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Bacamarte - Mário Neto: Sete Cidades CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.51 | 75 ratings

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5 stars While Bacamarte's brilliant, but belatedly released debut album Depois Do Fim now appears to be getting its dues as a cult favourite, much less is said about the equally wonderful As Sete Cidades. It is something of a lost album that seems to have been recorded soon after Depois Do Fim, but released only two decades later. Confusion also reigns about the line-up, because lead singer Jane Duboc is definitely gone, and this album is largely portrayed as a Mario Neto multi-instrumental affair but I actually find that almost too hard to believe ... not even this genius of a guitarist could be so good, surely? If it is indeed true that Neto played guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and flute on this album, I prostrate myself at the his feet!

Two minutes into the jaw-dropping opener Portais ... you will be sold, I can promise you that. The piano runs, flutes and super-tight playing will blow you away. The PFM influences are particular strong here, but Neto's own identity as a unbelievable guitarist forges something spectacular.

The album then takes a drastic change in mood, with Ritual Da Fetilidade which is a two-minute long urgent percussive extravaganza, with all kinds of interchanging melodies that seem to come from just the percussion! Filhos Do Sol starts off in similar vein, with a vocal melody from Neto (it's definitely a man's voice, anyway), gradually asserting itself before being joined by joyous flutes. Espirito Da Terra is the third in this "nature-worship" trio of songs. But it shows a return to more "conventional" symphonic territory with another Neto vocal, not particularly strong, but definitely appropriate, much like early PFM vocals. It concludes with a mouth-watering guitar solo ... Gilmour, Howe, Hackett, Fripp, bring them on ... Mario Neto can stand comfortably alongside them.

The next track is another unbelievable one ... Mirante Das Estrelas, which I first heard as a bonus track on Depois Do Fim. Here it is an album centerpiece ... pure electricity and energy, with incredible work from Neto and sizzling synth solo closes things out. Carta is a delicate voice and acoustic guitar folk ballad from Neto, before the monster final track concludes the album.

Canto Da Esfinge is the song that makes me doubt that one man could have played all this. The energy of the rhythm section, the spacey synths, the audacious guitar fills, then the breakdown into pure classical delight, it's too much for me. This is sheer majesty, and when I am left breathless as it almost defiantly returns to the theme of Portais ... in fact it is more like large chunks of that whole song are played again except that the piano and flute are replacewd by first a string synth solo then a funky bass solo then a Gothic organ passage and finally (of course) a dazzling guitar solo all of which carry this lovely passage to untold heights.

I for one, am totally swept away by the brilliance of Bacamarte and Mario Neto. Each of the group's two albums is a masterpiece, and I am genuinely grateful for their wonderful music! ... 91% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |


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