Soriah with Ashkelon Sain "Eztica Tour Collection" CDr
"Eztica Tour Collection" CDr was self-released by the band as a limited edition in attractive eco wallet to support their 2012 summer tour mostly through US west coast. Since I am living far away in Central Europe, I immediately started to hunt for this rare item, because I really can't imagine missing this beauty. Yes, since exploring "Atlan" CD and numerous pictures and videos from spectacular live shows that followed, I was always dreaming about seeing these, Portland based guys live. Unfortunately, my dream didn't come true yet, but "Eztica Tour Collection" brings me very close. "Atlan" was a big revelation and "Eztica" only confirmed the huge potential of the kindred synergy between Soriah and Ashkelon Sain. Of course I must add this live gang features except Soriah (voice, instruments) and Ashkelon Sain (guitar, keyboards) also Jonathan Howitt (percussion, drums), Marshal Serna (keyboards, percussion) and Daniel Henderson (drums, gong). "Eztica Tour Collection" is a collection of 9 tracks, recorded during September 2011 in four different venues in Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Hollywood. "Nica Anahuatl" ignites the show with rather rawer and mysterious, mostly percussive-infused mood with shamanistic wordless vocals that perfectly paint the atmosphere of the whole set. Tranquil flute opens "Tonacayotica", but soon Ashkelon's sharp guitar riffs and vibrant drumming steal the show, soon followed by Soriah's impressive vocals. The next track is comprised of "Ticochitlehua" and "Eztica", where the first half is more primordial and cacophonous with Soriah's prayers. The second part kicks right away with highly infectious blend of Soriah's throat magics, explosive percussions, warmly drifting washes and erupting guitar by Ashkelon. The first absolute highlight is here and the stage is on fire!!! But that's just the beginning, because "Cehui" follows and that's a true Hall Of Fame track since the very first day I explored it on "Atlan"!!! And yes, also the live version is as much magical as its studio version. Soriah's fascinating voice palette magnificently interplays with gentle tribal drumming and tinkles and surrounded by deeply immersing background atmozones. A truly shamanistic and blissful journey!!! "Iix" is invaded by electrifying guitars, perfectly blended with expressive voices, evocative soundscapes and raw, high-pitched percussions assaulting my eardrums. And filled with stirring energy and infectious melodies. Another stunning live track!!! The next piece "Aldan Ool" features solo throat singing by Soriah and this piece is dedicated to Aldyn-ool Sevek, a prominent Tuvan throat-singer and one of the masters of Soriah, who died 10 days before this piece was performed in San Francisco. "Xopancuicatl" is the most melodic piece here with a very tranquil and heartwarming melodies, catchy tribals and tinkling percussions and Soriah's raw voice magics. Absolutely phenomenal!!! But most likely I will be speechless shortly, because another milestone comes. Yes, "Xiuhcoatl" was one of the highlights on "Eztica" and this live version is no exception. Just like on "Cehui", Soriah's voice works here as another instrument brilliantly merged with leading razor sharp percussions and backed by cinematic atmospheres. Undoubtedly another virtuoso performance!!! But Soriah keeps on excelling with his throat wizardry also on the closing "Atlan" piece, which masterfully fuses exotic strings with panoramic drifts and hard-hitting drums. Deeply mysterious "Atlan" is a finale of high caliber!!! Soriah with Ashkelon Sain and their live crew showcase on "Eztica Tour Collection" all their talent, passion, chemistry, nuance and musicianship in galvanizing and breathtaking live action, I am dying to see them live one day!!!
Richard Gürtler (Nov 01, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)