My first musical encounter with this promising, interesting new Spanish prog rock band was Omphalos (2006) their fourth studio-album since the debut album Structures from 1999. I ended my review with the euphoric sentence: this CD is a very captivating musical adventure; Kotebel proves that forty years after the birth of progressive rock, bands are still able to make progressive rock in the true sense of the word! Thus, I was very curious about Kotebelís musical development on their new album, three years after their previous release.
Well, from the very first moment, I was delighted about Ouroboros and I got more excited after every listening session. What an excellent blend of symphonic rock, jazz rock and a slight touch of avant-garde! The six studio tracks contain very inventive arrangements evoking the spirit of Gentle Giant. You can enjoy a lot of tension and dynamics, many strong musical ideas and the interplay between the musicians is awesome. The powerful and protrusive rhythm-section, the fiery electric guitar and the majestic mellotron-violin waves reminded me of the King Crimson 1974-era. However, Kotebel sounds less dark and aggressive, more in the vein of the King Crimson inspired bands that emerged in Sweden and Norway in the nineties like Anglagard, Anekdoten and White Willow. I would like to emphasize the ingredients that, in my opinion, make listening to Ouroboros such a captivating musical experience. In the first place, the excellent interplay between the musicians, second, the tension between guitar and keyboards and third the exciting breaks, build-ups, accelerations and shifting moods. Never a dull moment! Sometimes you hear swinging rhythms with powerful bass and intense electric guitar or an intro with tender grand piano and sensitive electric guitar. In other tracks you hear tight rhythms with powerful jazz rock oriented guitar and protrusive drum beats or a splendid build-up from dreamy xylophone, acoustic guitar and mellotron choirs to bombastic with heavy work on drums, guitar and keyboards. The main point of this album is the interplay between the harder-edged guitar and the energetic and dynamic rhythm-section. The two keyboard players, Carlos and Adriana Plaza, are outstanding performers. They colour the compositions with, among others, tender grand piano, floating strings, ominous mellotron-violins, spacey synthesizer sounds and impressive mellotron choir eruptions. Especially in the short track Legal Identity V1.5, I was blown away by the virtuosic interplay between the swinging piano and the majestic church-organ-like sound.
This CD ends with a sixteen minutes long epic: the bonus track Mysticae Visiones recorded live at the Portuguese Gouveia Festival in 2007. This varied epic features singer Carolina Prieto with her high-pitched voice, but also strong solos on guitar and keyboards. Ouroboros is a fantastic new album, even more impressive than their previous one. Check out their website to listen to excerpts of this exciting and captivating new album!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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