and vocal appear and give it a new direction. The rhytm is semi-slow but it easily catches your attention, it keeps like this until minute eight where a new musical passage begins. Again, instrumental music with great keyboard work and also wonderful guitars; it is important to say, that despite I may feel more attracted by guitars and keys, all the instruments are equally important here, so open your ears and appreciate also bass and drums, because they are great.
At minute ten, there is a beautiful passage where you can close your eyes and let the music take you to another realm, I imagine myself in a beautiful place where peace reigns, with fields of green and pure air, just figure it out. There is a fantastic change after minute fifteen, the song explodes and becomes stronger and at the same time creates a new atmosphere, I also can imagine this part as if it was part of a film, in a scene where a new situation is taking place.
What a song this length can offer speaks for itself, there are a lot of sounds, emotions, textures, colors, images and several elements that help the music succeed and left a mark on the listener, as this band has left with me. After minute twenty there is another beautiful passage where a delicate flute appears accompanied by acoustic guitar and a nice keyboard atmosphere. Seconds later vocals return and add its special flavor. The final part of this is just the conclusion of a great effort, an ambitious track that reached his goal, at least with me.
Now the other two tracks are the shorter ones, despite they can also be considered as long ones. "Flying to the Sun" offers nine minutes of cool symphonic prog music. It starts with a mellotron sound which always produces me goosebumps, then vocals enter and a bombastic rhythm appears. A couple of minutes later nice bass lines mark the pass of a new passage where some choral keyboard appears and an excellent guitar work by Roberto Díaz highlights the track. Before minute six there is another change, actually in the mood because of the keyboards one can imagine some kind of terror scene, so there is a sense of tension and nervousness. The music itself is conducting you to several ways, you are exploring and knowing them, until you find your way: The Way.
And finally the shortest track, "Cosmic Man" which I have to admit is my least favorite on this album, which does not mean it is a bad track, not at all, not even weak, but in moments (the first minutes) I felt it repetitive. However later, more specific in the instrumental parts I felt caught again and my interest increased again. The last couple of minutes produce that sensation of an end, the music little by little is vanishing and saying goodbye.
Anima Mundi from Cuba is a band worth listening that I highly recommend. So far their three albums have caused several things on me and I fully enjoy them. Now, I am looking forward to their next effort, and I keep my fingers crossed in order to see them on stage, maybe soon, I don't know. My final grade will be four strong stars, it would be more accurate if I could add half star so it would be a 4.5 star record.
Enjoy it! Review from Progarchives.com.
Songs / Tracks Listing
1.Time to Understand 13:59
2. Spring Knocks on the Door of Men 26:32
3. Flying to the Sun 9:33
4. Cosmic Man 8:18
Line-up / Musicians
Virginia Peraza / Keyboards
Roberto Díaz / Lead Guitar & Vocals
Yaroski Corredera / Bass Guitar
Manuel Govin / Drums
Carlos Sosa / Vocals