Guatemalan Metal is not exactly a staple in my Metal diet, with only ASTUR IGNIS having made it into my CD player so far, now we can double the count with ANDROMEDA, also hailing from the capital Guatemala City and there actually is a current connection between these two bands (ASTUR IGNIS’ guitarist Otto Arevalo had been in ANDROMEDA before as well), which is singer Adrián Méndez and he had been my maybe favourite element of ASTUR IGNIS’ demo, so it doesn’t look bad for “Melodías Del Ocaso Perdido” (which I believe means something like “melodies of the lost occasion”), now does it?
From the get go of “Más Allá Del Universo” it’s clear that ANDROMEDA are not out for prizes for originality, but nevertheless they have got something that keeps bringing me back to this album. Well, it is actually two “somethings”, these being the atmosphere and the vocals. I had already mentioned singer Adrián Méndez and his very good and clear voice that in combination with the Spanish language adds its very own dimension to the disc and greatly complements the variable musical approach, which does not only go full steam ahead, but cleverly varies the tempo and mood to keep things interesting. The other thing, the atmosphere, is something that is somewhat harder to put into words, but somehow I get this underlying mystical vibe swinging in the melodies and vocal lines that really puts especially this track very close to my heart.
As is to be expected, not the whole album can keep this up, though, but “Jasta El Juicio Final” picks up this atmosphere in form of a ballad that has the same irresistible feeling to it and the “regular” Power Metal tracks, which are a little less immediately gripping, still are above average, and if you have a cracker like the band hymn “Andrómeda” in there as well or the very emotional piano ballad “Detuve El Tiempo (Te Esperaré)”, I can definitely forgive them. The band has been around since 1996, even though only Adrián is left from the original line-up as the whole rest of the band left to form SILENT POETRY in 2007 (meaning that “Melodías Del Ocaso Perdido” is the first album in the new line-up), and it shows, as the songs are very well written and arranged and while not being all that big in the originality department, they will not disappoint any Power Metal fan, as the production also is good, which unfortunately is not always the case with Central American releases.
ANDROMEDA do not need any bonus for coming from an exotic place, because they have the quality to compete with bands from more established countries and with the new line-up finding its groove, I would hope for the next album to take another step forward and bring Guatemalan Metal onto the Metal map, check them out if you manage to, you should not be disappointed!
(Online May 21, 2009)