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Sonus Umbra - Spiritual Vertigo
The Sound of the Shadow
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2004-01-16
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Artist: Sonus Umbra
Title: Spiritual Vertigo
Genre: Progressive-Rock-Jazz-Fusion
Label: The Sound of the Shadow
Website: www.sonusumbra.com

Did you ever hear of Spiritual Vertigo? The band Sonus Umbra knows what it is. The point is clear on their new release. This project is all about having a fear of being spiritual and standing up tall without getting dizzy and falling because we believe in a God of our choosing. This serves as a reminder that we are indeed spiritual beings regardless of whom or what we choose to call our God. The problem since the beginning of time is all the arguments humanity has created over this subject, which makes for a "Fool's Arcadia" that promotes "Self Erosion." This album is an improvement from the 2001 release Snapshots From Limbo, which was an excellent release. I was pleased to hear that the band is progressing and developing since their last studio outing.

This music is very progressive, combining the elements of rock and jazz. This band is comparable to a tropical bird displaying its splendid plumage, showing off their colors with a wealth of fusion elements within each track. The Alan Parsons Project came to mind frequently while listening to this CD, particularly with the vocals of Andres Aullet. I did not recognize that aspect on the last album, which indicates that they have indeed improved. The lead guitar playing of Ricardo Gomez (Carlos Alomar, whom recorded some great albums with David Bowie, may have been an influence at some point) is superb and the rhythm section of Luis Nasser (bass, keyboards, acoustic guitars) and Jeff Laramee (drums, vocals) are an outstanding team that lays the foundation that this musical stronghold is built upon. Nasser is a fine multi-instrumentalist with an acute ear for the rhythm of each musician in the band; he is the beating heart of the unit.

Most of the tracks are typical prog-rock compositions with extended run times and the complexities that you would expect in a song over three minutes. Their magnum opus is the nearly 11 minute closer "Snakes and Ladders," which ends with a brief empty space...an eerie silence, which has you thinking the album is over, but it is not. A woman starts singing to the sound of a honky-tonk piano and you then hear a disgruntled individual groan, then suddenly a loud gunshot goes off, which will scare the hell out of you, and then the CD ends. This ending comes as no surprise considering the premise of the album. This is how many arguments in the name of God have ended. It is sad but true, as the history of humankind has shown us that the acceptance of one another for whom we are is our biggest downfall.

This recording will not require many listens to understand, however you will want to hear it several times, as it grows on you with each subsequent listening experience. Trust me, this one was well worth the wait.


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