Wednesday, 24 February 2021

A THUNDERING SILENCE

 Quel che non dici is the first full length album by Sicilian band ArcaMiri and it was released in 2019 with a consolidated line up featuring Vincenzo Arisco (drums), Peppe Capodieci (bass), Simona Minniti (vocals, synthesizers) and Ivan Ricciardi (piano, synthesizers). It confirms all the good qualities of their previous debut EP, Contatto (2018), with an elegant mix of classical influences, avant-garde, jazz and progressive rock sprinkled with a touch of electronica and various Mediterranean flavours that could recall different bands and artists such as Opus Avantra, Matia Bazar or Franco Battiato...


 


The opener “L’adesso” (Right now) blends electronica and rock and every now and again could recall the clever early eighties synth pop of Matia Bazar. It’s a disquieting piece where the music and lyrics evoke the painful contrast between illusions and reality and the need to clash against the obstacles of life to understand where is the good and the evil...


The title track, “Quel che non dici” (What you don’t say), starts by a delicate piano passage and deals with the difficulty to express your inner feelings and the effort to hide your troubles from the eyes of the world. The music and lyrics here conjure up the image of a thundering silence that rages like a hurricane under your skin, echoing in the void and slowly killing you...





The dark “Inquietudo” (Restlessness) alternates narrative, theatrical vocals and high pitched, obliques melodies while the music and the poetical lyrics depict a path closed in a circle and a vortex of words, a mysterious shape wandering in a labyrinth of inner troubles and the silent, desperate screams of a woman searching for peace...

The bittersweet “Ballata (di una vecchia puttana)” (Ballad of an old whore) draws the portray of a woman hardened by a difficult life who doesn’t long for redemption but is tired to be judged by people and to get hurt by poisonous tongues and self-righteous looks...



“Piove” (It rains) starts with a nervous drum solo and blends frenzied passages and calmer, melancholic parts where the soaring, operatic vocals evoke a fall of painful memories and obscure desires...

The delicate, dreamy lieder “Dentro una goccia” (Inside a drop) closes the album describing a metaphorical journey inside a drop of dew falling down from the sky where you’re just waiting for a miracle, searching for your lost time, beyond tears and regrets, until the earth swallows your ethereal body...

On the whole, a very good album, challenging and full of nuances, but that needs more than a spin to be completely appreciated...

Have a try! You can listen to the complete album HERE

More info:
https://www.facebook.com/arcamiri/



Monday, 8 February 2021

AWESOME LYSERGIC DREAM INNOVATION

Hailing from Ravenna, Aldi dallo Spazio came to life in 2015 with the aim of blending together different musical influences. According to the band, the first part of the name is the acronym of Awesome Lysergic Dream Innovation but psychedelia and space rock are only two of the many elements of their sound that draws inspiration also from seventies classic rock and Italian prog bands such as PFM or Procession. In 2017 the band digitally self released a first version of their debut album entitled Quasar with a line up featuring Dario Federici (vocals, keyboards), Simone Sgarzi (guitar), Davide Mosca (guitar), Marco Braschi (bass) and Lorenzo Guardigli (drums) plus the guest Marco Zoli (sax) on two tracks. In 2019 the album was remixed, remastered and re-released on the independent label Jolly Roger Records. The art work by Federico Espositi tries to capture the spirit of the musical content with a painting that represents the Big Mother, responsible of creation and destruction... 
 
 

The opener “Long Time Lover” starts with a charming crescendo and a rhythm of bolero that progressively veers to a kind of electric tarantella that could recall PFM. The central part is closer to classic rock while the lyrics tell of a complex relationship, a spell that binds two lovers in an endless embrace of love and pain, joys and fears, dreams and tears. It takes time to understand the strange laws of this mutual, fatal attraction... 
 
The epic “The Distance” starts softly with a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere while the vocals remind me slightly of Procession’s debut album. The music and lyrics evoke a kind of spiritual, psychedelic journey through space and time. Far away, beyond the light and the horizon you have to search for your roots to understand who are you... Some narrative parts in Romagnol dialect and Italian add a particular touch of colour evoking old songs soaring from the past and mystical landscapes on the banks of the unknown... 
 

