Sunday, January 31, 2016

Antonius Rex - 2005 - Magic Ritual

Antonius Rex 
Magic Ritual

Side A: Magic Ritual
Side B: Fairy Vision suite

Antonio Bartoccetti / guitars
Doris Norton / keyboards
Charles Tiring / bass
Jean Luc Jabouille / drums
Furio Sollazzi (guest musician) / acoustic guitar
Rexanthony (guest musician) / piano

Soundtrack to the sinister video
"Magic Ritual" is an audio and video release that marked the official recording return of the legendary Antonius Rex, after a 14 year self-imposed hiatus where Antonio and Doris concentrated on other projects. No doubt they were busy raising their son RexAnthony, and planning Doris' many solo projects and work with computer companies. "Magic Ritual" is significant for many reasons. Being their first major band effort since 1980s "Praeturnatural," which was a farewell to their many appreciative fans, M.R. was not just a music release. It was also a full length conceptual video directed by Doris Norton, written by Antonius Rex, and assisted in technical production by RexAnthony-making this a true family affair. It was originally released as a CD/DVD dual-disk and then followed a year later by a special edition LP of the soundtrack (both from the marvelous Black Widow Records, who specialize is Italy's darkest progressive rock-check them out.)

The soundtrack music for Magic Ritual is much more energetic and rocking than Praeturnatural was on the whole, combining the tribal-beat ritualistic qualities of the Rex debut with the more modern hard rock. The music charges along pumping volume and drama to underscore the horrific images awaiting you, fueled by Antonio's wailing electric guitar riffing and occasionally tempered by Doris and RexAnthony on keyboards. While recent Rex offerings have been more in a melodic bent "Magic Ritual" leans more toward the avant-garde. Perhaps because it is supporting video images the pace and structure seem even less forgiving than usual here, you need to be on board for this trip! Jean Luc Jabouille who performed on "Ralefun" is back here to provide some real drumming for the Rex. Driving distorted electric guitars chug away to Doris' wild-eyed keyboard solos and the occasional unholy reflections from Antonio. There are moments where this music will just creep you out big time and I guess that's what Rex fans love. Antonio is known for doing some beautiful lead guitar work on his SG and can go toe to toe with Mr. Iomni any day of the week. (I mention that because people always claim the Jacula/Rex guitar sound is an imitation of Tony, what they forget is that the Jacula debut preceded the Sabbath debut.) He doesn't disappoint here either, finally unleashing a blistering solo. Some choired male vocals, creature vocals, and sound effects make appearances here and there for good spooky atmosphere.

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