Sonus Umbra -
A Sky Full Of Ghosts

(CD 2020, 64:34, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Antidentity(7:02)
  2- Bleary-Eyed People(8:09)
  3- Desolation Dreams(3:28)
  4- Hidden In The Light(20:52)
  5- Losing My Insanity(4:33)
  6- The Last Menagerie(7:09)
  7- Time Is Running Out(2:54)
  8- The Waves Will Devour The Sea(6:25)
  9- Apogee(4:02)

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The USA based formation Sonus Umbra was founded under the name Radio Silence in Mexico, back in the early 1990's. Shortly after the main members of the band relocated to the USA, and later started to work on assembling earlier demo material of Radio Silence. In 1999 the album entitled Laughter In The Dar came out of these sessions and got rave reviews, sold out in a few months and Sonus Umbra earned a deal with a small, independent record label. Radio Silence changed its name into Sonus Umbra for legal reasons, this revitalized version of the band started moving forward. Between 2000 (Snapshots From Limbo) and 2016 (Beyond The Panopticon) Sonus Umbra released a series of albums, recently followed by the new album A Sky Full Of Ghosts (2020).

The music on this new Sonus Umbra album sounds like a pleasant blend of different styles, from folk and classical to rock and jazz, with the focus on folk and rock. Most of the 9 tracks often alternate between dreamy atmospheres and mid-tempo rock, topped with strong work on flute, guitars (acoustic and electric), the mighty Hammond organ, and at some moments synthesizer (in the dynamic Antidentity and the mellow Time Is Running Out). No surprise that Jethro Tull comes to my mind, due to the sparkling play on the flute, blended with powerful rock guitar, and the parts with acoustic guitar and warm vocals, embellished with piano and flute, and even violin (in Desolation Dream). The varied epic Hidden In The Light delivers some fine moments and amazing interplay, but sounds a bit unbalanced to me, at some moments my attention slips away. A kind of maverick on this album is the track The Waves Will Devour The Sea. It starts in the familiar folk rock atmosphere but gradually turns into avant-garde and experimental (with elements from early King Crimson) featuring virtuosic interplay and lots of flowing shifting moods. Very dynamic but not always my cup of tea. The final song Apogee emphasizes the pleasant mellow side of the band, it contains a dreamy climate with soaring Hammond, and warm vocals and acoustic guitar, simply beautiful.

***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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