The double-album Requiem recorded by Jose Carballido is in many respects a very special CD-release, because you don't come across the combination of a rock band and a choir that often. I can't think of any musician who wrote music for such a special combination, but Jose Carballido - born in 1979 in Mannheim, Germany - did. At the age of two he moved to La Coruña in Spain where he studied modern music, electric and acoustic guitar, composing and singing. He played in several bands like Mízar (progressive rock), Piazzolla Quartet (Piazzolla music), Algarabía (baroque music) and Decine (soundtracks) where he learned to handle many different musical styles. Currently he's a member of the hard rock band Aeternam.
Playing guitar in different bands definitely helped Jose Carballido to compose the music for Requiem. It broadened his horizon and made him capable of writing something special that can't be labeled in a single musical style. The music on this double album features elements from several musical genres as opera, folk, metal, progressive rock and classical music. This blend of styles seems to work out very well. Sometimes the sound is strongly related to the music of Dream Theater or Symphony X due to the aggressive guitar parts performed by Jose Carballido and Daniel Anón. At other times you'll hear traces of Jethro Tull due to the flute playing by Alejandro Salgueiro. And of course, the use of the choir throughout the album moves the music in the direction of classical music and opera.
A blend of musical styles always works perfect for a concept album. Mr. Carballido must have thought likewise so he wrote a story about death and the pain it leaves behind. He needed two CD's to tell the listeners about the happiness of a couple in love that is suddenly shattered when one of them tragically dies. The whole album is about the pain and despair of the one who's left behind, the pain he suffers since the day his beloved wife passed away...
All characters in this concept are sung in Spanish by Jose Carballido and the choir. Related to the plot of the story Carballido performs the character of the man who's left behind, while the choir performs God's part in Spanish and the part of Death in German. What a pity that nearly the whole story is sung in Spanish, except for some German lines on the second track! Jose sings the lead vocals in his native language very well, but I'm afraid that it's almost impossible then to pursue an international career. It's obvious that he can express his emotions about death and pain better in Spanish than in English, but only the Spanish speaking countries understand what the lyrics are about!
Another disadvantage of this record is that it has been released as a double-album. Two albums of this musical genre will probably be too much for most people. Therefore, it would have been better if he had only released a single disc so you can keep focused all the time. On the other hand, a timescale of over ninety minutes of music is just perfect for a performance in a theatre which Carballido already did. He used photographs shown on a screen located at the back of the stage, while the band was playing in front of it. This way, the message of the concept was visualized.
Requiem is certainly not an album to listen to while doing the dishes. It needs your attention all the way otherwise you're not able to enjoy the beauty of this piece of music. It's evident that this musical style is not suited for all prog heads, but people who like to try something new will be surprised by what they hear. If you like a melting pot of musical styles check out the samples on their MySpace-page. You might enjoy it like I did!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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