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TRACK LIST: 1. Refugio 5:07 2. Cachoeira das Aguas Douradas 9:21 3. Viagem no Tempo 4:29 4. America do Sul 8:24 5. Toccata 2:07 6. Amazonia 6:36 7. Prog-Jazz 3:00 8. Liberdade 3:22 9. Lembrancas Eternas 5:50 10. III Millenio 2:55 Live bonus tracks: 11. Ultimo Horizonte 4:49 12. Terra Azul 8:04 All tracks: by Apocalypse. Eloy Fritsch - keyboards; backing vocals Ruy Fritsch - guitars; backing vocals Chico Fasoli - drums; backing vocals Chico Casara - basses; lead vocals Produced by Apocalypse. Engineered by E. Fritsch at "Apocalypse Studio".
Prolusion. "Refugio" is the seventh official release by the Brazilian band Apocalypse. However, I think I should note that the band's fourth CD represents the re-recorded version of their eponymous debut (released in 1990) with an addition of a few new songs. The overall view on the most part of the band's creation is located >here.
Synopsis. As you can see above, "Refugio" consists of ten tracks, while the last two songs on the album were recorded during one of the band's live performances. To be honest, I am not able to determine whether these are new songs or not. Nevertheless, I think I should examine them in the context of the CD as a whole. As usual, the vocals are in Portuguese, but while I was always finding this language not that compatible with progressive music, Chico Casara's truly artistic singing has shaken my opinion about that, at least. As for backing vocals, they are heard by no means often on the album, and I think I'll get back to them when describing the tracks that they're present on. Although vocals are certainly the most original constituent of the music here, there are much more of the band's own original ideas than those influenced by Marillion on "Refugio", which became especially evident for me after I compared this output with all of the other Apocalypse albums I've heard until now. In fact, melodically pronounced solos of synthesizer are the only thing here that reminds me of Marillion in general and Mark Kelly's style of playing keyboards in particular, whereas the parts of piano and, especially, organ are always original. Many of the instrumental arrangements on the album are done in the vein of Classic Symphonic Progressive with the fast and highly virtuosi solos of organ at the helm, and overall, they're more complex than most of the works of Marillion. The music on eight out of the ten tracks that feature vocals (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, & 12) represents either a strong, really impressive Neo Progressive with elements of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock or an excellent blend of these two forms of the same genre. Prog-Jazz (7) is in reality a triple union of Symphonic Art-Rock, Rhythm & Blues, and Jazz-Fusion, and Liberty (8) is the only 'purely' Neo song here with anthem-like arrangements throughout it, and not theatrically dramatic ones as on the other tracks. Both of the instrumentals on the album: Toccata and III Millenio (5 & 10) are about a pure, just brilliant, Classic Symphonic Progressive and, as well as the song: Amazonia (6), contain wonderful, unique vocalize chorals performed by all of the band members.
Conclusion. On "Refugio", the band took quite a decisive step towards the complication of their music. The album is marked with a lot of positive changes and, in my view, should please most, if not all, of the lovers of Symphonic Progressive in general. I want to believe that the transformation of Apocalypse into a classic progressive band will be successfully continued.
VM: September 4, 2003
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