Friday, 16 May 2014

Prajna – The Summer Eclipse (2014) / 94%

Bogota's Hidden Diamond

Andrés Felipe Murillo is a young Colombian man, he dresses well, he's into anime and Japanese video games like Touhou and he's a terrific musician. I'll have to admit he's a good friend of mine but this won't taint my judgement! I'm objective in the face of awesomeness and the first full length of this solo project is certainly phallus inducing.

Prajna used to be a full band but he always was the composer until he decided to davemustaine a little and fire everyone. He can do almost everything on his own and considering the Colombian scene is not very inclined to his genre of music (it prefers dumb thrash apparently) it doesn't quite matter if he plays gigs or not. Murillo composed everything and played all instruments on this debut, his first release since the impressive EP  “Lost in the Void” released three years ago. It took him a while to finish since he's also a full time student but it's top notch and well worth the wait for his small circle of fans throughout the interwebs.

The ten songs, forty six minutes full length is an impressive unique slab of heavy/power/speed metal and it really sounds professional even though there's no label support or anything of the sort. The drums were programmed but it's no biggie, the results can be of high quality nowadays and it's not the end of the world in my opinion. The production and mastering are pretty good considering the DIY approach, lots of time was dedicated to it and the mixing support of Charles Wong (another friend of mine) really helped the record. The riffs and solos are very well produced and nothing sounds wimpy and shallow.  Quite the contrary.

The dude is a very talented guitarist and he proves it throughout the whole deal with the numerous excellent solos (such as the catchy lead opening of “This World (Is Broken)” or the raw instrumental energetic finale of “Nowhere”.  It has a good amount of cool riffing too, it's fast paced, ultra melodic without being too cheesy and saccharine. The album is quite diverse too, it has some progressive elements like “Heart on Fire” with its ethereal piano background reminding me of the later modern stuff of Dark Tranquillity. The main influence here is Japanese video game music and anime though, it's mixed with the traditional metal sound to create something awesome and inspiring. Since I have basically no kawaii knowledge except for like Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop, I can't truly get the references but eh, it's special and interesting. It's not quite apparent and I only know it's there because he told me but someone who isn't familiar won't get the Japanese references and it won't interfere with their enjoyment.

Murillo is influenced by the good stuff, like early German speed metal and American power metal. John Arch (Fates Warning) is definitely one of his influences vocally and that's always appreciated even though Arch can't be beaten. While his delivery is perhaps the only negative thing I can find here, he's not bad, he's simply pretty unconventional. His high pitched thick Spanish accent can be grating for some but I think it can be lovely and adorable when you get used to it! His delivery is high pitched, powerful but juvenile but no one can accuse him of not being true to himself. Even if he's not a top notch vocalist, his vocal lines are quite superb, he's not only a guitarist, that's for sure. As long as he doesn't get kidnapped by the FARC, I'm sure he can improve his skills! His English is pretty much perfect so the lyrics are well written, definitely better than many European power metal bands.

Catchy, fun, well written and honest metal is what is delivered here, through the immense, obscure talent of its composer, Prajna shines. Kiss the cook because this is tasty! It's a great mix of emotional shred, riffy speed metal, melodic power metal and it has many refreshing ideas. No lines snorting there, only legit stuff induced by hard work, true talent and vision.

Get the album for free on Bandcamp, pay more than 15 bucks to get a physical copy.

Andrés Felipe Murillo

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