Caravela Escarlate - III

(CD 2023, 46:16, Karisma Records)

The tracks:
  1- Bússola Do Tempo(5:14)
  2- Castelos Do Céu(7:16)
  3- Sonhos Medievais(7:58)
  4- Mandala(4:48)
  5- Cruz Da Ordem(10:17)
  6- Ciclos(3:35)
  7- Filtro Dos Sonhos(7:12)

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Brazilian band Caravela Escarlate is rooted in the early Nineties, for an extensive history of the band see my previous review. Caravela Escarlate entered 2016 with renewed hopes, when founder David Paiva proposed to keyboard player Ronaldo Rodrigues an entirely new repertoire that could be played and recorded as a duo, resulting in their first album entitled Raschuno. It was well received by the public. Simultaneously the rehearsals with drummer Elcio Cáfaro took place with the band and its debut was July 2016. In late 2017 Caravela Escarlate released their second, eponymous album. In 2018 the band signed with Karisma Records, to re-release their second album worldwide (on CD and LP) in March 2019 (see review), I wrote about it: “if you like keyboard driven Seventies prog, like ELP, Triumvirat, Le Orme, Trace and Quill, or Nineties Ars Nova, this is a band worth discovering, and the warm Brazilian vocals add a special flavour to their pleasant melodic and harmonic sound.”

And now, anno January 2023, here is the brand new CD simply entitled III, Caravela Escarlate still features the trio David Paiva (bass, guitar and vocals), Elcio Cáfaro (drums) and Ronaldo Rodrigues (keyboards). According to the band the new album III evokes historical issues in different contexts - Roman Empire, Medieval Times, Pre-Columbian Civilizations, and Age of Discovery, the cover artwork is a painting of the famous British painter William Turner portraying the eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in AD 79.” The music on this new album is in the vein of their previous effort: dynamic and varied vintage keyboard driven Seventies symphonic rock, backed by energetic drums and powerful Rickenbacker bass work.

Lots of mid-tempo beats with wonderful work on keyboards in Bússola Do Tempo (like Ars Nova and Triumvirat), Castelos Do Céu (majestic Mellotron violins strongly evoking early King Crimson), Sonhos Medievais (swirling Hammond organ and in the end a Mellotron flute sound) and Filtro Dos Sonhos (spectacular Minimoog solo and Keith Emerson kind of Hammond).

The instrumental composition Mandala is 'Vintage Keyboard Heaven'. It starts with a slow rhythm featuring Mellotron violins and Minimoog (along with nice work on the clavinet) with obvious hints from early King Crimson but also Anekdoten). The final part contains a mid-tempo with Minimoog flights.

The short track Ciclos delivers a slow rythm in a sumptuous atmosphere with the unsurpassed sound of the Minimoog and Hammond, topped with pleasant vocals and powerful bass.

My highlight is the epic Cruz Da Ordem. First a wonderful intro with Mellotron violins, then a propulsive beat with growling bass and Hammond runs, reminding me of Seventies Le Orme. Next a slow rhythm, and pleasant vocals, embellished with a fine Minimoog solo. In the second part an exciting accellaration with powerful bass and drums, the vintage keyboard sound is excellent with Minimoog (from spacey to sensational fat runs) and Mellotron (choir - and violin section), goose bumps! Finally an accelaration with swirling Emersonian Hammond work, and a propulsive rhythm-section, wow!

If you are in to vintage keyboard driven Seventies symphonic rock with pleasant native vocals this CD is a joy!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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