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Tantra - Mistérios E Maravilhas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 75 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nº 301

Tantra was a Portuguese progressive rock band that recorded their debut studio album in 1977. Tantra was always a band led by their guitarist Manuel Cardoso. In the mid of the 70's, Cardoso lived in England and played in several local pubs with various local musicians. When he decided to return to Portugal, he was very influenced by the progressive rock music. He said that his main musical influences, in the beginning, were Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes and The Moody Blues, and as a guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. Then, Manuel Cardoso decided to join with the keyboardist Armando Gama, more focused on the pop and classical, and both decided to do a new musical experience in Portugal, the band Tantra. Later, two other musicians were joined to them, the drummer To Zé Almeida and the bassist Américo Luis. But, in 1978 Armando Gama decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career. To substitute him, the band decided to chose Pedro Luis. Pedro Luis participated on their second and third albums, 'Holocausto' of 1978 and 'Humanoid Flesh' of 1981.

So, Tantra was formed in 1977 by Manuel Cardoso also known as 'Frodo' (vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and synthesizer), Armando Gama (vocals, piano, harpsichord and keyboards), Américo Luis (bass guitar) and Tó Zé Almeida (drums, percussion and synthesizer).

'Mistérios E Maravilhas' is the debut studio album of Tantra and was released in 1977. It was prepared over a year and a half. The album has six tracks. The first track '' Beira Do Fim' written by Manuel Cardoso is a fantastic song to open the album and is, in my opinion, probably the song with more influences of Genesis. When the song was performed live Manuel Cardoso used a mask, bought in England, which reminded us Peter Gabriel. They also used fire effect works on their live show. I think that's why their live show was considered, in my opinion undeservedly, a copy of Genesis. This is also one of the two songs with lyrics. The second track 'Aventuras De Um Dragão Num Aquário' written by Manuel Cardoso is one of the two smallest songs on the album. It's an instrumental track only performed by the acoustic guitar of Manuel Cardoso. This song reminds me sometimes Steve Hackett and others Steve Howe. Sincerely, I think this is a very good song perfectly in the vein of those two great guitarists. The third track 'Mistérios E Maravilhas' is the track which gives its name to the album and was written by Américo Luís, Armando Gama, Manuel Cardoso and Tó Zé Almeida. It's an instrumental song with great individual performances by all band's members. In my opinion, this song is clearly influenced by the Yes sound, with great jazz influences and also with an Eastern touch. It's also a fantastic song. The fourth track 'Máquina Da Felicidade' written by Tó Zé Almeida is another fantastic instrumental song. This is, in my opinion, the most original, the best, and also the most progressive song on the album. It has also a very good drum solo by Tó Zé Almeida, so typical in the 70's, especially in the live shows of many groups. This drum solo reminds me the drum solo of Karl Palmer on the debut album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and for me, it's nothing inferior to it. The fifth track 'Variações Sobre Uma Galáxia' written by Armando Gama is the other smallest song on the album. It's an instrumental song only performed by Armando Gama on his piano. It's a piece of music clearly influenced by the classical music and is, in a certain way, in Rick Wakeman's style. The sixth and last track 'Partir Sempre' written by Armando Gama is a fantastic song to close the album and represents also his farewell to the band. It's the second song with lyrics and this time is sung by him. It's also a song strongly influenced by the sound of the guitar of Steve Howe. To complete my feelings about this album, I must say one more thing. I was lucky to be one of the many thousands of fans who were present at the first live performance of the group at the Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon, in December of 1977. I was only 19 years old but I still have images from that concert in my memory. The Coliseu was completely filled and about 300 people were unable to enter. It was a fantastic live concert at the same level of many other foreigner great bands at the time despite those bands have in general more technical and professional experience that they had.

Conclusion: Tantra, especially with 'Mistérios E Maravilhas', is a band musically strongly influenced by the music of Genesis and Yes, sonically with great effects and by the visual of the early Genesis' era, the Gabriel's era, and also with some Eastern musical influences. At that time Manuel Cardoso and Tó Zé Almeida practiced yoga. Sometimes, very jazzy rock instrumental passages determine the music, characterized by the keyboards, the powerful guitar work, the very dominant bass and the versatility of the drum work. 'Mistérios E Maravilhas' offers excellent symphonic prog rock from Portugal, which I highly recommend to anyone who can't get enough of the music of the classical phase of the genre. At the time, not much of the same high quality was produced. So, for me, 'Mistérios E Maravilhas' is a fantastic album that deserves to be considered as one of the greatest progressive rock albums of 1977 and be rated with 5 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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