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Ultimate Portuguese Prog Guide

The purpose of this list is to share some of Portugal's best musical output.
1Filarmonica Fraude

1969 | The birth

Arguably, the first prog rock album made in Portugal. Epopeia is strongly influenced by Baroque pop and folk, having an elaborate 60's styled production but boasting a homely feel that undercuts any excess. Some lyrics reflect Portugal at the time, and others are based on epic poems like Homer's Odyssey, and Luís de Camões' Os Lusíadas. A key record to get into.
2Quarteto 1111
Quarteto 1111

1970 | Cid's first steps

Before turning himself into a successful radio-friendly pop songwriter, José Cid was one of prog founders in Portugal. This debut record displays Cid youth influences such as the Beatles and Beach Boys. Therefore, the music is simple and catchy.
3Petrus Castrus

1973 | Political satire

Similar to Procol Harum, Petrus Castrus mixes prog, art and pop rock. Recorded in Paris to avoid national censorship, Mestre is a quite political album, and features poems of some well-known Portuguese poets, such as Bocage, Alexandre O'Neill, Ary dos Santos, Fernando Pessoa e Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen.
4Quarteto 1111
Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas

1975 | Post-dictatorship statement

Based on José Jorge Letria's poem, José Cid deliverers a 30-minute masterpiece full of mellotron melodies. Rather a political statement, this record is like some songs paste together to form a one whole composition.
5Banda do Casaco
Dos benefícios dum vendido no reino dos bonifácios

1975 | Surrealism

The first thing about this album is how weird it is. Full of sense of humor, the music is totally unpredictable and full of experimental qualities, a mix of folk-rock with psychedelic elements. Its lyrics are so bizarre, almost everything makes no sense or have a double meaning. If you like weird stuff, this is your cup of tea.
6Carlos Alberto Vidal

1976 | Forgotten work

Carlos Alberto Vidal is known for his persona Avô Cantigas, a children music project, but he also was into prog. The music is simple, but effective, the arrangements are quite good really, and it has a little of everything: jazz, pop and art rock.
Mistérios e Maravilhas

1977 | Dramatic symphonic act

With Tolkien inspired lyrics, Mistérios e Maravilhas (or Mysteries and Wonders) is an mad journey, and one of the best albums here. Musically, its complex and long, mostly every track is instrumental. Today, Tantra is known as one of few Portuguese acts with a high musical standard.
8Jose Cid
10,000 anos depois entre Vénus e Marte

1978 | To infinity and beyond

Probably, the most well-known Portuguese prog album, and the only one featuring in some "Best Prog Albums of All Time" lists. Cid take us on a space journey and nails every song. This is a pretty much a flawless album, and Cid at his best, his prog talent shines like never did before. He goes from symphonic prog to hard rock, passing through some Classical influences. A must for every prog fan.
9Petrus Castrus
Ascensão e Queda

1978 | History lesson

Despite not being an excellent album, Ascensão e Queda is quite original. The Castro brothers create a theatrical-like tale about Portugal history. The band left their art rock behind, focusing on melody and album conception, incorporating a somewhat operatic style. An unique entry.

1979 | The death

After 1980, the Portuguese music industry saw synth pop, blues-rock, post-punk and ska as the things to go. Therefore, the prog acts ended up having no space, and were viewed as outdated music and with little commercial potential. This is the reason why prog rock bands broke up or changed its sounds to a more radio-friendly one. And this record represents Portuguese prog rock's final entry.
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