Greg Northrup    14-August-2002 Crucis-s/t

On Crucis' debut album, the band displays a style of instrumental jaw-dropping symphonic rock with a slight fusion influence, as well as a metallic, Deep Purple-ish sense of aggression. Crucis is technically flawless, showcasing extremely tight musicianship, juxtaposing chugging guitars with wild organ flights and particularly dexterous drumming. Certainly, the band owes a debt to the Dutch school of jazzy symph bands like Focus or Finch, but in my opinion surpasses both those groups. Another influence seems to be the frenetic Italian legends Semiramis, with their quirky, yet addictive, melodic sense. Indeed, if any complaint can be leveled at Crucis, it is that they sound so stereotypically "prog" on first listen, and given their tendency for unrelenting complexity, one might make the mistake of overlooking their significant compositional and melodic talents.

In short, this album kicks ass. Every song is pretty much a winner, and is characterized mostly by Anibal Kerpel's organ as a lead instrument, with guitarist Pino Marrone often unleashing a severely inspired guitar lick in graceful counterattack. There is definitely a hard rock-ish underpinning, driven by the thunderous rhythm section, which manages to hold down the fort amazingly through a tumultuous barrage of rhythmic changes and whirling drum fills. Occasional vocals do come to the fore, and while pleasant enough, are nondescript overall. Most importantly, the cuts here are, for the most part, extremely memorable, and listeners will likely find themselves playing air drums or keyboards in ecstatic imitation. In comparison to the followup, Los Delerios del Mariscal, a classic in its own right, Crucis perhaps displays more a thought-out, compositionally-based approach, as opposed to the off-the-cuff, mind-blowing jams occupying much of the next release. Overall, this is a great debut album from this Argentinean powerhouse, and an undoubtedly essential South American symphonic prog release.

Greg Northrup    14-August-2002 Los Delirios del Mariscal

The second album from Crucis, Los Delerios del Mariscal, is another gem out of South America. The membership is the same, as are the basic ingredients of this band's sound: an explosive rhythm section complemented by the consistently duelling barrages of Kerpel's organ and Marrone's guitar. While on the last album, this battle could probably be said to have been won by Kerpel, Pino Marrone is undoubtedly the star of the show here, laying down some stratospheric guitar solos that are incomprehensibly awesome, making my hair literally stand on end.

There are certainly a number of points on which this album seems to part from the self-titled debut. Initially, the sound seems more symphonic, due to less of a metallic, aggressive vibe and the more serene, melodic feel of "No Me Separen de Mi." However, the real character of the album exhibits itself on the extended jams like the title track and "Abismo Terrenal," which have an almost improvisational element at times, albeit with an underlying structure that provides the melodic foundation. It's here that Pino Marrone rips things to shreds, the music often taking on an almost Santana-ish character, at times bordering on an intense brand of fusion. Organ fills the melodic gaps nicely and the Farrugia/Montesano rhythm section is simply awe-inspiring, providing an endlessly shifting, breathtaking complement to the stellar melodies. This is a band that was completely and totally in sync on every level during the recording of this album, and it shows. Every moment is impeccably tight and flawless from a technical standpoint, though infused with a surging emotional power that characterizes the best progressive rock. Los Delerios del Mariscal is without a doubt one of the first-rate, classic albums to have come out of South America. So which one is better, Los Delerios... or Crucis? Fortunately, you don't have to decide: they're both available on the two-on-one Kronologia CD.

Sjef Oellers 17-Mar-2001 Crucis

Killer heavy symphonic prog along the lines of Focus and Finch, but IMO actually surpassing those bands. Some parts will recall Yes or ELP. Their music is mostly centered around fantastic guitar/keyboard (lot of Hammond) interplay, but the drumming and bass playing are excellent as well. The Spanish vocals are pleasant and don't detract from the main emphasis: instrumental interplay. Among the 5 best South American albums in the heavy symphonic progressive style.

Sjef Oellers 17-Mar-2001 Los Delerios del Mariscal

The second Crucis album contains more of the excellent symphonic prog with flashy guitar/keyboard leads. Overall I find Los Delirios del Mariscal slighty less engaging than their first album, but this is still a must have from South America.

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