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Artnat: The Mirror Effect

Artnat is a symphonic and eclectic prog band from Portugal, founded by guitarist and composer Manuel Cardoso to give continuity to his previous well known band Tantra, but with a more modern approach through different arrangements and musical twists. The rest of the six pack is comprised by Paulo Bretão on bass, Sara Freitas on vocals, João Samora on drums, Guilherme da Luz on synthesizers, and guest musician André Hencleeday on keyboards.

Far from mainstream prog music (if such thing even exists) Cardoso and Co. present a collection of complex compositions with notes ranging from symphonic prog to jazz rock, eclectic arrangements, and unique high-level vocal performance, quite a ride for the listener who will be challenged even after multiple listens. Artnat is the same as Tantra but spelled backwards, is that The Mirror Effect? Perhaps, what is clear from the start is that this output is more adventurous and experimental that any previous work by the duo Cardoso-Da Luz, an album with lots of dramatic and chaotic moments that are embellished by colorful and creative vocal melodies. A good portion of YES, another portion of ELP, a pinch of Crimson and some Kate Bush/District 97 topping to round up the recipe, and then you get Artnat. The album is evidently guitar and synths driven, with a lot of improvisation and diverse soloing techniques by those instruments throughout the whole album. It has a few unexpected mood swings on top of a mysterious musical atmosphere that even makes you kind of dream and immerse yourself in meditation while listening, with a very good production and incisive and intricate instrumentation. “Eternal Dance of Love” and “Return to Om” are some of my favored moments of the album, where the band shows their skills and their unpredictable change of direction within a song, all well portraited and executed. A lot is happening here, so it deserves attention, focus and patience, but those are standard requirements when listening to this type of prog music that is both eclectic and experimental, as shown on some of the instrumental tracks such as “From Chaos to Beauty”, “Cosmic Machinery”, and “The Dramatic Beauty of Life”.

The amazing album cover artwork must be mentioned too, its prog as it can be and very inviting and somehow resembles the Relayer-Tales from The Topographic Ocean era of YES… as does some of the music passages inside the sleeve.

A very difficult album to review and rate, with music that needs an acquired taste to be fully comprehended and embraced… but if you are someone who likes his prog quirky and different, then this is a new band/album to discover and indulge yourself with.

Track Listing:

  1. Riding the Edge of Darkness (5:15)
  2. Eternal Dance of Love (5:54)
  3. Return to OM (14:01)
  4. From Chaos to Beauty (3:50)
  5. A View from Above (4:53)
  6. Cosmic Machinery (3:57)
  7. The Mirror Effect (4:56)
  8. Celebration (3:17)
  9. The Dramatic Beauty of Life (6:19)
  10. The Complex Art of Creation (6:42)
  11. Finale (1:25)

Added: August 19th 2022
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 183
Language: english

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