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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Agora

Segundo Pasado

Review by Gary Hill

For those of you who think that Latin music is just Shakira, Ricky Martin and El Tigres Del Norte, submit for your approval one Agora. This group, hailing from Mexico is a progressive rock band with a hard edge that really are quite promising. All the vocals and album notes here are in Spanish, but that does not take away from the power of the disc, even if you don't speak the language. The main leanings of their music are probably the sounds of such groups as Dream Theater and Fates Warning, but really their influences are as diverse as to include Rick Wakeman and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. So, if you are sick of the latest Shakira video but still want some Latin flavor, give Agora a shot. Be warned, though, the site is only in Spanish at the moment, although an English version is promised to be "coming soon". They do have another page in English sponsored by their press agency, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Segundo Pasado
Starting in somewhat mysterious, sedate tones, the cut rather quickly burst forth into a metallic fury that calls to mind the sounds of both Dream Theater and Fates Warning. As the vocals enter, the DT leanings become even more apparent. The brief instrumental break and vocal segment that follows it include some keys that seem a bit influenced by the likes of Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson.
Ansiedad
The Fates Warning tendencies are more prevalent on this track, but with a more prog edge than FW typically shows. As the song continues on it becomes more and more progressively involved. The keyboard solo on this one is very strong, and the outro feels very emotional.
Refugio Vital
Coming in hard and heavy, this cut is one that seems to run very close along the prog metal/prog line and probably is more on the metal side than on the prog side. The guitar solo on this one is quite tasty and the cut somewhat resembles Helloween at times.
En La Enternidad
This one is metallic and very quirky from time to time. As the verse enters the cut drops down a bit and begins to feel Dream Theaterish.
Sin Desperlar
This is a mid-tempo hard-edged prog rocker. It's not a bad tune, but seems a bit too much like the rest of the album, making it rather forgettable.
Lagrimas Secas
The intro to this one feels very ELPish, which is a nice change of pace. As it progresses it begins a series of intriguing changes, running the gamut of sounds from DT, more metallic and yet still ELPish. This one is quite cool, and the instrumental break is a killer with a great combo of both modern and retro sounds. The track really smokes.
Enraizado
Beginning with pretty and sedate acoustic guitar sounds, the cut builds on this mode as a pretty and poignant prog ballad. This track and the one before are really the point on the album where Agora hits their stride.
Sonar Despierto
This cut starts off sedate and powerful and begins a gradual building from there. It gets more metallic as it carries on, but is still quite progish in its timing and changes. This one gets very involved and potent as it carries on. Although it would have been a very strong album closer, and according to the track listing is just that, there is a hidden track to truly end the album.
Hidden Track
This one is an atypical instrumental that is just plain fun. What a great surprise this is!
 
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