Bauda first came to life in 2006, ostensibly as a solo project by Chilean guitarist and vocalist César Márquez. It wasn’t until 2012 that it became a fully formed band. The following year, Márquez and his fellow musicians – drummer Nikolas Recabarren, bassist Juan Díaz and keyboard player Edgardo González – decided to team up with René Rutten of Dutch progsters for what ultimately proved to be a two year collaboration, which has resulted in this, the project’s third album.
With the South American sub-continent seemingly dominated by black and death metal acts, it is actually quite refreshing to come across a band that plough a completely divergent path, as ‘Sporelights’ is very much what could be described as a “traditional” yet modern progressive rock album. Drawing from a deep well of influences such as Porcupine Tree, It Bites, Sigur Ros and, indeed, The Gathering, it is not a concept album per se, but does take as its central theme the struggle of the individual against the enslavement of modern society: a subject which the band should know only too well, given the Chilean government’s historic reputation for the crushing of artistic freedom, and especially that seen as alternative or contrary to their own blind vision of how things should be.
Despite the seeming brutality of its subject matter, ‘Sporelights’ is a beautiful album, filled with dynamic, swelling soundscapes and brilliant performances. Márquez proves himself to be a highly accomplished musician, in both the instrumental and vocal departments, and a superb composer, with a clinical eye for detail, drawing out little nuances which intrigue and captivate. He also has an ear for commercialism, as there are also catchy Muse/30STM-style hooks aplenty amidst the sweeping harmonies. And this mixture of alt and prog serves to add to the drama which unfolds around your ears as the album immerses you in its warm embrace.
As I said, this is a beautiful album, and one which is an essential purchase for all lovers of truly progressive prog rock.
Aurora / Vigil / Sporelights / War / Tectonic Cells / Asleep In Layers / Dawn Of Ages
Recommended listening: War
‘Sporelights’ is released via Temple Of Torturous on October 19.