 
“Little Piggy Will” describes a peculiar hazy dream crowded with strange characters, floating sensations, touches of psychedelia and exotic Oriental flavours while the following “Santana (A Freedom Song)”, tells of a kind of quest for peace and love with a nice, colourful choice of sounds on the border between jazz, progressive and Latin rhythms... 
 
The long “Epiphany” opens with the voice of Bertrand Russell, a short excerpt from a 1959 interview with BBC where the philosopher gives an advice to future generations, wise words that are still valid today: “I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral... Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed but look only, and solely, at what are the facts... I should say love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world which is getting more and more closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don't like... We must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet...”. Then, as the music takes the listener on a trip to the dark side of the moon, the reflective lyrics invite you to look in the mirror and search for something worth to live for... 
 
Aldi dallo Spazio 2018

 
After a short break, the CD version features an untitled ghost track that begins by the sound of the sea waves and a strummed acoustic guitar pattern. It’s a delicate, introspective ballad sung in Italian where the dreamy vocals evoke inner gods and the indefinite sound of immensity... A good conclusion for an album that is really worth listening to! 
 
You can listen to the complete album HERE
 
More info:



 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

FRIENDS

 Wish come from Rome and their roots date back to 1992. After some line up changes, many pauses and a long, painstaking work in their own studio, in 2019 the band finally self released a debut album entitled Stay Here My Friends with a line up featuring Piergiorgio Franceschelli (vocals), Giorgio Simonetti (guitars, bass, vocals), Salvatore Patti (keyboards) and Massimo Mercurio (drums). According to their website, this is a conceptual work revolving around the idea of friendship as a true bulwark to withstand the bumps of our daily life while the music is an interesting mix of classic rock and prog mainly drawing from seventies atmospheres although with a personal, modern touch. The cover is based on an original painting by the band’s keyboardist Salvatore Patti and tries to give an idea of the musical content... 
 
 

The dreamy opener “Like A Yes” sets the atmosphere. It’s a beautiful instrumental piece that sounds like a kind of tribute to the halcyon days of prog... The following “Deep Wish” is darker and deals with regrets and memories you can’t erase, words echoing and turning in circles that haunt you even in the middle of the night, hanging around like ghosts, driving you insane... 
 
 

“Dancing With Myself” tells in music and words of the feeling of deep, desperate solitude that experiences a man living a wavering, waning, trembling present... Then it’s the turn of “Scrambed Eggs”, a dreamy instrumental piece that alternates delicate, pastoral passages to electric diversions. 
 
Wish 2020

 
The long, complex “Church” begins by the sound of an organ solo pattern and is about a religious, mystical crises where all the established values seem to crumble. The lyrics name many times the number seven that in numerology is considered the union of the spiritual world rooted in the Holy Trinity with the material world that is based on the four elements... “Stay Here My Friends” closes the album describing friendship like a shelter in the rainy season, an antidote to the poisonous effects that everyday life can bring... 
 
On the whole, a good album even if the vocal parts in my opinion are not always up to the task... 
 
You can listen to the complete album HERE
 

Saturday, 23 January 2021

A HYMN TO LIFE

E’ is the second studio album by UT New Trolls and was released in 2015 on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records with a renewed line up featuring Gianni Belleno (drums, acoustic guitar, vocals), Maurizio Salvi (keyboards, piano, Hammond), Stefano Genti (keyboards, vocals), Claudio Cinquegrana (electric and acoustic guitar), Alessio Trapella (bass, vocals) and Umberto Dadà (vocals) plus the special guest Elisabetta Garetti (violin). The album was recorded trying to recreate the atmosphere of the early seventies with all the band playing in the same room using vintage instruments and analog recording techniques. This time the prog soul of the band prevails on its melodic vein and I’m sure that Italian prog lovers will be pleased... 
 

 
The opener “Dies Irae” starts with the violin in the foreground, then the rhythm section and the other instruments come in blending baroque music and rock while the lyrics try to convey a message of hope. The beauty of life remains, even in misfortune, and you have to look inside yourself to discover that there’s world in a grain of sand and to find the eternity in an hour… A kind of hymn to life! 
 
The long, complex “Oggi non sono spento” (Today I’m not off) begins by a long instrumental section in a jazz rock vein with Latin rock elements. You can hear a dynamic rhythm section, suggestive organ waves and an electric guitar solo that could recall Santana until the pace slackens and melodic vocals invite you to reflect about the mysterious adventure of life and urge to enjoy the day keeping the flames of your inner fire always burning... 
 

