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ARION

Symphonic Prog • Brazil


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Arion biography
ARION is a progressive band from Brazil with strong influences from classic 70's bands like Yes, ELP and Renaissance. With musicians raised on a musical background of classical, jazz and Brazilian music, these elements also were incorporated in their sound as well. Calling themselves initially Magma, the group started in 1993, at the university town of Viçosa. Things started to get in shape when classical trained singer Tania Braz joined them. In 2000, after some touring, they signed with the Progressive Rock Worldwide label. Their self- titled CD was released in July 2001. It was highly praised by all who heard it, and it was subsequently being sold in some European countries as well as in Japan and the USA. In 2002 they opened for Dutch prog legends Focus, when they toured Brazil.


The CD contains six compositions by band members and one by a friend. Keyboard player Sérgio Paolucci is clearly the biggest proghead of them: his "Eyes Of Time" and "Land Of Dreams" are straightforward prog pieces, while Tânia Braz's "True :Love" and "Everyway" have a strong Brazilian influence. Bassist Carlos Linhares's songs "Daybreak Child"and "Cosmic Touch" fall somewhere between his two bandmates' styles. Thyaga's "Natureza Mistica" is the only tune sung in Portuguese by its author, and it's the most distinctive song of the whole album, with its folky structure and New-Ageish lyrics - although the band members do a good prog arrangement by the middle section (Tânia and drummer Rosa providing harmonies).


Musically the first band that comes in mind is Renaissance, not only for the female singer (who often uses her voice as a leading instrument during instrumental breaks, in the same fashion as Annie Haslam), but also because the extensive use of the grand piano for keyboard solos. This is especially clear in "Cosmic Touch", where Paolucci plays a jazzy, very Dave Brubeck-like solo. But there is more in the formula, since drummer Nelson Rosa is more a jazz and Brazilian instrumentalist than a rocker. His rhythm patterns colour most of the songs with his skills, and this is especially clear on Tania's and Linhares's compositions. On the other hand, Luciano Soares is a creative guitarist whose solos are emotional and tasteful, very much in the vein of Steve Rothery and David Gilmour. Carlos Linhares is surely a bassist with a very strong Chris Squire influence, always filling all the blank spots with his fluid playing.


Influences aside, the band have found...


The CD contains six compositions by band members and one by a friend. Keyboard player Sérgio Paolucci is clearly the biggest proghead of them: his "Eyes Of Time" and "Land Of Dreams" are straightforward prog pieces, while Tânia Braz's "True :Love" and "Everyway" have a strong Brazilian influence. Bassist Carlos Linhares's songs "Daybreak Child"and "Cosmic Touch" fall somewhere between his two bandmates' styles. Thyaga's "Natureza Mistica" is the only tune sung in Portuguese by its author, and it's the most distinctive song of the whole album, with its folky structure and New-Ageish lyrics - although the band members do a good prog arrangement by the middle section (Tânia and drummer Rosa providing harmonies).


Musically the first band that comes in mind is Renaissance, not only for the female singer (who often uses her voice as a leading instrument during instrumental breaks, in the same fashion as Annie Haslam), but also because the extensive use of the grand piano for keyboard solos. This is especially clear in "Cosmic Touch", where Paolucci plays a jazzy, very Dave Brubeck-like solo. But there is more in the formula, since drummer Nelson Rosa is more a jazz and Brazilian instrumentalist than a rocker. His rhythm patterns colour most of the songs with his skills, and this is especially clear on Tania's and Linhares's compositions. On the other hand, Luciano Soares is a creative guitarist whose solos are emotional and tasteful, very much in the vein of Steve Rothery and David Gilmour. Carlos Linhares is surely a bassist with a very strong Chris Squire influence, always filling all the blank spots with his fluid playing.


Influences aside, the band have found their very own sound and style, showing that ARION's music is much more then the sum of five talented artists. Their chemistry is quite unique. I only hope that they release new albums in a near future. So far I got no news from band members, except for Tania Braz, who has a solo career of her own, singing a mixture of Brazilian and progressive music.

Tarcisio Moura



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Arion are an excellent example of contemporary Brazilian symphonic prog, with interesting folk and jazz influences.



Discography:
Arion (2005 - studio album)read more

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ARION discography


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3.90 | 46 ratings
Arion
2001

