[Review] Artnat – The Mirror Effect

Artnat is the new project by Manuel Cardoso, formed to give continuity to the Progressive sounds of his previous band Tantra. Of the Tantra‘s lineup only Cardoso and Guilherme da Luz remained, bringing the sounds to a more modern context and with female lead vocals. Titled “The Mirror Effect” it was originally released in 2021, while in July 2022 it was reissued by the Wormholedeath label. The opener, “Riding the edge of Darkness” immediately plunges us into the Progressive sounds of the album, with fine and intricate interweaving of guitar and synth. The rhythmic session is solid and elaborate, enriched by continuous tempo changes and supporting bass lines. The vocal is dynamic and expressive, with some choruses with modulations and effects that make the singing darker. The second part of the piece develops with solo inserts and sung stanzas that alternate, with technical and elaborate passages. Guitar arpeggios and a keyboard background intertwine in the intro to “Eternal Dance Of Love,” which develops with a Sinfonic Prog sound. Softer than the previous one, it enhances the very intense female vocal, and the good keyboard and guitar textures that offer a good lead insert in the central part. In the final part the keyboards are at the center of the scene with refined melodies and solo parts with virtuosic traits. “Return to OM” is an epic suite of 14 minutes that opens with the keyboards and the guitar, on which the good female vocal is inserted, with the rhythmic session full of tempo changes. The imprinting is markedly Prog, and as in the best tradition, this long track also has all the characteristics that lovers of the genre expect. Long instrumental plots that alternate with intense sung parts, with more symphonic sections and other more technical and intricate ones, with much sought after duets between guitar and keyboards. A blend of more electronic keyboard sounds and Heavy overtones characterize “From Chaos to Beauty,” with the guitar featured in the first part. The rhythm session is tighter than the previous ones, with continuous accelerations and changes on which the keyboards and the guitar draw the solo parts. The guitar and the piano open “A view from above” to which are added pompous synth inserts. The drumming is solid and the bass lines are deep and load-bearing, while the vocal offers an engaging choral singing. The continuous tempo changes enhance the technique of the band’s musicians, with refined and elaborated passages from the Prog imprinting with original personal traits. “Cosmic Machinery” is an entirely instrumental track with Prog sounds with Fusion contamination, focused on the valuable duets between guitar and synth. It recalls the sounds of the bands of the mid-70s with a Jazzy imprint such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, re-proposed in a fresh and modern personal key. The elaborate composition and technical execution with virtuosity and more complex passages is striking in this track. The title-track “The Mirror Effect” is developed on more symphonic plots of guitar and keyboards that allow you to develop Sara’s intense vocal. In the central part the percussions are added to the drumming, and then in the central part offer an instrumental section with spatial synths and well-coordinated tempo changes. The vocal returns for the last verses and with the alternation between vocals and instrumental parts the track ends, giving us good sensations, a good choice as a title track. “Celebration” is the shortest of the album, with percussion and a tribal rhythm in the introductory part, before returning to the typical sounds of the band. Elaborate plots, the rhythmic session in continuous evolution and the valuable and warm female vocal with the excellent alternation of vocals and instrumentals with the synth and the guitar in evidence. The sound of rain with the cry of animal alcubni and the laughter of a child open “The dramatic beauty of Life,” which after the introductory part develops with a sound halfway between Prog and Jazz. The synth is at the center of the melodies, while the structure is intricate and the band returns to the sounds with a Fusion touch. The voice is used with arminizations that make it an additional instrument, enhancing Sara’s singing skills. An ocomplex and elaborate passages of the disc, where all the artists show a good malgamation and the solo inserts are of fine workmanship. Continuing on the more Jazzy sounds “The complex Art of Creation” is another song with intense instrumental parts that mix various genres and styles. Prog is the basis, the band thanks to its technique manages to blend symphonic passages, experimentation and more Jazz parts through the construction of intricate plots. Here, too, the voice fits very well into the musical context, a track that brings the 70s into a modern context. The album ends with the shortest track entitled “Finale” with pompous orchestrations and the piano, an excellent outro with symphonic features. An excellent listening that brings the sounds of the 70s into a modern context, exploring different genres and styles of Prog with the personal touch of the band. More Symphonic tracks open the album that with the passage of the songs incorporates more Jazz and Fusion traits, enhancing both the musicians’ technique and in the parts sung with a fine female vocal. A listening recommended to all lovers of Progressive Rock sounds, which manages to give continuity to the sounds of Tantra, bringing them into a modern context with personal and original traits.

Tracklist

01. Riding the edge of Darkness (5:15)
02. Eternal Dance Of Love (5:54)
03. Return to OM (14:00)
04. From Chaos to Beauty (3:54)
05. A view from above (4:53)
06. Cosmic Machinery (4:02)
07. The Mirror Effect (4:56)
08. Celebration (3:17)
09. The dramatic beauty of Life (6:22)
10. The complex Art of Creation (06:42)
11. Finale (1:25)

Lineup

Manuel Cardoso (MC Frodo) / Guitar and Vocals
Paulo Bretão / Bass Guitars
Sara Freitas / Vocals
João Samora / Drums
Guilherme da Luz / Synthezist

Artnat |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Spotify|

Wormholedeath Records |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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