Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Rock Progressivo Italiano

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jacula In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum album cover
3.14 | 75 ratings | 9 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy JACULA Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ajtus (4:06)
2. Magister Dixit (10:30)
3. Triumphatus Sad (3:35)
4. Veneficium (2:21)
5. Initiatjo (6:49)
6. In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum (10:05)

Total Time: 37:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Antonio Bartoccetti / guitars, bass, vocals, producer
- Charles Tiring / church organ
- Doris Norton / effects

Releases information

Recordings made at Gnome Studio, UK in 1969, heavily altered in 2001

Artwork: Travers

LP Gnome - AR-LP 00299 (1969, UK) Only privately distributed
LP Black Widow Records - BWR 051 (2001, Italy) Limited edition of 300 copies
LP Black Widow Records BWR 051 (2010, Italy)
LP Black Widow Records BWR 051 (2014, Italy)

CD Black Widow Records - BWRCD 051-2 (2001, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JACULA In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum Music

More places to buy JACULA music online

JACULA In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JACULA In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another under appreciated gem here that deserves the Big Mick treatment.

For those who want a snapshot description of the music... look at the album cover... look closely at it and conjure up thoughts of music that might fit it. Music that conjures up up images of rotting decaying flesh, souls not at rest but tormented by things that can only be dreamed of the the most vivid of nightmares. A cover so descriptive of the music... they used the same cover on their second album 3 years later.

Jacula was formed in Milan in 1968 by occultist Antonio Bartoccetti. After finding his creative partner in Doris Norton, a partnership that would last through the next decade, they recorded a landmark album in London in 1969. The album had a limited pressing of some 300 albums, and for many years was forgotten. In fact many texts list their second album as their debut album. The otherwise excellent 'Return of Italian Pop' book evens says the group was founded in 1972. This group though predates many groups of Italian Progressive music if not in formation.. but the crafting of what we now know as Progressive Rock.

The music is fascinatingly dark, moody, atmospheric brand of music that conjures up Sabbath like gloom and doom without crunchingly heavy riffs but through the use of the organ, the church organ in particular. Also absent are silly childish lyrics that some have tried to use to convey horror or darkness. There are vocals here.. spoken word in places.. chantlike in others..that are interspersed through the songs. Never the focus of the songs.. being a narrative if you will. Bartoccetti is often regarded as one of the finest guitarist to come from this period of Italian rock. This is not his album to shine but what strikes me about his playing on this in ...lets check the year here... a tone that is downright metallic. Very different from what others were doing in that year. Commonplace a decade later.. but to these ears at least... very novel for the last year of the 1960's. His guitar is mainly texture on this album though and it leaves plenty of space for keyboardist Charles Tiring. The album is an organ lovers FANTASY. Along with Battiato's 'Melle le Gladiator' this is the album I point out to people who want to hear Church Organ in prog.. not a solo or a dash of it. but driving a whole album.

Anyhow. Another short album by today's standards, but we don't mind do we. I'll take 38 minutes of high-quality music over 80 filled with filler anyday. An album that non-Italian speakers will have no problems dealing with. When a man says he wants to rip your guts out and savor it with a nice Brunello di Montalcino, you really don't need a translation do you. For me 4 stars, an album that I reach for when I am looking to match a particular mood ..or wish to set a particular mood. For the site.. 3 stars. A good addition to any prog collection. Obviously not a varied album and one that may only apply to certain prog fans.. and even then.. at certain times and moods. But when the time comes for wanting something dark and atmospheric.. there are few albums better.

