Reviews:


Tom Hayes 09-Feb-2001 Atila at a Glance

The Catalonian group Atila released three diverse albums in the mid to late 70's. Starting primarily as a raw hard rock psych group, Atila evolved into one of the finest instrumental progressive space rock acts around. They are one of the few 70's Spanish bands to not include a strong indigenous element to their sound.

The Beginning of the End was an inauspicious debut to say the least. Handed out as a promo to guests of their live shows in 1975, the album is a rough mix of instrumental hard rock with an incredibly long drum solo for such a short album. Due to the nature of its distribution, this had long been considered one of the crown jewels of Euro prog. Nowhere near deserved of its lofty reputation, much less the four-figure price tag, the album serves as nothing more than an odd curiosity of the very early post-Franco era. Best avoided except for completists.

Obviously their promo technique worked, as major label BASF signed the group for their second effort, Intencion. This album shows what the band can do if given some time in the studio. Borrowing from classical motifs, Atila added what can only be called a vicious guitar sound with some strong organ/synth playing and quite a bit of drum action. Side two is a rework of the debut album, here titled in Spanish as "El Principio del Fin." Starting with a Phantom of the Opera-like organ, the piece explodes into a Black Sabbath guitar riff before settling into an easy groove with moog, organ, and fuzz guitar jamming. Plus the requisite drum solo. A must for progressive fans who like psychedelic sounds.

After two years, the band delivered their coup de grace, Reviure. Promoted to super label EMI/Odeon, Atila produced another primarily all instrumental album. Now the hard rock/psych edges have been replaced by a smoother cosmic edge. The organ tossed completely for the moog and the biting fuzz guitar for a more spacey one. The complex progressive moves are still here, but now the focus is on long synthesizer drones and atmospheric spacey guitar. The four long tracks on display here are each marked by their superb composition style, changes of tone and mood, and subtle energy. Sounding unlike any other album from Spain, Reviure is a must listen for the fan of Continental European progressive music.

As luck would have it, only the first album has been bestowed a decent CD reissue. Intencion was taken from a crackly record, though there is a very good sounding Japanese LP reissue (of dubious legality) that is very rare in its own right (originals are exorbitant in price). Sadly, Reviure has been ignored altogether in the CD market and originals will set one back about $100.




Mike McLatchey    10-Feb-2001 Intencion

Atila - Intencion (Lost Vinyl LV-002, 1976/1994, CD)

Best known for the incredibly magnificent Reviure one of the best progressive rock albums all around, Atila are a Spanish classical rock group that started small and went out with a bang. Intencion falls in the middle, playing a compex classically influenced rock. Lost Vinyl's only mark against them so far is the ridiculously shoddy pressing they used to master this CD - I had a better quality tape recording than the LP they used, and the fact that they snipped a couple of seconds from the beginning gives the strong start too much of a harsh abruptness. Regardless, you can always crank it up and the sound is pretty good, just rather scratchy. The music here is good, not really hinting at Reviure yet, but more like a more mature version of their debut. In fact, Atila decided to redo their The Beginning Of The End suite as its Spanish title "El Principio Del Fin" at half the original time, resulting in a far more coherent and dynamic track. The first side is a slightly different affair - a diverse array of classical rock in the Italian school with hints of groups such as The Trip, Banco, Corte Dei Miracoli, Triade or Buon Vecchio Charlie. In other ways it could be compared to the Spanish group Canarios by the way they do rock versions of classical themes. The opener "Intencion" is especially excellent with a complex progressive with chunky organ and great fuzzed lead guitar with an intensity that reminds one of Brezovar (Ange). While it isn't quite as superb as Reviure, it's still a good one and comes recommended to the classical rock fan.

(originally reviewed as part of Media Look: Lost Vinyl - An Introduction, Exposť #4, p. 6, Edited for Gnosis 2/9/01)




Peter Thelen    10-Feb-2001 The Beginning Of The End

Atila - The Beginning Of The End (Lost Vinyl LV-001, 1975/1993, CD)

Atila dates back to 1973, when guitarist Eduardo Alvarez Niebla formed the band as a trio with two of his friends, Paco Ortega (keys) and Juan Punet (drums). This, their first album, so rare I was unaware of its existence until this CD reissue, was recorded in 1975, a completely self-produced and self distributed edition of 1000 copies. Lost Vinyl has done a splendid job on the reissue here, especially given the substandard quality of the original recordings - if this is a vinyl transfer, it's not apparent from normal listening.

The album consists of one very long multi-part track "El Principio Del Fin," with no stops or breaks, other than to change sides, it was essentially a live recording, done on a very small budget. This is the same track whose best passages were re-recorded by the four-piece Atila on their second album "Intencion." Their sound at this early stage could be described as ripping guitar-driven rock, with bits of recognizable classical pieces appearing from time to time; the organ is prominent within the mix, also handling the bottom end using bass pedals. They ramble a bit, the soloing tends to get excessive at times, yet there are still enough changes to keep the music interesting. While the music here is not as crisp, overtly progressive and melodically colorful as on their later releases Intencion and especially Reviure, there is still plenty here to make it worth a listen.

(originally reviewed as part of Media Look: Lost Vinyl - An Introduction, Exposť #4, p. 6, Edited for Gnosis 2/9/01)




Sjef Oellers 15-Feb-2001 Reviure

Reviure is one of the classics of the Spanish progressive scene. It is an album full of energetic interplay between guitar, bass and keyboards in the vein of Mezquita, Crucis and Fusioon. In addition, I can also hear elements in their music that recall Carpe Diem, Shylock, the Italian prog scene and Eloy (around Floating). Mostly, the band varies between fast-paced (classically-inspired) themes for guitar and keyboards and spacey sections that are predominantly keyboard led. The album is mainly instrumental, but there are a few harmless vocal lines sung by an average vocalist. The album features four long tracks. Hardly a dull second. A superb album.



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