Power of Metal.dk Review

Anima Mundi
The Lamplighter
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 15 June, 2013
Playing time: 53:04

Anima Mundi is a band out of Cuba that plays wonderful symphonic prog rock, so I was extremely excited when they sent me a download of their latest album, “The Lamplighter”. I was slightly wary, I do admit. Their previous album, “The Way”, is one of my all-time favorite albums. The problem is that the vocalist, Carlos Sosa, from their first few albums is no longer with them, and so I always get a little worried when this happens. He just so happens to have one of my favorite voices. The new singer, Emmanuel Pirko-Farrath, is definitely different. Let me explain how this affects the album.

If there's one thing that Anima Mundi can do flawlessly, it's create incredible instrumental passages. Virginia Peraza is most certainly one of my favorite keyboardists, and one of the best in the business, too. She has an incredible way of creating keyboard lines that are bobbing, spacey, epic, sublime, and unexpected all at the same time. On this album, she is no different. In fact, I'd say she goes out on a limb a few times, but always succeeds. The guitarist, Roberto Diaz, is also a magician with his instrument. Soulful solos by the bucketful are the name of the game, and an almost exploratory vibe is felt throughout the album. Again, drummer Jose Govin and bassist Yarroski Corredera impress with their performances, too. This group of musicians are an amazing unit that works like a well-oiled machine.

Yet, with the addition of the new vocalist, I can't help but be slightly disappointed. Emmanuel has a good voice that is nearly the opposite of Carlos'. While Carlos had huge range and a soaring style that left my knees quaking, Emmanuel has more of a rich, mellow sound that feels almost jazzy at times. This is okay, but I have three problems with it. First of all, Emmanuel (as has been pointed out by other reviewers) does not have a commanding control of English. His enunciation is very poor at times, and he forgets parts of speech at times, too. This becomes distracting, thought I do admit it is not as bad as I feared it would be. It is there, though. Second, his voice does not fit the music. Anima Mundi is all about soaring melodies and spacey vibes, but Emmanuel's voice doesn't fit this mold at all. Like I said, he jazzy, not proggy. Lastly, I feel that the vocal melodies have suffered. Carlos was always taking the incredible music and blowing it through the roof with his pitch perfect, stunning vocal passages. Emmanuel seems to get by, just barely. The vocal melodies come off as awkward to the point where you just want him to be quiet so we can get back to the fantastic music. I don't say this to be cruel: I just want to be honest.

Overall, though, this is still an excellent album. In all honesty, it features probably only 25% vocals, so the disappointing vox don't drag the entire album down with them. The music is still inspired, and the theme of human hearts as interconnected lamps of love and enlightenment is intriguing. But I hope Emmanuel can work on his voice and on his English. I think he has promise, but I just don't know how he can compete with his predecessor. All in all, however, this is a great album still.

1. On Earth beneath the Stars
2. The Call and Farewell Song
3. Light the Lantern of Your Heart
4. The Human House
5. The Dream Child Behind the Mask
6. The Return - Part I
7. Endless Star
8. The Return - Part II
9. His Majesty Love
Label: MUSEARecords
Distribution: www.animamundimusic.com
Artwork rating: 90/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 2 September, 2013
Website: www.animamundimusic.com