PENTRAL is the new Brazilian band that mixes hard rock and progressive metal music, and though the two brothers Victor Lima (vocals and guitar), and Vagner Lima (drums), and their third bandmate Joe Ferry (bass) had already worked together before, under that current name they are releasing their debut album this year. Pentral has been around since last year dropping some versions of classic rock songs from iconic bands through their YouTube channel, like Queen, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. Even with all the troubles that 2020 has brought along the unprecedented global crisis caused by the pandemic, they managed to record their debut album entitled “What Lies Ahead Of Us”, and its Studio Sessions are available throughout their social media posts, with bits of the 10 songs. The power trio music goes from progressive rock foundations to the heaviness of traditional and contemporary metal bands, without losing their links to the vibrant Brazilian groove and its diverse harmony. Their debut album “What Lies Ahead Of Us” has been released on May 7th.
Today, just a little over a week after our recent video premiere for the song “No Real Colour In Souls”, we’re giving you a deep insight into the band’s work, their new album “What Lies Ahead of Us”, Brazilian independent music scene, other bands worth a check and PENRAL’s special of Top 10 songs to understand progressive rock!
Words by PENTRAL
“𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐿𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝐴ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑈𝑠” 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑝𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑎 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑦 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝐵𝑟𝑎𝑧𝑖𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑.
A couple who lives in the woods gives birth to a child among the threat of the beast – which is pretty much the human being itself – interested in destroying the rainforest and making money with that. The woman has premonitions about the sad ending. Eventually, they have to run to survive as the invaders arrive. In the city, the characters have to deal with racism, selfishness, prejudice, and indifference.
“Silent Trees” is the first single and the first chapter, and it’s a song that describes the trees who “talk” with the woman telling her to run away, protect her kid and warn her about all the suffering and sorrow that are to come, caused by greed. The trees can only witness the entire drama and warn humans who live in the woods of the danger.
𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑖𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑎 “𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛” 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑏𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷 𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡.
But it kind of fits the current reality we´re going through. This pandemic is the outcome of the unfriendly way we’ve been treating our environment and ourselves as well, and it served to expose our insensitivity, our lack of empathy. It’s a story about a man and a woman who lives in the woods. The forest is invaded by a group of mercenaries (pretty common in Brazil) in order to burn the woods down and make money with that, the man is killed, the woman manages to survive and she is pregnant, then she gives birth to a girl, and They try to survive in the city, experiencing racism, violence, hunger, selfishness, indifference.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 – 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟.
So, the elements of the story – environment being destroyed, people suffering discrimination by the color of their skin, by the place where they came from, being selfish and violent for the sake of their own interests and prejudices, politics and religion abuse and extremism and the only way I believe things could be solved – the power of love.
The album is like a journey of the three characters (a woman, a man, and their kid) passing through all the issues I’m talking about in the lyrics of the ten songs of this first album. There’s a “portal” (like a passage to another world – Pentral stands for Spirit…) that kind of connects the old and the new, the past and the future, and that is present in the album cover and on some of the music videos. Let me tell you that the first song “Silent Trees” starts with a “peace mantra” from Hinduism called “Om Shanti”, like if “the trees” would be crying for help and peace…
The silent Trees are the main witnesses of destruction caused by human greed. They try to “help” and protect the people who live in the forest, but they cannot withstand the fire’s power. The “beast” is the human being who kills and destroy everything to get richness without thinking about the future and its consequences.
All My Wounds
The Woman who is pregnant ran away from the forest and try to keep herself sane, and to heal her deep physical and spiritual wounds. This song talks about the wounds caused by greed and the desperate need to find “a medicine” to deal with that.
It talks about what we have in our daily lives – “look after oneself and leave others to their fate”. The woman and her kid notice how tough is their lives in the middle of a competitive and aggressive environment controlled by the owner’s power.
Letters From Nowhere
Like If the man has bequeathed some writings just before He got killed, asking the youth to pay attention to the need to get together and push for their right to have a “worthy life”.
The Shell I’m Living In
They have no perspective. Everything is toughness and deprivation. Woman and kid are living like “zombies”, Living in a Shell…
No Real Colour in Souls
It talks about racism, of all sorts, the feeling they have (woman and kid) that nobody wants to be even close just because of the color of their skin. It’s a Strong declaration against racism, the lives were lost fighting against it and the message that the soul we all have has no color at all.
A Gift From God
It talks about the true love – the love a mother has for her kid. Unconditional love.
Aiming For The Sun
It’s the most aggressive one. The Woman and kid try to protect themselves from the danger of the hostile society they have to face to stay alive.
