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TRACK LIST: 1. As Pioers Coisas 4:41 2. Omega 4:08 3. Inspiracao 2:40 4. Monges Combatentes 3:46 5. Aurora 5:46 6. Continuous Rebirth 6:39 7. Iberia 2:02 8. Pan 5:49 9. Marco 16:22 10. Calarei-me 4:44 All music: by Marques, except 5 & 9: by Bertolossi & 15: by Elizardo. All lyrics: by Bertolossi & Marques, except 4: by Quilodran. LINE-UP: Pablo Marques - electric & acoustic guitars; 2nd vocals Robson Bertolossi - lead vocals Paulo Elizardo - keyboards; 3rd vocals Julian Quilodran - electric & acoustic basses Marcio Baltar - drums & percussion Produced by Octohpera. Engineered by Quilodran at Garden & Meier studios.
Preamble. I can't say anything but banality here. I have never heard of this Brazilian band before.I can't say anything but banality here. I have never heard of this Brazilian band before. I only know that the title of this album, "Bon Amigos", is consonant with (Gentle Giant's) "Three Friends".
The Album. Having once separated the conceptions of a real clone and imitation (let alone wannabe-ism), I wrote a few reviews on this matter already at the beginning of my progressory activity. The most significant (IMHO) of these reviews are located > here and > here. The only great clone album that I've heard up till now was Xitizen Cain's "Somewhere But Yesterday". While now, the number of such terrifically rare albums has grown; though unlike that on the aforementioned album, the music of Octohpera does not concern Genesis. I will probably repeat myself in the next sentence, but its meaning won't be less topical because of that. While listening to "Bon Amigos", I had the impression that I am hearing another brilliant album by Gentle Giant, which was 'accidentally lost' somewhere between 1972 and 1975. Indeed, most of the contents of "Bon Amigos" are stylistically not unlike those of the best Gentle Giant albums released in the first half of the 1970s and down to nuances, which is especially evident in the parts of vocals. To be precise, most of the contents of this album are equal to all of the songs on it. Here are the songs presenting a vintage, complex, and quite heavy Symphonic Art-Rock much in the vein of classic Gentle Giant, to say the least: As Pioers Coisas, Omega, Monges Combatentes, Aurora, Continuous Rebirth, Pan, and Marco (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, & 9). The album's closing track: Calarei-me features only the piano passages and vocals, and even though Paulo Elizardo's singing here is quite original, overall, this song 'fits' well any of Gentle Giant's albums, though "In a Glass House" would probably be the best place for it. One of the two instrumentals on the album: Inspiracao (3) consists exclusively of the constantly developing passages of acoustic guitar. This is an amazing composition, though the inclusion of such acoustic pieces in an album was quite a typical occurrence in the 1970s (and "Bon Amigos" sounds like being a genuine product of the heyday of Progressive). The remaining instrumental: Iberia (7) is the only track here, the sound of which does not resemble that of Gentle Giant at all. Consisting of diverse and highly virtuosi interplay between solos of acoustic guitar and bass and those of hand percussion instruments, this piece is filled exceptionally with colors of medieval and Eastern music. Apart from instrumental compositions, the solos and passages of acoustic guitar are present and play quite a significant role also on all of the long songs on the album: Aurora, Continuous Rebirth, Pan, and Marco (5, 6, 8, & 9).
Summary. Here, I think I should mention that one of the songs on "Bon Amigos" (this is Continuous Rebirth, of course) features lyrics in English, and not in Portuguese. It seems that this way, Octohpera wanted to show that they are able to fill a niche left by Gentle Giant many years ago, at least. And I believe that they've done it already - to the joy of many thousands of the fans of Gentle Giant in particular and all the lovers of a truly classic Symphonic Progressive in general. The ambitions and scopes of Octohpera are much more serious than those of Spock's Beard (just for instance). Highly recommended!
VM: April 22, 2003
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