DAVE IMBERNÖN'S SCALP: Crisálida 'Solar' (Independent, 2012)

Hello metal friends. I've just come from my holidays and what could be better than listening to some good music. Today I'll tell you about Crisálida's new stuff, a progressive rock band from Chile. This album is called 'Solar' and it's their third.

Crisálida are: Cinthia Santibáñez (vocals), Javier Sepúlveda (guitars), Rodrigo Castro (bass) and Rodrigo Sánchez (drums).

A deep piano opens the door to this new work, the track is called 'Raíz', with a flute and synths creating atmospheres that will later join to consolidate the song and end up hardening the harmony. It's a very good way to start listening to this album, I really like it. The band's been careful with all the details in the song, and it's very well performed.

The listening carries on with 'Araucana', with irregular rhythms in the drums, with 'stroboscopic accentuations' in its riffs and details that take us to a 'progressive journey'. The warm voice unifies with its melody 'progressive' rhythms with sharp guitars and those unmistakable keyboards which colour the song. Good changes in some parts, although some of it might be a bit sudden. A well-played song, without many embellishments. The truth is I'm not used to listening to progressive bands without many frills and sometimes it seems I'm listening to Baroque, more than any other thing. In this case, that's not the problem.

'Atacama' is the third song of the album. The song starts smooth, always with that progressive cadence that is not lost at any moment. The melody of the vocals enters very well, I perceive a 'folk undertone' in the base, although I'm not an expert about Araucanian music culture. By the half of the song there is a sort of pianistic interlude with that environmental flute that grows stronger to end up in a progressive orgasm, like 'Dream Theater-style' with a beautiful, deep guitar solo. It's without a doubt a good song, personally I like it very much, the melody of the voice is really beautiful.

A heavy and remarked riff opens 'Bajo Tierra', the next track. Electronic sounds contain an ethereal voice melody, with a very progressive atmosphere bordering the psychedelic, the chorus pleases me. I think the song is well created, with a lot of details, There is a great deal of care over the bass performance, and it's well perceived. A deep, male off-voice talks to us, leading us into the song; an exquisite guitar solo bordering the sublime makes me close my eyes and relax. Great song, I love it.

With 'Mantra' the psychedelic doesn't fade -withouth leaving such characteristic environmental sound  in this production, I keep letting the song surround me. Jazz influences in its harmonies, the melody is long, deep, matches well, and it's as if, together with the keyboards, they surrounded me. I admit it was hard to connect with this song at first, but, as it does one, I like it more. I'm halfway through the song where there is a space for controlled distortion, which play with surrounding electronics.

'Mitos' goes on stage... A smooth piano together with the bass plays with our ears even creating feelings. The atmosphere borders the jazzistic with 'new age' influences. Maybe it's a bit slow to my ear and I feel too many metrical differences between the voice and the rest, maybe it's too modern for my old-fashioned ears. The solo is not bad but, in my opinion the base is much better.

The strength comes back with 'Kitral'. A little more agressivity in the guitars, with a more agressive riff, and that off-beat bass is alright, perhaps in this song the voice melody dissolves too much.  I find the chorus is better, but I think this track gets a bit lost. It dragged, and I think it's because of that cadence and a too marked harmony.

'Aurora' is the eighth track, I like the start a lot, always atmospherical, very well created harmonies, the beautiful melody and keyboards bathing in the harmony and liking the track. Halfway through the song, powerful long guitars and stronger drums give volume and motion to the song. I don't  dislike it, I find it very original. The 'petruccian' solo is very suitable, I truly like this song.

'Solar' is ninth of the same-named album, a too-structured track in my opinion, and very progressive, I think it's a complex song in its harmony and structure.

I have to say there is a lot of work on this album, creativity is boundless and the performance, magnificent. I think it's maybe too risky. In my opinion, more powerful guitars are missing and I also think there are brilliant ideas about the creation of environments, but  those, together with the lack of force in some parts and with very technic and progressive drums but lightly marked, make the songs get a bit lost sometimes. They are very good musicians without a doubt, I remark those keyboards that give atmosphere and coherence to the album, the voice is very beautiful, but perhaps it would be more lively with some dynamic changes in some parts. Some songs have positively surprised me, like 'Araucana', 'Aurora' and 'Bajo Tierra'.

Recording such a progressive album is very difficult and has a huge merit, but it's also very risky, and it might be hard to make the most of it in just one or few listenings, but you have to look for the right moment, right place and let yourself get carried away. If someone expects to find progressive metal itself, they won't find it, but there are details... It's almost closer to progressive rock, with folk nuances in the voice melodies, with psychedelic touches in certain moments, some jazz magic and specially one thing: they are themselves, with their own sound and essence, something really hard to see nowadays in music, generally speaking, and that's something that makes them very special and appreaciated when it comes to play their songs live.

I have to inform you that this band has shared stage with other important bands like ASIA, DEEP PURPLE and THE GATHERING among others, proving their technic worth and savoir-faire on stage.

Dave Imbernön
Translation: Judith Sáez

Get to know Crisálida here: www.crisalida.cl

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