Alberto Rigoni was born in 1981 and comes from Montebelluna, a little town in the province of Treviso. Since 2003 he as been the bass player of a prog-metal band called Twinspirits but he is a sensitive composer as well and in 2008 he released a debut solo album, “Something Different”, on the Finnish label Lion Music.
In 2011 Alberto Rigoni released a second album, “Rebirth”, with the help of many friends and some prestigious guests by the likes of Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson), John Macaluso (Ark, TNT) and Michael Manring, just to name a few. This album gained him some attention and in 2012 he self-released what can be considered his best work so far, “Three Wise Monkeys”, a concept album freely inspired by a Japanese myth evoked in an original way by the beautiful art cover by Davide Guidoni. Among the musicians that helped Alberto Rigoni this time you can find, among others, former Dream Theater's keyboardist Kevin Moore, Göran Edman and Jonas Erikson. On this album you can find prog-metal influences, of course, but also many fine melodies and a touch of jazz. The great musicianship of all the musicians involved in this work is not ostentatious in any way and the final result is a well crafted, balanced mix of passion and competence.
The short opener “Toshogu Shrine” sets a mystic atmosphere and takes you far away, to the far east, into a shrine in Nikko, in Japan. In fact, the Toshogu Shrine is one of the main attractions of this city and here, in the Sacred Stable, you can find a famous carving of the three wise monkeys, a traditional symbol in Japanese culture. Together they embody a principle: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. The instrumental “Mizaru” describes the meeting with the first monkey. Mizaru is the monkey who covers his eyes, the one who sees no evil. The music starts softly, then a more aggressive section follows, the atmosphere becomes tense, dark clouds are gathering all around you...
Next comes the title track, featuring Göran Edman on vocals. The music is aggressive, it begins with a thundering drum roll and flows like a raging river. A day dreamer is breaking all the rules, fighting for his dreams and living day by day searching for the truth, but someone warns him... “You should trust me, my friend / I know it's hard to live that way / I can tell you what's the plan for you... Three wise monkey’s golden rule / Looking the other way / Pretending that you are a fool / Cause you don’t wanna play / Wilfully turning a blind eye to all immorality...”. Then the instrumental “Kikazaru” describes the meeting with the second wise monkey. Kikazaru is the one who covers his eyes, the one who hears no evil. The atmosphere is softer, the music features some jazzy influences and a mystic mood but the pulsing bass lines suggest that something is moving undercover, a black iron man looking for his Sabbath, ready to strike like a tornado...
“Blackened Tornado” soars like a Zeppelin in the sky with its biting electric guitar riffs. The heartfelt Jonas Erikson's vocals describe the inner conflict that is storming inside the young day dreamer. Reality seems going out of his reach while he's fighting against dark winds... “I'm a victim of my own thoughts / My mind is sick and I can't go on / I can't see what's reality / It's like a nightmare living in a dream...”. Then the instrumental “Iwazaru” describes the meeting with the third wise monkey. Iwazaru is the one who covers his mouth, the one who speaks no evil. The atmosphere is dark and tension rises, no need of words for that!
“Free Falling” is about the sense of impotence that comes from the awareness that mother nature is crying and you can't help her, your are not strong enough to change the way things are going on and speaking up is pointless. Fear is growing inside you, there's no time for prayers and you have the feeling that the ground is crumbling under your feet, you're falling into the void... “Have you seen the news today? / Poisoned air is everywhere / I've seen the words before / It’s hard to see the earth bleeding / Tragic times, what can we do? / In the end there's nothing new...”.
The delicate, dreamy “Between Space And Time” comes like the calm after the storm and leads to the melancholic, reflective “Coming Home”. The day dreamer is on the way back, homeward bound, and carries on his shoulders the heavy burden of his broken dreams... “I'm coming home love, this is my home town / I've tried my wings, I lived my dream... A few more miles and then I'm done...”. The melodic final track, “Believe”, brings back a bit of optimism encouraging you to hang on your dreams and to fight for what you think is right... “I believe in you / I believe what we can do...”.
Well, all in all I think that this a really good work. Anyway, you can listen to the complete album in streaming on bandcamp.com, so have a try and judge by yourselves! Click HERE!
Alberto Rigoni: Three Wise Monkeys (2012). Other opinions:
Joe Mis: Bass players everywhere could learn a lesson from Alberto Rigoni. His eclectic mix of influences and styles proves him to be a complete musician who fully explores the limits of his instrument of choice. He is an outstanding performer whether delivering simple rhythms or pounding out complex riffs. He never neglects the melodic elements of songwriting and plays with his heart, not just his fingers. Three Wise Monkeys should be seen as a solid progressive rock-fusion “journey,” and NOT a bass player’s ego trip. Very highly recommended! (Read the complete review HERE)