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Tarkus - A Gaze Between The Past And The Future CD (album) cover



Symphonic Prog

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4 stars The 2004 re-issue of this 2002 album "A Gaze Between The Past And The Future" contains the bonus track "Hold Me Now".

Since I'm really into progressive Rock music for a few years now and I have a Brazilian wife I though I should explore more Brazilian Prog-Rock bands and till now I'm not disappointed at all! Even though Progressive Rock is probably one of Brazil smallest musical genres, all instrumentation is great! Those guys really know how to play prog- rock like they invented it. Let me review this album track by track.

1. Exit from Calcutta (10:43)

Great instrumental opening containing many instruments like guitars, bass guitar, drums, mandolin and flutes! The flutes remind me of the Dutch band FOCUS a bit. Vocals are all sung in English and voice is easy to listen to. This is probably one of the best (and one of the longest) tracks of the album. 5 stars.

2. You Want The Real Me (6:32)

Again all instruments are represented on this track along with the flutes. After the first two verses there's a great drum section followed by the chorus and flutes. 4 stars.

3. Fragments from Dies Irae (5:30)

Soft piano intro followed by great electrical lead guitars accompanied by bass and drum. The guitar is played like it is "singing" the chorus already. Vocals are a bit more "rough" than on the previous tracks. Is this also Valdir Zamboni singing or is it one of his fellow band members who's normally one of the backing vocalists? If it is Valdir he really knows how to change his voice! Instrumentation on this track is all superb again! 5 star track.

4. Blue Light (5:42)

Soft acoustic guitar intro followed by flutes. Not a very long track, but probably track with the most lyrics of this album. Vocals are sung again "normal". This is a very soft track, almost a ballad. I must say I enjoy their somewhat heavier and complex tracks more. Nevertheless a nice track to take a breath. 3 stars.

5. The Raft of Medusa (12:36)

According to Greek Mythology Medusa used to be a beautiful girl, who lived in a country where the sun wasn't shining. She begged Athena to let her sail to a sunny continent. But when Athena refused, Medusa said this was only because the she would not be the most beautiful woman anymore when people would see her! Great instrumentation on this track capturing the dramatic mood of the story. 5 stars.

6. Hold Me Now* (6:32)

Starting out as a softer track in the same style of "Blue Light". Acoustic guitars, flutes accompanied by soft vocals. Later on the song gets more up-tempo ending and slipping away softly. 4 stars.

All instruments are played really well by TARKUS especially the flutes. The flutes are really nice on the entire album and almost a "Tarkus trademark" like they used to be a trademark of FOCUS. All and all a very nice album indeed.

My rating: 5 + 4 + 5 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 26/6 = 4,3 stars.

Report this review (#89934)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars A very fine symphonic album by this interesting brazilian band. Great keyboards, guitars and flute interplay. Vocals on the other side are the weakest link. Not a bad voice, really, but vocals, like so many prog bands often do, seems to be an afterthought. Later on the band would get a much better singer and recorded a live album that showed their real potential. Anyway, the songs on A Gaze Between The Past And The Future are all good with some jazz influences here and there. Highlight to me is the first track, Exit From Calcuta, with some really inspired guitar breaks and wonderful flute.

All in all a good CD, with adequate prodution and fine playing. All musicians are very skillful. If you´re into symphonic prog and want to know something different, give it a try.

Report this review (#165493)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Could have been a better album

You know, i am usually very impressed by brazilian prog, when it is good, because in this part of the equator we don't have a good progressive rock industry like in other places around the world. Bad recording equipment, bad market, bad advertising, lack of founds, you name it and we have it here. So, it is usually hard to put out an album so i tend to support the bands the way i can.

However, the band must earn that support by putting out a good album and not just releasing an average album. Tarkus almost releases a good album, but in the end, due to two problems that i will mention ahead, their album is just average. Their music, though very inspired by the 70's prog sound, don't sound dated nor derivative, the songs are pretty interesting and the lyrics are not bad also. Their main influence here, despite the obvious Emerson, Lake and Palmer tribute in their name, is the dutch band Focus, along with minor Yes and ELP influences.

