September 23, 2011

Friday Review: Depois Do Fim

To paraphrase Frank Zappa, prog in the late 1970s and early 1980s wasn’t dead, it just smelled funny. In fact, lots of bands, inspired by the pioneers who broke out in the early 1970s, got together and made an album or two during that time. Given the generally hostile reception they got, those bands didn’t tend to last very long. Those albums slipped away into the history books.

One of the cool things about the combination of the growth of the Internet and fairly cheap CD production technology in the 1990s was that lots of these lost gems found their way to the light again. How else would a single album released by a Brazlian band (with lyrics in Portugese, natch’) find its way to the ears of someone in West Virginia?

Which is a fine thing, because Depois Do Fim is a real gem. To be sure, it is a creature of its time. Sonically, it sounds a little dated and a little muddy. Bands at the time didn’t have access to top quality home equipment we do these days. That being said, it sounds good, but in a low budget kind of way. Musically, it’s purely second-generation symphonic prog, influenced greatly by the likes of early Genesis and the Italian scene. There is nothing at all ground breaking about the music on Depois Do Fim.

It is gorgeous, however. The tracks alternate between instrumentals and vocal tracks. The instrumentals have a great sense of melody and flow, allowing the players to stretch a bit without going all wanky. Vocalist Jane Duboc stars on the vocal tracks, obviously, with a beautiful, powerful, and expressive voice. I have no idea what she’s saying, but who cares.

This album came to my attention because it’s rated as one of the top symphonic prog albums of all time by users over at Prog Archives. Is it, really? It’s hard to say. Any piece of second-wave music has to take a step back to the ground breakers that came before it, regardless of how exceptionally executed it is. That doesn’t have any impact on whether it’s a wonderful listening experience in its own right. It is. And I’m grateful it made its way north for me to hear.

Depois Do Fim, by Bacamarte
Released 1983

1. UFO (6:26)
2. Smog Alado (4:11)
3. Miragem (4:54)
4. Pássaro De Luz (2:28)
5. Caño (1:59)
6. Último Entardecer (9:29)
7. Controvérsia (1:57)
8. Depois Do Fim (6:31)
9. Mirante Das Estrelas (6:11)

Jane Duboc (vocals)
Marcus Moura (flute, accordion)
Mario Neto (guitars)
Mr. Paul (percussion)
Delto Simas (basses)
Marco Veríssimo (drums)
Sergio Villarim (keyboards)

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