Label/ Date: Self release/ 2003
The re-vamped Cast went into the studio and produced their greatest achievement, Al-Bandaluz. This is a double cd of both lyrical and instrumental progressive music. For those of you put off by their neo-prog style of the past, you'll be happy to know that sound is gone. In it’s place is a more mature and complex instrumentation in both composition and delivery. Some of songs have slightly fusion and somewhat RIO sounds this time around.
One of my favorite tracks on disc one is “Encrucijada”. This an epic 17 minute plus instrumental piece which in my opinion showcases the new Cast sound with a more classic progressive rock sound. I would even say this can be their definitative signature style for the new millennium.
On disc two, my favorite track is "El Puente". This is closer to what classic Cast sounds like but without the neo fluff.
One more difference in the new direction is the lyrics are in Spanish. Francisco seems more at ease singing in his native tongue rather than struggling to appease English speaking audiences. Personally, I perfer that a non-English based band sing in their native tongue, even though I wouldn't understand the words. But emotional vocals are universally understood.
Some very lucky audience members at this years Prog Day (August 30/31) will get their first taste of the new Cast in a live setting in the USA. I envy those who will witness that event.
Al-Bandaluz is a must have for any prog lover’s cd collection. Run don’t walk to your favorite vendor and buy this future classic!
Reviewd by Ron Fuchs on September 4th, 2003
To get to the artist's website, please click on the CD cover.
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