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Caravela Escarlate: III

Brazilian symphonic prog band Caravela Escarlate welcome 2023 with their third studio album boldly titled III, a fusion symphonic trip, wonderful from start to finish, an ode to classic symphonic prog with a funky bossa twist. The band is comprised of Ronaldo Rodriguez on keyboards, David Paiva on bass, guitars, and vocals, and Elcio Cáfaro on drums. In the same vein of classic prog trios such as ELP, presenting lush compositions inspired in English and Italian 70’s classic prog, and adding those Brazilian music nuances, CE delivers a masterpiece of an album, with little need of guitars and an outstanding performance by all types of keyboards, a superb bass work, and phenomenal drumming, an output that will end without any doubt in the modern symphonic prog Olympus alongside Dwellers of The Deep (Wobbler), and the English Electric saga (Big Big Train), etc.

The nice up-tempo opener “Búsola do Tempo” (Time Compass) immediately presents to the listener the retro-oriented symphonic proposal, a song to dance to, promised! Who dances to prog? … well, prepare yourselves because youll find yourself shaking your hips after just a couple of listens, groovy and catchy as hell, and a musicianship to die for… Paiva’s vocals and bass playing are both outstanding, they provide the perfect surface for the multiple keyboard layers and sounds to round-up and enhance the music. In “Castelos do Céu” (Sky Castles), the trio takes that classic ELP sound and mixes it up with early Camel, adding some Floyd-like psychedelia, but somehow always keeping the bossa ingredient in it… so at the end it sounds like a psychedelic version of Chico Buarque, an interpretation I find fascinating.

“Sonhos Medievais” (Medieval Dreams) is one of my favorite songs in the album, a frenetic and jazzier track that elevates the tempo and adds some darkness, with lots of atmospheric keyboards and a Zeppelin-sounding rhythmic section that puts the listener on a bouncing mode once again. It has everything, even the cool instrumental section at the middle, melodic and beautiful, blending early Genesis with the most accessible VDGG, extraordinaire. The instrumental “Mandala” is the perfect refreshment to the previous symphonic intensity, less complex and moody, bass and keyboards blend so good together, and the Paiva-Rodriguez duo of previous works have found themselves the best drummer for their music, Elcio’s work is perfect, and the track builds the appropriate bridge for the next trio of songs. The epic song from the album, “Cruz da Ordem” (Cross of Order), kicks off with the most beautiful melody yet before going symphonic crazy… I hear some Jethro Tull in there, same JT approach Wobbler has at times… and then back again to that Floyd-inspired psychedelia with the fat locked bass and drums, the haunting vocals, and hypnotic keys, then symphonic crazy again, a great song. “Ciclos” (Cycles) is both the shortest song in the album, and my least favorite… it isn’t bad by any means, but it is surrounded my so many greatness that it just flies and stays under the radar… The album closes with a spacey symphonic instrumental, “Filtro do Sonhos” (Dreams Filter/Dreamcatcher), a track contains Rodriguez’s best keys, and that is the perfect portrayer of what this trio is about, a modern symphonic force capable of emulating the classic golden era of the genre without the need of copying or stealing from it but using their enormous source of resources to craft and present a freaking good record. Do not hesitate, a must own for lover of the genre.

Track Listing:
  1. Búsola do Tempo (5:13)
  2. Castelos Do Céo (7:16)
  3. Sonhos Medievais (7:57)
  4. Mandala (4:47)
  5. Cruz da Ordem (10:17)
  6. Ciclos (3:35)
  7. Filtro dos Sonhos (7:11)

Added: January 23rd 2023
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 792
Language: english

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