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JINETES NEGROS - Tawa Sarira cover
3.50 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2013

Filed under Non-Metal


1. Tawa Sarira Intro (1:21)
2. Juez de los Malos (4:48)
3. Corazón y Naranjas (4:05)
4. Canción del Océano (6:03)
5. Suene Tu Milagro (5:29)
6. Shawarma (5:16)
7. Amada Inmortal (5:50)
8. Luna de India (3:49)
9. El Eterno Retorno (6:48)
10. Esas Trampas (5:01)
11. Las Cuatro Verdades (5:43)
12. El Velo (3:42)
13. Purgatorio (7:02)
14. A los Ojos Bellos (6:53)
15. Tawa Sarira Outro (1:32)

Total Time 73:22


- Ricardo Penney / Drums, Backing vocals
- Marcelo Ezcurra / Vocals, Guitar
- Eduardo Penney / Guitar, Backing vocals
- Alex Yamashiro / Bass
- Octavio Stampalia / Keyboards, Backing vocals

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Jinetos Negros, an Argentinian prog metal band, first came to my attention when it was sitting lovingly on a proggers list of the best 10 albums for 2013. Naturally this album “Tawa Sarira” intrigued me but I was surprised at the musical direction of the band, whose name incidentally means Black Riders, taken from a poem by Nené Dinzeo. First and foremost it is not a prog metal band in any sense of the word, at least not this album. Metal denotes at least some distorted guitar riffing and heavy rhythms in drums and bass and it delivers neither. Instead this one is replete with violin, orchestra, piano breaks and Gentle Giant whimsy complete with melodic high register voices.

There is a semblance of distortion on the guitars in ‘Corazón y Naranjas’ but the overall style is heavy prog at best. The voice harmonies are pleasant and I like the way the band blend piano with rock guitars. Octavio Stampalia is a great keyboard player and I like the style of guitarists Marcelo Ezcurra, also on vocals, and Eduardo Penney. The drums are courtesy of Ricardo Penney, backed on bass by Alex Yamashiro.

There is a hint of Canterbury at times such as on the jaunty ‘Canción del Océano’. The band sing in their own language that may or may not appeal to the mainstream audience but they sing well. On this track the piano is outstanding as virtuoso as Rick Wakeman at times. I like how midway through this there is an orchestra fanfare and medieval sounding keyboards. In fact the track definitely has that medieval Gryphon sound or Wakeman in his Elizabethan mood. There is even a flute to enhance this atmosphere. The sound is uplifting and bright at all times. The style changes at the end with a blistering lead solo. This is a highlight of the album.

Minimalist piano opens ‘Suene Tu Milagro’ sung with feeling and quiet reflection by Excurra. The violins have a melancholy resonance and the music builds emotionally into orchestrated passages of beauty. A more dramatic orchestrated approach is heard on ‘Shawarma’ and tribal percussion reminding me of a movie soundtrack. The slicing violins are well performed and the tom toms reminiscent of African music. The singing is more forceful but still maintains a clean tone. The mouth harp is even heard on this and it features a high pitched lead guitar break and a ton of sweeping strings along with some heavier guitars.

‘Amada Inmortal’ opens with a stirring string section and a wonderful bassline drives it. The swirling synth solo is nicely played and eventually a much heavier guitar distortion comes in. ‘Luna de India’ is dominated by violins and operatic choral vocals that echo the main vocal. It is rather a grand soundscape but the guitars are present to bring in a rock feel. I like the sound the band generate but still feel lost without knowing the lyrics.

There is a touch of cinematic drama on the rousing ‘El Eterno Retorno’ with grandiose violins and a building melody. The tune is memorable and I like the way the lead guitar is unleashed to execute a solo in the intro. Later there is a synth solo that sound similar to Rudess’ Haken Continuum keyboard fingerboard style. There is a lot of grand piano on this too. It is a more symphonic sound than I had expected overall on the album. ‘Esas Trampas’ continues the violin orchestration and is accompanied by rather theatrical vocals. It suddenly changes into a heavier style when the guitar riff breaks in.

‘Las Cuatro Verdades’ has a piano intro, followed by an organic guitar and synth sound. The choral vocals are operatic similar to any rock opera I have heard. There is even a reminder of some of the work of Therion though this is less heavy in that regard. The drums are a showcase on this track well worth checking out. At 2:30 there is a fabulous synth and lead trade off in the instrumental section. The band really radiate a grandiose atmosphere and the imposing presence of the violins are accompanied by flute passages and swirling synth explorations; another highlight of excellent musicianship.

‘El Velo’ opens with a heartbeat and then some beautiful chiming keyboard flourishes sweep over. the vocals are handled with sensitivity and flair. ‘Purgatorio’ has a dramatic intro of horns and strings as though it were a film soundtrack. The eerie synth melody works well on the scape of violins and rumbling drums. There is a really nice bassline also and I certainly know I cannot fault the musicianship of the band in these moments. By the time the cool heavy guitar riff enters this is already another highlight of the album. Even the vocals are approached with a heavier style rather than crooned and harmonised. The spoken dialogue intriguing and well supported by operatic chants. A quiet musical interlude follows with astonishing melodic resonance and some distorted guitar crashes before a grinding lightning fingered organ solo dominates. The sound even reminded me of the Hammond sound of the 70s. Towards the end there is a throbbing sound and a finale crescendo with multi tracked vocals and grand melodies. ‘Purgatorio’ is indeed one of the greatest tracks on this album.

‘A los Ojos Bellos’ is next with Gothic cathedral pipe organ and delicate horns in the intro. The synths sound like the synth sound in Europe’s ‘Final Countdown’ intro if you remember that retro 80s gem. Again there are Argentine lyrics followed by lead break, piano and some acoustic vibrations. A young female voice is heard in this section that enhances the atmosphere. An angelic choir of voices enters and it feels like the finale as the voices build over stirring lead guitars and a Wakemanish synth fanfare. The pace quickens with heavier guitars and multi tracked vocals. The last track is ‘Tawa Sarira Outro’, a short piece with wind howling, deep African like chants and clicking sticks as high register vocals sing a pretty melody.

Overall I really enjoyed hearing this operatic symphonic heavy prog album. There is more symphonic elements than I was prepared for but most of my favourite prog is Symphonic so this was a sheer delight to discover. I am still at a loss as to the moniker of metal as I heard none of that, however this is a great exploration of orchestrated symphonic rock that is some of the best Argentinian prog I have heard.

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