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Bacamarte - Sete Cidades CD (album) cover

SETE CIDADES

Bacamarte

Symphonic Prog


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lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is inferior than "Depois Do Fim", but it is quite interesting and in some circumstances inspiring as well... That is you can find here a track like " Mirante Das Estrellas" which alone is worth checking out. Nevertheless the rest of the album doesn't introduce anything new or any particularly surprising break through, in comparison to his stunning debut album!! The main leading instrument - as usual - is the tasteful guitar by Mario Neto; instead the other eight tracks are characterized by some melancholic atmospheres, a typical South American Latin feeling.

Recommended, even though it is not completely essential!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#18577)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Bacamarte returns with a new album after a long break, and I believe that Bacamarte doesn't dissapoint the fans, atleast not me. This record is indeed catchier than the previous one, however, it offers some fine melodies! This time Bacamarte has neither a flute nor a female singer, but this band still manages to entertain the listener with some fine tunes which are well played! Some songs are totally instrumental, while the other ones include singing by a male singer who actually sings nicely! Most of the songs are based on a structure of accustic guitar and keyboards, and after a while the drums and the electric guitars come for a visit! The technique of these players is pretty good, and they certainly know how to get the best out of their studio. In addition, some songs have a latin feeling which doesn't prevent me from enjoying the music! In a nutshell, I recommend that you get if you've liked the first record, it may be different, but , in my opinion , you won't be dissapointed.

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Send comments to Dan Yaron (BETA) | Report this review (#41429)
Posted Wednesday, August 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While Bacamarte's brilliant, but belatedly released debut album Depois Do Fim now appears to be getting its dues as a cult favourite, much less is said about the equally wonderful As Sete Cidades. It is something of a lost album that seems to have been recorded soon after Depois Do Fim, but released only two decades later. Confusion also reigns about the line-up, because lead singer Jane Duboc is definitely gone, and this album is largely portrayed as a Mario Neto multi-instrumental affair but I actually find that almost too hard to believe ... not even this genius of a guitarist could be so good, surely? If it is indeed true that Neto played guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and flute on this album, I prostrate myself at the his feet!

Two minutes into the jaw-dropping opener Portais ... you will be sold, I can promise you that. The piano runs, flutes and super-tight playing will blow you away. The PFM influences are particular strong here, but Neto's own identity as a unbelievable guitarist forges something spectacular.

The album then takes a drastic change in mood, with Ritual Da Fetilidade which is a two-minute long urgent percussive extravaganza, with all kinds of interchanging melodies that seem to come from just the percussion! Filhos Do Sol starts off in similar vein, with a vocal melody from Neto (it's definitely a man's voice, anyway), gradually asserting itself before being joined by joyous flutes. Espirito Da Terra is the third in this "nature-worship" trio of songs. But it shows a return to more "conventional" symphonic territory with another Neto vocal, not particularly strong, but definitely appropriate, much like early PFM vocals. It concludes with a mouth-watering guitar solo ... Gilmour, Howe, Hackett, Fripp, bring them on ... Mario Neto can stand comfortably alongside them.

The next track is another unbelievable one ... Mirante Das Estrelas, which I first heard as a bonus track on Depois Do Fim. Here it is an album centerpiece ... pure electricity and energy, with incredible work from Neto and sizzling synth solo closes things out. Carta is a delicate voice and acoustic guitar folk ballad from Neto, before the monster final track concludes the album.

Canto Da Esfinge is the song that makes me doubt that one man could have played all this. The energy of the rhythm section, the spacey synths, the audacious guitar fills, then the breakdown into pure classical delight, it's too much for me. This is sheer majesty, and when I am left breathless as it almost defiantly returns to the theme of Portais ... in fact it is more like large chunks of that whole song are played again except that the piano and flute are replacewd by first a string synth solo then a funky bass solo then a Gothic organ passage and finally (of course) a dazzling guitar solo all of which carry this lovely passage to untold heights.

I for one, am totally swept away by the brilliance of Bacamarte and Mario Neto. Each of the group's two albums is a masterpiece, and I am genuinely grateful for their wonderful music! ... 91% on the MPV scale

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Send comments to Trotsky (BETA) | Report this review (#74383)
Posted Saturday, April 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have something to say about this album, and it's this: żWhy everyone prefer "Depois do fim"? This album is a far superior one. First of all, it is much more authentic, in the sense that "Depois do fim" has such clear, obvious refernces to other bands, and that shouting girl that is simply tryin to burst the ears of the listener. "As Sete Cidades" bring us a much more quiet versión of this band, with clear "musical goals", a stle of their own, a much better vocalist, with a very appropiate tone to go along with the music, and a very distinctive touch of local musical roots, wich is also something that you won't get from the first album; identity.

