Apocalypse - Refugio

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4460.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 64:16:00

The more I get to use the Internet, the more I see it as the big saviour for our beloved genre of music. As long as there was vinyl, a band could produce an album in small quantities for its own territory, but it was very rare that such an album would be sold outside that territory. Due to the size of a CD, plus the world-wide promotion and distribution by means of the Internet, every single self-produced CD can be purchased whenever and wherever you are. Since the Internet, a lot of South-American bands have really exploded onto the market. Helped by specialized labels, they were finally ready to make their mark when compared to the more international sound of English speaking bands. Take Mexican band Cast, who existed almost for twenty years before they released their first album, soon to be followed by lots of releases in a very short space of time. [Although technically/geographically Mexico is part of North America ? ed.]

In the wake of South-American progressive rock comes the Brazilian band Apocalypse who are a well-known in prog circles in their native Brasil. Featuring the brothers Fritsch (Ruy on guitar and Eloy on keyboards), the opening track on this new album has a bit of early Marillion in its sound. But from the second song, "Cachoeria Das Aguas Douradas," onwards, again the southern playful charm mingles with the pure symphonic texture. It's mainly the keyboards that deliver wonderful melodic parts. For my own taste, I find the guitar sound too metallic as opposed to the softer sound of the keyboards, which suits the music better. At times one would expect to hear some flute but everything you hear on this album has been composed and recorded by the four members of the band without including any guests. That way, of course, a similar sound can be executed when Apocalypse performs live. Luckily the instrumental part of the Apocalypse coin sounds OK, but the vocal department is once again one of the weaker points, resulting in a not too convincing album. I guess this will always remain one of the difficult points for these bands as long as they decide to sing in their native tongue. I guess that some of the pronunciations simply don't work with prog. On an instrumental level of course, it's nice to still detect the country's influences, but from a vocal point of view it mostly works against the bands. A way to mask this is to include instrumental tracks as well. Here Apocalypse does exactly that by delivering "Toccata," a fast and furious work which once again headlines Eloy Fritsch.

One of the weakest songs certainly has to be "Progjazz," which is more like a demo from a keyboard manufacturer than anything else. The drums here sound awful and uninspired, although it concerns "jazz," so the options should be countless. "Lembran?as Eternas" has such a false ring about it, it hurts. As always Eloy comes to the rescue with over the top synth solos, but the damage is too big to recover it completely. Because Eloy Fritsch has also released some solo albums in the past, I sometimes have my doubt whether at all he wants to be part of Apocalypse or whether he'd rather be completely on his own. When I listen to the superb "III Milenio" I think I know the answer!

This release is enhanced with two further live tracks as recorded in the US. Again Eloy illustrates his love for Rick Wakeman, especially during the Moog solos. The American audience loves it to bits, but then again few US bands deliver similar music. All in all this band has a lot of positive elements within it's music, but if I make the balance, I come to the conclusion that most of it is the work of one guy: Eloy Fritsch. The rest of the band certainly doesn't have his abilities and therefor the quality of Apocalypse as a band is far inferior than the solo capacities of Eloy. However, as long as they enjoy themselves and as long as there's an audience who likes them then who am I to judge this band?

Also released by Rock Symphony (RSLN 081)

Refugio (5:07) / Cachoeira Das Aguas Douradas (9:21) / Viagem No Tempo (4:29) / América Do Sul (8:24) / Toccata (2:07) / Amazonia (6:36) / Progjazz (3:) / Liberdade (3:22) / Lembran?as Eternas (5:50) / III Milenio (2:55) / Bonus tracks: Ultimo Horizonte (Live In USA) (4:49) / Terra Azul (Live In USA) (8:04)

Chico Casara - lead vocals, bass
Ruy Fritsch - guitar, string guitar, vocal
Chico Fasoli - drums, percussion, vocal
Eloy Fritsch - keyboards, vocal

Apocalypse (1991)
Perto Do Amanhecer (1995)
Aurora Dos Sonhos (1996)
Lendas Encantadas (1997) The Best Of Apocalypse (1998)
Live In USA (2000) Refugio (2003)
Magic (2004)
Live In Rio (2007)

Live In Rio (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin BR

Added: October 5th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.apocalypseband.com
Hits: 964
Language: english


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