ANTONIUS REX (Magic Ritual) DVD + CD
First, I like to thank the friendly people at Musik Research for sending me over a promo copy of this double-sided disc last year, that includes the "Magic Ritual" video and the album. The video is not only a short clip, but more like a whole movie with a total running time of about 55 + minutes and it underlines the fact that ANTONIUS REX are one of Italian's best occult progressive acts. I had written some words about the long winding history of ANTONIUS REX in the "Praeternatural" review, so I will leave it out here and better start to report about the video, that is really amazing.
Due to the album title, one can expect a dark and mystic video, that brings back all the great occult end-60's/early-70's horror movies and the good old Giallo film-genre. "Magic Ritual" contains eerie scenes of a black mass and murder, and dark psychedelic visions as well as mysterious women and interwoven scenes, that are showing Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton playing their instruments. If you're not familiar with both names, I will tell you, that they are ANTONIUS REX, though A. Bartoccetti is the main composer, while she had also directed the video and mixed the album. When I watch the scenes, where both are playing, it looks as if it had been shot in the late 70's, but due to missing informations I can't give accurate informations and the included booklet is only in Italian language.
Well, anyway, all this isn't really important to enjoy the video. At least, a few more words about the most important aspect here: the music! In opposite to other Italian progressive bands, ANTONIUS REX aren't as cheesy and dramatic as you might expect and I'm definitely no big fan of the current progressive scene, no matter if a band is hailing from Italy, Germoney or Indonesia. But once again, I must admit that the here presented music is really great and offers a lot of variety and inspiration to the listener. While the first part of "Magic Ritual" sounds like a lost theme of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana", other elements are very groovy and Bartocetti shows that he's a very ambitious guitarplayer, who had learned his 70's lessons VERY well! Together with two additional guest musicians (Jean Luc Jabouilee on drums and Rexanthony on piano) he had created an atmospheric piece of heavy progressive rock, and I can imagine that it was very helpful to record "Magic Ritual" in a studio in Roumania, maybe somewhere near the Borgo Pass. The recordings are dated back to 1990 and had been remastered by Musik Research in 2005, who had also released the "Praeternatural" back in 1980. As you see, the history of this band is very mysterious and complicated. So, if you're into occultism and dark progressive rock, check out this amazing high-quality release!