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Send comments to cuncuna (BETA) | Report this review (#76921)
Posted Tuesday, May 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here is an album that really disappointed me. After listening to the astonishing Depois do Fim, I bought this one with the highest expectations... I have to say the music is reasonably good, there are quite good melodies, and also a great instrumental track, Mirante das Estrelas, which features as a bonus track in Depois do Fim.

The main problem is Mario Neto's vocals: they REALLY spoil the album! His voice is absolutely disagreeable, not melodic at all. The lyrics don't help, either. If Depois do Fimhad wonderful dreamy lyrics concerning the apocalypse with subtle power, the main theme is the poverty in Brazil, and the enormous difference between rich and poor people. Ok, it's an important subject, but the way it's explored here is not original nor clever. And the music doesn't match the lyrics very well.

A real disappointment if compared to their first album.

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Send comments to Evandro Martini (BETA) | Report this review (#110517)
Posted Friday, February 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) is the name given to a strange and formidable geological site located in Northeastern Brazil - presently a national park. Some say that the figures and shapes are ruins of an ancient civilization while others attribute their construction to ETs or the likes. Near the mentioned site, there are caves with odd inscriptions and remnants of a possible presence of human beings much older than actually accepted by scholars for the entire Americas (there's a tough discussion taking place about this issue, nowadays). Also these Seven Cities are located near one of the country's poorest regions where great land extensions are the property of a few barons while the common peasants struggle for each day survival and a kind of agrarian reform to better balance the situation there, is urgently required.

Well, and where does BACAMARTE's "Sete Cidades" fit in this script? Probably and initially thanks to the interests of Mario Neto, the band leader, in exobiology (see/hear 'UFO' from their first album: "Depois Do Fim"). Since we don't know when the songs were composed, we may presume they were thought as a close follow-up to their first album and Neto traveled to that part of the country to meet flying saucers but instead he found poverty and despair. He then changed the album theme from ethereal digressions about little green men interacting with primitive humans into a libel against injustice, oppression and misfortune, spiced here and there with messages of hope and love declarations toward Brazil and their people. In the end, both themes appear in the album, something clearly noticed when you compare the soft and inebriating instrumental tracks, that belongs to the galactic realm, with those provided with lyrics, that sound raw and earthen.

Another weird feature is that although keeping band's name, "Sete Cidades" is really a solo album (unless other names had been erased for 'who knows the reasons') - we may glimpse only one guest musician and the information that Neto was responsible for basically the entire instrumental section let alone the vocals. For the lyrics, a short note: they're childish! Others treated through their songs and poems the matter of land distribution and inequality much better and deeper; so we must leap this part and concentrate mostly in the music.

'Portais', the opening track, follows the same formula used at BACAMARTE's debut album, a gentle intro giving room to a bombastic middle part and then a strong final part, although less thunderous but still grandiose; a great song, indeed. 'Ritual da Fertilidade' brings some pseudo-Amerindian drum beats mixed with Brazilian & Caribbean batuque, a kind of drumming extravaganza, which is in reality totally out of context. 'Filhos do Sol' is weak, vocals contribute largely to make this song clearly forgettable, nor even the Guarany flute section is able to save this song.

'Espírito da Terra' stars in a good manner, keyboards and bass do a fine job seconded by a pleasant guitar accompaniment that helps the singing part this time improved by a folk and pleasant accent. The guitar solo here is one of the album's best moments. 'Mirante das Estrelas', issued as a bonus track in the first band CD (not in the original LP) and if there amid several gems it's hardly noticed here this song shines intensely.

Last two tracks are correct, 'Carta' is short and agreeable, being slightly spoiled by the vocals but due to its length it poses no hearing problem. 'Canto da Esfinge & Portais', the album longest track alternates pleasant and boring moments but for the better it shows an undeniable great instrumentation.

This work is truly two steps below BACAMARTE's first album, even being perfectly hearable. Anyway, it's not frustrating for a band beginner and it's also acceptable for a band appreciator. More than these points, it may sound as a bell or a hornet to stimulate the entire band to regroup and to produce another marvel like "Depois Do Fim" - hope is the last to perish. Final comment: Good, but non-essential; rating: 3.

