HOLOCENO is the debut LP by the Brazilian wicked prog rock band Papangu.
Seven years in the making, Papangu’s first record is a concept album inspired by ecological eschatology and the modernist literature of Northeastern Brazil—a hardy, arid region historically plagued by inequality and violence.
Sung in the band’s native Portuguese, the album tells the tale of a cangaceiro—a bandit from Brazil’s backlands—who, after being shown a vision of his fate, tries to change it through ritual sacrifice. When his botched attempt backfires and sets off a chain reaction, the protagonist seeks a Faustian pact in order to stop the forthcoming environmental disaster.
Blending influences from sludge and zeuhl, Papangu’s fluid sound is sieved through an unique mesh of prog, stoner rock, post rock and the rhythms of Northeastern Brazil, sounding as if Mastodon and mid-70s King Crimson had teamed up to concoct a Magma-like soundtrack to an anti-Bolsonaro play by Ariano Suassuna.
Sludgy riffs are augmented by unusual song structures, syncopated rhythms, unhuman drumming—courtesy of Torstein Lofthus, the juggernaut behind prog legends Elephant9 and blackjazzers SHINING—and guest performances by Brazilian keyboard mages Uaná Barreto and Luis Souto Maior on Minimoog and Prophet-6, along with Seven Impale’s saxophonist Benjamin Mekki Widerøe.