Exposé Online banner

Cast — Angels and Demons
((Not on label) no#, 1997, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 1998-02-01

Angels and Demons Cover art

I've been reading about Cast for a while in Exposé, but the arrival of this disc marks the first time I've actually heard them. So going into it, I knew they were a "symphonic neo-prog" band from Mexico, and I was not expecting much. Symphonic neo-prog would not generally be to my liking. I grew up on the first generation of classically-oriented progressive rock (Genesis, Yes, ELP, and the rest) and my general impression of neo-prog is "Been there, heard that." Then Angels and Demons kicks in with a quick drum roll and twenty seconds of pure percussive energy, followed by a short silence and a nice bit of everybody playing eighth notes in 7/8. The keyboards predominate, but a lyric electric guitar soars over it all, providing a gutsy top to masses of synth and piano. This is "Initiation" in more ways than one; I'm hooked. The musicians wear their influences proudly (I hear lots of Genesis in particular), but manage to avoid sounding overly derivative to my ears. It's over eight minutes into the lengthy disc (weighing in around 74 minutes) before there's any singing. The vocals remind me a bit of PFM, though without the vibrato, and all the lyrics are in English. In spite of a somewhat ambitious concept to the album involving the fall of an angel and the coming of a redeemer to the world (sounds vaguely familiar somehow), the lyrics are mostly decent and manage to avoid weighing down the music with semi-religious philosophizing. What really sets Cast apart is the quality of the writing and playing. Keyboardist Alfonso Vidales, who is responsible for all the composing, has a real penchant for odd meters (always a plus in my book), and the arranging duties (shared by all the players) spotlight tight ensemble playing over individual ego-gratification. And I have no complaints about the production, either: this recording from "Cast Studio" sounds crisp and professional in all respects.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Dino Brassea, Cast, Alfonso Vidales

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Box of Frogs - Box of Frogs / Strange Land – The Box of Frogs project reunited 3/5 of the original Yardbirds: bassist Paul Samwell-Smith, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, and drummer Jim McCarty. They took as their model The Traveling Willburys,...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues