Terra Sur - Hasta la victoria 3.5/5

Reviewed: 2-1-13





Tracklist:

1. Orientis ventus
2. Infierno nuclear
3. Noble
4. Guerra inmortal
5. Vuelve
6. Resiliente (En las calles del dolor)
7. Adventus (La llegada)
8. Luces del cielo
9. Hasta La victoria
10. Corazon de fuego (2011)


Bit of a strange set up here, so bear with me. When Colombia’s Terra Sur debuted with an EP called ‘Horizonte gris’ back in 2004 they were rather admirably delivering lyrics in their native Spanish tongue, but this changed with their full-length debut ‘Raise your voice’ in 2007, where they bowed to the old “sing in Engish” mandate.

Fast forward a few years, and by the time a follow-up was due they were back to singing in Spanish. Rather than leaving their debut as the oddball in their discography, they decided to re-record the full thing with the lyrics translated back across ('Alza tu voz') and have that be the 2nd disc on a 2-CD follow-up, with 'Hasta la victoria' being the main disc. Still with me?

It makes for an interesting experience as even someone with no experience of the band will be able to tell that the discs were written separately from one another, and while there is no drastic stylistic change between the 2, it’s easy to see a gradual evolution in Terra Sur when comparing and contrasting.

They play a satisfying brand of progressive power metal – that’s a broad spectrum, but imagine Angra with a few more technical details and none of the symphonic or flamenco trappings – with a decent sense of melody and generally concise songs.

Happily, there are a few songs across both discs that say to hell with the prog and just play pure, joyous melodic power metal, while at the same time there are others – mostly on ‘Alza tu voz’ - that are more strictly progressive and offer less pomp and catchiness. Vocalist Francisco Murillo proves to be versatile enough to cover both extremes rather well; while he normally sings in a fairly standard – but expertly delivered – power metal wail, he often breaks into an unusual gravely growl that when interposed with his normal voice makes it sounds like there are 2 very different singers competing with each other.

Probably the biggest difference between the 2 discs can be seen as a simple sharpening of the band’s songwriting skills, as while the emphasis on kinky syncopation is toned down somewhat on the new songs that make up ‘Hasta la victoria’, they also generally feel more expansive and sophisticated than their antecedents. It’s a little curious that the less overtly proggy songs are often the longer ones, but Terra Sur seem to have taken a more considered and in-depth approach to crafting the music on 'Hasta la victoria' and while there is less music on offer, it feels like a more rounded and flowing CD.

Not to come down hard on ‘Alza tu voz’, as it is a fine disc in its own right, with a bit more on offer for hardened prog heads, and a more extensive use of keyboards for fans of that sort of thing. It’s also on the 2nd disc where one of Terra Sur’s best songs springs from nowhere in “Causa y efecto”, a power metal winner with majestic melodies in the classic Stratovarius vein and a suitably belting chorus.

On the whole it’s a slightly patchy affair, with the 2 discs probably best considered separate entities rather than trying to sit down for one mammoth listening session. Releasing them together was an interesting experiment and means that there’s plenty of music on offer, with the newer material on the first disc showing a band developing into something more noteworthy as they progress.



CREAG




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