ANTONIUS REX - Interview
Harmonie Magazine (France)
band: ANTONIUS REX
titolo: Magic Ritual
genere: Dark Sound
label: Black Widow
Nuovo capitolo discografico per il maestro dell’occulto ANTONIUS REX, costituito da un unico supporto suddiviso in lato A e lato B, il primo (versione DVD) contenente un filmato della band, rituali ed immagini a sfondo esoterico, il secondo (versione CD) contenente tracce inedite tipiche del “Dark Sound” del gruppo. Mystic, Esoteric, Horror Cult!
Titolo: "Magic Ritual"
Regia: Doris Norton
Produzione: Italia / Romania
Editore per tutto il mondo: Warner Chappell
Interpreti: Bartoccetti, Norton, Manson, Leonard
Etichetta licenziataria: Black Widow Records
Product code: BWR DVD 083
Formato: DVD plus (Dvd video + CD audio)
Stiamo per assistere ad uno dei più affascinanti capitoli della "storia infinita" Antonius Rex. Anche sulla scorta delle pressanti richieste dei collezionisti doc e dei fans sparsi per il mondo i due leader del gruppo si sono fatalmente decisi a concedere la pubblicazione del cult video che girarono fra Milano e Brazov fra il '76 e '77... immagini assolutamente originali per un filmato after dark.
Mentre l'audio di questo progetto può vivere di luce propria, il video è totalmente complementare dell'audio in una simbiosi volutamente unica ed inscindibile. Il viaggio che lo spettatore inizia è reso fantastico dalla fusione necessaria ed inquietante di immagini e musica. Il surreal-movie che è gia cult prima ancora di entrare nelle case o nei sempre più affollati horror-clubs, si stacca da tutte le produzioni del genere, possedendo la facoltà nel raccontare il percorso di un simbolo affidato ad una adepta attraverso un vortice mistico, magico, esoterico che non ha confronti. Ogni frame del movie ed ogni nota del soundtrack hanno una propria ragione di esistere in un ordine fatale ed esoterico. Un'opera di puro impressionismo dark, scritta e diretta da Doris Norton in un'ottica come sempre lontanissima dal commerciale, ma tendente alla comunicazione fantastica attraverso i simboli... alla stimolazione cerebrale del fruitore attraverso il generare il dubbio. Soffermandosi sui singoli frames si nota come enorme sia lo spessore psicologico e raffigurativo del messaggio extraumano o... praeternaturale che dir si voglia. Essere super individuale ed esercitare sugli uomini un potere possessivo che riempie l'anima di istanza cognitiva... questo è un frammento del concept di "Magic Ritual". L'interesse magico è proprio così insito nell'umano come lo sono la paura e al tempo stesso il fascino per il mistero. L'autrice, oltre gli episodi tipicamente musicali dell'opera, legati agli Antonius Rex e ai loro "unici" rituali "live", sa infondere nello spettatore il senso mistico, il desiderio di ricerca spirituale che passa anche attraverso l'epidermidicità e la fragilità della materia, ponendo sul nuovo trono la figura femminile che, da anni spaventata da una scienza disumana che per tentare di liberare lo spirito dell'uomo, ha distrutto l'umano, può mirare al recupero della sua essenza mediatica. Il video dai toni costantemente "cupi", dai colori pesanti, dalle strane figure che sinistramente si sovrappongono, gode altresì della sincronizzazione con il sound quasi maniacale e di un montaggio di grande stile personale.
Composto da Antonio Bartoccetti e arrangiato da Doris Norton solo in funzione del video, il brano dal titolo MAGIC RITUAL è stato inciso nel 1990 presso lo studio rumeno di Monika Tasnad... una suite abissale che supera i 26 minuti. L'opera, a 15 anni di distanza dalla sua incisione (solo su nastro), ancora una volta dimostra la sua assoluta avanguardia nei contenuti e nella forma riconfermando l'inimitabile stile Antonius Rex ed il loro essere sempre controcorrente. Nel 1990, in piena era elettronica, i due leader optano per una consolle analogica presente nello studio della loro nuova collaboratrice rumena. Grandi partiture classicheggianti, grandi sensazioni, assoluto feeling in real-time onde trascinare l'ascoltatore negli abissi più profondi della propria spiritualità. Ancora una volta la nuova suite inedita (stampata per la prima volta da Black Widow ed editorialmente ceduta da Musik Research alla major Warner Chappell per tutto il mondo) è una fusion globale, una nera carrozza nella notte dove le voci annullano la ragione... movimenti cerimoniali classic dark, cori infernali, tastiere oltre il progressive, voci subliminali, spettri in ectoplasma e la cara vecchia Gibson SG che come sempre vi inietterà l'emozione unica... la magica Antonius Rex mystic drug.
