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Nimbus

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Album Review

Despite all good intentions, Cast's biggest flaw as a group is their lack of modesty. Each one of their albums could be much better had the band sorted out the truly good songs (and song sections) from the very average ones. The latest case in point: Nimbus, clocking in at a whooping 79 minutes. Scaled down to 50, it would have topped their previous effort, Al-bandaluz, and most of their best achievements from past years Some pieces here are very strong, including the three-part "911" (Cast at their neo-prog best), parts one and two of "Ladrona de Sueños," and "Un Siglo de Invierno." But the songs are lengthy and some of them are simply too similar to the contents of the group's back catalog. That being said, Nimbus is a good opus, and listeners who enjoyed the revamped lineup introduced on Al-bandaluz will find this CD building over the same elements: Carlos Humarán's crunchy electric guitar, Kiko King's metal-esque drumming, and José Torres' clarinets and saxophones equally sharing the arrangements with Alfonso Vidales and Francisco Hernández. The writing takes another step away from neo-progressive stylings to foray into harder-edged progressive rock, with occasional references to King Crimson ("Ladrona de Sueños, Part II") and Jethro Tull ("Volando en uno Mismo," where the use of flute and electric guitar is strongly reminiscent of the interplay between Ian Anderson and Martin Barre). Among the weaker tracks are "Diaz de Sol y Luz" and "En la Cueva y el Bosque" (although the latter hints at the Mediterranean romanticism of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso). The production could have been better, as there is too much reverb on the drums (they have an unnecessary "larger-than-life" feel) and the mix occasionally lacks clarity, especially when winds and keyboards are multi-tracked. Of course, in this niche, budget often means a lot, and Cast still manages to get their songs across, even when a few extra days of production could have made a difference. Worthy of note is the acoustic rendition of "Reunion," a song that first appeared on Cast's very first album, here given a wonderful dip into the Fountain of Youth. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Nimbus, Cast
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