Mogador's third album, “Absinthe Tales Of Romantic Visions”, was self-released in 2012 with a renewed line up featuring Richard George Allen (drums, percussion, vocals), Luca Briccola (guitars, keyboards, bass, flute, backing vocals) and Marco Terzaghi (vocals) plus some guests. It's a kind of concept album dedicated to some Romantic artists, painters and poets, who in some way drew their inspiration from absinthe, an anise-flavoured spirit with a natural green colour. In my opinion, the result is pretty good! The band confirm here all the good promises of their first two albums and if you like bands such as Genesis, Gentle Giant or Yes I'm sure you'll find this work very interesting.
The opener “Whispers To The Moon” is a beautiful instrumental piece that was inspired by Two Men Contemplating The Moon, a 1819 painting by German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. It begins softly, with a delicate piano pattern and the atmosphere is dreamy. It fades into “Dreamland”, a piece in the same mood where the band interpret a poem by Christina Rossetti... “Where sunless rivers weep their waves into the deep / She sleeps a charmed sleep: awake her not / Led by a single star, she came from very far / To seek where shadows are her pleasant lot...”.
|C.S. Friedrich, Two Men Contemplating The Moon, 1819|
The following “She Sat And Sang” is taken from another poem by Christina Rossetti and features two special guests: singer-songwriter Agnes Milewski (female vocals) and Filippo Pedretti (violin). It's a beautiful acoustic ballad that could recall bands such the Pentangle or Renaissance... “I wept for memory / She sang for hope that is so fair / My tears were swallowed by the sea / Her songs died in the wind...”.
“We Never Said Farewell” is a short, “gentle” track featuring lyrics taken from a poem by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge... “Two islands that the roaring sea divide / Are not more far apart...”. The following piece “Where Were Ye All?” recalls Yes and features lyrics taken from a poem by Emily Bronte drenched in dark nostalgia... “O come with me thus ran the song / The moon is bright in Autumn's sky / And thou hast toiled and laboured long / With aching head and weary eye...”.
|C.J. Vernet: The Shipwreck, 1772|
“Hardships” is my favourite track on this album. It was inspired by a 1772 painting by Claude Joseph Vernet called The Shipwreck. In my opinion here the band managed to capture the spirit of the evocative, powerful images in music and words in an excellent way – by the way, this track features original lyrics written by Richard Allen – and I'm sure that lovers of Yes and Gentle Giant will appreciate it... “Pray for the men who dared to dream / Shed no tears, the sea washed them clean / Say to those men, that you shared their dream / They paid so dear, right or wrong as it seems...”.
“Incantation Of The Muse” is short instrumental track for that leads to “The Sick Rose”, another nice short track featuring lyrics taken from a poem by William Blake and interpreted by the guest vocalist Jon Davison... “O Rose thou art sick / The invisible worm / That flies in the night / In the howling storm / Has found out thy bed / Of crimson joy / And his dark secret love / Does thy life destroy...”.
The introspective “Alone” is taken from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe and features the guest Gabriele Bernasconi on vocals. Another Italian prog band, Goad, took inspiration from the same poem and it could be interesting compare the two different versions. Well, Mogador's version is in some way more solemn and brighter but I like both versions and, of course, the poetry that inspired them.
The dark, tense “Song Of Saul Before His Last Battle” is taken from a poem by Lord Byron. It's a beautiful piece full of obscure energy... “Farewell to others, but never we part / Heir to my royalty, son of my heart! / Bright is the diadem, boundless the sway / Or kingly the death, which awaits us to-day!”. Then comes the short, melancholic “Le Poison”, taken from a poem by Charles Baudelaire featuring recitative French vocals provided by the guest Curzio Galante.
The long, complex “Prometheus” is another excellent piece featuring lyrics taken from an epic poem by Lord Byron. The poem is about Prometheus, a famous mythological character of the Ancient Greek, the titan who brought fire to men and was condemned by Zeus to be eternally chained to a rock having his liver eaten daily by an eagle. For Romantic artists, such as Byron, Prometheus represented the rebel who resisted all forms of institutional tyranny and here the band give life to the myth in a convincing way with an amazing suite rich in ideas and full of fiery energy... “Titan! To thee the strife was given / Between the suffering and the will / Which torture where they cannot kill...”. A short bonus track, “Absinthe Rag”, a joyful instrumental piece for piano solo, concludes an album that in my opinion is really worth listening to.