Matraz — Gritaré
(Mylodon MyloCD017, 2004, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01
I’m a big fan of many female vocalists, with Tori Amos, Björk, Kate Bush, Jane Siberry, and others high on my all-time favorite artist list. It’s always been a disappointment to me that so few women sing in progressive rock – you can come up with your own list, but it’s bound to be short. Add Matraz to it right now. This Chilean band is strong all around, from the powerful singing of Loreto Chaparro to the inventive and varied guitar of Claudio Cordero to the keyboards of Diego Aburto. Jorge Garcia and Marcelo Stuardo (bass and drums) navigate the complex arrangements and keep the energy level high. In spite of the aggressive guitar sounds, there’s a good balance with the keys, which consist mostly of acoustic piano and string synth. Cordero switches to cleaner tones with a bit of echo to back Aburto’s more delicate piano sections, and Aburto pounds out Keith Emerson-like ostinatos behind Cordero’s wilder solos. One thing I notice throughout, and which is a pleasant surprise, is that Matraz manages a very full sound even without the use of blatant overdubbing: virtually everything on Gritaré sounds like the live product of five musicians. I’d say this is one of the best “prog” releases of the year and an excellent candidate for wider exposure.
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