Un Festin Sagital - "Epitafio a la Permanencia"
(Beta-lactam Ring Records 2008, mt124)
From Aural Innovations #40 (September 2008)
The ghosts of RIO haunt the galvanizing debut of this Chilean ensemble who, like their forebears, mixes equal parts ideological commentary and sophisticated sonic experimentation. Combining the oppressive atmospheric chamber rock of Art Zoyd and Universe Zero with the Gotterdammerung operatic thunder of Magma and the incendiary folk-derived melodicism of Stormy Six and Samla Mammas Manna, Un Festin Sagital brew a potent elixir of sturm und drang that's best taken in small, concentrated doses. But listened to judiciously and with due restraint, the unnerving sound of UFS can serve as an antidote to the tedious pabulum that seems to be inundating the airwaves these days. "Epitafio al Delirio de la Permanencia," the album's sprawling opening track, is the cornerstone upon which this strange brew ferments, foams and ultimately spills out over your B & W speakers. Its stuttering rhythms, sudden tempo shifts and hellish vox Diablo warblings serve as a concise blueprint for the rest of the album. Fortunately, the group's political concerns and allegiances don't overwhelm and dilute the intensity of their musical aspirations-a fate that all too often befalls rock anarchists hellbent on preaching to the choir. There are even moments of relative "normalcy" on Epitafio a la Permanencia. The more traditionally structured "La Dignidad del Espiritu Bestia" is easily the album's most accessible track, its driving rhythm section and hard-edged guitar almost qualifying it as a lost King Crimson B-side or perhaps what Magma might have sounded like had Fripp been their guitarist. The group's impeccable musicianship will undoubtedly be enough to sustain them through many years and many more albums to come, though as with many outfits who labor under the RIO banner, they may fall on the battlefield as victims of their own musical iconoclasm. Either way, it'll be interesting to watch Un Festin Sagital's evolution through the wasteland of 21st century post rock.
For more information you can visit the Beta-lactam Ring Records web site at: http://www.blrrecords.com.
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree