ANTONIUS REX - 2004/2005/2006

Anno 5 - n.40 - Gennaio 2006

2005, August

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Classix magazine
2005 - n.#5

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Ritual magazine
Maggio 2005 - n.21

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Ritual magazine
Maggio 2005 - n.21

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Metal District (DE)
Maggio 2005

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Raro magazine
April 2005 - n.165

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Cinètrange (France)
April 2005 -

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

(n.32 - Aprile 2005)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

April 2005 -

ANTONIUS REX - Interview

Arlequins incontra Antonius Rex attraverso l'intervista di Francesco Fabbri. Link:

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Harmonie Magazine (France)
(n.53 - Marzo 2005)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Movimenti Prog
(Marzo 2005)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Escursioni Musicali

ANTONIUS REX - interview

(25/28 Febbraio 2005, n.424)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

(Febbraio 2005, n.294)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

(Febbraio 2005, n.157)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Film TV
(Anno 13, n.3)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

Flash magazine
(2005, January)

ANTONIUS REX - Magic Ritual

titolo: Magic Ritual
genere: Dark Sound
label: Black Widow
formato: DVD/CD

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!

"Magic Ritual" DVD
Anteprima MovimentiProg

di Donato Zoppo

Ci stavamo quasi abituando. Il potere evocativo della musica di Jacula e Antonius Rex non ha mai avuto bisogno di supporti visivi: una forza immaginifica di suoni oscuri e misteriosi, neri come la pece e foschi come l’Inferno. Ma non ci bastava: scrutavamo quelle copertine, così sinistre e talvolta surreali, tra simboli esoterici e riferimenti all’occulto. Anche l’apertura del sito ufficiale ha consentito di placare la sete e la curiosità dei fans.
Ci stavamo quasi abituando a non avere un’immagine vera e "viva" di Antonius Rex. Eppure, quasi avesse avuto la capacità di leggere il pensiero di migliaia di appassionati, Antonio Bartoccetti ha deciso finalmente di pubblicare l’attesissimo DVD "Magic Ritual". Si vociferava ci fossero immagini inedite girate nella seconda metà degli anni ’70, e infatti Antonio ha dichiarato: "State per assistere ad uno dei più affascinanti capitoli della "storia infinita" Antonius Rex. Anche sulla scorta delle pressanti richieste dei collezionisti e dei fans sparsi per il mondo ci siamo 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".
Magus Bartoccetti e Doris Norton inattivi non lo sono stati mai. Negli ultimi tempi, poi, grazie all’aiuto della Black Widow, hanno potuto rimettere mano ai polverosi archivi per ristampare su cd l’ultimo tassello del progetto Antonius Rex, ovvero l’ottimo "Praeternatural", risalente al 1980 e inciso ai celebri studi Regson di Milano, pubblicato dalla Musik Research in edizione ovviamente limitata. La tiratura limitata è sempre stata una caratteristica dei progetti di Bartoccetti: una serie di iniziative riservate a pochi iniziati, coloro che avevano orecchie per intendere la filosofia occulta dell’ensemble. Oggi invece – con la notizia del DVD – sembra aprirsi uno spazio notevole a questo progetto di culto.

english version
"Magic Ritual" DVD
MovimentiProg Preview
by Donato Zoppo

We were getting used to it. The evocative power of the music of Jacula and Antonius Rex never needed visual supports: an imaginative strength of dark and mysterious sounds, pitch dark and grim as Hell. But it was not enough for us: we studied those covers, so sinister and sometimes surreal, full of esoteric symbols and occult references. The opening of the official website helped a bit to quiet the fans’ thirst and curiosity.
We were getting used to have no actual, "live" image of Antonius Rex. But, as if he could read the minds of thousands of fans, Antonio Bartoccetti eventually decided to release the long-awaited DVD "Magic Ritual". Voices said that not yet issued images taken in the late ‘70s were around, and Antonio said: "You are going to witness o?ne of the most interesting chapters of the Antonius Rex "never ending story". Also pushed by the pressing requests from collectors and fans all over the world we decided to allow the release of the cult video taken in Milan and Brazov in 1976 and ’77... totally original images for an after dark film".
Magus Bartoccetti and Doris Norton have never been inactive. Recently, thanks to Black Widow, they have had the chance to exploit the old archives and to reprint o?n CD the last piece of the Antonius Rex project, the great "Praeternatural" recorded in 1980 in the famous Regson studies in Milan and issues by Musik Research of course in a limited edition. Limited editions have always been a feature of Bartoccetti’s works: a series of initiatives focused towards a few initiates, those who could understand the band’s occult philosophy. But nowadays – with the DVD – apparently a big space will open for this cult project.

Here’s some information kindly given us in advance by Bartoccetti:

Title: "Magic Ritual"
Director: Doris Norton
Production: Italia / Romania
Worldwide editor: Warner Chappell
Featuring: Bartoccetti, Norton, Manson, Leonard
Licensing label: Black Widow Records
Product code: BWR DVD 083
Format: DVD plus (Video DVD + audio CD)

The video

While the audio side of this project shines o?n itself, the video is absolutely complementary in an indissoluble harmony.
The travel the viewer begins is made fantastic by the disquieting fusion between images and music. The surreal movie that already is a cult even before entering homes and the every day more crowded horror clubs pulls ahead of every other production in this genre, managing to tell about the path a symbol follows after having been trusted to an adept through a great mystic, magic, exoteric vortex.
Each frame in the movie, each note in the soundtrack has its own reason to be inside a fatal, exoteric order. A dark impressionistic opera, written and directed by Doris Norton with a view as usual extremely far away from commercial issues, aiming towards fantastic communication through symbols…. and to the viewer’s cerebral stimulation reached by awakening doubts.
Focusing o?n the single frames we can notice how enormous is the psychological and figurative density of this extra-human (or… praeternatural) message. Being super-individual and exerting o?n people a possessive power filling the soul with a cognitive instance… this is a fragment of the concept beyond "Magic Ritual". Magic interest is deep in the human soul as fear and fascination for mysterious things are.
The author, besides the pretty musical episodes in this opera linked to Antonius Rex and their o?ne-of-a-kind live rituals, can give the viewer a mystic feeling, a desire for a spiritual research passing through the epidermic, fragile essence of matter, sitting o?n the new throne the feminine figure that, long frightened by a inhuman science that – trying to set the human spirit free – ended up destroying humanity, can aim to regain its mediatic essence.
The video, with constantly "dark" tones, heavy colours, strange figures grimly overlapping, also enjoys a perfect synchronicity with a nearly maniacal sound and an editing displaying a great personal style.

The soundtrack

Composed by Antonio Bartoccetti and arranged by Doris Norton exclusively for the video, the track called MAGIC RITUAL has been recorded in 1990 in Romania, in Monika Tasnad’s studio... an abyssal suite longer than 26 minutes. 15 years after its recording (only o?n tape), this work appears the absolute vanguard in contents and form, testifying o?nce again the incomparable style have along with their being always against what’s obvious and expected.

In 1990, in the bloom of the electronic age, the two leaders choose an analogical console they found in their new Romanian collaborator’s studio. Great classic-like scores, great sensations, an absolute real-time feeling to drag the viewer/listener in the deepest abysses of his/her own spirituality.

Once again the new, previously unreleased suite (printed for the first time by Black Widow and editorially licensed worldwide by Musik Research to the major Warner Chappell) is a global fusion, a dark carriage in the night in which voices make reason pointless… classic dark ceremonies, infernal choirs, keyboards beyond progressive, ghastly ectoplasms and the good old Gibson SG that, as usual, will give you an incredible emotion… the magic Antonius Rex mystic drug.

The format

This opera has been published in the new DVD plus format, a single disc whose A side is a video DVD while its B side is a normal audio CD. A vinyl version will be issued in a very limited edition.

Donato Zoppo
Translation by Marco Piva.

Movimenti Prog
(october 2004)

DVD per gli Antonius Rex

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.

The video.
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.

The soundtrack.
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.

The format.
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.

Heavy Music Portal
(27-09-2004 )

ANTONIUS REX - "Praeternatural" CD '80/'03 (Black Widow, Ita)
Sometimes it´s hard to review cult albums. For example... if I say an unknown cult album is a masterpiece probably lots of people who don’t know the band will say that it's not as good as all that; but if I say the album is not as good, the fans of the band will think I´m a snob. Specially if you are writing about Antonius Rex there´s no happy medium: you love it or you hate it.
If you say Antonius Rex you say Jacula, probably one of the most unknown progressive Italian bands, but one of the most influential in lots of different genres. I wonder what would happened to Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster or doom metal without Jacula.
Jacula released a couple of essential albums (“In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum” (1969) and “Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus” (1972)). They quickly achieved “cult band” status thanks to Latin lyrics and the gloomy line-up that included church organ and a medium!. The leader Antonio Bartoccetti, aka Antonius Rex, keeps on releasing albums. And one of the most wanted has been this “Praeternatural”, originally released in 1980 and now re-released by Black Widow. The musicians here are Bartoccetti (vocals, guitars, bass) and Doris Norton (keyboards, drums).
“Praeternatural´s” music follows the path of Jacula and the (again) essential Antonius´ solo albums, mainly “Semper Arcum Tendit Rex” (1974) or “Anno Demoni” (1979). That is, macabre and alarming cinematographic music, with a tension and variation that hypnotizes the listener.
And here we have all those elements: a macabre “Helloween” (10:08) with string arrangements that transports us to The Omen alternated with riffs a la Iommi or Black Widow (the band, not the label); a minimalist –almost childish- “Falsum et Violencia” (2:07); the tense “Praeternatural” (8:48), that ends with a crazy guitar solo wrapped by lots of organs; the cold and almost ritual beauty of “Capturing Universe” (10:47) and its sounds of Arp Odissey and Fairlight; or the opressive and film atmosphere of “Invisible Force” (11:12). The closing track, “Vox Populi” (8:42), is very funny – and unimportant – because it´s only the story of Jacula and Antonius Rex with the sound of the wind as background.
If you like horror movies, the windy winter nights, and Goblin´s music, I´m sure you´ll enjoy “Praeternatural” a lot, and you´ll notice that everything have been already invented. Those who think that dark-progressive is a new genre are completely wrong. Anyway I think you should listen to Jacula´s albums first… this style is very “particular” and perhaps it´s not your cup of tea.

Alfonso Algora


ANTONIUS REX - "Praeternatural" CD '80/'03 (Black Widow, Ita) - It's funny, what some people think is scary. Some people think "Jeepers Creepers II" is scary. I think "Flatliners" is scary. Some people think Marilyn Manson is scary. I think Charles Manson is scary. Some people think Rob Zombie is scary. I think ANTONIUS REX is scary. Really, let's face it. I've got a hell of a lot of albums in my collection that have Satan, goats, pentagrams, devilish intros and assorted halloween tricks all over and on 'em and yet I don't bat an eye playing 'em at 2 in the morning with the lights out & nobody else home. I'm more concerned about when the next good guitar solo is coming up! But, ANTONIUS REX and this 1980 album, so graciously re-released by Black Widow, well, this scares me. This is music played by 2 individuals, Antonio Bartoccetti and Doris Norton and it is some of the very most atmospheric, evil and spine-tingling stuff you're ever going to hear. This duo does not rush anything and, in doing so, they set up moods that will not only give you unmitigated chills but will impress you musically at the same time. Combining guitar, bass, keys, drums and vocals often in Latin, the effect is not anything like the typical vaudeville act of a lot of so-called dark metal. This is far deeper stuff, the kind of thing that quietly scratches the surface, then slowly & methodically inserts a gnarled claw under your skin and crawls into your bloodstream, eventually making it's way to your brain and corrupting it with thoughts of tension, impending harm and true black horror. The coolest thing about this album is the way it leads you in, summoning you with music nearly medieval in nature, conjuring up images of an old, oaken & stone church at midnight and then suddenly it takes off, born on the wings of a snarling Gibson SG solo that for all the world could be Vincent McAllister in the prime Pentagram days. 7 cuts of beautifully dark music will haunt you in the form of an album too rare to find on vinyl anymore. Thanks to Black Widow, however, the gem is at our disposal and there's news of a new ANTONIUS REX work in the pipeline. Life is good. Be very afraid.


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 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
changes anywhere.

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
electronic keyboards.
* 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

Spooky, gloomy soundtrack-style darkness from this long-running and respected Italian entity. Oringally released in 1980, this reminds of a cross between Devil Doll's most subtle moments, the darkest Tangerine Dream stuff and the more musical artists on t.

Antonius Rex, Praeternatural (2003) - METAL - Black Widow Records - durata: 54 minuti - giudizio:

Praeternatural è stato pubblicato originariamente nel 1980. Da tempo esaurito, ha rivisto la luce nel novembre 2003 dopo oltre vent’anni d’oblio, grazie alla label genovese Black Widow. Possiamo così godere dell’oscuro, ultimo (per ora) capitolo del viaggio di Antonius Rex nella parte più recondita dell’animo umano.

