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Bacamarte - Depois do Fim CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 901 ratings

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5 stars O Terco, Os Mutantes, A Barca Do Sol, Som Imaginario and Som Nosso De Cada Dia have each given me a glimpse of the diversity and excitement of Brazil's classic prog scene, but no one act has thrilled me as consistently as Bacamarte. Both the group's albums ... the relatively well known Depois Do Fim and the harder to trace follow-up As Sete Cidades are essential recordings. Bacamarte's sound is very much rooted in the late 70s and I believe the two albums were both recorded in the late 70s (even if they were released in 1983 and 1999 respectively). If anything, you will be reminded of Locanda Delle Fate and indeed it is the marvellous Italian symphonic scene that clearly influences Bacamarte the most. Led by the extraordinary guitarist Mario Neto, Bacamarte make music that is both daring and yet instantly embracable.

The opening track UFO is a memorable one with superbly flowing acoustic guitar and flute and a scintillating synthesizer entry from Sergio Villarim leading into choral vocals. However the main man of this group is clearly guitarist Neto whose masterful use of the instrument really does give the likes of Howe and Fripp a run for their money. After dancing around the fringes, he takes centre stage 4 minutes into UFO with a classical solo of dexterity and exquisite delicacy ... he hardly lets go, but knows very well when to back off and let his comrades run the show.

Thankfully the intensity never lets up. Smog Alado is a potent mix of funk and Tull-like lead flute playing from Márcus Moura, before the group rocks out in spectacular fashion and Jane Duboc's strong vocals make their entry with a menacing synth theme making a late grab for prominence. Miragem sees Neto unleash a series of rapid-fire shots and only slowing down the pace once he has you in the palm of his hand, as a slow organ/flute theme then takes over halfway through the song. Passaro De Luz is more of a folkie's track although here again Neto's guitar work in backing Duboc's whimsical performance is first-class.

The full blown-rock energy returns with the brief symphonic fanfare instrumental Cano ... one of the best two minute prog tracks you'll ever hear, with a special mention for the work of bassist Delto Simas and drummer Marco Verissimo as well. As for the 9 minute epic Ultimo Entardecer, it starts off with a major guitar hero moment for Neto, and after Duboc's vocals makes a few brief appearances, a keyboard/guitar exchange that reminds me at various times of Yes, Genesis and PFM ensues ... there is a brief ferentic exhange in which the rhythm section darts in and out before the epic theme that opened the song returns ... only this time the urge to weep is stronger.

Controversia is similar to Cano, if a little more synth-dominated, in that it is another unbeliavable two minute prog instrumental with an extremely high level of playing. The closing title track is everything one could ask for ... it has an atmospheric lead in with massive stately synths and slow-building organ before Duboc reminds us of her presence once again (as good as her vocals are, they almost seem intrusive or uncharacteristic of the band, a feeling which becomes stronger when one hears As Sete Cidades on which she does not participate). Her vocal turn here will undoubtedly ring bells in the heads of Annie Haslam fans, that is before Neto does another mind blowing solo (and I must emphasise that this is something that would blows many a prog guitarist out of the water) and finally there's an outro which is embellished upon by a Moura flute solo in a world class moment that will get you if you're the sort you swoons at Locanda Delle Fate!

There's a little bit of confusion concerning Mirante Des Estrelas which is actually on my version of the album as a bonus track ... and was present as a centrepiece on As Sete Cidades when I discovered that album ... so I think it belongs there (but I'm not entirely sure)! What I can attest to is that it is a brilliant instrumental prog track, full of electrifying jazz-rock guitar, emotionally-drenched segues, and a mid-section solo from Neto that ranks among his greatest, and one mean synth solo to boot!

I'm not sure if I've been effusive enough about Bacamarte in general and Mario Neto in particular. The man is a genius, the band is outstanding, this album is a masterpiece. Is that clear enough? ... 91% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |


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