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Bacamarte - Mário Neto: Sete Cidades CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 81 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars The second and presumably final album from Bacamarte turned out to be quite a bit better than I was led to believe from what I had read about it. This is largely a solo effort by multi-instrumentalist Mario Neto if you believe the liner notes, who has graduated from mostly guitars on the first album, to bass as well, plus piano, flute, drums and other percussion, and even a bit of singing (more about that in a moment).

I don’t know Portuguese so I’m not totally clear on the theme here, but the album title refers to a place in the Azores of Brazil where supposedly there was some ancient and allegedly extraterrestrial race that settled there and later disappeared. This is sort of in keeping with the folkish sci-fi theme from several tracks off the first album, including “UFO” and “Mirante das Estrelas”, the latter which appears on both albums.

This album seems to feature quite a bit more acoustic guitar and piano than the first, but overall the sound is similar: heavily inflected acoustic guitar, Latin rhythms with lots of percussion and mostly quick tempos, and a taste of the country courtesy of Neto’s flute and synthesized instrumental sounds. Somebody named Robério Molinari provides additional keyboards, but apparently these are the only two artists who appear on the album.

It’s unclear when these tracks were recorded, but it’s probably safe to assume it was shortly after the first album, although this one only finally released a few years ago. There are several things missing from the first album, most notably the female vocals. Also, this album seems to lean a bit closer to symphonic structures without as much influence from ethnic Latin styles. The exception of course are the vocals, which come from Neto but aren’t particularly good. His voice seems a bit awkward amid the beautiful instrumental structures, and from what I’ve read they don’t really make much sense. Fortunately he only sings on three tracks; two are the shorter works of the album (“Filhos do Sol”, “Carta”), and on the third (“Espírito da Terra”) Neto only interrupts the music for a couple minutes of the song. Of these three only “Carta” is really ruined by the vocals.

Aside from the two short vocal numbers and the repeated “Mirante das Estrelas”, the rest of the album is a well-constructed and very enjoyable symphonic work. About a third of the album is taken up with the lengthy “Canto da Esfinge & Portais”, and on this track Neto’s leaning away from Latin rhythms and toward more jazzy structures is most evident.

I’ve no idea why this album was recorded and then shelved for so long, or why someone felt the need to drag it out now and release it. But I’m glad, because it is a complementary finishing piece to the band’s more well-known debut, and helps to bring some sense of closure to this South American enigma of the early eighties. A highly recommended album for symphonic fans, and aside from the vocals nearly as good as its predecessor. Four stars.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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