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Bacamarte - Depois Do Fim CD (album) cover

DEPOIS DO FIM

Bacamarte

 

Symphonic Prog

4.33 | 594 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Bacamarte's "Dupois Do Fim" may be the best album to come out of Brazil. The first astonishing thing about this album is it was released in 1983, which is where prog experienced a complete drop in popularity and many artists had to sell out to commercialism to keep afloat when prog was a dirty word. It was recorded in 1977, a good year for prog so this may have been part of the reason it stands the test of time as being one of the greatest early 80s prog albums.

The music on the album is Symphonic prog, a genre that my heart is always closest to so you may expect that the music would feature the standard symphonic conventions: a mixture of elements from different genres, intricate time signatures, reflective intelligent lyrics, a non commercial approach, lush keyboards that sound like symphonic strings, and extended songs that focus on musical virtuosity.

It does all this and so much more in the first track 'UFO' which may be the abbreviation for Unimpeded Ferociously Original! It begins with Spanish flavoured acoustic picking and then a dynamic speed picking style sets in. The melody begins with piano and cymbal splashes. The whimsical flute is superb and magical. I love them already and we have only just begun.

Bacamarte are clearly influenced by classical music, in the structure of the pieces and the emphasis on music over words, there are 4 instrumentals on offer. When the vocals come they enhance the music especially in the case of the female vocalist, Jane Duboc. One of the highlights is 'Smog Alado' with killer flute as good as Jethro Tull, and beautiful infectious synthesizer motifs, and I love those Portuguese female vocals. This track sounds as complex as prog can get and a lot like PFM in sound. Duboc also shines on 'Pássaro De Luz' and it is a beautiful song with heavy acoustic flourishes.

The band are all virtuoso including Mario Neto (guitar/vocals), Sergio Villarim (keyboards), Delto Simas (bass), Marco Veríssimo (drums), Marcus Moura (flute/accordeon), Mr. Paul (percussion) and Jane Duboc (vocals). They really excel on the proggy 'Caño', a 2 minute burst of vibrant energy with stop start staccato riffs and that jazzy drumming over sustained keyboards; a wonderful instrumental.

'Último Entardecer' is the longest track clocking in at 9:29 and it is masterful. The influence of the Baroque and Classical periods are evident, even touches of classical extremes of Mussorgsky are heard. Duboc's haunting voice permeates over lush sustained pads that have an uplifting feel. In fact this is one of the most uplifting positive albums I have heard in a long time. It is like sunlight bursting through dark clouds after being bombarded by a lot of depressing music over the years. The joyous music lifts the spirit and grabs the emotions. I have no idea what the lyrics mean but it does not matter as the music transcends meaning; you can take from it whatever you want.

The piano solo in 'Último Entardecer' is accompanied by wonderful bass and a frenetic guitar pattern similar to the two Steve's; Howe and Hackett. At 6 minutes in there is a gorgeous acoustic tremelo style guitar that really takes hold of the atmosphere. Then a loud crashing cymbal and guitar breaks the ambience. The complex structure takes on a new level when the time sig changes and Duboc's powerful voice chimes in like Annie Haslam or Tarja. This is a definitive masterpiece track by any standards.

'Controvérsia' is another 2 minute burst of music and has a brilliant bassline and jazz fusion style. Almost Math Rock it is so technical and even features polyrhythms and improvised nuances. Another awesome instrumental, Bacamarte do more in two minutes than other bands do in ten.

Onto the title track, 'Depois Do Fim', which begins with cathedral keyboards and the sweet, warm voice of Duboc who I have already fallen in love with. It sends chills when she reaches those high notes, interpreter please. She must be singing about the beauty of life and the power of love, as it sounds so emotional. The keyboards are a presence on this song and almost bring me to tears. I am so impressed with this and then it takes a swandive into intricate territory with speed licks and crazy frenetic drumming. It settles again and a visceral flute takes us on a magical journey to some mystic land. The symphonic keyboards are mesmirising.

'Mirante Das Estrelas' ends the album in style. Compelling synth lines and fractured time sigs with a blistering acoustic performance. The speed is staggering and it has a driving drum beat and very innovative bass that takes on a life of its own. It is an exuberant, dynamic performance.

What more can be said about this masterpiece? It is simply a landmark album in prog, and the cornerstone for Brazililian prog. I want more but there is only one other album and only featuring Neto and Molinari, nothing compared to this album. Duboc did not continue with prog bands and the whole project is a distant memory, long gone. One of the tragedies of prog is the band as heard on this album disbanded, but this is their legacy; long may she reign.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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