Are You Satisfied?
It talks about eugenics, like if some “category of people” deserve to live without dignity and under constant oppression, violence, and indifference. The chosen ones should receive the greater benefits just because they are entitled to…
It’s the end of the journey (or the beginning of the next one…). It talks about bigotry, all forms of domination – politics, religion, the cult of personality, like if the woman and the kid have faced all sort of false prophets…The evil and manipulated representation of God.
Asked about their local independent music and scene and the impact of the COVID pandemic on their local music scene, PENTRAL says that “In Brazil, the government, unfortunately, disbelieves Science and many of the casualties caused by the Pandemic could have been prevented if the things had been taken more seriously, so our vaccines are way late and the majority of our population is still exposed to the Virus. Culture and music in general – specially Rock Music – are not protected, nor stimulated.”
“Many venues have closed for good. Many acts have simply given up. Musicians and everyone who used to get their income from music, are struggling to survive as all the Live Concerts and Live Music is still shut down and streaming pays very low values. We still have people making great rock music here, even with all these difficulties, like Torture Squad, Krisiun, and the eternal Sepultura.”
𝐵𝑟𝑎𝑧𝑖𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑏𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑛’𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑡 𝑎ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑢𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑠.
“Violence, racism, and all sort of indignity have to be faced with words, consciousness, and serious attitude for us all, no matter where we come from. The pandemic just proved that what happens with one people affects the four corners of the globe. Let the music shine on our minds and bring us together to the good fight in the name of our present and our future.”
Sonic wise, for other music that caught the band’s attention, we asked PENTRAL to give us their best picks, as their essential progressive rock offerings, and here’s what we got:
“Puscifer has dropped an awesome album in 2020 called “Existential Reckoning”, which is a wonderful piece of music with tons of great tracks, atmosphere, synth rock and a wide range of sounds and mysterious characters. It’s literally a sound journey that deserves to be experienced.”
“Killer be Killed released a heavy amazing album in 2020 called “Reluctant Hero” which is a punch right in the face – heavy, melodic, and groovy. It’s their second album and they have proved consistency and such impressive chemistry among musicians coming from different musical backgrounds.”
“Paradise Lost dropped a brilliant album in 2020 as well. “Obsidian” is heavy, dark, intense, and mostly important – unique. Well constructed and memorable songs. The doom metal masters are back. Loved it!”
Progressive Rock Music is an essential part of Pentral’s music.
“We’re pretty much into Heavy songs, but love to let it flow like it has no boundaries, no frontiers.” – comments the band.
“It doesn’t need necessarily to be a long song, but it gotta have enough room for experimentation and unpredictability which is present on the ten songs above mentioned. Even with Pentral being just a power trio, with no keyboard player on stage many of the ideas that come from my mind are born into this atmosphere of symphonic and sythn psychedelic voyages I try to emulate with the guitar and even with the voice. That’s where my passion for acoustic guitar comes from as well.”
“The following list just emphasizes the progressive bands that had a bigger impact on Pentral’s music, not being a sequence of what is better. The love for Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Goblin, Tangerine Dream, ELP, Pink Floyd etc is the same. They broke up the rules for the sake of great music, and this is what really matters!”
TOP 10 SONGS TO UNDERSTAND PROGRESSIVE ROCK:
- CLOSE TO THE EDGE – YES
- SUPPER’S READY – GENESIS
- 21st SCHIZOID CENTURY MAN – KING CRIMSON
- ECHOES – PINK FLOYD
- FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN – ELP
- KILLER – VAN DER GRAAF
- SCHOOLDAYS – GENTLE GIANT
- SUSPIRIA – GOBLIN
- STRATOSFEAR – TANGERINE DREAM
- SPARTACUS – TRIUMVIRAT
Playlist – Heavy Progressive Classics:
Some of the acts which were the pioneers of the progressive rock movement back in 1960’s and 1970’s established some heavier paths to be followed by hard rock and metal bands that grab this influence and reached it to a higher level of weight and attitude. This playlist tries to set a common ground between the first, the second and the third way of what we call Heavy Progressive Rock Music.
- FOCUS – HOCUS POCUS
- AQUALUNG – JETHRO TULL
- NATURAL SCIENCE – RUSH
- EYES OF A STRANGER – QUEENSRYCHE
- THE UNKNOWN KNOWS – VOIVOD
- IN THE NEW AGE – KING’S X
- PARABOLA – TOOL
- TO TAME A LAND – IRON MAIDEN
- CARRY ON WAYWARD SON – KANSAS
- GUARDIAN – FATES WARNING