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ARION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars While (4 years) ago I've searched the PA data to find some prog from Brazil, to my surprised there was enough music to me to discover from this country and I begun to look for the bands I've choosed on the net to buy some of their music. Among the bands that seams to me to be an intristing aqusition was a little known band from early this decade named Arion. To tell the truth I didn't known anything about them, but the cover art told me that may be some intristing going on with them. I get the album from Musea records 2 years ago and , surprise surprise , this is a real treat for symphonic prog listners and for me aswell. Releasing only one album in 2001 selftitled this unknown band succeded to catch in one album the perfect blend between symphonic arrangements a la Renaissance with more rougher moments not far from Yes or even Bacamarte. The musicianship is top notch, very fluent, very fresh arrangements, the musicians realy known how to use the instruments and release somthing worth investigate by all progressive rock listners. The voice of Tania Braz remind me in places of the queen of perfect voice Mrs Haslan, not a copy but somethimes the higher notes she reaches are to forced and stop me to give to the album more then 4 stars. Anyway a pleasent album all the way with a plus on opening track, Eyes of Time, nearly 15 min of high class prog, this is the piece that shows the true talent of this obscure band from this decade, and Everyway, the reat are good aswell. So, a big album, quite unnoticed in prog circles, deducing by the less reviews and ratings this band and album has, but worth investigate for sure. 4 stars easy, it's realy a shame to see such great and talented bands gone into oblivion, and discovered only by my mistake or not descovered at all.

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Psst, a little secret for prog groups that originate from outside the UK epicenter...feel free to weave your indigenous influences into your progressive quilt. Some bands have gotten this message, particularly in the Basque region and Scandinavia. May I add the Brazilians to this elite group? The example before us is that of ARION, whose lone 2001 release pays homage to RENAISSANCE (both editions) and YES, incorporates modern symphonic influences, and subtly but unmistakably infuses some of their own rich and ancient heritage throughout this impressive debut.

It is true that Tania Braz sings in an overly enunciated English, and Portuguese might have been a better choice, but the sound is still so far from generic neo or symphonic. The more I hear this the more I like it, and these accolades extend especially to the longer compositions, the profound "Eyes of Time" which channels the two RENAISSANCE's through a more energetic transformation full of lush organs and soaring leads. Modern groups in a similar vein, like IONA and KARNATAKA, would do well to pay attention to the many shades and textures in "Daybreak Child", "True Love" and "Land of Dreams", and to the production that so delicately plucks out each instrument from the mix to find its own level. There is no waste here, no overstimulation of the senses, just a peaceful music-induced euphoria.

The album reaches its peak with the closer "Natureza Mistica", sung in Portuguese and perhaps an indigenous Brazilian language, wherein the group makes a not so subtle point about its sense of place. I would like to hear more in this style from Arion.

Even if the album lags with two more aimless and yet predictable patterns in "Cosmic Touch" and "Everyway", ARION will have most of us fans of symphonic and folk in raptures. Highly recommended.

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I was informed by my PA collegue and friend Tarcisio Maura about this Brazilian band and he got me curious so I decided to check it out. I'm glad I did because if I wouldn't have I would have missed out on a masterpiece for that's what it appeared to be in my opinion. After a few listenings I wasn't too convinced yet because this is very complex music, at least the compostions are. Not that I have a problem with that, on the contrary: I love difficult compositions if only they are melodic as well. Well, this album proved to be a feast of melody so that's two big advantages.

First track Eyes of time is immediately a very good example of last statement. This track starts instrumentally for about 3 or 4 minutes and these minutes are a prelude for what can be expected for the rest of the album. Guitar, piano and keyboards and an orchestral feel most of the time are the ingredients of this highly enjoyable album. They are duelling all the time about who does best but most of all they fit very well together as a great band usually does. And there's of course the singing of Tania Braz to complete the picture. The lady does a very fine job all along doing various kind of singing like scat singing (Daybreak Child) and with last track Natureza Mistica she appears to sing in two different languages as well (English and Portuguese). Sometimes resembling Annie Haslam (2nd track) and sometimes like an opera singer or other (semi) classical-like examples.

Three last tracks have in common that they start ballad-like but get more energetic later on which tells me that this band is too temperamental to play a ballad all along. Of course that's just my personal interpretation about it but it struck me that this happened three times in a row.

But what struck me most in the end is that this album is without any weaknesses at least without weak songs. I couldn't detect one for sure. And that's why this is a masterpiece to me. From first till last minute sheer enjoyment, impeccable performing and what's most important for me and is usually the reason to give five stars: great compositions. Simply Brazilian prog at its best !

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Good female driven prog rockf from Brazil

This band is new to me, as most other bands outside the mainstream prog are. I am still an explorer in this jungle. ARION is fronted by a female vocalist with her own solo-career. Let's hope this is not a hindrance for the future of this band because this, their debut album is very tasty.

It is claimed that the main reference here is RENAISSANCE. Yes, there is some references to this band. But my main referance is the Welsh band MAGENTA. Some of the riffs are even almost rip-offs from their Revolution album. The vocals is very different though. ARION is fronted by a vocalist with a very dark voice, very unlike MAGENTA and RENAISSANCE. The use of tangents and guitars is very similar though. ARION can also be compared to YES, IQ and PENDRAGON. There are most definate a lot of Neo-Prog influences in ARION's music.

The result is a nice, good album with some positive highlights. The music is driven by Moog and Hammond organ, with some guitars added to the mix. Unfortunate, most of the stuff is not strong or even memorable. The band is very good with some outstanding musicians. They are let down by the lack of quality of their material. This being a debut album, the result is more than acceptable.

