MP3 Aghora - METAL: Progressive Metal
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9 MP3 Songs
METAL: Reformist Metal, ROCK: Reformist Rock
The concept of AGHORA was first devised in 1995 by Santiago Dobles while attending Berklee School of Music. Originally the lineup consisted of Santiago (lead guitar) and Andy Deluca (bass) both students at Berklee at the time. It was not until 1997, when Santiago and Andy moved to Miami and met up with the other members: vocalist, Danishta Rivero (Santiago's sister); local death metal guitarist, Charlie Ekendahl(Mendacity); and drummer, Sean Reinert (of CYNIC, DEATH and GORDIAN KNOT), that the music started to come alive. Together they recorded two demos and began searching for an outlet for their music. Since then, AGHORA has become well-known through the internet in the progressive rock & metal scene and many people throughout the world awaited for the release of their first CD. In 1999, the band began work on their debut album. At that time Andy parted with the band due to personal reasons. Sean Malone joined the band as a guest artist two weeks before the scheduled recording sessions. Throughout 1999 they recorded "Aghora" a debut album containing nine original tracks. The album was produced by Santiago Dobles, Dan Escauriza and co-produced by Sean Malone. The debut CD was released March 2000. Many people have made the connection between AGHORA and CYNIC and this is obvious by having the two Seans playing with AGHORA. The link between the two bands started when Santiago as a young teenager became a huge fan of Cynic. When Santiago moved to Miami he made friendships with the members of CYNIC and this has developed through the years to where we are today. So there is a natural progression from CYNIC to AGHORA. Is AGHORA the second coming of CYNIC? The answer is no. AGHORA incorporates some CYNIC influences with many new ones introduced by Santiago. The result was something new and quite different. Some time after the release of the debut, it became apparent that Malone no longer had any interest in playing with the band opting instead to focus on other projects, so a replacement was sought. Reinert's involvement was also limited due to his location in Los Angeles, so another drummer was sought out locally for the purposes of playing live. Such were found (Alan Goldstein, Richard Komatz) and the band embarked on several musical forays in the South Florida area in 2002, attracting people from as far away as Sweden for one show. Unfortunately, well into 2003, Richard developed tendonitus and replacement bassist no longer gelled with the other members, so they were dismissed from the band and yet another search was embarked upon.
It took over a year, but in November of 2004 Aghora's newest drummer was found in the form of Ian Hayes. Ian was auditioning for Dimmu Borgir when he was introduced to Aghora's music. He contacted Dan Escauriza to connect with Santiago and the band. Ian and Santiago began a serious schedule of rehearsals(8hours a day 7 days a week) arranging for the new material and learning parts.
Another rift soon appeared in the bands ranks, when long time guitarist and friend Charlie Ekendahl had to bow out of the band due to increasing wrist injuries. He unfortunately developed tindonitus. Andy Deluca has also been brought back into fold for the bands newest incarnation. After 2 months of intense practice and rehearsal, the band is recording their second album.
All is bliss., April 17, 2003
Reviewer: Lord Chimp (Monkey World) -
Stunningly unique and rewarding, Aghora's first release is a dazzling marvel sadly overlooked by most fans of the progressive/technical metal field. Aghora finds a natural integration of breathtaking female classical vocals, heavy & progressive twin guitar brilliance, a deft jazz-fusion rhythm section, references to Old World folk and Indian melodies, exotic tones, unusual harmonic systems, and more. The overall sound is very fluid and the interplay tighter-than-thou.
Some have expressed aversion to Danishta Rivero's vocals but I love them. Her voice is pretty, unfolding with sweet, diatonic, almost repetitive simplicity. Her style of ultra-compact singing is hypnotizing to me. She reminds me of the effortless but tense vocal perfection of Suzanne Lewis (ex-Thinking Plague), and to me that is good.
It would be easiest to put say the music has a metal aesthetic, and I suppose it is partly true -- however, the roaring metal riffs that appear opening the first song "Immortal Bliss" or the ones that sunder the peaceful vibe of "Mind's Reality" never dominate. Metal is a term I would apply out of convenience rather than perfect description. Aghora crafts a very unique sound with this album -- like the best progressive music, _Aghora_ constructs its own subgenre of music. Guitarist Santiago Dobles brings a fresh cauldron of influences spiced up with his own tricks, proving to be very subtle and imaginative musician. Tonally and melodically his playing is stunning and burns like holy fire. He employs exotic sounding scales and permutations but gives them a soaring metal fury, and likes to alternate between minor and major keys a la John McLaughlin (not that McLaughlin is the only guitarist to do it, but the phrasing is similar). His solo on "Frames", with his two-finger tapping achieving a gorgeous legato effect, is one of the finest I've heard. He also uses the choral sitar with remarkable effects throughout. For example, on the last song, an instrumental titled "Anugraha", his sitar playing finds itself morphed from an angry tension to a deep peace, mirroring the ancient Tantric group Aghora (from which the band takes its name) that sought to grasp the dark side and take it into the light. Musicians concentrically weave and adapt to each other, balancing colorful, orchestral sounds with precise, punctuated guitar work. "Transfiguration" is also great, with a base of dexterous fusion and jingling arpeggiated chords, broken up by ominous slower passages featuring that sitar's haunting murmur. Rivero's liquid vocal is amazing here too.
Sean Malone further proves that he is the finest bassist in metal: his beautiful note selection, timing, technical skill, and tantamount interplay with other musicians (especially drummer Sean Reinert) is always a marvel to hear. The Malone-Reinert rhythm section is grounded in a jazz-fusion orientation, often baffling to a listeners' sense of time (many passages in five and seven, with weird accents in a measure's subdivisions). Malone is almost another melodic voice, slyly shifting between rhythmic and melodic interactions. Reinert is irreproachably tasteful and intense, a very unique drummer among. Listening to them play is a joy worth the album's purchase on its own.
Although the music is mostly written by Dobles, the band exhibits a innate understanding for the needs of the music. The taut "Jivatma" began as a jam between Dobles and Sean Reinert, a seductive dance of percussion and bittersweet weeping guitar wails. It was fleshed out later into a more lush, engrossing atmosphere with amazing complements from Malone. The acknowledgment in the liner notes verifies the band's good taste, as they dedicate this track to Shakti and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, two of the ultimate fusion outfits of all time.
I'm sure I didn't say everything I wanted to, but this review must eventually end. Absolutely essential for progressive metal fans looking for something beyond the same ol' thing.
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