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Fughu - "Absence" (CD)

Fughu - "Absence" CD cover image

"Absence" track listing:

1. Ashes
2. Dead End Start
3. Storm
4. Tilt
5. Slow
6. Absence
7. Snow
8. Solitude
9. Sun
10. Red V
11. Get Me (Inside)
12. Pain_Craving_Broken_Stop

Reviewed by on December 7, 2009

"This Argentinian brew has substantial musical counterpoints to the metal aspect of it, while maintaining a triumphant feel and complex musical heights."

This is above-par progressive rock fare with obvious stylistic similarities to progressive titans Dream Theater. That being said, Fughu concentrates on bursts of melodic development in between bouts of dizzying coordinated instrumentation for this album. This is a technical musician’s album, through and through, and all instruments are on display. Somewhere in this amalgamation is a sensibility distinctly Argentinean.

This is more than the sum of its instrumental parts, with each instrumentalist taking the best of what he can do and melting it into a showy melting pot of songs. The songs don’t exactly cover new ground, as far as musical innovation goes, but they are damn good chunks of progressive rock. One notable thing about the record is the vocals of Santiago Burgi. With a forceful and full voice, as well as a range of expression befitting a Broadway musical singer, Burgi brings a show of his own to songs like “Dead End Start,” “Absence,” “Storm,” and the gentle “Solitude.” While the vocals shine through the album, the mix on “Absence” pushes the vocals back a bit behind the guitars and drums, which is unfortunate and should be remedied on future releases, as the lyrics are hard to discern when lots of instrumentation is present.

Also of note are the piano and keyboard parts, lending the bulk of the melodic force on the album. Marcelo Malmierca’s talents make up the majority of the lead parts, as well as the guitar talents of Ariel Bellizio. If you appreciate soulful modern blues-metal guitar solos and rhythm guitar parts with the flair of a modern Yes, there’s much to like. The bass guitar lines of Juanma Lopez are also deceptively skillful and showy at times. The drum work reeks of Mike Portnoy’s style, but Ale Lopez’s percussive talents are undeniable and add the necessary backbone of the album. On the album’s longest track, “Pain_Craving_Broken_Stop,” the band fires on all cylinders and gives an all-star closer to the album, moving from a delicate piano beginning to an exciting two climaxes before and after the middle of the 10-minute song. Further, the instrumental sections are monstrous and take the album to its highest heights.

This Argentinean brew has substantial musical counterpoints to the metal aspect of it, while maintaining a triumphant feel and complex musical heights. Fun and full of life, “Absence” is a fulfilling album you will keep coming back to time and again.

Highs: Sweeping and huge melodic changes, powerful vocals, and dizzying technicality.

Lows: Too much like Dream Theater, needs more identity as “Fughu”.

Bottom line: "Absence" is an excellent listen for fans of technicality with an Argentinean flair and vocal theatrics.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)