Cast — Endless Signs
((Not on label) no#, 1995, CD)
by Mike Ohman, 1996-03-01:
The perpetually industrious Cast have done it again, with yet another release, Endless Signs. One of the big surprises of Progfest '95, Cast delighted with their strikingly commendable brand of neo-prog. Endless Signs seems to be their breakthrough. Cast's appeal seems to be simple in that they make melodic, obviously Genesis-inspired prog like many other neo-prog bands you'd care to mention, yet they do it very well. Guitarist Francisco Hernandez certainly has his Hackett chops down, while singer Dino Brassea sounds something like IQ's Peter Nicholls (he even sings in English). In fact, prime-era IQ is an estimable comparison, if you can imagine The Wake with all-digital keys, you're halfway there. Speaking of the keyboards, board-man Luis Vidales is certainly one of the most talented players in neo-prog today. His Banks-ian piano phrasings are the unifying element of this album, his digital synth voicings constantly creative. If you have been lamenting the state of the British neo-prog scene, and have been disappointed that they haven't been producing bands of the caliber of IQ anymore, perhaps you have been looking to the wrong place. Cast have really come into their own with this release. Even if you usually find yourself cold towards neo-prog, I have a feeling you may find yourself warming up to this.
by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:
Cast has dropped five CDs in just over two years, yet much of that material was recorded in the 80s and early 90s, and not released until now. Endless Signs, however, is their latest release featuring all new material, and shows the band coming into their own, finding the best elements of their sound and refining it into an identifiable style. A quintet that hails from Mexicali, just across the border from California, their sound recalls the best elements of mid-period Genesis (circa A Trick of the Tail, Wind and Wuthering, primarily due to the keys and compositional style), a little of the neo-prog style (accessibility and vocals) as well as trace elements of seventies Italian and Spanish prog (the biting, ever busy fuzz guitar). Endless Signs is a concept album about man's search for spiritual truth, and as such, many of the tunes are tied together by themes that recur throughout the album. The lyrics are in English, and filtered through Dino Brassea's expressive and semi-tortured vocals. Keys are lush and powerful, and provide much of the texture and melodics throughout the eight tracks. Like 70s Genesis, the rhythm section is a powerhouse, yet they know when to show restraint, building up tension while the keys and guitars take the fore. The brightest moments, though, are when the entire band breaks out in a speedy, cohesive frenzy — it's this, more than anything else, that sets Cast apart from all the average neo-proggers, and identifies them more closely with their countrymen Iconoclasta, Delerium, and Praxis. There has also been a very noticeable improvement in sound clarity over the last two albums, this being their best-engineered to date. More than anything, Endless Signs signals the arrival of Cast.
by Mike Grimes, 1996-03-01:
Cast has carved a niche for themselves in the neo-prog scene for good reasons. Their sound is very melodic and flowing. As with almost all bands lumped into the "neo-prog" classification, these guys certainly have their share of the ever-heard Genesis (R.I.P.) influence. If anything though, Cast sounds more like they should be compared to a Tony Banks solo album than any Genesis outing. That's probably because Cast's keyboard player Alfonso Vidales pens all the group's music. As you would probably expect knowing that, the keyboards are the dominant instrument of the group. However, he's not the only good thing. Drummer Antonio Bringas pounds out some hot fills — especially the ones with double bass drums. The fuzz guitar soloing of Francisco Hernandez fits rightly over the top of the other instruments. It would be nice if he used more sounds though. Basically, only one guitar tone is used on solos for the entire album. This is in stark contrast to the many, many keyboard textures utilized in each tune. The musical themes repeat enough to be recognizable, but not so often that they become stale. They reappear in different time signatures and keys — subtle changes to keep the listener alert. If you like some of the more popular neo bands and want to hear a slightly different version of that style of music, Cast just might be for you.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more