Mike McLatchey 3-Oct-2006 High Fidelity Orchestra

It seems like Mexican progressive rock began its full swing about the same time similar music in other countries died to a standstill. HFO debuted their first album in 1982 and did so with a strange two-sided album of two drastically different styles. The first half contains an impressive progressive rock style with a heavy King Crimson influence; those jagged, tritone-heavy progressions that bring to mind Larks Tongues In Aspic. While HFO exhibits the same lack of instrument and production technologies as contemporaries Iconoclasta or Caja de Pandora, they too more than make up for it with excellent, innovative compositions featuring superb drumming, occasional fuzz guitar (Loch Ness or Humus come to mind here), and unusual melodies. HFO like a lot of dissonance and employ it well to keep a sense of menace and adventure in their music.

The second half of the album is completely different. Gone is the progressive rock formation and in with a full orchestra for opera. What caused the group to put two vastly different styles of music on one album is reminiscent of a similar attempt by Nirgal Vallis and Arturo Meza, although that album clearly implied the split. I won't comment too much on the classical side except to say that it has both male and female vocals, a foreboding atmosphere and an overwhelming sense of drama and tragedy. Overall, both sides are excellent, although neither complement each other very well. After the first side, I can't help but wish there was more of it.

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