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Metaconciencia - Bestiario

Metaconciencia - BestiarioMetaconciencia formed in 1996, and in that relatively short time they have been dubbed Mexico’s foremost progressive rock group.  The band, perhaps unusually for prog rock, is guitar based as can be seen from the line up; Francisco Estrada (electric, classical and synth guitars), Ricardo Moreno (acoustic guitar, keyboards (on one track) and bass), Jose Ramon Porrua (bass) and Carlos Bonequi (drums).

Bestiario, which has just been released on the Musea label, is the band’s debut album but it was recorded on four separate days in July 2001. 

The album, which is entirely instrumental, starts with a dark acoustic guitar opening up to frenetic electric guitar in a sort of freestyle with acoustic guitar, bass and drums holding down a prog base line.  Whilst the lead is more in the prog-metal style, the rhythm section leans more towards a classic Genesis sound.  The second track, Alh 84, maintains the feel of the first, yet is quite different.  Delicate and intricate acoustic and classical guitars dictate the direction which is prog and classical (a mix of Hackett and Howe) with an occasional jazz and Spanish/Mexican interjection.  Style changes slightly once again for Paradigma where the lead guitar changes between Fripp, Howe, a jazzy Gilmour with a touch of wow wow and probably one or two others.  Pendulo is a delightfully intricate acoustic piece reminiscent of John Williams. 

Eniac picks up the pace, again starting with acoustic guitar punctuated with light jazz electric guitar tightly combining with the classy rhythm section.   Improv was recorded live in one take, not that you would guess.  The rhythm section holds down a catchy theme and beat allowing Francisco to let rip on electric guitar like Carlos Santana on steroids, and it works well.  The title track, Bestiario, sees the introduction of keyboards and a touch of dissonance, providing a 70’s style prog sound with a touch of prog metal here and there.  The absence of keys up to this point was not missed, but now they are there… well, they fit in nicely.

1899 is a tribute to Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940) of whose work I am not familiar.  The track has a classical edge with a Crimson or Fripp style arrangement; dark and heavy but nonetheless, melodic. The final track on the album is AntarticaAntartica, probably more than any of the other tracks, combines a variety of styles and genres sometimes all at the same time.  Classical, prog, acoustic, jazz, folk and rock all in one and surprisingly, it doesn’t sound the least bit disjointed.

Metaconciencia are talented musicians whose playing ability is unquestionable.  Their compositions are unique and their arrangements inspired, venturing into the experimental side of music at times whilst pushing the traditional boundaries.  Bestiario is one of those albums that takes a few plays to get into; but by the third of fourth listen, you’ll be hooked.

Jem Jedrzejewski




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