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Haddad - Ars Longa Vita Brevis CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.59 | 20 ratings

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4 stars It was here, with this release, that I met HADDAD for the first time: the pleasure of hearing this album made me get back and seek for other previous band's works. There's a happy-end story behind it when talking about progressiveness - now they reached the point and they reached hugely! Every prog-thing is clearly noticed within "Ars Longa Vita Brevis": the concept, a mix of life & death with mankind at their lowest entropy point and. above all, art, the surviving whaler amid the wrecked ship of a decaying civilization; the arrangements - prog at its purest and best; the musicianship of band's member; the general atmosphere ranging from dark to poignant but leaving a feeling of grace and enjoyment.

Opening track, the title-song starts either thunderous and mournful, synths and sound effects provide the show that continues with some beautiful symphonic parts, catchy and agreeable in a way that a weary soul is easily carried to the stars. Piano, guitar, bass and drums work in harmony, the short sax interlude is amazing, vocals are great and the banquet is completed with nice lyrics. HADDAD set their guns in a grand manner.

The next track, the mini- epic 'Roma atômica' acts like a suite for the first one, the link between the songs is clear but now the sound is somber just like the grave singing voice. The band show their claws with the astonishing instrumentation, an appreciable achievement after so many years on the road. The majestic and sorrowful solo segment brings remembrances of PENDRAGON's 'Masquerade Overture' and goose bumps are inevitable.

Other album's tracks are average to good but not in the same level of the beginning double. 'Pinky's boogie' has a folk flair making it looks like HARMONIUM's 'Dixie'. 'Reddish bonfire', sung in English, is a soft ballad backed by hard guitars and interesting choir. The short 'Sierra Maestra' is a kind of pop-electronic-salsa filler. 'Saara' is a bit weary while 'Trianon' is agitated and even danceable with its funk rhythm. Album's near final part includes the half-exotic and half-rocky 'San Francisco Bay', the romantic-to-be 'Ismalia'. 'Dança das águas', the closing track, returns to the good ol' symphonic prog, this time blended with folk and nice inserts of hard-prog and fusion - a pretty farewell to the album, an expected so long to the band.

If there's a band yet to be discovered by the prog-crowd I believe that HADDAD poses as a fair candidate and "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" can be the admission ticket. Two first tracks and the final one are clear masterpieces but the album as a whole isn't although it's close to it; let's wait their next release. will it come?

Atkingani | 4/5 |


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