Usually prog from Spain is about legendary bands like Atila, Bloque, Canarios, Crack, Ibio and Iceberg, or Rock Andaluz, of course with Triana, along with bands like Cai, Iman, Alemada and Medina Azahara. But Spanish prog also delivers some nice Neo-Prog bands, like Bijou, Dr. No, In Nomine, and, last but not least, Numen. This band was rooted in 1992, released their debut album in 1998, then dissolved but returned in 2013, to release its second effort entitled Numenclature in 2014 and in 2018 this new album Cyclothymia, at the Chilean prog label Mylodon, on CD (6 tracks), and vinyl (5 tracks).
1. The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (6:48) : First dreamy vocals and soaring keyboards, then a bombastic eruption with a tight beat, it sounds like pleasant Neo-Prog featuring nice work on guitar and keyboards and decent English vocals. Gradually the music turns more mellow with a strings sound and twanging guitar, culminating in an emotional vocal outburst with howling guitar and very moving electric guitar (evoking Steve Rothery (Marillion) but the fiery wah wah gives an own touch) and bombastic keyboards, a strong end.
2. Some Faith (a CD bonustrack) (5:09) : The second song starts with dreamy piano, passionate vocals, the work on the distinctive volume pedal guitar colours the emotional atmosphere wonderfully. Halfway more strong electric guitar (from sensitive to fiery) and soaring keyboards, finally tender piano runs and soaring strings in dreamy climate, as in the first part.
3. A Cosmic Prayer (7:05) : First a slow rhythm in a sumptuous climate, then Neo-Prog rules, with obvious Marillion hints: an acceleration with a tight beat, melodic guitar work and pleasant vocals. We can enjoy wonderful electric guitar runs and spacey synthesizer flights, then again a tight beat and finally a dreamy ending.
4. Cyclothymia (14:53) : This epic title track begins with tender piano and dreamy vocals, embellished with synthesizer flights and a mellow organ sound. Then a spacey climate with guitar and keyboards, gradually the music becomes more lush. Next a shifting mood with fat synthesizer sound, sound effects, a bit ominous climate, but very compelling. Halfway suddenly a dreamy atmosphere with piano, followed by a bombastic outburst with powerful Hammond organ and a propulsive rhythm-section, a captivating sound. Then a tight beat with flashy synthesizer flights and guitar riffs, the voice of girl, now the music turns into a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar leads and lingering vocals, very emotional. Finally howling guitar runs and then dreamy piano, this is a wonderful epic, Numen in its full splendor!
5. Lady Of The Winds (5:38) : The intro features the voice of a child and sound effects, then a dreamy climate with soaring keyboards, soft synthesizer flights and warm English vocal. Halfway again that voice of a child (lalala) in a cheerful mood, followed by a wonderful colouring with keyboards, a delicate synthesizer solo and classical guitar runs. Simply beautiful, to me it sound like the Spanish answer to Dutch pride Kayak, very melodic, harmonic and tasteful.
6. Footprints (9:30) : The final song delivers an obvious Marillion atmosphere (Misplaced childhood era) with fragile electric guitar and tender piano work, and soft bass run. Then a slow rhythm with dreamy vocals, a bit melancholy. Halfway the music turns into more bombastic and compelling featuring a howling guitar solo and emotional vocals, then propulsive guitar riffs and drums beats, very pleasant Neo-Prog. In the final part lots of moving guitar soli, along orchestral keyboards and emotional vocals, culminating in a bombastic eruption, to end this strongly built-up composition in style.
To be honest, during my first listening session I was a bit confused about Numen and its new album, because of the huge contrast between the guitar sound (Rothery and Steve Hackett inspired) and the vocals, more Spandau Ballet rooted than Fish or Gabriel inspired. I had to get used to his voice, you can hear English is not his native language, but he puts a fair amount of strong emotion in the music. But gradually I was more and more pleased with Numen, its Neo-Prog sound featuring tasteful and varied arrangements, a pleasant colouring by guitar and keyboards and some nice own musical ideas. This promising Spanish formation showcases its potential on this new effort, I am looking forward to their next effort.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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