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Tracklist: 1. Hamurabi Code 4:20 2. Labyrinths of the Mind 5:15 3. Sdruwz 3:32 (inst.) 4. Spirit of the Forest 3:23 5. Magarca 3:27 (inst.) 6. Toadstool Tea 5:37 7. Soul's Flight 4:55 8. The Right to Death 4:40 9. Sacred Blaze 4:04 10. And I Wait 2:32 All music written & arranged by Cactus Peyotes. All lyrics by M. Fernandez. Line-up: Daniel Lamas - keyboards Christian Pierini - electric & acoustic guitars Ives Pierini - bass; flute Jorge Silveira - drums & percussion Marcus Fernandez - vocals Produced by Cactus Peyotes. Recorded & mixed by D. Lamas & Ricardo Lunas at R. Luna's "Studio", Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mastered by Sergio Nascimento at "Vision"studio, R-d-J.
Prologue. It's clear that "Cactus Peyotes" by the Brazilian band of the same name is their debut album. Or, if you will, this untitled (or self-titled, if you will) album by Cactus Peyotes is their debut on a Progressive Rock scene. Now, if you will, let's see what music is present on it.
The Album. Despite the fact that the music of Cactus Peyotes is in the vein of traditional Symphonic Progressive, it sounds very original and refreshing. Cactus Peyotes, in other words, are only inspired by the Classic Art-Rock of the 1970s (in a general sense). The first two tracks on the album, Hamurabi Code and Labyrinths of the Mind, are the Classic Art-Rock songs. Unlike all of the other tracks however, they look like being slightly straightforward, which, in fact, is an invalid inference. It's because these songs are rich in those progressive ingredients that are 'classically' essential. While the arrangements of almost all of the other compositions on the album are based on very unstable structures consisting of the continuous changes of tempo and mood, atonalities, unusual time signatures and contrasting interplay between all of the soloing instruments. The band advisedly and very successfully avoids any banal measures (like '4/4'). The songs Toadstool Tea, Soul's Flight, The Right to Death, and Sacred Blaze (tracks 6 to 9), and both of the instrumental pieces, Sdruwz and Magarca (tracks 3 & 5), are especially intricate and intriguing. While Marcus Fernandez's pronunciation of English is just merely OK, his vocals are very impressive. The vocal and instrumental parts are balanced well on all of the songs that are featured on the album. Of course, the instrumental arrangements remain always hard-edged and intensive regardless whether Marcus sings or not. The drumming is diverse and masterful throughout the album. As for the other instruments, the solos of synthesizers and other keyboards (including an organ and piano), and guitars (including a bass guitar) are so amazingly tasteful and virtuosi that, while listening to the album, I had the impression that I hear the performance of very experienced band. The solos of the said instruments are featured everywhere on the album, with the exception of its closing track And I Wait. This is a wonderful Classic Art-Rock ballad, the first part of which features Marcus's singing to the accompaniment of passages of acoustic guitar. The second part of this song contains only passages of the same acoustic guitar, all of which are here diverse and truly classical. Labyrinths of the Mind, Spirit of the Forest, and Soul's Flight (2, 4, & 7) are the other compositions, the arrangements of which feature the acoustic guitar passages as well. The heavy guitar riffs were actively used on Sdruwz, Toadstool Tea, Soul's Flight, The Right to Death, and Sacred Blaze (tracks 3, & 6 to 9). Spirit of the Forest (4) is the second and the last song that is out of the predominant stylistics of "Cactus Peyotes", though, musically, it differs from the album's closing track as well. This is simply a wonderful song. Instrumentally, it consists of very original Sitar- and Pan-flute-like solos of synthesizers, solos of real flute and bass guitar, and passages of acoustic guitar, as well as diverse interplay between all of these instruments. All of this is supported by the unique rhythms of drums and percussion, and has a distinct flavor of Indian music. There are just a few of the vocal parts on Spirit of the Forest, but all of them are original as well.
Summary. The debut Cactus Peyotes album is in many ways outstanding, so I can recommend it to all the lovers of Classic Symphonic Progressive. Also, I think that the most adventurous Neo-heads can take a serious step forward while comprehending this album. Well, for the last two months, I became familiar with the creation of a few Brazilian bands, among which Cactus Peyotes and Pocos & Nuvens are, in my view, especially impressive. (Read the review of the "Provinica Universo" album by Poco & Nuvens next week.)
VM. April 30, 2002
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