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Tracklist: 1. OM 8:47 2. Holocausto 10:53 3. Zephyrus 2:50 4. Talisma 8:44 5. Ara 4:54 6. Ï 7:29 All tracks: by Tantra. Line-up: Manuel Cardoso - electric, semi- & acoustic guitars; lead vocals (+ sitar on 3) Pedro Luis - keyboards & piano (+ mellotron on 2 & 4) To-Ze Almeida - drums & percussion, marimbas (+ clarinet on track 2) Americo Luis - bass guitar Tony Moura - electric guitar; vocals With: Pedro Mestre - keyboards (on 6); backing vocals (on 2) Produced by Nuno Rodrigues & Tantra. Recorded & mixed by Manuel Cunha & Moreno Pinta at "AT" studio, Lisbon.
Prologue. My 'progressive' knowledge is rather limited with regard to the new, relatively new, and obscure bands of the genre (which is logical, though). I was not acquainted with the creation of Tantra until now, though I know that "Holocausto" is the second album by the band, while in all, there are three albums in their discography.
The Album. On the whole, Tantra's "Holocausto" is the album of a unified stylistics, the genre definition of which would be a true, complex and intriguing, diverse and original, Classic Symphonic Art-Rock. Zephyrus, the only instrumental piece on the album, is slightly different than all of the other tracks. There are vocalizes instead of vocals on it, and of course, it is impossible to squeeze the large-scaled instrumental arrangements into the framework of three minutes. However, this is a very good piece, consisting of the wonderful sounds of Sitar and dark interplay between solos of bass guitar and passages of synthesizer. All five of the remaining tracks are songs, though the purely instrumental arrangements are predominant on each of them. Although Manuel Cardoso sings in Portuguese, all of his vocal parts were sung so amazingly that this album would have been less impressive without them. The intensive and diverse instrumental arrangements flow nonstop throughout the album regardless whether Manuel sings or not. While on OM, Ara, and Ï (tracks 1, 5, & 6), the vocal and purely instrumental parts interchange each other, Holocausto & Talisma (tracks 2 & 4) were constructed differently. All of the vocal parts of Holocausto are featured only in the first half of it, while the other half entirely consists of the mind-blowing instrumental arrangements. On Talisma, a long, incredibly diverse and intricate instrumental part is located in the middle of the song. Also, it must be said that the solos of bass guitar play the same important role in the arrangements on this album as the parts of 'traditional' soloing instruments, namely guitars (including an acoustic guitar) and keyboards (including a piano and organ). The musicianship of each of the band members, including a drummer, is outstanding, as well as their joint performance. "Holocausto" has a very original stylistics (within the framework of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock). However, such general details as the quality of music, intensity of arrangements, etc can always be used for comparisons. So to have more or less a clear idea of the music of "Holocausto" in a general, 'progressive', sense, recall the contents of such well-known albums as "Trespass" by Genesis, "The Yes Album" by Yes, "Le Cimeterie des Arlequins" by Ange, etc.
Summary. Tantra's "Holocausto" is just another excellent example of vitality of a distinctively original and truly classic Symphonic Art-Rock. At that time, the universally recognized Titans of this genre, most of which were Britain and America's bands, had really exhausted their best ideas. However, a lot of new bands, most of which came out from the non-English-language countries of West and East Europe (including USSR), South America, and also from Japan, were still producing the Classic Art-Rock masterpieces despite the almost complete absence of interest to them. As well as all of the truly inspired masterworks of the genre, "Holocausto" didn't lose any of its progressive merits with time and comes highly recommended to all of the connoisseurs of Classic Symphonic Progressive.
VM. April 15, 2002
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