This is one of the toughest reviews that I’ve had to write. “Sporelights” by Bauda has caused an endless debate with myself over how to rate this album. I guess I have til the end of the review to decide. What’s the issue?
First off, the songs are great. All are well written modern prog songs in the vein of older Porcupine Tree or Anathema in a really good mood. The band sound great, specifically bassist Juan Díaz who not only can play, but also has a great tone as well. Drummer Nikolas Recabarren is always pushing the songs forward and does some great fills throughout the album. Main-man César Márquez has a very solid voice as well.
The album starts with an instrumental called “Aurora” which introduces the band with plenty of atmosphere and even some bombast. It goes right into the next track “Vigil” which is a great song…until something happens half way through that kills everything. There’s a weird choir that sounds like Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. It just sounds bad and out of place. And worse it comes back again later in the track.
Ok, I can overlook that once. Unfortunately, the same Peanuts choir are doing “oooh” sounds through most of the title track which is next. Awful. It’s a shame because it’s a great song!! When I hear a more subdued “oooh” during “War,” I am rather pissed. I probably would not have even noticed it during “War” but since the last 2 tracks brought it up, you hear it easily.
Luckily, “War” builds up half way through and really sounds great. No more Peanuts! Unfortunately, the end of “War” sounds like the producer thought it best to fade the end suddenly. Let the thing BREATHE. Such a nice dramatic ending cut off. The next two tracks are both great and have no issues at all, with “Asleep in Layers” being my favorite track on the album. It has an 80s prog vibe with the guitar sound on it.
The last track “Dawn of Ages” is great except for the strange keyboard sounds used toward the end. Another bad decision hurts a good song. That’s the problem with Bauda. They really needed to run some of this by an outside producer. It’s so damn FRUSTRATING! If some of these things weren’t done, this would be a 9/10 but I could just as easily give them a 5/10 for the poor choices. Bauda’s “Sporelights” shows so much talent and ability, it’s a shame that some ideas just don’t work. Let’s split the difference then.
5. Tectonic Cells
6. Asleep In Layers
7. Dawn Of Ages