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




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 75 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nş 192

"Sete Cidades" is the debut and only studio album of Mário Neto of Bacamarte and was released in 1999. The line up on the album is Mário Neto and Robério Molinari.

Since the late 70's, progressive rock has been on decline due to the appearance of less elaborated and heavier music styles such as Punk, or more the pop and the dance styles such as the Disco Music. Because of that, many groups of this genre ended their careers at that time like Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator or, therefore, adhered to more commercial sonorities such as those mentioned, losing all progressivity and creativity, with Genesis and Yes being the most famous examples. In the meantime, it was released in 1983, by an improbable country called Brazil, an album that rescued what was best in prog style, being considered a renaissance of erudition in music. I'm talking about "Depois Do Fim" ("After The End"), the debut and only album of Bacamarte, a very excellent proposal, especially at the time.

The band emerged in Rio de Janeiro in 1974, and after almost ten years changing their line up and trying to get a contract, they released "Depois Do Fim" in 1983. Its founder was guitarist Mário Neto who had, initially, the idea to mount an instrumental band. The music of Bacamarte came naturally from a fusion of the group's musical influences, the classical music, studied since the childhood, and the music of The Beatles. In short, this is the origin of the particular sonority of the band. It's worth mentioning that the album was also produced by Mário Neto. The success of the album, which made the group consecrated in Europe and Japan, didn't stop the band from ending in 1984. In the 90's, guitarist Mário Neto released the album "Sete Cidades" ("Seven Cities"), with the codename Bacamarte.

Neto is a great guitarist with a classical formation. The great differential in Bacamarte is Neto's guitar, which oscillates between climates, textures and soils with great tranquillity. His guitar style is unique. He plays his guitar only with fingering, without straws. He performs fast scales, complicated chords and lavish technique, be it classical, jazz or whatever the style is. He also changes from guitars, easily. In 1977, Bacamarte already had a considerable amount of music for the band. Neto got a performance in the global program Rock Concert. The visibility of the program presentation served two things. First was to get a studio and record the songs with sufficient quality. The other, very unusual, was the harassment suffered by Neto on the part of the businessman of the English band Genesis, who had toured some Brazilian cities and was about to lose his guitarist, Steve Hackett. The production of Genesis was deeply impressed with the amazing guitar technique of Neto and invited him to integrate Genesis. Although this sounded like a dream coming true, Mário choose to continue in Brazil, due to a request of his parents and because he was still a minor.

"Portais" is a great open that follows the same style of "Depois Do Fim". It has a gentle intro of 2 minutes, a bombastic middle part and a string final part. I can see here strong influences of Italian bands, especially early PFM. "Ritual Da Felicidade" is a short, strange and extravagant track all made by percussions. It has some tribal sounds strongly influenced by Afro-Brazilian musical culture, which seems to be a little bit out of context on the album. "Filhos Do Sol" is another short track, but this time, in a symphonic vein. It's a very simple track sung by Neto. He has a good voice, and it has a nice flute section and a mellotron based chorus really outstanding. "Espíritos Da Terra" represents a return to the more conventional symphonic territory. It's almost an acoustic track, very soft and melodic, with a spacey and ambient music. This is perhaps the best track on the album. "Mirante Das Estrelas" appears after on "Depois Do Fim" as a bonus track. It's another excellent track with a nice guitar work by Neto, including an excellent synthesizer solo in the end, in the style of Steve Howe. This is one of the centerpieces of the album. "Carta" is another short acoustic track with vocals by Neto. The song is agreeable but is slightly spoiled by the voice of Neto. "Canto Da Esfinge/Portais" is the lengthiest track on the album. It alternates between calm and frantic passages, showing great instrumental work. It's amazing that only one man could have played almost all this alone. This track represents a nice ending for the album.

Conclusion: "Sete Cidades" is inferior to "Depois Do Fim", but it's quite interesting and in some parts, very surprising. It has some great tracks like "Portais", "Espíritos Da Terra", "Mirante Das Estrelas" and "Canto Da Esfinge/Portais". Nevertheless, the rest of the album doesn't introduce anything new or any particularly surprising break through, in comparison to their stunning debut album. The main leading instrument here, as usual, is the tasteful guitar work by Neto. The man is really a very gifted guitarist and no wonder that someone in Genesis have been interested on him to substitute Hackett. But the main real weak point is the vocal work. Despite not be so bad, it isn't really a great work, indeed. Anyway and fortunately, this episode doesn't spoil the overall quality of the album. This is indeed a nice album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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