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Antonius Rex

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Antonius Rex Per Viam album cover
3.15 | 27 ratings | 5 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Micro Demons (5:05)
2. Per Viam (6:39)
3. Woman Of The King (8:52)
4. Spectra (7:56)
5. Angels & Demons (7:49)
6. Ufdem (6:28)
7. Antonius Rex Prophecy (11:14)

Total Time: 54:13

Bonus video on 2009 CD release:
8. Micro Demons (5:05)

Line-up / Musicians

- Antonio Bartoccetti / electric guitars, vocals
- Doris Norton / keyboards, e-drums, computer, sound design, arrangements & mixing

- Anthony Bartoccetti / synth (2,6,7)
- Florian Gorman / drums
- Monika Tasnad / medium (?)

Releases information

Artwork: Dragos Jieanu

LP Black Widow Records - BWR 126 (2009, Italy)

CD Black Widow Records - BWR 126-2 (2009, Italy) With a bonus video

Thanks to proglucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ANTONIUS REX Per Viam ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ANTONIUS REX Per Viam reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A legend returns in 2009

Incredibly, the legend of Antonius Rex continues strong with a new album 40 years after the first Jacula release in 1969. "Per Viam" is the new studio album from Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton picking up where 2006's "Switch on Dark" left off. The long running husband/wife compositional team is joined this time out by drummer Florian Gorman, medium Monika Tasnad, and their son Rexanthony. Along with "Switch," the pair is at the top of their game, producing the most exciting music they have made since the early 1970s. The darkness remains of course but the sound is almost post-modern, pushing the boundaries with a mixture of styles and textures that make them hard to compartmentalize. The moods and feelings invoked by self-proclaimed "Mysticdrug for the next generation" are always in conflict: fear and darkness in one moment, and a strange calming peace in the next. They are certainly a much different trip than the "next big thing" release proclaimed by the big prog sites and should appeal to those fans who always claim to be looking for something different. Rex proves that simple melodies and hooks can be just as satisfying to proggers than a bunch of avant manic thrashing.

For those who know only the 1970s Jacula/Rex sound, the modern Antonius Rex is very much updated but also holds dear a bit of the traditional sounds. Their last two albums feature mixtures of high energy, industrial-techno rock with traditional symphonic piano, synth, and organ melodies. Add in vocals that can be either spoken word or sung, male, female, or choirs, and you have a sound that is rich, luxurious, sensual, decadent, and yes.....very dark. "Per Viam" overall seems to have a bit more bite than "Switch." Whereas "Switch" seemed to have sections with beguiling melodies sung by females and accompanied by piano, "Per Viam" has more crunching SG guitar, more male vocals, a bit more venom. Think of taking the proto-Goth organ and mystic vocals of Jacula but injecting it with some Nine Inch Nails attitude. "Micro Demons" opens the album with a monstrous, sludgy chords and the horrific screams of actual demons bringing you face to face with a wraith. Soon Doris brings some nice keys in for balance. "Per Viam" is all about tension with a march style drum beat and frantic simulated strings, you feel as if you are being chased. Suddenly Antonio busts into the first of many fine solos and it is a joy to hear this man wail better than ever after all these years. He is often compared to Sabbath/Iomni by writers and I can tell you he is every bit as talented as Tony is, conveying great darkness with his chords and knocking out some nasty good solos. "Woman of the King" is our first chance to catch our breath, a lovely 9 minute elaboration of keyboard soundscapes by Doris. Soon the loveliness is crushed by the ever present darkness lurking around every corner, here we can hear some unfortunate soul meeting what sounds like an awful demise to Antonio's narration. From there it moves into a steamy metal section with good chugging, heavy drumming and choirs over female gasps....getting a bit Therion here....hell yeah!! "Spectra" is typical Rex sound vision with lots of effects and some hyper-metal soloing by Antonio over various beats. "Angels and Demons" would be the easy choice for a single, a beautifully constructed track with many layers: choir-vocals over heavy guitar riffs alternating with acoustic guitar and piano.

For the last two tracks the album shifts gears and looks to the past. First, we are treated to a remake of Jacula's "UFDEM" which reminds me all over again why I LOVE the voice of Doris Norton. God she sings beautifully. Here the original 1972 vocal is given the pure heavy metal treatment with loud guitar. I much prefer the original arrangement to be honest, but I'd listen to Doris no matter the circumstances. Then we have an interesting 11 minute piece fully titled "Antonius Rex Prophecy: Tiring original prophecy 1948:61st Anniversary Edition." Hmmm....since Charles Tiring has been dead for years, his writing credit here is presumably for an old idea. Although if anyone could arrange to work with a dead man, it would be Antonio, so perhaps he was channeled. The track is a long narration by Antonio over serene keyboards and some guitar in parts, a more peaceful ending to the album. The final closing guitar solo by Antonio is simply beautiful and majestic.