L'opera viene offerta nel nuovo formato DVD plus, consistente in un solo disco il cui lato A è il DVD video mentre il lato B è un normale Cd audio.
Mit "Praeternatural" haben die Düsterheimer Antonio Bartocetti und Ehefrau Doris Norton, einstmals Jacula, hiernach Antonius Rex, den Höhepunkt ihres musikalischen Schaffens erreicht. Was 1969 als Jacula in unheimlich düsterer Form embryonal begann, hat eine Entwicklung durchgemacht, zu progressiver Horrormusik allerfeinster Machart. Jacula "In cauda semper stat venenum" war noch nackt, sehr beschwörend und düster, aber nackt. "Praeternatural" ist üppig instrumentiert, vor allem ist es das erste Album dieser Band, welches ich mit korrektem Rhythmus kenne, sprich wirklichem Schlagzeuggroove. Vorher waren es allenfalls percussive Elemente, die dem Material einen Tribaltouch verliehen haben. Auch diese finden sich auf dem 1980er Album (welches aber unlängst von Black Widow wiederveröffentlicht worden ist und daher unter den regulären CDs besprochen wird.), gerade bei den sphärischen Passagen, die es wiederum zuhauf gibt. Was man als Duo alles machen kann. Antonius Rex würden heute wohl als Dark Wave / Gothic gelten, doch das ist im Grunde nur ein kleiner Aspekt ihrer Musik, die, wie erwähnt, schon 24 bis 35 Jahre vor heutigen Bands am Start war. Von schwebenden, keyboarddominierten Einlagen, bishin zu fetzigsten Riffs kommen in den einzelnen Stücken unterschiedliche, doch immer düstere Stimmungen vor. Zwischendurch spricht Antonio Bartocetti mit sanfter, aber doch durchdringender Stimme zu den Hörern, was er da jedoch sagt, wird mir ob mangelnder Italienischkenntnisse noch nicht so ganz klar. Cool ist es auf jeden Fall und hat einen sehr mystischen Klang. Keyboardtechnisch gibt es neben den typischen Teppichsynthies oder Stimmenwaves auch schwere Kirchenorgeln, die dem Material einen sakralen Charakter schenken und beschwingt singende Synths, eben typischer 70er Stoff, der einem ein wohliges Grausen im Gesamtzusammenhang der Musik über den Rücken jagt, haben doch schon die Horrorfilm Soundtrackmacher Goblin (HAIL) auf diese Elemente zurückgegriffen. Ein E Piano taucht noch auf an mancher stelle. Bei der Gitarre zieht Bartocetti die Register von fast mainstreamigen Leads, bluesigen Soli bishin zu majestätischen, dämonisch harten Doomriffs, die Dir die Sinne nicht einfach rauben, sondern aus dem Leibe flexen. Die Stücke sind allgemein recht lang angelegt, die kurzen Songs eher Zwischenspiel, denn echtes Lied, hier kommt es auf die Atmosphäre an, die eben höllenfinster ist, ohne daß die Musik an sich nun besonders brutal daherkäme (ein HALLO an die Death - und Blackmetalgemeinde. - der Verf.). Die Stücke sind hypnotisch angelegt, mit vielen sich wiederholenden kleinen Themen, dennoch wird man sich nicht langweilen, da erstens eben die Stimmung sehr spirituell ist und Bartocetti und Norton ein Zusammenspiel an den Tag legen, das sich hören lassen kann, inklusive vieler kleiner Schnörkel. Ich kann nur sagen, wer auf düstere Rockmusik und alte italienische Horrorfilme steht, einen guten Schuß Bombast verträgt und Doom liebt, der sollte sich schleunigst die vier noch erwerbbaren Alben von Jacula und Antonius Rex, "In cauda semper stat venenum" 1969, "Neque semper arcum tendit rex" 1974, "Anno demoni" 1979 und "Praeternatural" 1980 besorgen. In Deutschland bei Hellion abzugreifen.
Antonio Bartocetti made, a couple of very dark powerful mystic / occult releases, mostly with the group Jacula, with church organ, bass, percussion, female vocals, and devilish male vocals and violin,... The short lived history and practical changes in life, bad production, didn't produce always the material under the name of Antonius Rex in conditions they would have preferred. Last attempt to reproduce something serious was done in 1980, with this album. As only a duo, Bartocetti & Doris Norton with this project delves into a dark side, seemingly less from achieved powerful occult expression, but some more from a vision and interest in a dark sound with a creative similar content.. The music works very filmically, as a combination of gothic music, movie music (like a more harmonic horror music style), with some prog or hard rock touches, mostly instrumental. It's fine music without going over the edge of the normal or generally acceptable. The result is indeed very acceptable for any listener. I think it's most powerful at moments when the filmic keyboard dominated music is combined with minimal Black Sabbath like guitar effects, like on the title track, "Praeternatural". On "Capturing Universe" this happens too, but so minimally, it's again more mood creation. On this release the underlying creative force still has its dark tension. Spiritually it is mostly mood creation, in a way that even my girlfriend liked, who is usually not so keen to hear most progressive material I have. I heard this release a couple of times, on different installations and conditions to get a clear view on it. The remaining interests from Antonio surviving, throughout different conditions his life lead to, still is there, expressive through a kind of 'underlying tension', more than from a total overwhelming subhuman mystic nature, which the Jacula's releases and "Anno Demoni" achieved. The track "Invisible Force" has something from the intention of "Devil letter" (a very filmic track from the first album), now in a more instrumental way, and much more keyboards dominated. It's the only track which is somewhat long for its core of ideas to be overwhelming. But in general the result of this album is very successful for dark mood creation. Only the last track, "Vox Populi", I would have preferred not to hear directly after the rest. I can only see it as a kind of bonus track, with the narration of the story of Antonius Rex & Jacula, by Steve Crombell (which can be found in the liner notes of for instance "Neque Semper.." too), with some wind at the background. A track which I even preferred NOT to be there, for musically it's too minimal, and distracts, and breaks down the musical energy, which became already more minimal near the end. I see this album as a fine closer for the Jacula/Antonius Rex history. It's a must for Jacula / Antonius fans, interesting and appealing to dark moody filmmusic lovers, because they first must have checked out the first four most important Jacula / Antonius Rex albums.
Playlist "Psyche van het Folk", Radio Centraal, Antwerpen :
The Dark Side, part 2 :
JACULA & ANTONIUS REX.
"Jacula, Antonius Rex are the only dark occult group I know with a well balanced
and very constructive nature. This makes their place unique."
About the dark side of things :
Why be afraid of being confronted with the spiritual side of the dark side of
things ? Everything has a dark side and a negative effect on something else.
It's our earthly / humanly bound nature that causes this inevitability. Also,
every creative process has its doomed moment, with a following process of
destruction, except when the good habit of continuation renewing forces gives
live and reconstruction in its core. Seeing or knowing the dark side of things,
is knowing where to place all kinds of creative forces at the same time.
Following at a distance our own nature of the dark side is helpful to control
the shadow of someone's own nature. We don't have to chase shadows by becoming
our own shadow, but become brighter trough insights in any kind of creative
Germany has his own kind of dark scene, where only the German soul usually does
not loose itself in destruction, when delving with into the psychological
existence of it. But only in Italy it has been possible to delve deeper into the
perversity and horror of the dark side, without creating a destructive sound.
They're masters of this kind. (PS. Maybe there are also other, East European
countries for instance, were they can be obsessed by some darker things, without
loosing itself). Jacula and the after history of Antonius Rex, like a few more
music legends, for me, has a separate chapter in music history where no one else
belongs. Also, it's the only real mystic and occult group I know off, in
progressive music history. There are more mystical personalities I know, but
here the mystic is the flavour of the music and the group itself. It is also
mystical of a subhuman and dark nature. They're making music in an area where a
normal human being should better not go to, without, for instance, being
protected by a creative or philosophically self-balancing nature, here as with a
creative musical force which I can only expect to be in this musical form to be
* Black Widow Jacula : In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum (I,1969)***°'
Tr.1, "Ritus" 5 min
Tr.5, "Initiatio" 7 min
Tr.2, "Magister Dixit" 11 min 24
First LP, with Anthony Bartocetti, lyrics, guitar, bass, vocal ; Charles Tiring,
church organ, Doris Norton, keyboard effects, in cooperation with mystic Franz
Parthenzy (-the liner notes say it was composed by spiritualist séances held
from 1966-1969-). The album was recorded in UK. Most tracks have beautiful
relaxed and dark organ, with beautiful keyboard effects, some guitar touches,
some very minimal but powerful in immediate effect percussion, and some texts
with a dark voice. "Initiatio" has some female vocals, piano and keyboards in
stead of organ. The album has something meditative in its core.
The séances must have created valuable doubts on subconscious and prejudged
values. This way Jacula started to explore a growing frame, bigger than ever
before within a musical expression, including what earlier was a taboo area,
which actually also can become a constructive creative force, that, throughout
the remaining recordings of Jacula, was not shown before in this actual form.
But it was especially in "Tardo Pede.." and "Anno Demoni" that the highlight of
deepest unconscious mystical power has been expressed.
In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum", recorded in London, at first saw only a few
hundred copies in a plain black and white cover. Difficult to market they were
given away as a symbolic and magical gift to monasteries there was no attempt
being made to get it distributed. Only last year it was reissued by Black Widow
Records. For me it was a welcome surprise. A pleasant record to listen to.
* Mellow Rec. Jacula : Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus (I,1972)*****
Tr.1, "U.F.D.E.M. 9 min
Tr.3, "Jacula Walzer" 7 min
Tr.2, "Praesentia Domini" 11 min
Tr.4, "Long Black Magic Night" 7 min 34 60
Beautiful melancholic & dramatic organ, a powerful and complete band sound. This
album is my favourite album of all times (to be followed by Saint Just and Comus ;
if I could only safe three recordings from this worlds it would be those three).
I read some reviews of it. And I have to say, some songs are not understood at
all. The bad English from the female voice on "Long Black Magic Night" for me is
just perfect. It's as if a foreigner comes to tell a story which is hardly
understood by herself but which is so inhumanly sad. I find it one of the most
beautifully sad, and also saddest songs I know. The organ has is stunningly
beautiful, brooding emotional or with a eternal but meditative sadness. It's the
combination of organ with electric bass, emotional female vocals and
harpsichord, on "U.F.D.E.M." which is another killer monster of this album. My
favourite track of the album. But also the emotional vocals after a beautiful
organ piece on "Praesenta Domini" is captivating. I changed the order of the
tracks to make the best possible listen. Only sad because of time limitations.
"Jacula Walzer" is a lighter theme, a waltz, with 70's kind of innocence
"nanana" singing. But with the weird keyboard effects it has an underlying
darkness too. I had to leave out the last track. The compositions has been said
are created by spiritual séances, with the help of a medium called Franz
Parthenzy. The album commercially was inaccessible for its time's perspective.
Now the remaining originals are worth tons of money. It was reissued first by
Mellow Records in the 90's and more recently by Black Widow Records.
* Mellow Rec. Jacula / Antonius Rex : Anno Demoni (I,1973-1978)*****
Tr.3, "Jacula the witch" 3 min (58) composed 1971
A melancholic track sung by Doris Norton, with similarities to "Jacula Valzer"
of "Late Pede In Magiam Versus".
* Black Widow Antonius Rex : Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex (I,1974)***''
Tr.1, "Neque Semper Arcum" 9 min
Tr.3, "In Hoc Signo Vinces" 5 min
Tr.5, "Devil letter" 10 min 24 85
Antonio Bartoccetti (electric guitar, vocals, bass), Doris Norton (organ, piano,
moog) & Albert Goodman (practitioner of the occult, owner of a castle,
occasional hobby percussionist). Guitar is a bit hard rock like. Percussion is
basic and simple. Organ is also more minimal. Basically there are not too many
different musical ideas in this album. The mood is really fine. The music comes
close to the first album. There has been a bit more work on "Devil Letter", a
more filmic track. This song referred to the cover, which included strange
symbols and a "diabolical" letter dated 1624. The song might have scared some
people for some reasons. Vertigo, The label that also published the first Black
Sabbath album, wanted only to publish the album without that song, and without
this cover, but the group didn't want to compromise. The liner notes say that
after this event, Giulio Tasnad, a Rumanian esoteric expert, declared publicly
that the song, combined with the symbols on the LP cover could produce a close
encounter with the Prince of darkness himself. After this unwanted event, (-it's
really odd how this could accelerate deeper lying fears with a certain self
protective portion of taboo for the dark unknown, while this was nothing but a
controlled philosophical and musical description of such a brooding taboo mood
and nothing more), the desire to record new music waned, even after some
requests. Most following albums were recorded too quickly and too lousy. The
self-produced album, Anno Demoni still contained most interesting extra
material. The last effort to get interesting material together, after some years
of hard work on other things, was Praeternatural.
