Thursday, 29 September 2011

A BAND WITH NO NAME

SENZA NOME (the name of the band can be translated into English as “without a name” or “nameless”) are a young and very promising progressive band that was formed in 2003 on the initiative of Emanuele De Marzi and Stefano Onorati. They come from Marino, a small town near Rome in an area called Castelli Romani, the same small town that gave us Il Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. After an intense live activity featuring a particular theatrical approach, in 2008 they released a very interesting self-produced eponymous debut album. Their main influences are the Italian prog masters of the early seventies as BMS, PFM and Area but they add an original touch and poetical lyrics. The present line up features Emanuele De Marzi (vocals, guitar), Stefano Onorati (keyboards), Pierfrancesco Portelli (bass), Mirko G. Mazza (guitar) and Aurora Di Rocco (drums).

Senza Nome with Davide "Jimmy" Spitaleri and Rodolfo Maltese

The opener “Illusioni di un’anima lontana” (Dreams of a distant soul) is a kind of suite divided in three parts. On the first part “Tesi” (Thesis) you can perceive BMS influences melting in a dreamy acoustic ballad (but the quality of Francesco Di Giacomo’s vocals here is clearly missing!). “She’s so far / Her eyes are immense / And there are no borders / She can be everywhere she wants / Through the mountains / Or along the desert / This world is too small / For her dreams...”. The second part, the instrumental “Antitesi” (Antithesis), suddenly breaks  the charm with an aggressive “keyboards attack” (here BMS influences are even stronger) while on the third part “Sintesi” (Synthesis) a Latin rhythm is combined with interesting piano patterns... “She’s so far / Sometimes I feel pity for her / For her way of travelling and dreaming / For her way of fighting and hoping / For the way she deceives herself / Trying to change a world that cannot get better...”. Well, good musical ideas but, perhaps, a little bit confused.



The next track “Passi” (Steps) is a beautiful simple and delicate acoustic ballad which begins with recitative vocals declaiming some passages from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel The Little Prince, it’s the episode where the fox asks to be tamed and the song is about the need to “establish ties”, deep and sincere relationships... “From now on I will be with you forever... I will feel forever your steps inside my steps... In me there’s your immensity / That will give me advice / In every single thought / In every single moment / We’ll never be alone...”.

The long, complex “Tumore” (Tumour) is probably the best track on the album, in the vein of early BMS’ epics like “R.I.P.” or “Metamorfosi”. The piece is almost completely instrumental with many changes in rhythm. The short vocal part is dramatic... “To be / To appear / To feel pain / Living a life that you’ll never know / There’s a part of me that can’t stand it / Tumour of the Universe...”.


Next comes “Non sono mai esistito” (I was never born) where the band tries to blend Latin rock rhythms “à la Santana” with philosophical lyrics about the dichotomy between reality and unreality In my opinion it’s not on the same level of the other tracks...

The long, complex “Ulisse” (Odysseus) is another great piece, featuring an epic atmosphere with lyrics inspired by the adventures of the Greek hero depicted by Homer and a recitative part freely taken from Dante Alighieri’s “Divina Commedia”. There are many changes in rhythm and mood and some very interesting instrumental breaks... Good also “Si la do” (a short instrumental in the vein of BMS’ Traccia with a touch of “Area”) and the conclusive acoustic, delicate “Sopra a un pensiero” (Upon a thought).



The album features a beautiful art cover and a booklet with pictures and lyrics: not bad at all for a completely self-produced and self-distributed work (it can be purchased directly from the official website of the band, click HERE). On the whole the album is not flawless, but I think that it’s a very good work for an emerging band that deserves credit...

Senza Nome: Senza Nome (2008). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: This band might be a leader in shaping where Italian prog goes in the future I believe, not content to simply recreate the past (even though doing that can be enjoyable enough) but to wrap it in their own confident package. It's a very impressive piece of work... (read the complete review HERE).

More info about the band: