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Arcpelago biography
The band was founded by keyboardist Ronaldo RODRIGUES (MASSAHARA) . He is joined by Jorge CARVALHO on bass, Eduardo MARCOLINO on the guitar (ANXTRON) and drummer Rafael MELO. The name of the band in 2011 was AURAH. Rafael was replaced by Renato NAVEGA in 2014 and recently Eduardo was replaced by Diogo ALBANO. The band made his first live show in Rio de Janeiro in 2015. They began recording their first album "Simbiose" with a new band name. Their music is inspired by the 70's sound and crossing rock with Jazz, blues. The band enjoys stretching out their songs with long instrumental parts.

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4.00 | 17 ratings

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 Simbiose by ARCPELAGO album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 17 ratings

Arcpelago Crossover Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's been more than 4 years since my last music review! Seems like ages! But after I got ahold of the debut album of a Brazilian formation - Arcpelago, I just had to write something! But let's start from the beginning. Arcpelago is a new band of Ronaldo Rodrigues, a very talented keyboardist known to me before from his previous group - Massahara. Actually I reviewed Massahara's sole album a few years ago, so I expected something similar here. But I was wrong. Arcpelago is a completely different animal. While Massahara played heavy prog bordering on pure hard rock (a la Deep Purple or Uriah Heep), Arcpelago plays pure symphonic-prog stuff. However one thing remained the same: awesome, 70s atmosphere created by Rodrigues's array of analog keyboards: Hammond organ, Moog, mellotron and pianos (I'm not sure whether it's a truly analog equipment, but I could swear that it sounds like one).

1."Sopro Vital" (11:07) - albums begins with the best, mostly instrumental track. First Moog notes sound like something just out of Eloy's repertoire, but soon Ronaldo switches to his trusty Hammond and Jorge Carvalho delivers wonderful, pulsating bass lines. Then we can hear some fantastic organ/electric guitar passages. I'm not kidding you that I truly can't stop nodding my head while listening to it, especially the first 4 minutes are so vital. The Hammond sounds magnificently symphonic here and reminds me of Thij van Leer in his most baroque moments. After then the tempo slows down and the melody resembles Eloy's and Pink Floyd's classic stuff. There's also a short vocal part (sang by Ronaldo Rodrigues in Portuguese, so I can't understand it) followed by a ripping guitar solo in the vein of Frank Bornemann or David Gilmour. In general Eloy, Pink Floyd, Focus, and even Yes and ELP must have influenced these guys here.

2."Distancia entre um Dia e Outro" (7:51) - this composition is much different from the first one. It sounds rather grim, gloomy and heavy. A bit like King Crimson circa "Red" album. Eduardo Marcolino's guitar and Jorge Carvalho's bass are in the forefront here. Rodrigues mostly plays the electric piano in the background and lets his colleagues lead the way. Not a bad instrumental at all.

3."Ebulicao do Tempos" (5:27) - is a more up-tempo song and the only one that shows some pop-rock influences. It's quite full of singing and it's not 100% "progressive", but I think it was a wise decision to put it here, between the other epic monsters. The guitar solos played over synthesizers flights are classy too. I didn't like it too much at first, but after a few spins I started to value it more.

4."Cidade Solar" (6:47) - oh, that's an interesting track! Actually it makes a use of old Yarbird's song "Still I'm Sad". I don't mean the whole song or even the overall atmosphere, but the rhythm. However it's prevalent mostly in the beginning and then becomes more symphonic again. The organ solo is wonderful and reminds me of Manfred Wieczorke's work in Eloy (again). After that the acoustic piano takes over and the mood changes to dreamy. No vocals here, only pure music.

5."Universos Paralelos" (2:32) - oh, here I can even guess the English name. "Parallel Universes", right? Anyway, it's only a short (less than 3 minutes) miniature. Very pleasant actually. We can hear soft guitars passages, mellotron waves and even some flute (also a mellotron?). Nice.

6."Dentro de Si" (9:50) - the second long suite of the album starts tranquilly with delicate mellotron, melodic bass, acoustic guitar and humming organ. Before the 2nd minute also the vocal joins in. But for me this mini-epic truly commences when Ronaldo delivers another highly enjoyable solo on his Hammond. Then there is another short fragment with a vocal and everything ends with an extended organ and synth soloing that sounds truly majestic and can bring Tony Bank's style (from the 70s) to mind.

To sum up: "Simbiose" is a perfect debut for this young band. If you like symphonic prog, melodic space rock or just retro-prog in general, you'll sure find it very attractive. If you are afraid that it's in Portuguese, then don't be, because it really shouldn't bother you. Anyway, most of the compositions are instrumental.

I hope they will soon record another, even more refined prog-rock gem, and they won't vanish like Massahara. These guys really deserve more recognition at the worldwide music market.

The best songs: "Sopro Vital" & "Dentro de Si".

4.5 starts out of 5 from ozzy_tom

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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