Review: Mehran - Subterranea
|Date of Release:||2012/09/18|
|Country of Release:||US|
2) Prog Rock, Metal
|Date of Review:||2012/09/26|
Mehran's Subterranea was released on 18th September. The new band comprises Mehran Jalili on flamenco and electric guitar (yes, electric!), Carl Kennedy, keyboards, Sam Werk on drums and percussion, and Krushanu Joseph, bass guitar.
This should give more than a hint that Mehran has completely re-invented himself. Subterranea is a concept album. The underlying concept is complex, yet simple. And most of all, beautiful and noble. In another dimension deep beneath the Earth's surface, there exists another, imaginary, alternative society, Subterranea, a surreal, utopian world. It is everything that our society is not yet could and should be. As our society is coming closer and closer to destroying our very environment and is governed by greed, egotism, exploitation, aggression and consumerism, bringing us ever closer to collapse, so Subterraneans live in harmony with nature, transcendence is their goal, and humility and selflessness are at the core of their being, pride and ego are meaningless. Subterraneans are mirror images of man that have chosen a different path. This concept of Subterranea is a constructive, if damning, social criticism. 'It is a yearning for a better society and a glimpse into an alternative reality for mankind,' to quote Mehran.
This beauty and nobility is reflected in the beauty and nobility of the music. The music is the message here. Subterranea has been described as flamenco flavoured prog rock, but one could equally call it flamenco with prog rock, and even metal, flavouring. I think the latter is more apt. Mehran, the flamenco guitarist, harkens back to his roots in prog rock and metal with this album. But flamenco always is the core of this music, albeit with different, prog rock affinitive instrumentation, and in a modern idiom.
Ultimately, Subterranea the music is as deeply inspired as it is inspiring, arising from deep within, not from some clever ideas. It is spiritual, innovative and inventive, and full of imagination. Subterranea is a journey, and Mehran takes you with him.
At the end of Into The Abyss, there is a short spoken commentary on the gravity of the Earth, while Parvaz concludes with a very short poem sung in Persian. Desert Moon opens with a short spoken commentary about the cities and the people of Subterranea, and it concludes with Mehran telling the listener that it was all just a dream. He gives the listener the choice to interpret Subterranea, or its concept, in any way he likes.
The artwork by Siamak Zarin Ghalami of the most welcome digipak is surrealist in style and exquisite. Worth buying the CD for over digital download any day. The only pity here is that it isn't the size of a good old fashioned vinyl album.
All eight tracks of Subterranea are by Mehran, and there is a bonus track of Mehran playing the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, Adagio) solo on flamenco guitar. This complements the album to perfection with its dream-like beauty. Every single track would be worth the price of admission by itself. If the previous album, Angels of Persepolis, was outstanding, Subterranea is sheer unadulterated genius.
Totally consistent beginning to end, Subterranea is an exquisite, beautiful and brilliant album that is way beyond compelling and casts a magic spell that is impossible to resist. You will want to listen to this album again and again.
For the flamenco/world music as well as the prog rock aficionado, Mehran's Subterranea is an absolute must have, and it will also fascinate the general guitar fan. Buy it already!
1. Subterranea - 5:46
Credits:Mehran - flamenco and electric guitar
Carl Kennedy - keyboards
Sam Werk - drums & percussion
Krushanu Joseph - bass guitar
Behdad Khorrami - voice
Maya Tatiana & Silvana Marzullo - hand claps
Poetry on Parvaz by Forough Farrokhzad
Subterranea can be purchased from:
Amazon - soon
Amazon UK - soon
iTunes - soon
Other online sources - soon
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