Progressive rock came out of jazz jams in which the goal was to see how long you could keep a song going by inventing variations on its internal structures. Having had high school education in classical music, European rock musicians threw those structures into the mix and tried to see how long they could keep the song together, or coherent.
Cóndor comes into this picture from another angle, which is equal parts heavy metal and folk rock, and keeps the mix afloat through variety which branches off from one theme that guides each song. This enables the songs to stay together without forcing uniformity, since we the audience know where each part is heading in that we know where it will return, which allows Cóndor to play around with wandering away from the main in order to come back for a stirring return.
Borrowing from the riff lexicon more of garage heavy metal than underground death metal, El valle del Cóndor uses a driving riff to establish the theme of a song, then fleshes it out with avantgarde lead guitar that is more playful than virtuosic although definitely no slouch in the technicality department. On top of that, detours into folkish choruses and pastoral rhythmic riffing give the band time and space to string together its related concepts, exploring territory in search of a path.
With influences ranging from Absurd to King Crimson, Cóndor will strike most progressive rock fans as not prog enough, most metal fans as not metal enough, and folk fans as too loud, but really this album seems exploratory in the way that the pre-prog 1960s were. Perhaps if the band were to listen again, and then try to reinterpret this album even without the Rottweiler-on-meth vocals, it would come out more coherently, but that might lose some of its charm.
In the meantime, it makes sense to enjoy this for what it is: a Wild West of influences crashing together in an undefined center, delighted more for the questions it asks than the ones it answers, finding melodies springing up from the clash of its raw elements, and forever in search of the elusive beauty it sometimes reveals.