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For Hex, Madrid instrumental rock quartet Toundra decided to go big, rather than go home. The band’s seventh album kicks off with “El Odio” (“Hatred”), a twenty-two minute piece that encompasses feelings of anger and regret when confronted with the hatred too large of a percentage of human society feels toward folks of different races, sexual preferences and political stripes. Drawing on the sweeping dynamics of post rock and the riffing muscle of hard rock, the song surges from brow-furrowing meditation to powerhouse crunch as it navigates the complications of a post-truth world. Rich in atmosphere and melody, its majesty and melancholy evoke more emotion than a dozen singer/songwriters.
The second side can’t quite match that triumph, but that’s no slight, given everything poured into “El Odio.” So Toundra doesn’t waste any time trying – they simply get on with the rest of the record. “Ruinas” (“Ruins”) rocks like a bulldozer spiked with extra-caffeinated coffee, “La Larga Marcha” (“The Long March”) affects a shimmering widescreen sweep, and “Watt” blends NWoBHM orchestration with psychedelic saxophone. Closing out the record, “FIN” uses electronic backgrounds, piano and acoustic guitars to take us home to a calmer and more hopeful place. Wordless but purposeful, Toundra reveal themselves on Hex as masters of musical expression.
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