APOCALYPSE – ROCK ON MOTION
One of the main aspects of progressive rock was always the movement. The progressive sound is the mutation music, indeed. In fact, this characteristic applies to the whole style, once the main bands such as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, etc always sounded different from each other.
Like good ministers of this genre in Brazil, in 25 years on the road APOCALYPSE had changed a lot: in the beginning they used to be a power-trio but changed to a quartet and later to a quintet; always had focused on your international career till start investing on your home land again; translated all your lyrics from Portuguese to English; and always have changed your sonority. When the new century came, they were honest enough when incorporating new influences without worrying with the most radical “progger” fans that never understand the message of the old gurus in this style: always changing hands!
25 YEARS OF HISTORY
The progressive rock band APOCALYPSE was born in 1983, in Caxias do Sul, Southern Brazil, founded by Eloy Fritsch and some school friends at the Colégio Nossa Senhora do Carmo who got together for a student music contest. After this first concert, guitar player Ruy Fritsch and drummer Chico Fasoli joined their ranks, playing with the band at the Festival 1º Ópera Rock. From the beginning, they presented a very different style, compared to the other local groups. They made use of organ, synthesizers, classical vocals and created songs influenced by Uriah Heep, Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zepellin, Rush and Genesis. From 1984 to 1988, the line-up changed several times. They recorded some demo tapes with the songs “Livre”, “Horizontes de Antimatéria”, “Aurora”, “Pássaros do Abismo”, “Besta do Mal”, “Delírio”, “Ancestral”, “Miragem” and “Apocalypse” and made live appearances with bands like Astaroth, Nenhum de Nós, Garotos da Rua and Vôo Livre. In 1989, APOCALYPSE won first place in a festival, playing for over 10.000 people, and recorded the song “Só Você” for the “1º Circuito de Rock” compilation.
THE FIRST ALBUM AND INTERNATIONAL CAREER
At the time of their first self-titled LP release, they interrupted the traffic in their town’s main street and gave a concert for over 2.000 people. Their Portuguese version for Marillion’s “Lavender” soon became a hit at the local radio, which led to a successful tour in the south of the country. In 1992, the line-up stabilized with Eloy Fritsch (keyboards), Ruy Fritsch (guitar), Chico Fasoli (drums) and Chico Casara (bass, vocals). Brazilian progressive rock guru Dario Axelrud was quite impressed by the band’s sound and style during their first LP release concert and got in contact with the French label Musea, suggesting they signed the band. What seemed impossible for a band from a small town became a reality – APOCALYPSE was now signed to Musea, the most prestigious progressive rock label in the world.
It took APOCALYPSE two years to record the second album "Perto do Amanhecer", which was released in France in 1995. The good reviews from abroad soon started to arrive, which led to a rise in the band’s popularity and another invitation from Musea, this time for the compilation "Le Melleur du Progressif Instrumental". This CD was edited in the end of 1995 with several European bands and APOCALYPSE representing Brazil. With its baroque influences and a beautiful interplay of minimoog and guitar solos, the chosen song was “Notre Dame”.
In their following album, “Aurora dos Sonhos”, APOCALYPSE created several progressive rock masterpieces, such as "Do Outro Lado da Vida" and "Vindo das Estrelas", both of them complex and long tracks in the best prog tradition. “Aurora dos Sonhos” was again released in France by Musea and was hailed as a great album by many progressive rock magazines around the globe. At this time, the band was receiving fan mail from places like Holland, Corea, France, EUA, Chile and Japan, among others. With songs dealing with themes such as the conservation of nature, science fiction and spirituality, APOCALYPSE conquered a precious public in other countries, fans who were deeply in love with their music. In 1997, the musicians decide that some of compositions from their first LP should be salvaged and therefore release them in the “Lendas Encantadas" CD, together with three new songs. Aiming to promote progressive rock in their region, they organize, together with the City Council, the First Rio Grande do Sul Progressive Rock Festival. There were over 1500 people at the Auditório Araújo Viana Theater and the show was made into a TV special show, aired on the public TV channel.
US TOUR AND THE LIVE ALBUM
In 1998, the band was invited to play at the greatest music festival in Southern Brazil, the Planeta Atlântida festival. After this show, they signed with Atração, a label from São Paulo, and released a CD entitled "The Best of Apocalypse", with tracks from their French CDs in the hope that this would make the band more known in their home country. To promote this CD, they decided they should tour other parts of Brazil. In April, they are invited by the Rock Symphony label and travel to Rio de Janeiro to take part in the Rio ArtRock Festival third edition, playing together with Tempus Fugit and English band Pendragon at the Teatro João Caetano.
