Eddie Lascu 24-Oct-2014 Estirpe Lítica

Homínido - "Estirpe Lítica" (Chile - 2014)
Released 05 July 2014

Shortly after releasing “El Andarin”, the members of La Desooorden took to the group’s Facebook page and announced that they have decided to disband. Fast forward two years and we have Homínido, a new band from Chile that was formed with several musicians that were part of La Desooorden as full time members (Rodrigo González Mera – drums and Francisco Martin – bass) or simply guests (Cristopher Hernández - trumpet and Benjamín Ruz –violin, both on the afore mentioned “El Andarin”). The band is rounded up by Pablo Cárcamo – guitar & keyboards and Eliana Valenzuela – vocals. It is this fresh infusion of blood that, in my view, sets Homínido apart from La Desooorden. Firstly we have the haunting and soulful voice of Valenzuela that is a step away from the masculinity of La Desooorden. Secondly and more important is Cárcamo’s riffs and solos, heavy at times, that will irrefutable point to the guitar as the instrument around which all songs are architected. This was not at all the case with La Desooorden. Perhaps Cárcamo (one of the founding members of Homínido, along with Martin and González) was chiefly involved in the composition of the majority of the songs, thus giving his instrument a more pregnant role. The other immediate result, with the guitar being so omnipresent, is a smaller reliance on ethnic instruments, something that was almost ubiquitous on La Desooorden albums.

The album is quite long, 12 songs clocking in at 70 minutes. I find the entire music very homogenous, so in my mind, there are no fillers. That speaks to the compositional prowess of the band. Debut album, but the past experience of the members make it sound as if the group is at the peak of its creativity. The name “Estirpe Lítica” translates to “Kindred Lithic” and that sets the concept of the album: the ancestral relationship between man and stone. Various aspects of this interaction, from the use of stone to carve out worship artifacts to its employment in constructions or for tools and household objects, give the basis of inspiration for the majority of the songs on the album. To put that into perspective, it is quite clear that the musicians are preoccupied with their own reflection on the meaning of life and the long journey humankind took through space and time. Compare that to some of the puerile topics one can hear in contemporary music and you realize that there is still a great deal of musicians out there that stay true to their art even when that is detrimental to their financial health.

The music is an eclectic blend of rock and jazz, infused with Middle Eastern or South American tonalities and punctuated by equally impressive solos by individual members of the band. Of note are Ruz’s violin bursts, Valenzuela’s mournful wails and, above all, Cárcamo’s guitar work. His approach sounds so modern and boreal, that its juxtaposition to the rest of music makes for the uniqueness and charm of this album. Little is known of his background, but let’s just say that he would not have any problems fitting right into North American metal bands like Metallica.

This is a mature and muscular release that complements wonderfully the South American progressive rock catalogue. Having listen to the entire collection of songs multiple times, it is hard to pick a favorite, even though I kind of went back to listen to “Shalágram Shilá” and “Eterno Retorno” more than the rest. “Estirpe Lítica” is a highly recommended album whose adventurous music will be a great reward for those seeking earthy fusions of genres, blended the Latin-American way. It should be featured in any respected progressive rock collection.

Homínido is:

Eliana Valenzuela - Vocals
Pablo Cárcamo - Guitar, Keyboards
Francisco Martín - Bass
Rodrigo González Mera - Drums, Percussion
Cristopher Hernández - Trumpet
Benjamín Ruz – Violin

Links for further information