Accostarsi a un’opera di Antonius Rex non è semplice. Bisogna sgombrare la mente da qualsiasi pensiero, permetterle di librarsi nel nulla, farla galleggiare nel mare di note lasciando che la parte crepuscolare del nostro cervello compia un vero e proprio viaggio nella parte più cupa dell'inconscio.
Entrare nel mondo di Antonius Rex è anche trascendere il significato stesso della forma canzone. La parola ha la sua importanza, e per questo è centellinata come un nettare troppo prezioso perché sia sprecato con inutili voli pindarici. Pochi versi, oscuri e criptici, pensati e declamati per far riflettere. Parole incastonate in un tessuto sonoro ricamato dalle tastiere di Doris Norton e abbellite dagli orpelli chitarristici di Antonio Bartoccetti. Non c’è pace e non c’è serenità dentro questo disco, ma un unico, inquietante senso di claustrofobia. Le sette canzoni che compongono l’album sembrano avere l’oscuro potere di amplificare le nostre paure e può accadere che il senso di disagio sprigionato dal diabolico intreccio sonoro renda l’ascolto a tratti insostenibile.
Un dark rock sinfonico inquietante e originale con sporadici richiami ai Black Sabbath riscontrabili in alcuni riff di chitarra, citazioni di colonne sonore come quella di Halloween di John Carpenter in Falsum Et Violentia e le divagazioni fusion che sfociano in una dance precoce per quegli anni (siamo nel 1980) come nel finale della titletrack, sono alcuni tasselli di un’opera difficilmente catalogabile e che richiede svariati ascolti prima di essere pienamente apprezzata.

Un lavoro difficile, dalle mille sfaccettature che può essere visto come mera colonna sonora horror o come un catalizzatore di energia meditativa. Questo è, infatti, il vero scopo del progetto Antonius Rex: aprire il varco latente nella nostra mente verso la conoscenza e la saggezza. Un percorso artistico/esoterico tortuoso ma affascinante, solo per pochi eletti.
Voi, Antonius Rex e il buio.
Autore: VeraJ

ANTONIUS REX - Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex

C'est à la découverte d'un précurseur génial et méconnu du rock progressif gothique que vous invite le label Black Widow avec cette superbe réédition.
Petit flash-back: Milan, fin des années '60, Antonio Bartoccetti, un guitariste, fonde, avec la claviériste Doris Norton, un groupe baptisé Antonius Rex & Jacula (qui, plus tard, devient simplement Antonius Rex). Leur style musical est alors totalement inédit: une oeuvre sombre, inspirée par l'ésotérisme et le satanisme, mettant en musique des textes dictés par des médiums, des invocations démoniaques ou des formules d'exorcisme... Cette approche est tout à fait en dehors de l'air du temps: on est en pleine période post-hippie et la musique se doit d'être libératrice, positive et colorée. Le pressage des trois premiers albums sera d'ailleurs limité à quelques centaines d'exemplaires et, à l'époque, seuls quelques dizaines se vendront, surtout dans le cercle des adeptes des messes noires. Alors qu'en 1980, la démarche d'Antonius Rex commence enfin à intéresser quelque peu les médias et le public rock, Bartoccetti décide de saborder le navire, préservant ainsi son image d'artiste maudit.
Troisième album d'Antonius Rex, Neque Semper... a été enregistré en 1974 et constitue l'œuvre la plus aboutie du Roi Antoine. Outre Bartoccetti (guitare, basse et voix) et sa complice Norton (piano, grandes orgues et synthé), on y retrouve un certain Albert Goodman, riche châtelain anglais, passionné d'ésotérisme et de percussions, qui finança la réalisation du disque en contrepartie de sa participation (Goodman mourut quelques années plus tard dans des conditions assez étranges, ajoutant à l'aura de mystère entourant ce disque). Disons le d'emblée, ce CD est un véritable chef d'œuvre du genre que tout amoureux de musique gothique se doit enfin de découvrir. L'orgue, omniprésent, crée une ambiance mystique, le piano fait monter la tension et tend les nerfs de l'auditeur tandis qu'une guitare plombée ajoute à la lourdeur de l'atmosphère. La voix grave de Bartoccetti psalmodie des textes maudits, les notes de synthé (du bon vieux Moog des seventies) fusent comme des feux-follets et, derrière tout cela, résonnent les coups de boutoir des percussions. Les silences sont pesants, déchirés de sons inquiétants. On sent qu'il va se passer quelque chose... C'est véritablement du grand spectacle pour amateurs de sensations. A consommer dans la pénombre (dans l'obscurité pour les plus intrépides) et à volume sonore élevé !
Particulièrement bien enregistré (et remasterisé), ce disque étonnant n'a, en 30 ans, pas pris une ride et a assurément sa place dans la discothèque de tout amateur de musique sombre. Ne le ratez pas !