Michael aka Micky

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Really boring and disturbing disc and even doubtful if it is recorded in 1969, as it sounds more than a 90's album than a 70's even...And it is really weird why such boring albums are promoted and even highly rated...The truth is that I can't find any reason to recommend this album to anyone...Tons of uninspiring church organ, a guitar that has a Jimmy Hendrix sound and has nothing to do with the dark atmosphere (that's so funny) of the release and some poetic ridiculous-sounding vocals (at least to my ears) here and there...The most monotonous music I've ever heard and 100% unrelated to the excellent italian prog sound of the 70's...Stay away!
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An essential experimental sound album that paved the way

So began the story. Anthony Bartoccetti doesn't much care about the new commercial "noise" you listen to, he's never cared what the record companies thought. I doubt he gives a damn that some people object to his interests. Along with his trusted partner Doris Norton they have been making sound paintings for the dark world for some four decades now with new material still coming as of this writing. He has never concerned himself with the commercial aspects of musical stardom, instead focusing on crafting esoteric pieces of sound for what he assumes is a limited, but devoted audience of music fans. Many of the original vinyl albums were printed in a few hundred copies and became huge collectors items. Thankfully Italy's Black Widow Records has rescued several titles for CD reissues, assuring that future generations of the open-minded will be able to experience these unique and groundbreaking recordings. Yes, groundbreaking for 1969, and leading the way for some genres of Metal and for artists like Devil Doll decades later. In fact this material was composed pre-Sabbath and released well before the Sabbath debut, meaning Bartoccetti's doomy riffs were not lifted from Iomni as some writers seem to hint. You could say this music is proto-Sabbath, proto-doom, or call it the birth of "dark-Prog." At times it feels like "ambient doom" but it is interesting that those dark or doomy connotations are only half the story. Often, listening to this atmospheric, open sound is not dark or depressing to me but rather soothing. Contradictions abound between the image and the exterior feel versus the actual emotion good music stirs within one. When there's depth to the art it's just never as obvious as many think. Labels aside, the first Jacula album was a revelation and would lead to a long storied career that would predict the Metal movement, outlast the classic Italian prog years, and carry into the current day a dark and original musical style that others may imitate, but no one does better. The name changed to Antonius Rex in 1974 but the main people and the philosophy really didn't-and Rex survives to this day.

The origins of Jacula date to around 1966 when young Bartoccetti landed in Milan. Not understanding Italian I have been unable to get much detail on these early years, but apparently the band members met and composed this album (working title "Volume Zero") through actual séances with the medium Franz Parthenzy. The released title In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum is a Latin phrase meaning "Poison is always at the end" according to some. By 1968 Bartoccetti had met Doris Norton (his then girlfriend and later I believe his wife) who would become an equal collaborator, keyboardist, and vocalist, as well as the much older organist Charles Tiring, who possessed some real experience on the vintage organs that they wanted. Only about 300 copies were pressed in the original run and they were not sold in record stores-instead it is said they were given away to folks with an interest in the esoteric. Bartoccetti also played in some other bands but considers them irrelevant pop groups now. It is Jacula that was the real deal, an absolute original piece of work for 1969. It was difficult for me to permeate the awkward Internet auto-translators in trying to decipher the content of Italian interviews to English, but I believe he says that his writing is concerned with mankind's problems: degradation of the natural environment, warfare between countries, mindless consumerism, and the addiction of the masses to the ignorance peddled via television. The ease with which the human animal can turn a blind eye to the suffering of others while proclaiming moral high grounds. That said, the presentation of the music is undoubtedly put forth with the dark aesthetic and this will not appeal to everyone. For those who are able to deal with or even enjoy art bathed in a sinister, dark castle atmosphere, many wonderful audio adventures await you.

On to the music of In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum which has been lovingly restored and cleaned up on the Black Widow Records release. While I'm not a fan generally of musical revisionism (like the Genesis boxset), the remixing and embellishments done to this Jacula album have produced astounding results. It sounds spectacular for something recorded so long ago. The thinking of both the artist and BWR was that a new CD reissue would require the ancient tapes, in poor shape, to be shined up for the younger generation. Mission accomplished. Cranking up the pipe organ solo reveals almost no hiss and feels like sitting in a grand cathedral somewhere.

