Engel

Engel

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This album is not what it looks like -- and it looks awful. The cover pictures Miguel Angel de la Llave Jiménez, aka Engel, naked with a pair of wings, showing off his six-pack while handling his electric guitar in a manly way. Another guitar hero with a pumped-up ego? No. The guitar does play a central role in the music, but it is not the alpha and the omega of Engel's musical attributes. His tunes never even come close to the heavy metal displays of Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen. Instead, it is filled with references to traditional music from France and the British Isles. Engel's tunes feature bagpipes, violin, accordion, zither, flutes, and keyboards, all performed by him. The guitar picks up the melodies but overall the music sticks close to a kind of ethnic fusion dominated by Celtic and Irish influences -- world music meets new age meets the symphonic side of progressive rock. "El Rostro de Ajanta" even shows strong influences from vintage Jean-Michel Jarre. Obviously, a lot of care went into this album, but it still suffers from the track-by-track recording of a one-man band. Some pieces deserved a real drummer instead of programmed rhythm tracks, and a certain coldness remains in the production. That said, Engel has numerous good moments, especially "La Princesa del las Ranas," featuring an uncredited female vocalist.

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