There are, as i said before, two big problems in A Gaze Between The Past And The Future, and those problems make the album lose a bit in the overall quality: 1) their guitarist isn't good and 2) the vocals are hesitant and/or out of tune in some parts throughout the album, besides having a reasonably strong accent (but the accent was a much bigger problem for Frank Bornemann and that didn't stopped him, right?). The guitarist isn't able to play the notes clearly when he is supposed to be playing fast and the vocals are usually out of tune due to the bad vibratos.

Besides having those two problems, the album is pretty decent. The flutes are very good when they appear, the bass and the keyboards do a pretty god job also, being those three the highlights of the album, as long as instrumental work goes. As far as the songs go, the highlights go to: Exit from Calcutta, Blue Light and The Raft of Medusa.

Grade and Final Thoughts

I rate A Gaze Between The Past And The Future as an average progressive rock album because it is quite of a mixed bag. Though the flutes, bass and keyboard works are very good, the guitar and the vocal work are not good, although not being horrible. So, in the end, the bad parts and the good parts add up, resulting in an average result. If they solve those two problems in the future and do release another album (since MUNDUS NOVUS IS A HOAX) they may be able to deliver a truly good album.

Better luck next time.

Report this review (#207473)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Once you have overcome the first seconds of this album, you have to agree with me that this complex musical fantasy is much more worth than you could ever dreamed of.

These musical parts are just GORGEOUS. No more, no less. The sublime is touching the human: do you grab my mind? The fantastic intro track ''Exit From Calcuta'' is an extraordinary piece of music: it could leave lots of people breathless, and I am just fascinated with this type of music.

Grandiose, emotional, performing. The music available is just superb. Some fantastic moments are combined with very old feeling of my early prog ventures (the early seventies of course). This album is truly a great one: the music displayed is of great emotion and worth the time you could listen at.

I wouldn't say that a track is better than another one although you should consider each musical moments available here one of the finest. Freaks of the early ''Camel'' will just be delighted while listening to the great performances of this band. But there is such a bunch to expect.

This is an album I just profoundly like. Some might say it sounds superficial: I just hold it rather high in my rating. Four stars.with no problems. Skilled band, touching music, sublime moments like during the splendid ''Raft Of Medusa''. I am very glad that they are recording their next album '' Sanctuaryum'' which will hopefully see the light this year.

This is an excellent band from Brazil, and don't expect any ELP clone: the music has nothing to do with this prog giant. It is unique, colourful, skilled, emotional, beautiful, gorgeous, fantastic, original, symphonic. You might understand that I am quite impressed with this gaze between the past.

A great album for sure.

Report this review (#216029)
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another good symphonic prog album from Brazil.

Tarkus has in my view released a pretty generic symphonic prog album. There is influences from Flower Kings, Genesis and Yes here. Add some AOR to the mix and you get the picture. The album is not overly symphonic like The Nice or ELP. It is just middle of the road symphonic prog. Nothing to be offended by if you like symphonic prog. Your bank manager may be very offended though because there is a lot of rather expensive CDs and LPs around in this scene.

In addition to the usual fare, Tarkus also gives us one classic orchestral pieces and some pretty superb flute driven interludes. The music is also drenched in keyboards and solo guitars. The sound is very good and contemporary. The best song is the opening track Exit from Calcutta which has some superb melody lines at the end of this ten minutes long track. The rest of the tracks is also very good. The musicians seems talented and I may even offend my bank manager by purchasing the rest of their stuff. I like this album, but it has some flaws. The lack of identity and a signature killer track is the two biggest ones.

3 stars

Report this review (#256781)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Thanks for the appreciation of all in relation to the work we do considering an amateur band, who paid for by themselves the whole process of recording and production, in addition to composing and performing. I ask if could make it do something good and not nearly good? Maybe if the guitarist was a musician, not a surgeon, having to devote a lot of his work at the hospital, he could sing better and play better ... but in the end, after all, what is a good guitarist and singer?

Grade and final Thoughts

Frank Zappa called Steve Vai to perform guitar parts that could not....

What do you think Peter Hammil of his voice and his vibrato?

Report this review (#886450)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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