Bauda // Euphoria …Of Flesh, Men and the Great Escape
Rating: 3.5/5.0 – Dabblings in dreamy progressiveness
Label: ATMF Records
Release Dates: EU: 2012.09.11 | US: 07.30.2012 [Digital]
Describing music as ‘dreamy’ can put different people on different paths of imagination. One could go on the happy path of smiling young people and major chords while another one would think of the vast and ethereal expanses of post-rock but metal is not something that crosses the head. However, on Euphoria …Of Flesh, Men and the Great Escape, Bauda actually plays some metal and attempts to achieve this dreaminess through a delicate balance. I know it sounds odd but this is definitely the kind of record that you’ll be able to grasp after a couple of listens. It needs some time to grow on you. On some occasions, it sounds spot on but on some others, I was left with a feeling of uneasiness.
For the uninitiated, which included me until I listened to this record, Bauda is a band hailing from the Chilean capital Santiago. Their music traverses the plains of progressive rock and post-rock with a slight metallic touch. This metallic touch does not manifest itself in the form of growls or blasts or even thick distortions; it’s more of an abstract inclination. Some segments come off as if they are the product of metalheads putting their heads together (oops) and working on something. This shows during the first couple of minutes of “Humanimals” where the drums pounding endlessly with some double bass and the guitars are trilled with fervor. “Acension” is another piece that comes with an extra metallic twist after its brilliant couple of minutes in the beginning.
The fifty nine minute durations does sound reasonable when you consider the ideas that are explored on each track. That’s the work of the very obvious progressive rock and post-rock influences. Rhythmically speaking, bassist Juan Díaz and drummer Nicolas Recabarren pull together in harmonious fluidity and provide a sturdy backbone for the rest of the instruments which are all handled by the band’s mastermind with the same name. None of these two henchmen attempts to overtake center stage by being too loud or too flashy with what he’s doing. The bass remains audible and intelligible throughout the majority of the album while the drums churn on with groove and a willingness to explore open spaces. This coordination which I praise is quite evident on “Oceania” with its brilliant build-up in 6/4 and on “Textures”.
My major problem with Euphoria …Of Flesh, Men and the Great Escape is my impression that it’s a record that doesn’t sound like it’s going anywhere. Sure there are great tracks like the nine minute opener “Phantalassa” and the aforementioned “Acension” but I couldn’t find coherence over the entire span of the album. The main vocal melody on “Textures” is the album’s weakest point as far as I’m concerned because of their cheesy vibe which actually neutralizes an otherwise good track. Having said that, there are lots of other moments that counter act this and raise the average a bit. So Euphoria may have made an incomplete impression on me since I’m easily turned off by slightest vocal anomaly but that doesn’t mean it’s a sub-par record by any means. On the individual level, these musicians put a lot of effort into this and it does show on many instances. Give it a go if you’re into progressive or post-rock or maybe even folk metal.