“Deus lo vult” is the third album by Il Bacio della Medusa, a band from Perugia that was formed in 2002. It was self-released in 2012 with the help of Glare Art Communication and features a beautiful packaging with an art work by Licia Marino mixing photographs and drawings. Violinist Daniele Rinchi left the band after the excellent second album and now the line up is reduced to a quintet featuring Simone Cecchini (vocals, acoustic guitar, harp), Diego Petrini (drums, percussion, mellotron, organ), Federico Caprai (bass), Simone Brozzetti (electric guitar) and Eva Morelli (flute, sax, theremin). The overall sound is harder than in the previous work but in my opinion the music perfectly fits the storyline and the final result is magnificent. In fact, “Deus lo vult” is a concept album inspired by the first crusade where sarcasm and irony prevail upon epic tones. It tells the story of an unfortunate, naive lord from Umbria who leaves his land and wife in search for glory and richness in the Holy Land. Well, if I had to compare this work to a film I would say that it's definitely closer to Brancaleone at the Crusades by Mario Monicelli than to Kingdom of Heaven by Ridley Scott!
The short opener “Invocazione alle Muse” (Invocation to the Muses) sets the atmosphere with Simone Cecchini who here plays the role of a minstrel... “Let the wind blow strong / And as for magic / Let it suggest the song / Of the young Simplicio...”. On the following “Indignatio (Infedeli in Terra Santa)” (Indignatio – Infidels in the Holy Land) the rhythm rises while the music and lyrics weave a sense of organized delirium. This piece describes the atmosphere of mystic fanaticism and hysteria that leads to every religion war. The Earth seems to give birth to dark, venomous scorpions while infidels plunder and celebrate their pagan rites in the Holy Land. You can hear curses and invocations to the divine wrath... “Hurry up! Hurry up! / The whole Christianity has to rise and fight...”.
On “Urbano II bandisce la Prima Crociata” (Urban II summons the First Crusade) Simone Cecchini plays the role of pope Urban II blessing Godfrey of Bouillon and his army in an almost ludicrous way and there's a strong sense of parody. Next comes “Simplicio”, a beautiful ballad which describes the protagonist of the story on his way to the Holy Land and his meeting with an attractive girl who reads his hand and predicts him a gloomy future. She offers him shelter and love but our hero turns her down and rides on... “When he gave up counting so many suns and too many moons / He attained his destination...”.
“Deus lo vult” (God wills it) begins softly with exotic flavours in the air, the music here recalls the score of Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre. Then the rhythm suddenly rises and you can hear the battle raging and see the blood flowing in deep purple colours... “Shoot the arrow and run / Towards those towers... God wills it! / Beyond those gates / Death is waiting for you... God wills it...”.
“Verso casa” (On the way home) tells of a sad return. Simplicio is disappointed, for him there's no glory nor land nor richness since the leaders and the most powerful knights make the rules and for him there's nothing left but pain. So he comes back home with no booty but, at least, the hope to find again his faithful wife cheers him up. The final track reveals a nasty surprise... “La Beffa (Non un trono, non un regno... Solo sdegno)” (The prank – No throne, no kingdom... Only outrage) describes the moment when he finds out his spouse cheating on him. She's in bed with the local priest and Simplicio goes mad. In his final explosion of rage he's merciless and burns them alive... “Get ready the stake...”. Well, a real flamboyant finale!
Il Bacio della medusa : Deus lo vult (2012). Other opinions:
Raffaella Benvenuto-Berry: Besides the outstanding quality of the music, which successfully blends a vintage feel with a thoroughly modern allure, Il Bacio della Medusa should be commended for the painstaking attention devoted to the lyrics – though, unfortunately, non-speakers of Italian are bound to miss out on this aspect, as even the best translation is unlikely to convey the stylistic subtlety of Simone Cecchini’s work. In any case, Deus Lo Vult is undoubtedly poised to become one of the standout Italian prog releases of this first part of the 21st century. Especially recommended to fans of bands at the heavier end of the RPI spectrum (such as Osanna and the already-mentioned Balletto di Bronzo and Biglietto per l’Inferno), this intense slice of top-notch musical skill and exquisitely Italian drama will probably be mentioned in many “best of 2012” lists at the end of the year... (read the complete review HERE)