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Symphonic Prog • Spain

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Tarantula biography
-Tarantula was one of the many prog bands that emerged in the second half of the Seventies, speerheaded by known Spanish formations like Triana, Blogue and Granada. They started as a quintet, led by keyboard player Vicente Guillot.
-The melodic, very pleasant sound on their eponymous debut album from 1976 is not like the flamenco inspired groups as Triana, Cai or Mezquita but more close to the Seventies Italian Symphonic Prog (dramatic vocals by Rafael Cabrera evoking Banco and Le Orme along the lush vintage keyboards with wonderful drops of the unsurpassed Mellotron) and German symphonic prog like Jane and Ramses (harder-edged guitar and powerful organ runs).
In 1978 Tarantula released their second album entitled Tarantula II, the line-up has completely changed with Vicente Guillot as the only remaining original member. The music is also a different story: a harder-edged sound with a more direct approach, bringing early Uriah Heep to my mind.
-If you want to check out Tarantula, their first is recommended because it's in the symphonic prog tradition but with a more Italian prog touch. The strong points are the expressive vocals (with a theatrical undertone) and the varied vintage keyboards.

Why this artist must be listed in :
Tarantula is an overlooked Spanish band that delivers on their eponymous debut album wonderful symphonic prog with inspired, often expressive vocals and varied vintage keyboards (Moog, Hammond, Mellotron). To be discovered!

- Tarántula 1 (1976)
- Tarántula 2 (1978)

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TARANTULA discography

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3.79 | 25 ratings
Tarantula I
3.29 | 5 ratings
Tarantula 2

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by João Paulo

4 stars Tarantula is a Spanish band of seventies, with 2 albuns when de first album is better that second. A Psichedelic Space Rock vein, with some beautifull guitar parts and organ, similar to other bands of this time, with same sound. Very melodic, with some fast parts in Fusion vein, very balanced and very well played. We can listen a opera man voice with a beautifull context in first track, but it's only. When I listen first track they remeber me the French group Shylock but it's not the same. In this time, we can think that this sound is a lilte exaggerated and eccentric, but it's the music fashin in that time. It's a beautifull album and a good adiction of seventies soud collectors and not ashamed the Spanish Progressive Rock. 4 stars because have some beautifull music parts.
 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Andalusian band fromed in mid-70's (as most of the famous Spanish prog acts),but not really into the flamenco-based sound of the days.Hailing from Valencia,Tarantula were guided by the forces of keyboardist Vicente Guillot and singer Rafael Cabrera.Their eponymous debut is a bit of a rarity,it was originally released on Novola and the first CD release was issued by Korean label Si-Wan.Another re-issue was pressed by the German psych/prog label Walhalla more recently, in 2006.

Opening with ''Recuerdos'' the album heads for a masterpiece,a grandiose number of Classical/Symphonic Rock in the vein of MANDALABAND with fantastic tenor vocals by Cabrera,strong guitar work by Manolo Peydró and nice harsichord/organ passages by Guillot.Romantic vocal lines and heavy classical-influenced organ/piano passages in the vein of E.L.P./LE ORME is what you'll get with ''La araña y la mosca'',while on ''Singladura final'' the rock'n'roll-ing middle part with the hillarious vocals will spoil the dreamy mellotron work of Guillot.On the instrumental ''Un mundo anterior'' mellotron,piano and flute combine nicely with the great guitar work in a piece of symphonic beauty.The long ''Imperio muerto'' contains both melodic and virtuosic moog and mellotron passages,but the vocal parts under the rocking tunes are rather out of place.The complex guitar/organ driven ''La danza del diablo'' holds similarities with the Italian Prog scene,especially ALPHATAURUS and MUSEO ROSENBACH and ''Lydia'' will soften things up in acoustic crescendo mixed with energetic organ.''Paisajes pintorescos'' is a good closing symphonic number.Almost every gun in Guillot's armory is on fire and the track is filled with some of Guillot's best work in the album.Notice also the nice guitar work of Peydro on those complex breaks.

While not totally essential,''Tarantula'' is a good piece of classical influenced prog music with emphasis on the varied keyboard sounds which contains plenty of interesting material with a balnce between virtuosity and harmony and comes recommended for all fans of keyboard- driven Symphonic Rock.

 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Spanish symphonic prog in the Italian/Spanish tradition.

The album starts with a very pastorial theme and I can smell heaven. The vocals are brilliant. Then some pretty heavy guitars kicks me out of heaven again. Which is fair enough. Maybe I am not ready for heaven yet ? The album is a mix of pastorial symphonic themes and some more rock and pop orientated themes. It is pretty obvious that this is a Spanish band. I am not only referring to the vocals, but also to the guitars. But the dominating instrument is the keyboards. Both piano, hammond and moog. Those are excellent stuff. The same goes for the vocals.

Their style are pretty similar to the Italian symphonic prog band PFM and I guess fans of the Italian scene will embrace this band. I think all the songs on this album is excellent. The more pacey bits are exciting with different rhythm patterns and use of sounds (coming from the keyboards, I presume). It is also a very varied album where the different themes has their own identity. This makes this album a very memorable album and one who stands out from the crowd. I am a fan.

4 stars

 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars It’s a little odd that a band as talented and creative as Tarantula would come up with the bland titles of “I” and “II” for their two studio releases. The cover artwork on both albums is a bit sub-par as well. But once you get past these deceptive indicators there is a pretty darn good album here, and one that should be getting more attention among progheads than it does.

Tarantula were one of several Spanish progressive bands of the late seventies whose sounds were influenced by both the European masters of the early seventies (ELP, Yes, King Crimson), as well as by some of the more elaborated and emotive Italian symphonic bands (PFM, Le Orme). The resulting best of both worlds is an album that is both very creative and highly addictive to listen to.

Lead singer Rafael Cabrera reminds me a lot of the Italian prog rocker Fabio Casanova (Sad Minstrel) with his ability to jump from a folksy and intimate soft crooning passage to full-blown operatic peaks and even to gutsy heavy rock with little apparent effort. As an aside, if you like this album then Sad Minstrel will also likely appeal to your tastes.

You would think a band with a front-man like Cabrera would have enough of a shtick to get noticed. But these guys have more arrows in their quiver. Keyboardist Vicente Guillot shows great skill on a variety of keyboards including mini-Moog, piano, Hammond and even a mellotron. On top of the keys he provides the band with strings and flute courtesy of the mellotron which further reinforces the debt to Italian prog the band owes.

Guitarist MG Peydró and bassist José Pereira are no slouches either. Peydró seems to be the one who wants to rock out in the band, and at those times when he is able to he takes advantage with soaring arpeggios and complex chord changes that are impressive though usually short-lived. But he also has the ability to complement Pereira on bass during the more common instrumental and sometimes slower passages of the band’s music as well. And drummer Emilio Santonja manages to make both simple rhythms and the occasional odd meter work well (check out “Imperio Muerto”).

The opening “Recuerdos” sets the tone for the whole album where the band starts off sounding like another Spanish neo-folk band with a lively tempo, mellotron flute and a jaunty min-Moog riff, and Cabrera plays along with a mellow and quiet folksy vocal stanza. But right at the one minute mark (spoiler alert!) Cabrera blasts out this totally unexpected operatic chorus while bassist Pereira builds on top of the moog’s peak behind him. A real surprise, but more importantly the band serves notice that listeners should expect the unexpected for the next forty minutes or so.

And that’s pretty much how things go. “La Araña y la Mosca” bounces from an artsy Hammond and percussion intro to a soft piano middle piece with what sounds like Cabrera overdubbed on himself singing what sounds like rather pedestrian Spanish contemporary vocals. But just when you think this one will quietly work its way to a close, the band starts to build momentum toward a climax of keyboards, organ and guitar the belie the modest opening of the song.

And a different approach comes on “Singladura Final”, which both opens and closes on a mild note with quiet organ and mellow singing, but in the middle the band breaks into a short but intense rocking passage that highlights Peydró’s talent on electric guitar.

And so it goes. “Un Mundo Anterior” is the most mellow piece on the album, but even here the band demonstrates great talent in layering keyboards and mellotron flute sounds with an unusual sort of vibrato guitar riff that would appeal to fans of music like Camel or Harmonium. “Imperio Muerto” is all over the place musically and while it’s hard to follow, the trip is worth it. Lots of sounds here, ranging from symph to psych and several places in between. And while the short “La Danza del Diablo” doesn’t offer anything innovative per se, the Hammond arrangements are well-placed behind Cabrera’s playful vocals. And the band even proves their classical chops with the brief but inspired instrumental “Lydia”.

The album closes with the vibrant “Paisajes Pintorescos”, which combines virtually all of the band’s instruments and innovations into one track. This one includes adds harpsichord to the list of keyboards Guillot brings to the band, and Cabrera’s vocals bring the listener full circle to the beginning of the album. A very well-constructed and definitive closing to an impressive album.

Tarantula would fracture after this release, and their second and final album would show very little of the kind of innovation and talent of this one. I don’t know why these guys have been forgotten and largely ignored in progressive music circles, but they shouldn’t be. This is a very solid album that shows the great talents of every musician involved in making it. There are no weak or boring spots on the record, and I think just about every symphonic, Italian, folk, neo and eclectic progressive music fan will find this record very appealing. A solid four stars and highly recommended.


 Tarantula 2 by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.29 | 5 ratings

Tarantula 2
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by ChileProg

3 stars After listening to the first Tarantula a little costs to be able to accustom me to the second work of Tarantula, by the change of singer, now is a female vocal, that has a serious and cleared one's throat voice, like after one night of Whisky and cigarettes. Music more direct and is not so elaborated. But if it has his high parts, in where mellotron and the keyboards appear glory and majesty.

It is difficult not to compare the first work, but still their musicians conserve quality. In my opinion the best parts of the album are those instruments, in where it is let flow all the virtuosity of this Spanish band. In summary it is a good work, interesting, and better than other Spanish bands that I have listened.

 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by ChileProg

4 stars Long ago that I was looking for this disc, just the 2005 I could obtain a copy of the seal if they wan, surprised much to me the musical proposal of these Spaniards. He is not the typical Spanish who mixes rock with music Andalusian, like Triana, Alameda, Mezquita, Azahar. This group has a particular touch between symphonic rock and, frenetic parts of guitar and other parts with mattresses of keyboards very night watchmen.

The vocals leaves a good impression has much energy and passion, the compositions are not so complex, but if very elaborated, the letters in Spanish (my native language) are rocker without a doubt, speak of holocausto, of dark personages, dreams, nightmares and stories of fantasy. The nothing special, highest of the group is the music, that really transports to an abstract World. It is a group that there is to have, still more that now left a new edition, take advantage of this opportunity, will not regret to buy a jewel of the Spanish rock

 Tarantula I by TARANTULA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.79 | 25 ratings

Tarantula I
Tarantula Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tarantula is one of the many Spanish progrock bands that emerged in the second half of the Seventies, speerheaded by Triana, Blogue and Granada. They have released two albums, these are totally different: the first (1976) contains wonderful, vintage keyboard drenched symphonic prog but the second (1978, another line-up) delivers a harder-edged and more direct approach with hints from early Uriah Heep.

1. Recuerdos (6:00) : The atmosphere in the first and final part alternates between mellow with flute-Mellotron and soft Minimoog flights and bombastic with dramatic vocals and majestic violin-Mellotron eruptions, very moving! The mid-section features an accellaration with Hammond floods and fiery electric guitar, this sound brings German prog bands like Jane and Ramses on my mind.

2. La Araña Y La Mosca (4:20) : First a pleasant harmony of cheerful flute-Mellotron drops, fat Minimoog sounds, Emersonian Hammond waves and fiery electric guitar runs. Then the moods shift from dreamy with tender piano and melancholical vocals to slow with sensitive electric guitar work and a catchy rhythm with a lush vintage keyboard sound (Mellotron, Hammond and Moog).

3. Singladura Final (6:16) : This song starts and ends with a beautiful mellow atmosphere featuring twanging guitar, soft organ waves, a warm string sound and wonderful vocals. The break halfway contains pure rock and roll with heavy guitar and raw vocals, how surprising!

4. Un Mundo Anterior (5:49) : A slow rhythm contains flute - and violin-Mellotron, followed by a very sensitive electric guitar solo and tender piano runs, goose bumps! The tension between the Grand piano, flute- Mellotron and electric guitar is great and carries me away to Progheaven.

5. Imperio Muerto (9:38) : This long track opens with a psychedelic atmosphere due to a haunting organ and ominous fat Moog flights. Then lots of changing climates with sensational Minimoog runs, another rock an roll break and dramatic vocals, excellent!

6. La Danza Del Diablo (3:02) : A mid-tempo song with strong interplay between organ and electric guitar and a swirling Hammond organ solo.

7. Lydia (2:06) : A short piece that sounds Bach-inspired with warm classical guitar and powerful organ.

8. Paisajes Pintorescos (7:00) : This final composition is very alternating with the sound of a harpsichord, fiery electric guitar work and great, very expressive vocals. The final part delivers an up-tempo rhythm with wonderful vocals, lush organ and a harder-edged guitar solo, very dynamic and exciting!

This unknown and often overlooked gem deserves more attention, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition.

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