Before you buy a Jacula album know what to expect. Do not buy this album looking to sway to dreamy solos, do not expect to be "rocked," do not expect a typical "band" experience. Expect that you are going to a recital and that individuals are going to play while you listen attentively. You may hear some things that disturb your ingrained sensibilities on multiple levels. You will hear long periods of Charles Tiring sitting at the traditional church/pipe organ playing in a dark and classically informed style. This is gloriously beautiful sound on its own which is the point; if you listen just waiting for the rock and roll to kick in, don't bother. Various wind and sound effects will come and go. Even Bartoccetti's proto-Iomni style assault on his SG does not impart a rock band experience so much as a texture over the single, beating funeral drum. Male spoken word vocals narrate the proceedings with great drama on occasion. "Initiatio" features Doris Norton's ethereal wordless vocals over introspective, beautiful piano and deep heartbeat drum, truly fantastic. The organ returns with majesty in the 10 minute closing title track, just variations, shades, very peaceful and almost ambient or meditative once one gets used to what is a pretty radical sound. Completely atmospheric, deep, and rich. That's the thing about the Jacula is just so original and definitive. Some people call this "boring" and I just could not disagree more. There is nothing more exciting than hearing something both traditional and yet so "out there." Walk down a musical path that doesn't need ultra-complexity to create its own world of dreams and visionary imagery. Give yourself time to appreciate the strange unsettling feeling in the church organ passages. How often do you get to hear something like that? It is difficult to decide which of the two Jacula releases to start with as both are strong and worth owning. The first has the groundbreaking factor and more guitar, perhaps more of an open naivety. The second is more intense in the dark vibe with a bit more going on despite having less electric guitar.

The story doesn't end here. The next Jacula album is arguably better and some 30 years later they would return with the magnificent concept album "Switch on Dark" (see the band Antonius Rex) which would combine the haunted castle story with a lush modern rock feel. Another new album is said to be planned. Bartoccetti and Norton will never be given the credit they are due as musical pioneers but I really doubt they care. I sense they realize the awe that their modest fan base has for these old recordings. And again, Black Widow Records must be recognized and thanked for realizing the importance here and making the effort to get out this quality reissue. Get these great historical recordings while you can.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This early version of "Antonius Rex" released some quite bizarre albums for the year. No wonder that these were re-released under the "Black Widow" label (even if no relation with this other great band is granted).

It all starts with a great opener full of heavy Hammond organ (but this is the TM of this band). The mood is all set: what the listener is going to experience is quite avant-garde music (remember that this album was released in 69).

Very few albums from this year can really compete with the dark moods featured here. It is mostly instrumental (and organ driven), which might draw down the attention of some listeners.

The band is flirting with the very heavy sounds during "Triumphatus Sad". When you know that this was recorded in '69, one can only be respectful. Sabbath and Purple might have borrowed some sounds in here?Some early Floydean music is also noticeable when the short "Vereficium" is being played.

The lack of vocal parts and the wholly gloomy atmosphere might be a break on some more positive feel about this precursory band. While most prog giants were releasing gentle pieces of music, "Jacula" set the pace for another style of music.

Of course, this album remained unnoticed while released and probably will always remain a quite discreet part of the prog history for ever. Still, if ever you have the chance to listen to this work, you might well be VERY surprised.

If I should rate this album on a pure quality level, three stars would be the bill. But bearing in mind that this work was released in '69, that it holds such bizarre songs, quite adventurous for the era, I am upgrading this to the next level.

Four stars. Quite an experience!

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars With an album title that translates from Latin to mean "Poison Is Always At The End", `In Cauda..." conjures up images of abandoned medieval castles, gloomy dungeons, dark forests at night, a tormenting presence lurking nearby. It lures you into a dark dream state, and can completely alter your mood. You find your head nodding along to the plodding and commanding music, completely lost in a trance.

The predominantly instrumental album is almost totally driven by the Charles Tiring's overwhelming church organ, and it's absolutely beautiful. Good to hear the real thing, and not some clinical cold emulation or keyboard imitation you might get these days. Long meandering organ dirges, often accompanied by Jacula main creative force Anthony Bartoccetti's dirty heavy-rock guitar riffs, creating a dominating and oppressive sound. His searing electric guitar solos push you even further down. Black Sabbath and early Pink Floyd might be some slight reference points. However, the music is in no way heavy metal, but it might be seen as being quite ahead of it's time and an influence on that particular genre.

Some may find the album hugely tedious and monotonous, but I find the repetitive nature of much of the music to be one of it's greatest strengths. It draws you in, hammers down on you, and can often create a feeling of being lost, trapped in a nightmare, or deep in personal reflection.

