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Into The Presence - "Into The Presence" (CD)

Into The Presence - "Into The Presence" CD cover image

"Into The Presence" track listing:

1. End Game
2. Lovers
3. The Garden
4. Broken Words
5. Phone Call
6. You and I
7. Radio
8. My Only Crime
9. Dear Father
10. Coming Home

Reviewed by on December 21, 2010

"'Into The Presence' is American rock ‘n roll done tastefully and timelessly, and you do not want to miss it."

"Into The Presence" is one big meaty hunk of loud rock ‘n roll that calls to mind the glory days when the formula for "a great song" was simple: One or two damn good guitar parts, drum and bass parts that lock in a mighty groove, and a strong vocal out front. You could call it a product of the 1970s, but you’d only be half right – there is a modern compactness and sensibility that keeps the songs from wandering. Guitar enthusiasts will find lots of technical, but tasteful, lines on this record from guitarist/vocalist Luis Carlos Maldonado. Drummer Tim Alexander (of A Perfect Circle fame) provides grooves in the fashion of John Bonham and bassist Paz Lenchantin (also of A Perfect Circle) smoothes out the edges.

"End Game" starts out calling attention to the drumming, but is quickly overtaken by guitarist/vocalist Luis Maldonado’s vocal styling. His smooth and highly expressive tenor voice is heavy on the vibrato at times and at other times fluid, with little nuances that combine to put him in a league of iconic voices. He’s not Freddie Mercury or Jeff Buckley, but he’s damn close to what a combination of the two would sound like in one person. On "Lovers" and "The Garden," the guitars are full, rocking with the fat sound of a loud amplifier and a timeless emphasis on memorable lines. The grooves on these two songs, as well as "Broken Words," are easily high points of the album.

Bassist Paz Lenchantin provides a solid and deceptively technical foundation for the rhythm of the songs, accented by the skilled tom-heavy drum parts of Tim Alexander. "Phone Call" and "Radio" both build to the anthemic choruses they center on. "You and I" and "Dear Father" are two emotionally heavy songs and come with equally substantial instrument parts. The songs are typically between three and four minutes long each, and the band does well by not letting these songs meander, which they very well could have done with this style. The guitar solos are more about feel than flash, and the songs benefit from this restraint. "My Only Crime" sees Maldonado playing on classical guitars, with Ana Lenchantin on cello and Paz backing him on bass, providing a nice and soft song to counterpoint the album’s boisterous numbers. The following song, "Dear Father" has the album’s best straight-up shred guitar solo in it.

The final number, "Coming Home," ends the album on a high note. This album sneaks by at just over thirty-five minutes, but the material is well-written and designed not to have any filler. The production, handled by Maldonado and Alexander themselves, is warm and boasts a few old-school tricks like panning the drums hard-right and guitars hard-left at times. There are points where it feels like Black Sabbath and points where it could have been a Hendrix-type production. The bass and guitar parts aren’t layered to hell like modern productions and focus on the tone straight from the amps. It’s not a lo-fi album, but it’s definitely not over-produced. "Into The Presence" is American rock ‘n roll done tastefully and timelessly, and you do not want to miss it.

Highs: Glorious guitar tone, Luis Maldonado’s iconic voice, warm and clear production, and memorable songs.

Lows: The style may be a bit light for some tastes.

Bottom line: A rock n’ roll kaleidoscope shimmering with emotion, energy, and raw talent reminiscent of the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Buckley.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

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)