Recommended to everyone into RENAISSANCE and MAGENTA.

3.5 stars.

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by Atkingani
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars A fine band and a good album however I still do not understand why they sang in English. It's Ok when you aim to international audiences but shouldn't it be better to be the king (or queen) of your own street before trying to conquer the world? Some may remember that other Brazilian bands released albums in English. yes, but SAGRADO for instance released their fifth or sixth product in the language of Albion, not their first, their debut - their initial dish was for the folks at home! Others may argue that Portuguese isn't a language fitted for prog-rock and I'll say that's non-sense; MUTANTES, O TERÇO and BACAMARTE had proved in the past how adequate the language could be for the progressive world.

Not to sound too much pessimistic or purist I'd say that one or two tracks in a different language could be fair and interesting but singing 7 out of 8 songs in a foreign tongue looked a bit forcible. Tania Braz, the singer, has an awesome voice, very tuned, well-trained but singing in English and trying to reproduce the British accent transform the songs many times in a kind of pastiche between Anne Haslam and some of the new gothic singer women.

Nevertheless, ARION's sound is very attractive and catchy for the typical symphonic prog fan: you'll find a flurry of keyboards, a plethora of great guitar riffs, celestial choirs, nice bass lines and honest drumming action - here and there all this stuff is emblazoned by neo prog spices and folk flavors. All seven songs sung in English keep a certain resemblance amongst them bringing a good and energetic balance to the album; also a reasonable smell of a concept behind the curtains, which isn't the case.

Great songs are 'Eyes of time', the opener and specially 'Daybreak child', a mini-epic in which Braz's interpretation excels and the pleasure of hearing doesn't care about the language used; also, the band reach their peak here - flawless! 'Natureza mística', the only track sung in Portuguese, is a gorgeous and admirable song; we may hear a male singer here too. The way the song flows and the theme used are a clear reference to another great Brazilian band: SAGRADO CORAÇÃO DA TERRA.

Even with a little disappointment with the language chosen, it's obvious that ARION's debut album is a work worthy to be discovered and the band is worthy to be observed for future releases. Shall they come? I hope so.

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by WaywardSon
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is an album that requires a few listens to fully appreciate. Although the band are symphonic they have strong Neo leanings. What struck me first, was the high standard of musicianship in this band. (The guitarist and keyboardist in particular)

The bass guitar stands out in the mix which is very important for me. You can hear a lot of intricate basslines. The guitarist has that soaring emotional sound, similar to the best Neo guitarists (if not actually better!)

I wasn´t too sure about the English classical vocals in the beginning, but gradually they grew on me. Tania Braz has an amazing voice, but my only slight complaint is the emphasis on singing in the Queen´s English.

This debut album will not only be appreciated by Symphonic fans, but by Neo fans too. The more you listen, the better it gets. An excellent debut!

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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Arion is a new five piece band from Brazil, this is their debut-CD. In general the sound on the seven tasteful and melodic compositions shift flowing from dreamy to bombastic featuring warm female English vocals, lots of fiery electric guitar work and varied, subtle keyboard play. My two highlights are Eyes Of Time (dynamic with wonderful keyboard work on Minimoog and Grand piano and a bombastic eruption with a sensitive Rothery-like guitar solo) and Natureza Mistica (alternating and surprising, from the native vocals and propulsive percussion to a howling guitar solo and nature sounds). This is a promising and very pleasant sounding progrock band but (still) not on the level of other new bands like French Nemo, Argentine Nexus or Spanish Kotobel. And although I hear elements from Seventies inspired symphonic prog like Yes, ELP (the keyboard player wears an ELP t- shirt on the back cover) and Renaissance, in my opinion the balance is a bit more on music in the vein of neo-prog like early Marillion. Anyway, I am curious to more reviews about this wonderful music, they deserve more attention!


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 Arion by ARION album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 46 ratings

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Arion
Arion Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Clearly, to me this was the album of that year! A great symphonic prog band with strong classical, jazz and brazilian music influences and a very unique female singer. The CD has a good production and the band has 3 distinctive, gifted songwriters. Tight musicanship and creative arrangements. great guitar solos. I specially liked the use of vintage keyboards (Hammond Organ, Mini Moog) as well as the grand piano and other synthesizers. Fans of classic 70's bands (Renaissance, Yes, ELP, etc) will be delighted.

I had the opportunity to see this band live twice and I was amazed to hear them playing all the album songs with cirurgical precision. When they opened for Focus on the dutch group brazilian tour of 2002 I heard many people in the audience moaning (their displeasure to hear an unknown opening act). After the first song they got a standing ovation and when they left the stage 45 minutes later nobody seemed too anxious to hear the main act. It's a pity they haven't release anything new since then. I can only hope Arion get back together soon and bring us something as strong as their debut. I recommend it to anyone who likes fine symphonic prog music.

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