Sexto Sonar is a progressive metal band from Maracay in Venezuela that mixes elements of heavy and power metal with symphonic ingredients into their distinguished sound. The band has released one full length effort with Spanish lyrics to date, entitled Enfrentando La Realidad. This record from 2009 features cinematic opening and closing numbers, along with five pretty strong tracks in between. Some limited editions include four bonus tracks from which three are live versions of tracks from the album, as well as one more song in English.
The music itself reminds me of progressive metal acts like Dream Theater and Symphony X, but also recalls some epic Iron Maiden classics at some points. Powerful guitar riffs and a versatile rhythm section meet atmospheric keyboard layers. All five songs have a great balance between grace and power. The imaginative bridges and solo sections include piano driven breaks, wild guitar solos, and keyboard solos that make my heart beat a little faster.
The vocals on the record are quite versatile and vary from more aggressive and powerful passages to more high pitched parts that are not far removed from Primal Fear, for example. Many progressive bands convince instrumentally but have less impressive singers. This is definitely not the case for Sexto Sonar.
Let’s go quickly through each of the five main tracks. The extended middle and closing parts of the opener “Visiones” sound like a mixture of Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper“, Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam”, and maybe Iron Maiden’s “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, but the band also adds some unique folk passages to the sound that remind me of Alma Eterna. The faster parts in “Soledad Occulta” have a strong Symphony X touch, while the organ sounds almost recall Deep Purple.
The atmospheric keyboards in the opening of the more laid back “Olvidando El Ayer” make me think of Falkenbach, but also Dio, while the emotional guitar play is an absolute stand-out moment of the record. This song has a few very epic vocals, and is probably the record’s catchiest track from that point of view.
“Luces Y Espadas” starts with some sound effects and dark bass guitar play reminding me of Helloween’s “Occasion Avenue”. This track is indeed the darkest and heaviest on the album. In contrast, the track includes flamenco elements (handclapping and Spanish guitar). To my surprise, this rather soft element fits quite well in this rather straightforward track.
The title track “Enfrentando La Realidad” starts with some wind and wuthering sounds, as well as a few radio samples that announce the concept of the eleven-minute long track. What follows is indeed a diverse progressive power metal song with epic chants and extended solos where the phenomenal keyboard work really stands out.
I’m trying to think of any negative elements on this album, and I simply can’t find any. The record has catchy parts, it has laid back and vivid moments, the vocals are gripping, and the instrumental work is absolutely convincing. Even the production is surprisingly good here. Progressive metal fans should definitely try out this band. Sexto Sonar is working on a follow-up, due this year, and I already can’t wait to listen to their new material. Even with as good as this first strike is, I can’t help but hope that they can accomplish something even greater.