* Mellow Rec. Jacula / Antonius Rex : Anno Demoni (I,1974-1978)*****
Tr. 4, "Ego Sum qui sum" 8 min (93) rec.1976
"Anno Demoni", in a simplified Jacula style, is powerful throughout it's
minimalism. The dark tension is very intense. This is the most dark and mystic
release so far. The darkness in texts and voice is almost frighteningly creepy,
it drags you into a hermetic semi-world of astral after-life like visions as if
directly coming from demonic higher masters. The percussion on this release is
almost inhumanly minimal, as if standing with one foot in the afterlife already
(percussionist Goodman died in 1978 by the way). Some tracks were recorded in
Brno, one in London and two others in the Antonius Rex castle. One of the most
controlled darkest releases ever maid, without destructive aspects. Fear can
work destructive, while this is a constructive creative force of another aspect
of reality within a balanced nature. This is personality. Within a well-balanced
nature even excesses can become part of another aspect of a mature personality.
* Mellow Rec. Antonius Rex : Zora (I,1977)*°°
After a few enthusiast record holders wanted new albums at any price, the
recording of this album became to have something ambivalent in it's creative
force, for it seemed that the essence of the "why are we creating" and with the
earlier integrity has been broken, or maybe they just didn't want to give an
effort when the magical conditions for the making were just not there.. It was
much too quickly recorded in a private studio, some tracks were quickly repeated
in uninspired cover like versions. Only the track "Necromancer" is still
somewhat ok for some elements, but even that track not really has been worked
out properly. "Spiritualist Seance" is the first remixed Jacula track with some
additional instrumentation. Also "Morte al Potere" is a Jacula track with some
extra instruments mixed in. Although this track not bad for some parts in the
mix, like with the electric guitar, it is distracted from the essence of the
original concept. All in all, it became a forgettable album. Bartocetti
acclaimed it was only made for money and nothing else.
* Mellow Rec. Jacula / Antonius Rex : Anno Demoni (I,1974-1978)*****
Tr.1, "Anno demoni" 12 min (rec.1978) (105)
One of the other dark tracks of this album. Here the percussion is like I
mentioned before, almost unfitting, outworldly, with one foot in the grave.
With organ, harpsichord, handpercussion, electric violin (keyboards), devilish
vocals, a certain bird sound as keyboard effect, some electric bas and more
* RCA Antonius Rex : Ralefun (I,1978/1979)***°
Tr.1, "Magic Sadness" 4 min
Tr.2, "Agonia per un amora" 5 min
Tr.4, "Incubus" 4 min 13 (130)
With more keyboards, this release has a different sound. It has been said this
was also rather quickly recorded. It sold relatively fine. "Agonia per un amore"
is a beautiful sensitive pop song (band, with additional piano, flute). Two
tracks are less interesting, but the other 4 are fine. Last track is a fine prog
* Black Widow Antonius Rex : Praeternatural (I,1980)***°
Tr.1, "Halloween" 11 min
Tr.3, "Praternatural" 9 min 20
Tr.5, "Invisible Force" fragment (4 min)
A fine mood creative dark tension, a bit movie like now, compromising all kinds
of ideas experienced before. A fine closer of the circle. The creative force is
still vivid, but in a more introspective concluding way. A shame I couldn't play
more. Some more moody track would have been nice to conclude the musical
concept. Also the Devil letter like "Invisible Force" is a shame to leave out.
Even a small part of it would also have been a fine conclusion.
After this Bartocetti seemed to have withdrawed a while from creating his own
projects, but continues to work as a producer, also later for his son's hard
techno work. Also Doris Norton created some releases of electronic or (dance)
electro music. I never heard them so I have no idea how they sound like (There's
"Parapsycho" from '81, "Raptus" from '82, "Nortoncomputerforpeace" from 83,
"Personal Computers" from '84, "Artificial Intelligence" from '85, "Automatic
Feeling" from '86, and "The Double Side Of The Science" from '90.
- My review of this item with a lot of links :
A few remarks :
* There are a few small projects that existed before Jacula, but which are
forgettable, like "Dietro Noi Deserto".
* Jacula / Antonius Rex never did any concerts except once.
Bartocetti : "We made a single concert, I think it was in 1972 at Teatro
dell'Arte in Milano with just 45 paying guests, but it was satisfying because
the ticket was 50000 lire. Later, in 1979, we had a beautiful European tour: you
can find the dates advertised on Ciao 2001. Then Albert despaired and we had to
cancel the concert at Teatro Argentina in Milan despite the fact there were 2000
followers at the doors."
* Bartocetti : "There is the new album of Antonius Rex ready. We started with
the recording in Rumania in 2002. We only still have to do the final mix".
ANTONIUS REX - Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex
ANTONIUS REX - "PRAETERNATURAL" - Full Lenght