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Send comments to Atkingani (BETA) | Report this review (#112955)
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
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.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#117073)
Posted Sunday, April 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the acclaimed album "Depois Do Fim" released in 1983 (but recorded in 78) and which was the work of a band, what we get here is pretty much a solo album by their leader, Mario Neto.

The material featured was composed in the eighties and who knows why it took some fifteen years to get them released. Under the name of "Bacamarte".

This album has little to do with the gem almost all reviewers praised on PA. Some tribal sounds ("Ritual da Fertilidade"), some folkish mood ("Filhos do Sol"), some childish little tune ("Carta").

Most of the songs are shortly formatted and there is nothing as brilliant as the wonderful "Ultimo Entardecer" from "Depois..." to blow our ears. Where are the great symphonic sounds ? The opener "Portais" maybe holds such elements.

The best of this work is by no doubt the smooth "Espírito da Terra". Mostly acoustic for half of it, it features a pleasant guitar solo (one of the very few from this album). Spacey and ambient music. Soft and melodic. A highlight.

There is also a duplicate song from their first album : "Mirante das Estrelas" (over six minutes). I believe this is too much. First of all the artist wants us to believe that this is a "Bacamarte" album which is not; second, this album is not ultra long and to repeat a song from a previous album in its original form is a lousy job. Of course, "Mirante" is a good song (Yes oriented).

Another good song is the complex "Canto da Esfinge & Portais". Crimsonesque approach (intro), pleasant and symphonic middle-part ("Yes" then "Genesis"). It is one of the very few that can hold the comparison with their brilliant debut. For nine minutes, we got there. But the bass solo after these is quite irrelevant. Strong and jazzy finale to close the second good original track.

I do not appreciate the way this product has been marketed (the outside). To be on par, the music (the inside) is not relevant either. So why bothering ? I believe it was a serious mistake to release this work under the "Bacamarte" umbrella.

Fooling the fan is a short-term vision. This band could have been remembered for ever for their great album "Depois Do Fim". Now there is a serious stain on their reputation. Five out of ten. Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#151317)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Never understood why the harsh reviews receive by BACAMARTE'S second release "Sete Cidades", it's clear for almost everybody that "Depois Do Fim" is more solid, but hey, it's like the difference between Hybris and Epilog by ANGLAGARD, one is a bit better, but both are masterpieces or very close to that status.

One of the big problems is that Jane Duboc is no longer in the band, and that's a loss, but the voice of Mario Neto is very appropriate for music that has a lot of it's root in the rich Brazilian folklore, but not in the popular Samba or Bossa Nova as we are used to, but in the "Gaúcha" Music, the music of the southern regions with Argentinean, Bolivian, Paraguayan influences. Closer to the Andean Folklore but still unique (What is a paradox, because the geological site known as Sete Cidades is in the north of the country), Music of Conquerors being resisted, music that tells the story of centuries of Portuguese Colony, the unknown face of Brazilian Folk hidden for the foreigner by the glamour of the Carnivals and the gorgeous "mulatas".

"Portais" begins with a wonderful acoustic guitar solo reminiscent of the music from "Rio Grande Do Sul" which blends with a sweet flute to keep the bucolic atmosphere, but a guitar and drums explosion reminds us we are before a Progressive Rock band that blends perfectly the Ethnic spirit with pristine Symphonic in a way that you can't almost notice when it happened. Excellent arrangements, everything flows gently from stat to end.

"Ritual de Fertilidade" is a strange song with Afro-Brazilian influences, the rhythm is contagious, the spirit of "Candombe" is there, the sacred and the profane all blended, but being so short is used as an interlude or an intro for "Filhos do Sol" in which a more Symphonic sounds covers the listener, the good vocals of Mario Neto merge perfectly with the general mood of the track, the mellotron based chorus are outstanding.

"Espirito de Terra" starts very atmospheric with a soft synth solo slightly backuped by the drums, suddenly the volume starts to increase and other instruments as the guitar join to the music and the vocals complete the scenery. Very nostalgic and melodic song enhanced by the mellotron voices and a moody guitar instrumental break, incredibly beautiful.

"Mirante Das Estrelas" which I first heard in "Depois Do Fin" is repeated here, don't know the reason, but it's already commented.

