ANIMA MUNDI – Jagannath Orbit

ANIMA MUNDI - Jagannath Orbit
  • 9/10
    ANIMA MUNDI - Jagannath Orbit - 9/10


Release date: October 2008

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It is not often that one hears about a Cuban Progressive Rock band. Not that they don’t exist, just word gets out only occasionally. Anima Mundi are no exception to that rule. Although they released an album called Septentrion several years ago, hardly anybody in the world got wind of it. (Actually, if you want to become one of those chosen few, go to their band homepage and download the complete first album for free!). But back to the new album. With their new compositions being written between 2002 and 2007, Anima Mundi were discovered by French label Musea and released outside the shores of Fidel-ia.

That is our fortune, as the Cuban musicians, somewhere between four as in the picture and six as listed, plus four guest musicians, deliver a great piece of symphonic Progressive Rock. Not so much Metal, a good comparison would be Swedish Progmasters The Flower Kings, also because Anima Mundi begins Jagannath Orbit with a seventeen minute track, the longest on the album. Not the easiest access for the untrained ear unless one knows his way around the contemporary Prog scene, but as with the aforementioned Swedes, it is worth the effort to give it a few spins. It will unfold like a flower and reveal its beauty to the persistent listener. Another track, the instrumental “Rhythm Of The Spheres”, reminds of the Flower Kings, but even for Prog fans who hesitate to believe that: Yes, these musicians seem to be just that good, and without just copying the sound of Roine and his friends.

But to be fair, there are other influences present, too. “There’s A Place Not Far Away” and “Sanctuary” sound a bit like Spock’s Beard or Neal Morse, while the title track occasionally dips into The Beatles and Marillion. Anyway, it is a Progfan’s feast. Four of the songs have a combined playing time of over 46 minutes and combine elaborate solo arrangements, almost film score type symphonic parts, and catchy melodies. If normal Prog generally is a Sunday’s meal compared to ordinary Metal, this is certainly a feast. And on the side you’ll get a Clarinette, Bagpipes, a Didgeridoo, Bongos and professionally arranged Keys and effects. Every sound is where it is supposed to be, clearly a result of the long time songwriter and bandleader Roberto Diaz working on the material. Even the guitar is not too far in the background but rears its head many times without being pushed back from the opulent keyboards. Probably because Roberto plays mainly the guitar, so in his compositions that instrument plays an important role.

As stated above, the musical universe of Anima Mundi does not unfold upon first sight but it takes a few rounds in orbit around Jagannath to get an impression of the versatility, the richness and beauty the compositions exhibit. Fans of the bands mentioned, and certainly also of IQ, Yes, Jadis, need to check this album out. Hopefully, it will not take another five or six years before we get another taste of the sound of what seems to be Cuba’s finest Prog band.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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