My personal highlight of the album is the somber piano driven instrumental `Initatio', with evocative sighed wordless vocals by Fiamma Dallo Spirito. She has a weary, tormented and sorrowful tone to her voice. The track is equally ambient, subtle and surprisingly low key, it might even be one of my favourite instrumental pieces in my entire prog collection. It brings me to tears.

Although the album has a strong dark occult influence, I don't feel you need to be Satanic weirdo to appreciate it's haunting beauty! I follow a lot of Christian beliefs in my life, and I don't find this album offensive in the least. I truly appreciate being immersed in such an evocative personal and emotional musical experience. The old cliché of beauty found in despair and darkness certainly holds true for this album.

The cover of the album perfectly complements the murky tone of the album. Almost as unnerving as the cover of the first Black Sabbath album, It's quite a haunting and horror filled image, well worth particularly grabbing the vinyl reissue edition to really let it compliment the music.

I feel a little intimidated posting this review, when others such as Finnforest have already provided a definitive and more detailed review. I don't know if my simple comments can really offer much more that hasn't already been said. But I felt compelled to do so anyway, due to how much this album has meant to me over the years, how I'm constantly drawn back to it, and how I love finding new hidden secrets within it with each new listen.

Hypnotic, maddening, suffocating, emotional....the debut album of Jacula.

Really four and a half stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars One of the recurring controversies surrounding this release was whether it genuinely came out in 1969 or not. Having given the subject some thought, I think I have to side with the sceptics on this one. Whilst the vocals and tone are all in keeping with the spookier end of the psychedelic or proto-prog scene at the time, the guitar parts consist of metal riffing which I'd be surprised to hear from anyone other than Tony Iommi himself in 1969, and there's subtle use of synthesisers which seem to be a little advanced for 1969. The production includes some evocative-sounding tape crackle, but it can't quite disguise some decidedly 1980s or 1990s textures in the synths. At most, this might be a reconstruction of something Jacula put out in 1969, but I highly doubt that it was actually recorded and released then.

Specifically, the album feels to me like it's halfway between a demo tape (though a reasonably competently produced one) and the sort of meandering improvisational jam releases you saw in the psychedelic and Krautrock scenes of the era. The musical approach involves long, almost ambient stretches of church organ backed with occasional bursts of riffing and rare intonations of sinister Latin phrases. Like the first Tangerine Dream album it's perhaps better approached as spooky, psychedelic-leaning proto-prog background music than as a set of fully developed compositions, but the atmosphere of doom and dread evoked here is so different from what most bands producing this sort of jam album was going for, and the musical approach is very different from the approach taken by the doom-and-gloom brigade in the 1960s and 1970s, making it a uniquely odd work.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars When the first church organ and piano slither out like pale fingers in the creaking, opening door that separates you from the dark depths behind, you feel you're in for a nice travelogue into the darker reaches of the human psyche and all the mystic hinterlands we've come to associate it with.

Occult rituals, unseen forces and powers beyond control in a melodramatic and Gothic setting, with chilling wind and other mysterious effects through damp, forlorn and ivy-laden ruins and long forgotten, long crumbling churchyards as the natural complement. Truly a mood affair this album, with little to offer in terms of fiery melodic exercises and shining, complex composition. Just about everything is about space, atmosphere, reflection, imagery and focused impact.

The dirge-like church organ feels as overpowering and sombre as the finality and inescapability of death, but rather than pure horror at the thought, there's always a streak of sadness and chilling beauty that comes through. It is rather merciless in its onslaught, sucking all the air out of the compositions in a commanding and unrelenting way. Together with some delicately played and contrasting airier piano ringing out its cleansing and relieving melodies, the mood is occasionally lightened, but always given a dark and fateful grounding. This feeling is only enhanced by the sparse, but loudly booming, echoing and funereal percussion. On Initatio, a beautiful wordless female vocal transcends this mix of sounds into something really spiritual and remarkably tender, without ever truly letting go of the aforementioned all-encompassing gloom. A high-point of the album.

