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Tantra - Mistérios E Maravilhas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 75 ratings

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Luis de Sousa
3 stars Tantra was one of the few bands/artists (and I really mean few, maybe less than five) that where able to produce progressive music in Portugal in the 1970s. If up to 1974 music in general was highly constrained by the Fascist regime, after that progressive/avant-garde efforts were taken as revivalist expressions of right wing elitism and voted to ostracism. I can't tell you the impact this LP had in the music scene at the time (too young for that) but the name Tantra survived as a reference, even during the long 20 year period of inactivity between their third and fourth alba. If not very popular, Tantra were highly regarded for achieving an uncommonly high degree of musicianship for a rock band in Portugal.

This début album perfectly portraits the band's influences from the early 1970s symphonic rock, especially Genesis, but at the same time lending itself to a certain experimentalism, that well, do not always turns out right.

Á Beira do Fim

This a great track, typical of the transition period from the classical British symphonic rock to the Neo-Prog of the 1980s. Heavy influenced by Genesis with brilliant moments of lyricism and risky vocals creating great dramatism. The execution is impeccable and the melodic structure maintains good congruence throughout the track, despite deep changes in tempo and volume. I find this particular track relatively close to what Babylon was doing at the time; it easily leaves your mouth watering for what may be ahead.

Aventuras de um Dragão

A small intermission with an acoustic guitar including some interesting moments.

Mistérios e Maravilhas

An instrumental Fusion piece lacking a definitive direction and including some sloppy bass playing that doesn't fit very well in the overall album style. An awkward end to the A side.

Máquina da Felicidade

Starts with a collage of small instrumental pieces that don't really have much in common. After an uninteresting drum solo at midway, the songs seems to start taking shape with better defined melodies, but doesn't manage to live to the promise. This track is a sort of anti-climax with the brilliant opening of the LP now feeling very distant.

Variações sobre uma Galáxia

Soft piano melody matched by nice synthesized effects. It sounds like an intro to some epic piece, but it all ends in less than a minute and a half. The best about this track is really its title.

Partir Sempre

Finally another track with vocals, that undoubtedly brings the direction lacking in the four instrumental tracks. Good interplay between the leading instruments: guitar and synths, again recovering the musical style introduced in the first track. But this track doesn't match either the promises made at the opening. A not so bad close to a bewildering record.

The Verdict

This record certainly isn't a masterpiece due to its great unevenness, but it is very hard to rate nonetheless. There is a great a track, some fine moments, but the listener spends long minutes trying to make sense of musical phrases that are neither capable of building up into a congruent symphonic piece or to be agreeable as fusion excursions. I feel mostly lost in tracks like Mistérios e Maravilhas and Máquina da Felicidade.

All in all a non-essential LP if you don't have a special interest on Portuguese Rock.

Luis de Sousa | 3/5 |


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