La storia in sintesi: pochi gruppi come gli Antonius Rex sono stati fondamentali nella storia della musica italiana. Il gruppo viene fondato dal musicista marchigiano Antonio Bartoccetti nel 1973, dopo la pubblicazione di alcuni vinili di puro culto con il precedente progetto Jacula. Per sette fruttuosissimi anni la band (formata da Antonio e Doris Norton) è impegnata nella registrazione di ben cinque lp, toccando più volte il proprio acme compositivo con lavori come 'Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex', 'Anno Demoni' e 'Praeternatural'. La matrice musicale della band muta pelle incessantemente ma, tuttavia, rimangono punti cardini della stessa un misticismo reiterato nel tempo, messaggi simbolici ed allegorie fantasmagoriche, mistero, occulto ed imprescindibili elementi progressive, dark e noise. Il tutto per una parabola artistica che ha lasciato il segno, assieme ad altri musicisti fondamentali quali Il Balletto Di Bronzo e La Nuova Idea, tra generazioni di nuovi musicisti.

Un encomio praticamente infinito va alla Black Widow Records, curatrice di alcune ristampe fondamentali degli Antonius Rex (tra queste anche il capolavoro per antonomasia 'Anno Demoni'), se la ristampa dell'ultimo capitolo della saga, ovvero 'Praeternatural', torna a nuova vita grazie ad un lavoro di re-mastering praticamente perfetto. Un lavoro di capitale importanza, certo, e proprio per questo ancora attuale nonostante i 24 anni trascorsi dalla sua data di pubblicazione, praticamente un manifesto di come si possa suonare musica minimale (ovvero priva di ridondanze) e simbolica in una maniera che, ancora oggi, può essere definita avant-garde. Sette piccole gemme di rara bellezza per un minutaggio totale che abbonda i cinquanta minuti di musica, frammezzata da frasi ed interventi vocali subliminali e decisamente profetici nella forma e negli intenti. Uno stile inconfutabilmente innovativo condiziona questo come quasi tutti gli album della band (a mio avviso sfuggono alla cerchia 'Zora' e 'Rafelun', i due capitoli più redditizi…), improntato su basi di tastiera e synth oscuri e letteralmente apocalittici, incursioni di chitarra acustica, sezione ritmica molto 'teatrale' e splendide trame di chitarra solista molto progressive, centellinate con maestria da un Bartoccetti decisamente ispirato e precursore. A tutto questo, poi, si aggiungono messaggi vocali in forma recitata decisamente stranianti e minimali, sintomo questo di quanto la band tenesse al lato simbolico interpretativo dei propri messaggi. Un' amalgama musicale che ha tracciato la via, probabilmente riscotendo indifferenza, censura e chissà cos'altro in un periodo storico in cui ancora non si era pronti ad accogliere personaggi 'veramente malvagi' come il reverendo M. Manson.

'Praeternatural' è un lavoro che, come quasi tutte le composizioni degli Antonius Rex, si colloca al di fuori del tempo, in una dimensione talmente lontana da certe formule standardizzate di fare musica che è per questo che, tutt'ora, rimane concettualmente avanti. 'Halloween', Praeternatural', 'Capturing Universe'… tutti episodi rimarchevoli di protervia musicale, nel suo lato più artistico e comunicativo. Brani fondamentali di un ultimo colpo di coda degno, evidentemente, di porre fine al mito che tutt'ora prosegue tra i maniaci del collezionismo e non solo. Un lavoro che, come pochi in passato, è stato tanto fondamentale… Il consiglio, comunque, è quello di precedere a questo opus l'ascolto di 'Anno Demoni' e ' Neque Semper Arcum Tendit Rex', entrambi ristampati dalla Black Widow Records.

Maurizio Gabelli