Recommended to any fan of dark prog. A bonus CD-ROM video of "Micro Demons" is included, and the even better video for "Angels and Demons" can be viewed at their website. The tri-fold digipak design comes with wonderful artwork, the cover art is among their most memorable ever. This album and "Switch on Dark" are easy recommendations for anyone wishing to sample the modern Rex. I certainly hope this is not the last we hear from this duo who seem to be experiencing a renaissance of creativity.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Antonius Rex is something of an institution in Italian rock, and with Per Viam he issues his third album since his return from a 25 year long pause as a solo artist in 2005.

It is a mixed affair though. Rex doesn't write compositions as such, his efforts are better described as mood explorations. The organ is a prominent instrument, while guitars, synths and keyboards flesh out whatever theme to be explored. Distorted spoken words by Rex are added on occasions, as well as female lead or backing vocals - the latter more often than not with a choir effect. Samples add up to the last element - eerie twisted sounds more often than not.

His efforts are best when large doses of sulphur and dramatics are used. Opening sound collage evolving to mood piece Micro Demons and the hypnotic repetitions of ambient electro-tinged metal effort Angels and Demons are good examples, and the stunning symphonic dramatics as additional features in the title track showcase his abilities at their best. The remaining tunes and sound collages are so-so affairs, but should please his fans. I'll give Rex credit for his ability to make hypnotic grooves and moods though, even his less fortunate creations contain enough of these to warrant a listen now and then - the sign of an experienced music creator.

An uneven effort, with just about enough interesting material to warrant checking out. Especially for those fascinated by dark magic and the occult presumably.

Review by andrea
3 stars Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton started their long artistic partnership at the end of the sixties as Jacula and are still active today as Antonius Rex. Their last album, "Per Viam", was released in 2009 by the independent label Black Widow. It comes out with a nice three folds digipack packaging and a suggestive art cover...

The music every now and again could remind of Goblin or Mike Oldfield and flows away like the soundtrack of a horror movie or a thriller. Actually, tracks like "Micro Demons", "Per Viam", "Spectra" and "Angels & Demons" could be a perfect musical background for the reading of a Dan Brown's novel... Liturgical chants, gothic organ and piano passages are intertwined with modern sounds and distorted guitars... During the video of "Angels & Demons" compares even the word illuminati! You can find it on Youtube, while on the album as extra track CD-ROM VIDEO there's the video of "Micro Demons"...

In "Woman Of The King" there are some Celtic influences that remind me of Alan Stivell's album "The Mist Of Avalon". "UFDEM" is an old piece of Jacula dressed up in modern an more aggressive sounds but the voice of Doris Norton is still charming while the final "Antonius Rex Prophecy" is a long track featuring the recitative vocals of Antonio Bartoccetti and a slow "atmospheric" pace.

On the whole a good album, even if it's not really challenging and, at length, a little bit kitsch. In nomine Christi , amen.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Judging solely on the cover of this album I expected dark and intense instrumental keyboards dominated music. I was partly right, but wasn't too surprised with what this cd contains. Per Viam contains eerie and dark instrumental music (with various vocalizations and processed vocals spread throughout the album) from the prolific husband and wife group of Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton who make up Antonius Rex. Having started out under the moniker of Jacula they began making haunting and fascinating music already in 1968. I have only heard their output as Jacula and despite being aware of their Antonius Rex project I've never had any exposure to their music. Thus, I wasn't sure whether I should expect something similar to the creepy (in a good way) atmospheres of Jacula or maybe something else. They released 5 albums from 1974 to 1980. They have remerged in 2005 with a new release and have since released two more albums, Per Viam being their 2009 album.

The album covers various sounds and atmospheric grounds. From creepy industrial settings (Micro Demons), to metal-ish and heavy segments with guitar and keyboards solos (Woman of the King, Per Viam, second part of Spectra) and then to more majestic sounding but still dark synth-dominated pieces (Per Viam). It can be a creepy listening experience with some tracks, such as Micro Demons, sounding like a sonic representation of a nightmare; a hellish industrial setting with processed vocalizations (screams and spoken). On the other hand, there are more refined pieces and sections of compositions that counteract the cruder sounding parts. However, the horror- movie like music atmosphere is prevalent throughout much of the album and can serve as a good setting for late-night listening if one is interested in achieving a scary and peculiar mood. The last two tracks on the album are remakes of older pieces. UFDEM is a remake of a Jacula track (a superb one at that, both the original and the remake), whereas Antonius Rex Prophecy is based on a piece by Charles Tiring.

I quite like the feel of this album, its eeriness and oddity. I find its cross-over between a more electronic and synth dominated side and a more rock and heavy inclined tendency is well balanced. I'm not as big a fan of the artificial sound it boasts however. I'd have liked them to use real drums instead of the digital ones, which are the prominent ones here (there are also acoustic drums). These just sound life-less and turn what could be a powerful piece to something much duller and devoid of striking punch. If you seek a dark-sounding album, odd, creepy and scary sounding music, this album should satisfy your needs.

Latest members reviews

3 stars A.D. 2009!!! I admit that 'Per Viam' is a very brave CD in an attempt to be modern and timeless. And if, for me, is the more big problem because this fact has made me less morbid mental operation of: 'somehow you will Bertoccetti evolved in all these years...'. And this is a great poor final ... (read more)

Report this review (#250964) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Monday, November 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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