Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A WONDERFUL WORKSHOP

La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore come from Benevento and began life in 2014 on the initiative of guitarist and composer Alessandro Zeoli and writer and lyricist Alfredo Martinelli. The name of the band can be loosely translated as "The Steam-Time Workshop" and their aim is to blend poetry, legends and history giving form to modern rock operas inspired by the music of bands such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme, Dream Theater, Angra, Liquid Tension Experiment, Epica, Two Steps From Hell, Porcupine Tree, Haken and many others. In 2015 the band self released a very interesting debut album entitled Il guerriero errante (The wondering warrior) with a line up featuring Alessandro Zeoli (guitar), Alfredo Martinelli (libretto and concept), Angelo D'Amelio (keyboards, sax), Angelo Santo (vocals), Gabriele Beatrice (drums), Giovanni Santamaria (guitar) and Giuseppe Barbato (bass). It's a concept album based upon a short story by Alfredo Martinelli that tells the legend of a mysterious Samnite-Lombard warrior...


The short, dreamy instrumental "Overture" sets the atmosphere drawing you into the mist of time, where the legend becomes reality... You're now in the Duchy of Benevento, in the Langobardia Minor, during the Middle-Age and you can see a brave warrior leading the army of the king out of the city walls... The following "Fumo d'anime" (Smoke of souls) evokes a battle and features marching drums and aggressive electric guitar riffs. The brave warrior leads his soldiers against the enemy and they're like a raging wave... The music and lyrics conjure up images and visions, the blood is burning in the flesh of the fighting men while the wind sweeps away dust and screams all day long. Eventually, the dark veil of the night comes down on the battlefield...



"Ordine e follia" (Order and madness) begins softly, it's the calm after the storm and you can relax for a while... Then you can hear the soaring notes of a cheerful folksy dance. In the city the people are celebrating the victory, barefoot dancers are moving in the firelight and the voices of the women have a therapeutic effect on the tired, injured soldiers... The king sees the brave warrior wondering alone in the crowd and orders him to fetch the Lady, the promised bride of the prince, and take her to the royal palace. The voice of the king is like a vortex, a lightning coming from a demon... Here the music becomes harder and heavy electric guitar riffs mark the sudden change of atmosphere... Then a delicate acoustic guitar arpeggio leads to new horizons and the rising sun...


The following "Arabeschi sentieri" (Arabesque paths) drives you through a labyrinth of narrow streets and obscure paths. The brave warrior has to escort the lady to the palace where she will be taught the rules of the court... You can feel desires drawing in the sea of life, suffocated by imperious orders while the music and lyrics evoke whirling emotions, dazzling sensations, hidden feelings. The infinite paths of life can be complex and treacherous... The warrior and the lady are victims of an ambush but they fight bravely and you can feel the sound of bloody blades breaking bones and skulls. At last the warrior and the lady escape and find a shelter in the wood on a near hill...


Next comes the suggestive "Mendicanti luridi" (Dirty beggars) that blends oriental influences and more aggressive parts. The music and lyrics depict dark shadows moving around in the wood under the mocking gaze of merciless gods sitting on their throne high in the sky. For them, men and women are nothing but grey pawns in a court game... So, the warrior and the Lady fall in love with each other, like Lancelot and Guinevere, and eventually the razor of desire tears apart the veil of hypocrisy that ties the lovers to the king's will... The following "Eterea fusione" (Ethereal fusion) marks the final pace of the betrayal evoking sounds of infinite colours that fill the silence and kill the fears. The shadows get blurred in the light while a warm hug becomes a shelter against the adversities and two breathing bodies slowly merge...

 

"Urlanti demoni" (Screaming demons) depicts in music and lyrics the vengeance of the king. To avoid scandal, he asks a powerful witch, a janara, to perform a terrible spell: the warrior is transformed into an invisible ghost and condemned to walk on the city walls for the eternity while the Lady is condemned to die and born again forever, living thousands miserable, short lives, perpetually humiliated under the gaze of her invisible lover, a man that she can't remember and can't see anymore...

"Vita sospesa" (Suspended life) is a tense track that tells about the effects of the vendetta. Nonetheless spells are not always perfect and the warrior, after centuries of desperate, vain walks on the city walls, eventually breaks the perfidious enchantment. In some way, the warrior manages to write on a very thin paper that the Lady reads: the words give back to her the memory of his lover ad they're free, at least for a moment...

The band with Lino Vairetti from Osanna

The following "Ombra di falce" (Sickle shadow) depicts in music and words the last fight between the unfortunate lovers and the wicked witch. In fact, the powerful janara is still alive and determined to carry out her terrible duty... You can see a thundering vortex of black clouds and imagine a conclusion where jealousy and hate are just two sides of the same coin... Then the delicate, dreamy instrumental closer "Finale" concludes the tale.

On the whole, a very good work full of melody and energy, bright colours and dark passages, poetry and magic... Have a try!

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

FROM VENETO...

Elisir d'Ambrosia were formed in the province of Venice in 2011 with the aim to create original music inspired by the Italian masters of progressive rock...


The current line up features Marco Causin (electric and acoustic guitars), Riccardo Brun (bass), Simone Sossai (drums, percussion) and Alessio Uliana (piano, keyboards). At the moment the band are still working on a debut album but in the meanwhile you can listen to some interesting home-recorded demos from soundcloud... Have a try!





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