Around this time last year, Spanish sextet Regna released their debut EP, Meridian, and since then it seems to have flown under the prog radar – a shame really, as it is enjoyable listen and would certainly delight those who enjoy a blend of traditional prog, which occasionally endorses ‘beefed up’ guitar sections and isn’t afraid to draw, here and there, from the Latin fusion quarter.
The band cite a varied cross section of influences and pointers, which include Beardfish, Bigelf, Camel, Deep Purple, early-Dream Theater, ELP, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Kansas, King Crimson, Magic Pie, PFM, etc… They also view their music in the heavy progressive rock, progressive metal vein. So are these useful guides? Well, with the exception of PFM, I’m not entirely sure they are. Granted there may be elements from the above throughout the EP, but they are scant and in many respects it does the band a disservice, as they do have their own voice. And either I’m drifting more towards the ‘dark side’ or this isn’t as heavy as the band may imply.
So what might you find on Meridian?
Although split into four tracks, Meridian is a continuous piece of music, with the gentle meandering opener, Black Crows, calling in the more traditional progressive elements – engaging picked guitars, pastoral, mellotron-esque keyboards and gentle vocals. Black Crows segues seamlessly into the rockier instrumental, Collapse (In Technicolor) and a chance for the band to stretch out with the guitars and keyboards duelling for attention. A psychedelic texture is added to the heavier guitars…
Awake initially returns to the opening lighter touch and here Regna bring to mind some of Guy Manning’s work, however it is the middle instrumental that is the jewel in the crown, calling via Al Di Meola’s house by way of Dream Theater. Regna may not have quite the same flamboyant chops as the aforementioned, but the middle instrumental is a delightful and enjoyable excursion. Coda brings the track and the EP to a gentle conclusion…
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, Meridian will, I feel, appeal to those who hanker for the more traditional prog values. Certainly Miguel González’s selection of keyboard sounds helps immensely here with Hammond, Rhodes piano and mellotron always in the mind. On a final note, the production doesn’t have the modern, pristine production values one might expect, but in turn this acts in the music’s favour by adding a degree of warmth.
Presumably Meridian is the pre-cursor to a full album and I will certainly be keen to hear the band’s next outing.
01. Part One: Black Crows (4:24)
02. Part Two: Collapse [in Technicolor] (3:48)
03. Part Three: Awake Again (7:14)
04. Part Four: Coda (2:06)
Total Time – 17:32
Alejandro Domínguez – Guitar
Arturo García – Bass
Miguel González – Keyboards
Marc Illa – Vocals
Eric Lavado – Drums
Xavier Martínez – Guitar
Record Label: n/a
Year Of Release: 1st April 2015