Ekhymosis

Ekhymosis

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Before he became Juanes the superstar solo artist and enjoyed major hits like "La Camisa Negra" (one of the most addictive Latin singles of 2005), Juan Esteban Aristizábal was the lead singer for Ekhymosis -- a rock en Español/Latin pop outfit that had a good 12-year run in Colombia. Recorded for Fonovisa in 1997 and reissued in 2005, this self-titled CD was Ekhymosis' swan song; the band called it quits the following year. Juanes acquired a lot of new fans after going solo, and if his solo output inspires any of them to go back and check out his work with Ekhymosis, that's definitely a good thing. Ekhymosis, at first, had a reputation for being a heavy metal band -- Juanes was seriously into Metallica in the '80s and '90s -- but very few of the songs on this 49-minute disc can honestly be described as metal (even if one has a broad, far-reaching definition of that term). Rather, this is primarily an album of melodic alternative pop/rock (of the arena rock variety) that just happens to be in Spanish; stylistically, the material is much closer to Maná than Metallica, Pantera, or any of their Spanish-speaking counterparts. And for those whose introduction to Juanes was Un Día Normal in 2002 or Mi Sangre in 2004, tuneful offerings like "Vivo," "Sin Rencores," and "De Madrugada" offer hints of the solo recordings that -- in 1997 -- were several years away. An impressive sense of pop/rock craftsmanship prevails on this album; that is true on the up-tempo rockers as well as on the pensive ballads "Solo" and "Azul." This CD was a respectable farewell from Ekhymosis and -- when you think about it -- an enjoyable preview of what was to come for Juanes the solo artist.

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