One year later, in 1999, they are invited to play in the USA, at the longest running progressive rock festival in the world: Progday. This show would make history, because it was the first time a Brazilian band recorded a show in the USA for a CD release.
After their appearance at Progday, the festival producers sent the band all the recordings. The band went through the material and was quite impressed with the recording quality. It was decided that “Live in USA" should be released as a double CD with a CD-ROM track containing a video-clip and a gorgeous booklet with many photographs from the US trip.
The CD saw the light of day in 2000 and Rock Symphony took over the distribution. One year later, another important concert: APOCALYPSE plays for over 2.000 people at the Parque da Redenção, in Porto Alegre, and the show is aired regionally on TVE TV station. New track “Refúgio” is featured at the same year in a compilation by Spanish magazine Margen, as part of the struggle to promote the new CD. The band keeps at work, recording studio versions for “América do Sul”, “Tocatta” and “ProgJazz” and contributes three tracks to the ProgDay Box Set “Encore?” – a limited commemorative multiple-CD box with all the bands that ever graced this progressive rock festival, Glass Hammer, Arsnova and Discipline being some of them.
CHANGING HANDS: NEW MUSICIANS AND NEW LANGUAGE
The CD “Refúgio” is released in 2003 by the Rock Symphony and Musea labels with new tracks such as “Viagem no Tempo”, “Amazônia”, “Lembranças Eternas”, “Refúgio”, “Liberdade”, “Terceiro Milênio” and the epic “Cachoeira das Águas Douradas”. As a bonus, it also includes two songs from the “Live in USA” double CD. Coming 2004, Chico Casara (vocal and bass) leaves APOCALYPSE, and the other musicians decide to go on with a new line-up.
Singer Gustavo Demarchi and bass player Magoo Wise are invited to join the band. APOCALYPSE takes on a new project: to record some of their old hits in English and also to start writing in the new language. With the musicians separated in different towns, the band chooses to have two rehearsal studios, one in each town. First offspring of this new formation is the EP “Magic – The Radio Edits”, in which APOCALYPSE presents English versions of some of their more well known songs. The EP, released only as a promotional item for the radios, was made fully available for the fans to download in the band’s website. In 2005, they start in Porto Alegre the “Magic Tour”, which has the band performing most of their repertoire in the new English versions. These months will see a lot of live activity both in Porto Alegre and smaller towns, not mentioning several appearances at TV and radio shows and newspaper interviews. There’s a very positive feedback from both public and media to the band’s new approach, with the special addition of Gustavo’s flute in songs like “Refuge” and “Tears”.
THE FIRST DVD
In September 2005, APOCALYPSE is invited to another festival in Rio, this time the Rock Symphony For The Record festival at the Teatro Municipal de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. The band’s concert, on September 8th, was taped for posterity and is presented here in this DVD, released by the Rock Symphony label together with their old friends from Musea. After this show, the band made yet another appearance in Rio, in 2006, playing together with English band Uriah Heep at the Canecão as part of the Rock in Concert Brazil Festival. Later, the band played with the popular band Shaman at Bar Opinião in Porto Alegre, and in 2007 they took part of the festival São Paulo Art Rock Festival along Violeta de Outono and Tarkus.
All the most important music magazines from Brazil such Comando Rock, Rock Hard-Valhalla, Rock Brigade and Roadie Crew, acclaimed the DVD as one of the best works released by a Brazilian band.
THE NEW ALBUM: “THE BRIDGE OF LIGHT”
APOCALYPSE have recently released it’s brand new album, your fifth release: The Bridge Of Light. The album (mezzo-conceptual) marks the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the band and is the first Cd with unreleased tracks written by the new line-up and with the new sonority: now they sound heavier and modern.
The Bridge Of Light will also be the first release through the band’s new record label: Free Mind Records. The Bridge Of Light The Bridge will also be available in Europe and Asia through the french label Musea Records.
In research promoted by the Brazilian press, "The Bridge Of Light" yielded several indications to Apocalypse as “Best of 2008”: "Best Album", "Best Cover", "Best Show" and "Best keyboardist” for Eloy Fritsch. Recently, Eloy Fritsch also received the award “Prêmio Açorianos de Música” (Honorable Mention) for its contribution to the Brazilian music scene.
Two video-clips were produced for "The Bridge Of Light": "Not Like You" and more recently for the track "Welcome Outside".
The Bridge Of Light is being praised by public and critics and got excellent sales worldwide. The band also did two different tours in Brazil (SP Mini-Tour 2009 and Prog Union Tour 2009) to promote the album and lots of isolated gigs in their home state: Rio Grande do Sul.
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