Proto-Metal / Metal Related • Italy
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In Milan in 1968 the composer Antonio Bartoccetti founded the group JACULA, with a view to transform into music a series of theological-philosophical and esoteric observations. Jacula released the albums "In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum", "Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus" and "Pre Viam". The project would end in 1972, then evolve into "Antonius Rex" and more album would follow under that name. Antonius Rex is still active having release a great album in 2006 and another coming in 2009. [See artist "Antonius Rex" on this site for more info]

"IN CAUDA SEMPER STAT VENENUM" [1969] The beginning of the way towards an inner search. Mysterious worlds, evocative church organ, innovative guitar, involving voices and lyrics, creative piano and synth, rhythms with tympanis.

"TARDO PEDE IN MAGIAM VERSUS" [1972] From the inner search to the magic worlds. Classic versus progressive contaminations. First ecological document, church organ, harpsichord, bass, mini-moog, violins, flutes, celebrating voices.

"PRE VIAM" Jacula
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JACULA In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum album cover 3.42 | 3 ratings
In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum
Proto-Metal 1969
JACULA Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus album cover 3.54 | 5 ratings
Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus
Proto-Metal 1972
JACULA PRE VIAM album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Metal Related 2011

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JACULA Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus

Album · 1972 · Proto-Metal
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Ditching the metal-tinged distorted guitar that had featured on their debut and bringing in Doris Norton on vocals, Jacula's second album is once again dominated by sinister organ music and moody vocals. A bit more varied this time, the album is reminiscent of the fusion of Italian prog and horror soundtracks which would be pioneered in subsequent years by bands such as Goblin, so in this respect the unit seem to be ahead of their time, though what could have been a top-class album is reduced to merely being rather good thanks to lacklustre production and Long Black Magic Night; perhaps sticking to Latin vocals would have been helpful?

JACULA In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum

Album · 1969 · Proto-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
One of the recurring controversies surrounding this release was whether it genuinely came out in 1969 or not. I can see a case being made either way; the vocal parts, organ, and drums are all in keeping with the spookier end of the psychedelic or proto-prog scene at the time, whilst the guitar parts consist of metal riffing which I'd be surprised to hear from anyone other than Tony Iommi himself in 1969. I suppose it is possible that the band may have heard some of Sabbath's early performances, but given how rare - sparse, even - the guitar parts are, and considering how occasionally they even seem out of place, I think it's possible that they were added to the recording at a later date - perhaps in the early 1970s, at a point when Sabbath, Budgie and the like could have offered some more precedent for it.

On balance, I'm inclined to believe that at least an early version of the album came out in 1969; it feels to me like it's halfway between a demo tape (though a reasonably competently produced one) and the sort of meandering improvisational jam releases you saw in the psychedelic and Krautrock scenes of the era. In other words, if it's a fake, it's a passable enough fake that I don't particularly care. What I do care about is the musical approach, which involves long almost ambient stretches of church organ backed with occasional bursts of riffing and rare intonations of sinister Latin phrases. Like the first Tangerine Dream album it's perhaps better approached as spooky, psychedelic-leaning proto-prog background music than as a set of fully developed compositions, but the atmosphere of doom and dread evoked here is so different from what most bands producing this sort of jam album was going for, and the musical approach is very different from the approach taken by the doom-and-gloom brigade in the 1960s and 1970s, making it a gratifyingly unique work.

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