Drummer Ale Brukman’s Zaedyus Project offer an Argentinian response to bands that blend national folk traditions with progressive elements. Patagonia is in fact their 2011 debut, but it has now been remastered and re-released because, well, proggers are perfectionists and Steve Hackett says it’s OK.
Zaedyus claim grand influences (Genesis, Yes, Rush, ELP) and that vaunted South American folk tradition, but in truth Patagonia has more in common with the modern Petrucci-pushing strain of prog metal, albeit with a magpie-like tendency to borrow anything to which they take an aural shine. It is, as ever, the crossover points that prove most interesting: The Glacier’s Breath opens with an LA sleaze rock riff that would sit happily alongside 80s Sunset Strippers but channels symphonic metal in its construction; whereas (Tecka) The Door To… The Alerces Shire morphs from an infectious Oldfield-esque arpeggio into a Latin folk and jazz piano sidebar that’s surprisingly enjoyable.
At its worst Patagonia falls foul of cliché in every influence it channels and feels unedited in its six-string wanderings, but at times there are glimmers of sharp, playful minds with the instrumental talent to match.