The Mexican band Agora was formed in 1996 and they want to take the flag of progressive rock. As you can imagine this current has been of a poor kind in the last years in Mexico. I know there where several prog bands, but the only one I really know and did see performing in Europe is the well-known band Cast. And of course Iconoclasta, the father of all progbands in Mexico. The guitarists Manuel Vázquez, Alejandro Romero and the drummer Eduardo Carrillo, have founded Agora. Later keyboard player Hector Barragán and bassist Pablo Lonngi joined the band. In 1998 the band welcomed new guitarist Sergio Aguilar who replaced Alejandro Romero. After playing the underground scene of Mexico City, they recorded their first demo. At the beginning of 2000 a second demo was recorded and vocalist Gilberto Castellanos was replaced by the talented Eduardo Contreras (ex Coda and Third Act). One of the highlights of the band so far is playing as an opener for the German band Helloween.
This talented young band was picked up by the independent label Argenta Records and under supervision of the two best audio engineers in the country Toño Ruiz (former guitarist of Coda) and Julián Velázquez they recorded this official debut album.
Eduardo Contreras - vocals, Manuel Vázquez - guitars, Sergio Aguilar - guitars, Pablo Lonngi - bass, Hector Barragán - keyboards, Eduardo Carrillo - drums.
First let me tell you that I was surprised by the professional way this Mexican band is promoted. They contacted me by email, they have a website, they send me an English biography and the label designed a nice digipack to pack the CD. The production of the CD is very good and the sound of the recording is crystal clear. But what about the music itself.
The first three tracks "Segundo Pasado",
"Ansiedad" and "Refugio
are mostly up-tempo rock songs. But the fourth track "En la eternidad" is already more progressive and has more variation with melodic vocals, a guitar solo and nice keyboards. "Sin despertar" has a nice guitar intro and develop into a real Dream Theater (DT) atmosphere with complex structures. "Lágrimas secas" is complex and up-tempo, has nice breaks, a guitar and keyboard solo. But "Enraizado" is my favourite track. It starts with an acoustic guitar intro. And singer Eduardo Contreras sings the first slow part with a lower voice. I like that better, and with his higher pitch voice in the more up-tempo parts you get more variation in the song. Also I like the combination with the acoustic guitar. "Sueño despierto" has a keyboard intro, some DT guitars and variation with melodic vocal parts and a keyboard solo. After some silence there is a hidden bonus track with acoustic guitars and piano. It is played in a South American and Latin atmosphere. This piece is very nice and there is also a Santana like electric guitar part. It would be great if Agora could mix this music with its warmth and South American culture together with the music of the previous tracks.
The overall atmosphere of the album is more on the heavy and hardrock side. But the band is moving into more progressive waters with track 4 to 8. And after hearing the hidden piece I am looking forward to hear the next album of this Mexican band and to hear the progression they will have made at that time. These young guys have already good skills on their instruments and can play complex compositions.
I heard this album is officially released in Spain.