Cast - Com.union

Year of Release: 2007
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:15:00

Believe it or not but next year sees the celebration of the thirtieth birthday of Mexican proggers Cast! However, although they started in 1978, it really took off once CD came into the life of our beloved Mexican friends, seeing the release of two albums a year in '95 and '96 and even three albums in '94! The band's latest offering Com.union is the band's 19th album, which, next to the well known symphonic approach, also introduces elements from the Canterbury scene. Cast has understood better than any other band that you can only keep things interesting for 70 minutes if you augment the quality as well as the diversity. That's why you'll find both instrumental as well as vocal tracks back to back, vocals by both male and female singers.

The album opens with the glorious symphonic "Orogus," which gets ever so close to the best Camel or Solaris, ending in an ominous way and blending with the more jazz oriented "Al bello," slightly reminding me of Hubert Laws in places. The first vocal track is the mini epic "Fantasmas Y Demonios," which contains great synth parts backed by heavy guitar riffs and splendid drumming throughout. Nice dramatic build up embracing freaky saxophone, which sheds another light on the versatile Cast output. One of the trademarks of Cast is their blend of acoustic and electric instruments, as you can hear in "Elfonia" which also contains some classical approaches on piano and organ that could easily have been written by the likes of Bach!

Eastern elements always creep up in most of the southern flavoured musical styles, hence also here on this Cast album with "Sensacion Arabe," which fares much better than the muzak approach of the semi bossa-nova "Damajuana II." The band has always had an ear for strong melodies and this time is no different. Scattered all over this album you'll find wonderful melodies and riffs which nicely blend together to create beautiful songs with body and soul. Some of the input is rather fragile, as the arpeggio's in "El Cojin Verde" illustrate. More flamenco type guitar and jazzy saxophone are the main ingredients in "Cosas Simples," a track which, strangly enough, most listeners will not find "simple"! The Dixieland swing-jazz and honky tonk piano of "Hogar Dulce Hogar" might be pleasant during live gigs yet on this album I find it totally out of place. Thank god for fast forward buttons.

The final two pieces, "Lobos" and "Io," are more the Cast we have learned to enjoy since 1994. Nice interplay between flute and guitar, plenty of rhythm changes, drum fills and breaks. "Io" even contains that typical southern atmosphere which has you move from begining till end, and contains the carnival spirit in all its glory. Com.union confirms what we have known all along: that Cast is a band with staying power able to turn every album into an exclusive journey. Their mix of vocal and instrumental parts works a treat, although personally I wouldn't mind if the album had been fifteen minutes shorter.

: Orogus (4:03) / Al Bello (3:15) / Fantasmas Y Demonios (6:09) / Elfonia (11:16) / Sensacion Arabe (7:46) / Damajuana II (4:48) / Donde Se Visten Las Serpientes (7:20) / El Cojin Verde (5:40) / Cosas Simples (5:48) / Hogar Dulce Hogar (3:55) / Lobos (4:27) / Io (5:27)

Alfonso Vidales - Hammond, piano, mellotron, synths, vocals
Pepe Torres - flute, saxophone, clarinet, gaita
Flavio Miranda - bass
Lupita Acuna - vocals, percussion
Dino Brassea - vocals, flute
Antonio Bringas - drums
Claudio Cordero - guitar

Landing In A Serious Mind (1993)
Sounds of Imagination (1994)
Third Call (1994)
Four Aces (1995)
Endless Signs (1995)
Beyond Reality (1996)
A View of Cast - Live (1996)
Angels and Demons (1997)
Imaginary Window (1999)
A Live Experience (1999)
Legacy (2000)
Lagunas De Volcanos (2000)
Castalia (2001)
Infinity (2002)
Al-Bandaluz (2003)
Nimbus (2004)
The Pyramid Of The Rain (2005)
Mosaïque (2006)
Com.union (2007)
Originallis (2008)
Art (2011)
Arsis (2014)
Vida (2015)
Power And Outcome (2017)

Sands Of Time Live (BR) (2016)
Sinfonico Live (BR) (2018)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin MX

Added: May 21st 2007
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 1946
Language: english


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