So my one complaint about Toundra’s fifth album “Vortex” is the name. Nothing wrong with the word itself but the band has numbered all of their previous albums so the OCD in me wanted this one to be called (V). They always put a Roman numeral between some parentheses. How dare they go off script and give this album a proper name!?! Well all kidding aside, the title works well to give the listener an idea of the vastness that is “Vortex.” And since the “V” in “Vortex” could mean their fifth album, who knows?
Toundra has become one of my favorite instrumental bands. They have TONS of melody and atmosphere in their music. The Spanish quartet aren’t going to throw a billion notes at you but (as I like to say) they pick the RIGHT notes at the RIGHT time. The album starts off with a short intro instrumental aptly titled “Intro Vortex” and while I am never keen on intro tracks, it does lead nicely into “Cobra,” the first song released from “Vortex.”
“Cobra” is aggressive and has plenty of twists and turns, like a snake I suppose. It’s Toundra doing what they do best with an even greater punch. This is maintained on the next track “Tuareg.” “Kingston Falls” is probably the best example of what Toundra sounds like as a whole: powerful drumming, melodic leads over crunchy guitars and thick bass licks. Plus they do it all in 4 minutes on this one. Toundra, like any good prog band, play longer than most. The track starts serene before building up to a fury, like a waterfall might.
What I love about Toundra is that they straddle the line between prog rock and post rock with a metal edge. “Mojave” is the big 11 minute epic that features all of that. It also has the only part of the album that I don’t quite care for. The first 3 minutes of the track has some electronic percussion which sounds out of place to me. True I am not a huge fan of electronics but it’s not something that Toundra need to bother with. Alex’s performance throughout the album on drums really underscore that point.
The album has two other short tracks: the tranquility of “Cartavio” and the rumbling of “Roy Neary.” Each of these tracks show the two sides of Toundra in a compact presentation. The album closes with “Cruse Oeste,” a driving triumphant finish. “Vortex” is yet another great album from Toundra who are one of the most consistent bands that I listen to. I can always count on them to deliver a quality album that’s true to their style. “Vortex” is just that.
- Intro Vortex
- Kingston Falls
- Roy Neary
- Cruce Oeste