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Jacula - Pre Viam CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.35 | 29 ratings

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4 stars It came as somewhat of a surprise to see that Jacula would release a new album in 2011. Mainman Antonio Bartoccetti has been active in music since Jacula ended (though it has to be said somewhat sporadically) with their second album Tardo Pede In Magiam Versus way back in 1972, after which he formed Antonius Rex along with Doris Norton who's startling vocal work was a key element of Jacula's sound. Why Bartoccetti should now choose to resurrect Jacula I couldn't say, particularly in view of the fact that Antonius Rex's last album had a very similar title, Per Viam as opposed to Pre Viam. Perhaps he felt the strong vampire imagery was more suited to the Jacula name. Whatever, it doesn't matter as Pre Viam is a brilliant piece of work.

As you'd expect from Bartoccetti the music is suitably dark and gothic. The feel of the original Jacula is present though with an updated sound. Long gone and missed is the wonderful church organ work of Charles Tiring. His place is taken by Bartoccetti and Norton's son Rex Anthony who is responsible for all keyboard work, Norton also being absent. Piano and orchestrated synth sounds largely, though not entirely take the place of organ work but still manage to retain a dark vibe as well as often being hauntingly beautiful. A couple of pieces include drums and Bartoccetti's electric guitar work, the nearest they get to a standard rock band format. Other than that the music is fairly low key going for an atmospheric approach where acoustic guitar sits alongside Anthony's keyboard work and is often content to lock into a repetitive yet effective pattern. The absence of Norton robs Jacula of their vocalist whose place is taken by spoken word vocal contributed by someone who goes by the name of Blacklady, though these only make an occasional appearance.

Whilst Pre Viam won't be to everybody's taste, fans of Bartoccetti will lap it up and despite missing the church organ I'd probably consider this my favourite Jacula album overall.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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