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Petrus Castrus - Mestre CD (album) cover

MESTRE

Petrus Castrus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.24 | 28 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars A year ago I had to write the biography of PETRUS CASTRUS, having only listened their albums a pair of times, but a few days ago I had the chance to buy "Mestre" for a couple of bucks, being that nobody knows them in my country and the store owner was desperate to get rid of the album.

Before the guy noticed the treasure he had, I grabbed the album and for the last two days I have been almost hypnotized by the wonderful music and specially because the excellent lyrics based in the poems by Bocage, Alexandre O'Neill, Ary Dos Santos, Fernando Pessoa and Sophia de Mello Breyner Anderson, adapted to this album as a reaction of the dictatorship that Portugal was suffering for decades.

It's true that "Mestre" is not as Symphonic as PETRUS CASTRUS second album "Ascenção e Queda", but the eclectic approach and naïve sound is simply delightful, being that they almost cross all the spectrum of sub-genres existing in the early 70's, but without the touch of arrogance that we are used in most talented and versatile Prog musicians of those days, as if the band members were not conscious of their real value.

The album is opened by "Mestre" with a simple but effective piano intro followed by very nice vocals in the beautiful Portuguese album, a Psyche Hammond backup makes us return to the wonderful 60's, something that can be explained in the fact that Portugal was many years behind Europe in musical terms because the illegal Government was unfriendly with Rock. Melancholic and gentle flows from start to end as if this guys were expert musicians and not newbies releasing their debut album.

"Patria Amada" is a radical change, still rooted in the late 60's but this time incredibly eclectic, because the Keith Emerson style of José Castro blends with the music reminiscent of the late BEATLES, two incompatible styles that blend perfectly in one track. "Porque" starts with a beautiful vocals - piano duet that soon is followed by a soft drumming, the gentle music collisions with the aggressive political oriented lyrics which are only interrupted by piano explosions, this time in the vein of Rick Wakeman, very nice track.

"País Relativo" is another Psyche song with an excellent acoustic guitar work, nothing complex or extremely elaborate, but the beauty of the song relies precisely in the simplicity. At this point I can't help finding many similarities between PETRUS CASTRUS and the Peruvian band TRAFFIC SOUND, something not so strange being that both countries had a similar realty on those days.

"Macaco" is a short interlude that sends us back to te 20's with an impeccable Foxtrot performance and works as a preparation for "S.A.R.L." a magnificent song in a perfect Santana style, the Latin percussion blends perfectly with the aggressive guitar and vocals with a completely Psychedelic Hammond, not precisely original but still very good track.

"Pasargada" starts soft and gentle with a very nice piano used to enhance the vocal work, but this time the lyrics are completely aggressive against the Government, something that makes me wonder why they were banned only for three months, being that not many Dictators use to forgive those who are so clearly against the "status quo". As the song advances the piano gets more and more strong, making of this song a real gem.

"Velho Avarento" is a classic Rock & Roll song that seems taken from another album, simple but effective.

"Tiuahuanaco" is the name of the next track, something strange because it's the name of a Peruvian Pre-Inca culture, but at the same time could explain the similarities I mentioned before with a Peruvian band, being that probably they had their eyes and their ears placed in this part of South America.

"Historia do Azul do Mar" is an incredible song with the keyboards sounding as a clavichord, creating a Renaissance atmosphere with very beautiful vocals tha flows gently until the organ retakes the Psychedelic atmosphere, the transition between the first classical oriented section and the aggressive finale is perfectly done, in such way that the listener takes the radical change as something natural.

The album is closed buy the 43 second track "So Mais Nada" that works as a short acoustic guitar and vocals epilog that completes the concept of the album with a touch of nostalgia and suffering.

"Mestre" is a hard to rate album, because it's not particularly complex or transcendental in the sense we are used to, but the naïve beauty of the music and the intelligent lyrics are enough for me, so four solid stars for a very good album with a distinctive and unique sound.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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