Anima Mundi - The Way

(CD 2010, 58:26, Musea Records FGBG 4405)

The tracks:
  1- Time To Understand(13:59)
  2- Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men(26:32)
         - Act 1: Spring Arrives From Her Celestial
                     Dwelling - The Ordinance
         - Act 2: Revelation - Apotheoses At Infinitum
         - Act 3: Heading For Eternity - The Final Journey
         - Act 4: Season For An Alchemist
                     A Game Beyond Nature
         - Act 5: Mother Spring - The Way
  3- Flying To The Sun(9:33)
  4- Cosmic Man(8:18)

Anima Mundi Website        Musea Records

The Cuban progressive band Anima Mundi were founded in the spring of 1996. They recorded their debut album Septentrion in 2001 followed seven years later by Jagannath Orbit (see review). In 2010 they released The Way, by far their best album to date. While listening to the first song Time To Understand the term massive progressive rock immediately comes to mind. It's a mixture of the power of the Scottish band Pallas and the glorious rock music of the Canadian trio Rush. You'll hear plenty of interesting breaks similar to Rush during their most symphonic era on albums like A Farewell To Kings (1977) and Hemispheres (1978). Time To Understand contains heavy bass playing by Yaroski Corredera, flashy synths solos by Virginia Peraza, short acoustic guitar intermezzos by Roberto Diaz and amazing drum patterns by Manuel Govin. The second part of this piece is a blend of the music made by ELP and Yes with fantastic changes in tempo and rhythm and with many solos played on various instruments. At last the sound of Rush returns with acoustic guitars, a vocal part and a superb guitar solo.

Next is a 26-minute epic with the fascinating, but rather obscure title Spring Knocks On The Door Of Men. This epic piece has been divided in five acts. The first act starts as a classical symphony and later on pass into a mixture of the traditional progressive rock of Yes and the more modern version of prog rock by The Flower Kings. Soaring organ sounds and a guitar lead you to the beautiful voice of Carlos Sosa. Just as Jon Anderson (Yes) he easily reaches the higher notes of the vocal range and also the lyrics are just as enigmatic as Anderson's. Heading For Eternity, the third act of this musical journey, is a heavy orchestral piece with a guitar solo in the vein of Steve Howe (Yes) and in the middle-section a bluesy David Gilmour-like guitar solo followed by heavy eruptions and an almost dramatic symphonic duel between the Hammond-organ and the guitars. The fourth act is an instrumental piece mostly in the vein of a traditional Yes-song while the last act is dominated by a classical acoustic guitar and a flute.           

I think The Flower Kings, Transatlantic and The Beatles (!) must have been the biggest influences for both the lyrics and the music on the track Flying To The Sun. It's a happy kind of tune with a massive sound of the bass guitar and flashy Moog and Korg-organ music, ending with a dramatic interaction between the Hammond-organ and the electric guitar. This is another epic masterpiece. Final track Cosmic Man also contains a lot of dramatic parts. Carlos Sosa is shouting his lungs out and the piano and bass breaks in the middle-section of the song testify of great inventiveness and outstanding musicianship. The symphonic finale of this piece is all The Way really brilliant.

In my opinion The Way is one of the best albums ever recorded. After listening to the album a number of times I fully understand why it's highly recommended by many lovers of progressive rock. I can only rate this album with the maximum of five stars, but if it were possible to give six stars I would have done so. I'm very curious to see this band play live at venue Lakei in Helmond, The Netherlands on June 18. 2011

***** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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