2004 (Records Runner)
Four Argentine teenagers, ranging in age from 13 to 15 years, founded a school band to play covers of Pink Floyd and Queen, among others, in 1998. A few years later, the boys went into the studio to record a CD with only their own material together with a guest guitarist under the bandname Amagrama. In 2004, “Ciclotimia”, the debut CD of Amagrama sees the light of day. Sit back and enjoy because there is an extraordinary amount of talent that these barely 20-year-old boys are showing.
Because of their uninhibited youthfulness, it is nice to listen to the presented mixture of progressive rock and progmetal. Think somewhat towards the French band Nemo. Sometimes the urge to act is very great, then, after say eight bars, there is a change of pace or atmosphere. It is all composed and performed with sophistication, as the instrumental opener Ciclotimia immediately shows. This swirling keyboard-oriented song makes it clear that Amagrama with Agustin Amaya has a great keyboardist as frontman. Guitarist Juan Cruz Sanabria is also an equally fantastic musician and bassist Javier Martinez and drummer Juan Amaya (Agustin’s younger brother) also fit well into the picture. Some themes are regularly recurring in this title track, which is of course conducive to coherence.
If you look at the coherence of the album, you quickly notice that it is a well-dosed variety of dynamics. It’s not complicated mathematics to find out that the more solid numbers are usually in the odd places and the more calm passages on the even. Vigilia is a nice resting point in Gandalf style. The short instrumental is replaced by the first movement of El Vacio, also instrumental, this time with a thunderous rhythm and voluptuous keyboard playing with a neo-proggy look. It can be classified with the more robust songs of the album, a bombastic piece full of driving bass playing and guitar riffs. In Tu Eternidad we hear vocals for the first time. As it turns out, Agustin Amaya has a pleasant voice, high, passionate and melancholic. However, in his Spanish-language he sounds a bit childish although it is not disturbing. Furthermore, it is a fine progsong with an excellent guitar solo towards the end.
Part two of El Vacio is a dizzying event. The song regularly reminds me of the intro of the track Quantum Leap by the band NO, the collaboration between Clive Nolan and Martin Orford on the second “Si Magazine Compilation Disc”. The subsequent Todo Lo Que Pueda Ser is based on an infectious piano that is further completed by a nice organ and beautiful strings ,in addition to the surrounding parts of guitar, bass guitar and drums. Amagrama, of course, continues as usual.
With the songs Fabulas De Un Titere, Desierto Humedo and the rock song La Luz Y El Cristal decorated with fusion chords, the band takes a more streamlined turn. Especially the Desierto Humedo written by guest guitarist Alejandro Graziano stands out because of the many acoustic guitar playing. When the regular album closes with the instrumental Dislalia, Amagrama brings out two more of his qualities: robust riffs and a lot of other exuberance.
Finally, there is a pleasant bonus track. Amagrama comes with a well-executed cover version of a 1976 song by Crucis, Recluso Artista. It is wonderful to hear how the warm organ sounds pay a true homage to the legendary status of their compatriots.
It is remarkable that “Ciclotimia” never got a successor again. It is weakly expressed that the talent you hear on the album asks for that. Begging is a better word.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022