Music Reviews

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Artist: THELEMA (@)
Title: Tantra
Format: CD
Label: In The Night Time (@)
Rated: *****
Uhm... It's a little difficult to find out how to start this review because Thelema incarnate a part of Italian post punk history along other bands that never released an album or even a single (like a band called Nadja for istance, that produced uniquely two tapes). I won't write about Thelema story here, as well I didn't on my previous review of their new album released after about ten years after their last one, because anytime soon we'll have an interview with Massimo Mantovani here on Chain D.L.K. TANTRA was the first Thelema album and it was one of the first vinyls produced by a label called Spittle. Before that, the band released uniquely a tape titled "Rosa+Croce", a single, "Rosa alchemica", containing three songs (it was sold along a fanzinde called Signal) and a tape that was distributed only to friends and to radio stations. Thelema were famous in Italy because they were the most genuine band of the so called magical music scene (since the early albums of Current 93, Psychic TV and Coil in Italy journalists decided that a new musical genre born). It is important to tell that Thelema never used that for publicity as magick (spelled this way after the Alesteir Crowley magical system) has always been a personal interest of some members of the band and only for that reason the tracks and the lyrics were referring to such things. Anyway, TANTRA was a good album with mid tempo songs with particular flute inserts (it was a peculiar thing that they had thanks to Gregorio Bardini, a classical flute maestro that was also playing keyboards and which left the band after the release of the album) and with a certain dark vein that was unique. The band was blending their love for '70s bands like Velvet Underground with the primitive urge of post punk. Even if Italy lived it as an echo of what was going on in England since the dead of punk in 1977, Italian bands filtered those sounds in a personal way and Thelema did the same introducing keyboards, flute and keeping the bass guitar loud just to have a tribal effect on evidence. On the nine track album they used only two songs from their previous releases: "The book of the law" (which they recorded when Massimo Mantovani was playing with Les Blousons Noirs) and "Rosa alchemica" (it was included on the same title three songs single). Even if the production of Simone Fringuelli and Massimo Currò made the sound of Thelema losing some of the power they had on live gigs, the songs were sounding cool anyway. On this CD reissue we can find the original nine tracks of the album with a bunch of cool extra tracks coming from a couple of compilations ("J.C.S. - A pagan ritual" coming from the 1986 compilation "F-ear this" and "Sweet submission" coming from the 1987 compilation "10 years of Spittle". A particular title for a label founded few years back...), from the "Rosa alchemica" single (I appreciate these recordings more than the tracks of the album because they sound raw and powerful) and a couple of songs ("The golem" and "Walking with Aiwass") coming from "The golem", their first tape. If you lived those years you already know what it feels like listening to these sounds but if you are a youngster that is discovering nowadays these sounds, you can't miss this one. Just write to In The Night Time and purchase your copy!

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