But having said that, this is where the experience turns a bit sour for this reviewer. Because the proto-doom guitars that occasionally rear their ugly heads here and there are a definite let-down. Leaving the debate of when they were actually added and if they could possibly be one of the earliest use of such sounds aside, they still don't work, regardless of possible inventiveness. They ruin the atmosphere in clumsily plodding sounds that are both dry, bloodless and out of place. Where this type of riffs and guitar-work is majestic in the hands of Tony Iommi and in a Black Sabbath-setting, here they just feel extraneous and jarring. Naked and ugly in a way that sharply contrasts to the profoundness of the rest of the album. It's just mismatched to me. Where I'm sure the idea was to emphasize and add weight and power, to me they have the opposite effect, making the album head into gimmicky and crudely effect-seeking territory. Unfortunately the exact same thing can be said about the cringe-worthy and matter-of-fact Latin incantations that ruin the experience of the music from time to time. If you don't want vocals, that's fine, but don't give me soulless, hollow comments instead, in Latin or otherwise. Gimmicky, and desperately hammering in a mood and setting which is already perfectly clear when the music speaks for itself. Some poetic or melodic sensibility could perhaps have saved them, but this unembellished delivery is not doing it. Thankfully, they aren't that many or that long.

On balance, it's a conflicted album. Where I would have wanted a purer experience, based on the sides I thoroughly enjoy, the band obviously was looking for something else. Good for them, bad for me. Regardless of my personal opinion, it's still a rather unique experience. And there are great moments scattered all over the album if you're willing to dig for them. I just don't see myself doing that all too often.

2 stars.


Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Let's start with a correction about the album's title. I've seen that other reviewers have translated it as "The Venom is always in the end". But "Cauda" in Latim means tail, so it's a reference to scorpions, insets stings and nice stuff like this.

As I have already written in my previous Jacula's review, there is a bit of humour as Jacula was the main characer of a porn comics of the 70s, whose name is a mix of "Dracula" and "Eiaculate". (the J in latin is spelled "i": like "ian" instead of "John").

Even if released as second, this is effectively the first recording of Jacula, later transformed into ANTONIUS REX. The album has been remastered and its first true release is dated 2001. Further releases and reprints followed, thanks to the Black Widow label. Respect to Tardo Pede... the operatic vocals are absent, and it's Antonio Bartoccetti's voice that's sometimes heard, like in "Magister Dixit" (The master said).

It's mainly dark baroque church organ, closer to neo-gothic than to prog if it wasn't for some effects. The speeches are about a magician who freed a vampire. It's a sort of grimoire read by a lecturer. The horrorific and satanic environment is more explicit in Triumphatus Sad. This track is opened by a heavy distorted guitar. Triumphatus Sad is an English grimoire of the late 17th century about witchery. I don't know how much of this track has been overdubbed above the original, but this is a heavy metal track with no doubts, even if the keyboardist makes a great work in a Keith Emerson style.

"Veneficium" (Poisoning) returns to the church organ stuff in the intro, Luckily the guitar takes its duties with an unreferenced harp. It's possible that the harp has been added later during the remastering. It really sounds like SENMUTH.

On "Initiatjo" the vocals don't sound like Bartoccetti's voice, it seems female but it may even be him. A choir instead of a single singer would have been fantastic. A suggestion for a cover. Musically speaking this is the best album track. There's something similar on CAMEL's The Snow Goose, but less dark.

Finally, the title track. The initial speech isn't very interesting. A guy is in a wood in the night watching the Moon and joked by a fairy. The alternance between church organ and speech is a bit boring. I mean, one Italian speaking can be curious the first time as it's like listening to a story, but the second time it's just boring.

Remastering and publishing this early work is interesting as a document and there's at least one good track, but documentary apart, I can't suggest it. It's an ancestor of black metal, but mainly a neogothic thing.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Musically same level as their legendary 'Tardo pede...' album.Very doubtfull if this album really came out in 1969!?I never saw it,but it's an excellent matter that this lost treasure became finally issued. ... (read more)

Report this review (#23141) | Posted by | Sunday, February 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of JACULA "In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.