It’s always a pleasure to welcome something very spicy and tasteful to keep my body warm during the cold nights up here in Scandinavia – like this burning hot, authentic chili con carne of metal served directly from the core of Mexico City.
The chefs behind this successful recipe are the Granados brothers, also known as Gian on clean vox/guitar and Dante on lead guitar/synths, and the third founding member bassist Pedro Vera. They did not prepared this delicious meal all by themselves as they were later accompanied by the growling Daniel González and the human drum-machine Antonio Guerrero, to serve their debut for the hungry prog metalheads out there today.
Anima Tempo became a reality in 2009, and they have since then been highly productive in the metal scene with busy touring (guesting prog maestroes Seventh Wonder and the like) and improving their skills by releasing demos to feed their hungry fans (me included). Several years have now passed and their debut “Caged in Memories” is now ready to be unleashed upon us. It has taken four years to complete the recording before the final mix and mastering could begin, but the long wait and hard work have paid off and a one hell of high a quality prog metal debut album will be served on the 9th of January. A big salute to the social media nowadays. It definitely helped the album not to fly past my radar, especially with these guys broadcasting and promoting their music and progress on Facebook, connecting with their fanbase all over the world.
So what’s the fuzz all about then? The Mexicans label themselves as Experimental Progressive Death Metal, and it’s almost a bullseye. Putting them next to djent pioneers TesseracT, Periphery and Monuments is not far off, but they still stand out quite a bit and have created their own trademark sound. We are introduced to a perfect mixture of clean melodic singing style by Gian, and harsh brutal growls by Gonzáles throughout the entire journey. Both singers are very skilled, but at times Gian is struggling with the mid to higher ranges, not a big deal, though, his deep and rough voice compensates for this at the lower end, which is flawless, by the way, just listen to the second part of the third song, “Art of Deception”. And I should not forget to mention Gonzáles. They got a home-run by adding him to the team. His deep, harsh growls are a perfect match and complement the aggressive and dark side (who likes the red lightsaber in the hands of emo Kylo Ren btw? ) of Anima Tempo. The underlying rhythm section is a groovy monster, an essential part of each song, setting the framework for the lead players to build from. This groovy monster is almost getting out of control at times, but thanks to Pedro and Antonio for taming the beast with their strong musical skills.
Dante’s use of synthesizes is perfectly balanced all over the album and dances playfully alongside the heavy, down-tuned, crunchy guitar riffs produced by the hands of Dante, his brother Gian and their wingman, Mr. Gonzáles. Just listen to the song “Cellophane Eyes”, and the epic, monstrous and majestic 18-minute title song at the end of our musical journey. Both songs are perfect examples of how to present djenty, face-slapping beats into your ears with orchestral and middle eastern influences mixed in-between – oh, did I forget mentioning the use of orchestra? Well, Oscar winner and highly respected composer Hans Zimmer would definitely give the guys a standing ovation for the beautifully crafted and powerful cinematic orchestral parts used especially during the intro of the first and last track.
The production team consisting of Dante and Erik Mikalsen have with support from producer Nick Sampson (Born of Osiris) crafted and fine-tuned an album, which will become a benchmark for many newcomers to the prog metal scene this year.
The bitterly cold January month just became a little warmer today.
Mission accomplished, boys, and welcome 2016.
- Last Awakening (3:37)
- Confessions (7:30)
- Art of Deception (7:14)
- Scarlet Angel (6:18)
- Behind the Gates of a New-Come (4:11)
- Cellophane Eyes (7:45)
- Caged in Memories (17:21)
Playing time: 53:57 minutes
Release date: 9th of January, 2016