El Reloj — El Reloj
(Record Runner RR-0150-2, 1975/1996, CD)
El Reloj — El Reloj (AKA Second Album)
(Record Runner RR-0160-2, 1976/1996, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-11-01
El Reloj is an Argentine group influenced by the more harder rocking bands of the early 70s like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Their sound on their first album is a dual-guitar rock that keeps a mainstream focus, while doing so in a fairly complex manner. On both reissues, Record Runner has the done the unusual, putting the band’s singles as bonus tracks at the beginning of the CDs. On the first album, two singles are added, the first is all original and the second early versions of two album tracks. These songs get to the point, with either guitar-driven passages, or the occasional ballad, with Eduardo Frezza’s voice sounding uncannily like Marc Storace from the heavy metal group Krokus. While the album itself has its fair share of good melody and great guitar soloing, the overall effect, even in the longer tracks, is fairly dull and rarely compelling. If it had English lyrics, much of it would have fit comfortably on rock radio.
Their second album, from 1976, is a completely different story. The bonus single, outtakes from the same year as the debut, is of equal interest to the first CD, but starting with “Al Borde del Abismo,” the band did a major overhaul on the compositional level. Combining progressive song structures with their already hard-edged sound, El Reloj created a major success with their second album, where every song is a refined classic. The dynamic “Tema Triste” reminds one of contemporaries Crucis. The nearly 11-minute “La Ciudad Desconocida” is a progressive rock tour de force, its phases including many staggered and elaborate rhythm structures mixed with passionately sung lyrical sections. The short but powerful “Aquel Triangulo” incorporates Crimson-like angularity into an amazingly complex fabric. After “Harto y Confundido” and the dynamic low, acoustic guitar piece “Tema de Todas las Epocas,” El Reloj turns up the intensity for the last two tracks, the amazing “Aquella Dulce Victoria” and “Egolatria” a Crucis-like trade off, with great guitar and synth soloing. Overall, one of the best progressive rock albums of the 70s.
Related artist(s): El Reloj
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