"Carta" is another short vocal-acoustic folk interlude that prepares us for thegrand finalle, soft and gentle because two frantic tracks can't go one after the other without damaging the general atmosphere of the album.

Now if they wanted to close "Sete Cidades" with something more spectacular than "Canto da Esfinge & Portais", they couldn't had done it, from the start the band attacks us with everything they have, the guitar - Synth - drums duet is fantastic, reminding a bit of ELP, but suddenly a big change occurs, the music fades into a soft instrumental break which after some minutes leads to another frantic passage, plethoric of organs, mellotron, acoustic guitars, almost everything that can throw us is being thrown with perfect balance, the closing section organ reminds me of Par Lindh Project, but I understand this once lost album was released before the Swedish Organ wizard released his debut. Won't try to explain more, because words are short to describe the fusion of sounds and styles that come one after the other, just will say we are before 11:30 minutes of pure Progressive Rock.

As I said before, this album is not in the exact level of the debut, so I can't rate it with another 5 stars, but anything bellow four very solid starts would be just unfair.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#177338)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Their debut album is a masterpiece, there's no arguments about that. However, this album is, somehow unfairly, lying in a shadow of its predecessor . When judged, more or less independently - by its own merits, it's a pleasant and accessible, yet still complex enough (and boy, what a wonderful soundscapes Sete Cidades manages to capture) to please all kinds of Prog lovers. That itself is a impossible feat sometimes One song known from previous album's bonus section, one long track, several short ones and great acoustic / virtuosic Prog all around. Album that certainly should not to be missed by any serious Prog lover. You simply can't go wrong with this one.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#603366)
Posted Thursday, January 05, 2012 | Review Permalink
Sagichim
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Bacamarte's second album is more of a Mario Neto solo album since he plays pretty much everything here, and although he was very dominant in their debut, is the music and writing any different here? ...Yes it is! Out goes the electric guitar and with that, the rocky energies that were so evident in their previous album (except for a few moments here and there), but still leaving us with Neto's great ability of playing acoustic guitars. The sound had severely changed but i don't mind that, what i do mind and having a tough time to understand are the drums sound, why? why? and i ask again why use this sound and turn the album from a warm sound to a plastic sound? this could have been much better. Although Neto is credited for playing the drums, it doesn't really sound like natural drums, it sounds like a programed drum machine with an awful sound, but as i searched the web i found no information stating otherwise than what said here. Drum machine or not this is one of the worst drumming i have heard in an album, it's awkward, lame and lacks any punch.

Said that i still enjoy the album, there are some great moments and some moments i don't like so much or think it could have been done better. Neto's guitar playing is still very good and inspiring, flutes are good and with the addition of the keys and acoustic guitars, the album have a very pastoral and tranquil atmosphere. Neto's vocals are not bad but are not remotely close to the beautiful vocals presented by Jane Duboc on their debut. The writing although different is still very good, and i give a lot of credit to Neto for handling all the instruments and overall constructing a very good album. 'Portais' has a beautiful promising start with good acoustic guitar and flute, piano is added and altogether creates a wonderful opener. 'Ritual Da Fertilidade' is a great example of how this album should have sounded, with drums absent the percussions lead the way and creates a good, kind of tribal track. 'Filhos Do Sol' is not more than ok with Neto's lame vocals. 'Espritos Da Terra' and 'Mirante Das Estrelas' are both great even though drums are putting me off, the first featuring a pastoral mood and great guitar solo, and the second featuring a more upbeat rhythm with maybe Neto's greatest guitar playing in the whole album. 'Carta' is quiet with an ok vocals and has definitely grew on me. 'Canto Da Esfinge & Portais' is a tricky, it stands beautifuly by itself but here it disappoints me to hear the first track all over again although it's an extended version and done with a slightly different instrumentation, but like i said by itself it's maybe the best song out of this album.

This could have been an easy 4 star album, the music definitely is, but i can't put the drum sound aside, it's not only the sound the whole drumming tend to be dragged behind which brings a lot of the material down, and ruins some of the greatest moments. I admit i wasn't impressed at all at the begining but this has definitely grew on me, and i am listening to this more than before despite the almost unbearable drums. For those of you who enjoyed their debut, this one is a good addition, but for me it's 3 stars.

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Send comments to Sagichim (BETA) | Report this review (#763261)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2012 | Review Permalink

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