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Reviews

Iconoclasta — De Todos Uno
(Musea DSCD001, 1994, CD)

De Todos Uno Cover art

Iconoclasta's 1985 debut was one of the crowning achievements of Mexican progressive rock, heavily influenced by Genesis (or rather, solo Steve Hackett) and possibly some of the less angular King Crimson, and featuring some of the best two-axe work this side of Kerrs Pink. Ten years later, Iconoclasta are still making albums, though with considerably less fanfare. And I'm pleased to say, they've still got it. With the departure several years ago of keyboardist Rosa Moreno, her place was not adequately filled by her brother, guitarist and chief composer Ricardo Moreno. He is still not as skilled a keyboardist as his sister (note the slow tempos on the tracks on which a complex keyboard line is required), but his playing is competent enough for this music, and is reportedly much improved since the previous album, La Reencarnación de Maquiavelo. Besides, the dual guitar interplay is so dazzling, one hardly notices the keyboards. In fact, most tracks don't even have keyboards. Don't let that scare you away, though, the music is so good you won't miss the keyboards. Moreno and second guitarist Ricardo Ortegon have been playing together so long, it has become second nature for them. The interaction between the two guitars is very naturalistic, whether playing searing dual leads, or playing an acoustic duet (which they do on "La Profecia de las Plagas"). The rhythm section of Nohemi d'Rubin (bass) and Victor Baldovinos (drums) responds appropriately to the complex melodies. There are probably more vocals on this than any other Iconoclasta album. Bassist d'Rubin is the singer, and while her voice doesn't add a good deal to the music, neither does it detract. Still, it is primarily an instrumental outing, there are only three tracks with vocals. The most disappointing thing about this album is that their style has changed very little over the course of ten years. Were it not for the deficiency of keyboards, it would be very hard to distinguish this from any other Iconoclasta album. With a dedicated keyboardist and more openness to new ideas, they could go much further. As it is, this is still a fine album that fans of this style ought to enjoy very much.

by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-11-01


In the time since their first albums in the early 80s, Iconoclasta has been gradually assimilating a greater diversity of ideas into their musical pallette. Long Mexico's premier progressive rock band, they play in styles that are at once challenging and accessible. Like many of the 70s Italian bands, their instrumental forays deliver a high level of compositional skill and musicianship, with spirited driving energy and rich melodic color. There are plenty of intense guitar and keyboard solos, and a full integration of the many sounds of electric and acoustic guitars grafted directly into the fabric of the compositions. Gone is the sloppiness and poor production that sometimes plagued their early releases; also gone are those low-budget instruments, the Casios and such. The ten tracks are split – all written by guitarist / keyboardist Ricardo Moreno; most are the high power instrumental variety, with a few more folk-rock oriented vocal tunes scattered across the album, female bassist Nohemi D'Rubin handling the vocal duties admirably. On these, I'm sometimes reminded of the style invoked by Episode on some of their Edge of the Sky period material... it's rock for sure, but the basis of the composition is more folk oriented and laid back. All in all, Iconoclasta has done an excellent job with this one, and it's good to see them still going strong after so many other bands from the eighties have either called it a day or sold out. Viva Iconoclasta!

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-11-01


Iconoclasta's latest release carries on in this Mexican band's readily identifiable symphonic fusion style. A mostly instrumental album, De Todos Uno focuses strongly on the guitar, and in fact, seems designed to showcase both Ricardo Ortegon's fretboard flexiblilty on the driving fusion-laced-with-symphonic pieces, as well as Ricardo Moreno's delicate classical guitar work on the quieter tunes. The 10 tracks explore everything from heavy symphonic anthems to gentle flowing vocal tunes to solo acoustic guitar pieces. Iconoclasta have by now a well defined sound of their own, and this is used to contrast with a few tracks on this album which seem to reveal an overt Anthony Phillips or Steve Hackett influence. The band maintains the same four piece lineup as on their previous album, with Moreno handling the keyboards as well as acoustic and electric guitars. The musicianship is generally strong, though the band still has an occasional slightly nagging looseness with their timing that has plagued each of their albums. To their credit, though, they are trying to pull off some tricky rhythms and changes when this quality comes out. Overall, the variety on De Todos Uno makes this one of Iconoclasta's stronger releases, and certainly something worth checking out for those interested in contemporary symphonic styled bands.

by Rob Walker, Published 1995-11-01


Filed under: New releases, Issue 8, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Iconoclasta

 

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