 
Cambiamenti” begins in rockier way, then the rhythm calms down and there’s a softer section where melancholic soaring vocals on an acoustic guitar arpeggio express a love for life that is stronger than regrets and disappointments. Every rose has its thorns, lies or unfaithful relationships are just thorns that can’t erase the beauty of life... Then the rhythm rises again for the finale where the lyrics invite you to get up and fight to change the world and make it better. 
 
The short, dreamy instrumental “Trullo Lungo” closes the first part of the album with a good display of keyboards in the forefront. The title refers to a picturesque village in Apulia where the band found a moment of relax and inspiration documented by some pictures that you can find in the booklet... 
 
 
Ut New Trolls on stage, 2014

The second part of the album opens with the brilliant “Cherubino”, a lively piece about a kind of psychedelic, beautiful dream where the borders between heaven and hell get blurred, sacred and profane meet each other and the cherub who stands the guard to the tree of life lower his sword and let your soul fly free, in harmony with the universe... 
 
Next comes the gorgeous instrumental “Opera Suite”, a challenging piece that blends with freshness and gusto some classical influences with the powerful energy of a rock band. Here the musicians are able to express in an effective way all their pleasure to play together... 
 

 
“Io...” (I…) is a melodic ballad about time passing by. The music and words conjure up the image of a peaceful landscape at dawn and try to express the desire of a better world where men respect each other and the environment, a world with a soul that can make the dreams come true. Life is short, so carpe diem and try to not waste your time... 
 
The beautiful instrumental “Ostinato” closes the album with a perfect exercise of style, blending again in an impeccable way classical forms and rock rhythms. The title refers to a musical term defining a short repeating element, usually only a bar or two long, though the term may also be applied to such longer repetitions as occur in a chaconne or passacaglia... (quote from the New Penguin Dictionary of Music). Anyway, this is an ostinato sui genris and there’s no room for boredom, it’s really a gran finale! 
 
On the whole, a very good album! 
 
You can listen to the complete album (plus two bonus tracks) HERE
 
More info:



 

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

SWORD AND SANDAL

The Delphic Prophecy is the third album by Gran Torino, an interesting prog band from Verona. It was released in 2020 on the French label Musea Records, seven years after their previous work Fate Of A Thousand Worlds (2013), with a renewed line up featuring the confirmed Alessio Pieri (keyboards), Gian Maria Roveda (drums) and Fabrizio Visentini (bass) with the prog veteran David Cremoni (guitars – from, among others, Moongarden and Submarine Silence) who took the place of Leonardo Freggi. According to the band, the album was conceived as a sort of soundtrack for an imaginary journey through Ancient Greek mythology and the art cover by Pablo Elices tries to depict the musical content...
 


The dreamy opener “Ondine” starts softly by a piano solo pattern, then the electric guitar takes the lead evoking dangerous, soulless creatures wandering slowly under the moon... The title refers to the water nymphs that appeared in the Aegean Sea under the form of beautiful women but in the booklet there are no liner notes with a guideline to follow, so the plot of this imaginary peplum film is up to your imagination! 
 
The mysterious “Faint Dimness” conjures up nocturnal landscapes and threatening shadows, then the disquieting “The Sibylline Oracle” evokes the feeling of an impending trick of the destiny. In the oracles the Sibyl predicts future events and here the priestess seems to prophesy disaster... 
 

 
The suggestive “From Lust To Shame” flows steadily through martial rhythms and exotic flavours while the following “A Gentle Soul” is reflective and dreamy. “After The Cure” is a piece with some echoes of new wave and a dark, Gothic sound that seems chiselled by a smith... 
 
Then the melancholic “Faded Elation” leads to title track and to the mysteries of the oracle of Delphi. “The Delphic Prophecy” is a wonderful track that every now and again recalls seventies atmospheres and black and white TV series... Then it’s the turn of the nervous “Ancient Labyrinth” where we can follow the thread of Arianna or admire Dedalo’s bold, clever plans to escape. “Ethereal Noise” closes the album with some nice soaring electric guitar parts and some hypnotic keyboard passages. 
 
On the whole, a good album, especially recommended if you like bands such as L’Ombra della Sera... 
 
You can listen to the complete album HERE
 
More info: