Onza was founded in the wonderful Andalusian city Jerez De La Frontera, in February 1989. Two years later the band released its debut album entitled Reino Rocoso, it was received well by the international prog press. Then after years of inactivity prime mover Jaime Padilla (guitar and vocals) gathered a new line-up and started to write new material. Between 2003 and 2021 four-piece formation Onza (with guest musicians) has released four studio-albums, this review is about their latest effort Divergencia Y Convergencia, from 2021. The six compositions (between 4 and 9 minutes) sound very melodic and harmonic, often in the realm of neo-Prog.
Onza starts strong with the instrumental titletrack, lots of flowing shifting moods, between mellow, mid-tempo and bombastic featuring varied keyboardplay (synthesizer, strings, organ and piano) and sensitive work on the electric guitar. The interplay is excellent, and the rhythm-section sound powerful and dynamic.
Next two more song-oriented tracks, Lado Negativo (pleasant Spanish vocals, a moving electric guitar solo and nice musical ideas) and Nostalgia (inspired vocals by guest singer German Gonzalez, and tasteful work on guitar and keyboards).
Now a wonderful ballad entitled Recuerdos with acoustic rhythm guitar, dreamy vocals and intense play on violin and cello (featuring a melancholical undertone).
The alternating mid-long track El Tercero En Discordia is also more song-oriented but delivers a lot of variety and interesting musical ideas, from a tin-whistle like sound and orchestral keyboards to a swinging bass, synthesizer flights and moving guitar. Again the interplay is awesome.
Finally the instrumental La Campana De Cristal, my absolute highlight in this album, it showcases the band in its full splendor. It starts with a swinging rhythm featuring a dynamic rhythm-section, powerful electric guitar and synthesizer flights. Then the music turns into bombastic with a long synthesizer solo, evoking early Marillion. In the second part an accellaration, we can enjoy a moving guitar solo, fuelled by a powerful rhythm-section.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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