Il Fauno di Marmo come from the province of Gorizia and began life in 2001 under the name of The Rebus. Since then the band have been very active in the local live scene, releasing two self-produced albums, The Rebus (2002) and Acroterius (2005). In 2012 they signed a deal with the independent label from Verona Andromeda Relix and changed their name into Il Fauno di Marmo, taking the place of another project of the same name bound to Andromeda Relix and formed by Erik Spedicato (drums), Roberto Vanni (guitar), Massimo Cavallari (keyboards) and Roberto Galli (bass) who split up after recording only one track, a Haikara's cover released in 2009 on a tribute album to Finnish Progressive Rock by Musea Records, Tuonen Tytar II. Well, the owner of the label, Gianni Della Cioppa, liked the name (inspired by an Italian TV miniseries from the seventies based upon the novel The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne) and, with the consent of all the people involved, gave it as a legacy to the band he had just enrolled that heartily accepted the new brand.
|Il Fauno di Marmo 2013|
Finally, in 2013 this new version of Il Fauno di Marmo (formerly known as The Rebus) released their first official album titled Canti, racconti e battaglie (Song, tales and battles) with a line up featuring Luca Sterle (vocals, flute), Valerio Colella (guitars, kazoo, backing vocals), Alberto Ballaré (bass, backing vocals), Francesco Bonavita (organ, piano, Moog, Mellotron, clavinet, bandoneon) and Luca Carboni (drums). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guests such as Simone D'Eusanio (violin), Alessandro Serravalle (guitar – from Garden Wall), Federica Sterle (vocals) and Andrea Tomasin (percussion) that contributed to enrich the sound and the result in my opinion is really good. The packaging features a nice artwork by Francesca Capone that in some way tries to capture the spirit of this work and represents a magical flower with a long stem and very deep roots. In fact, this album is the fruit of many years of hard work and musical passion and you can feel that passion from start to finish. Of course, the band's sources of inspiration are apparent and range from Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull to the old masters of the Italian progressive rock scene of the seventies but the song-writing is good and the band reveal a great personality.
The opener “Benvenuti al circo” (Welcome to the circus) comes from the repertoire of Il Treno degli Specchi, Luca and Federica Sterle's previous band that was active in the nineties but never had the chance to record an album. The music perfectly fits the lyrics and features many changes in rhythm and mood. It's about circus animals abuse... “You go to the circus and you're so happy / In your mind you have nothing but entertainment / But there's someone who's trembling in fear / Beaten, bloody and in pain... Welcome to the circus of horrors!...”. Well, animals aren’t actors or circus clowns. Yet this piece depicts a circus where the animals are forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment and tremble at the sound of a whip. While going to the circus may be a favourite pastime for many adults and children, the harsh treatment of animals here is condemned without mercy.. “How many many people can understand that an animal can feel pain?... There's so much sadness in their heart / Man is just a vile traitor...”.
The following “Madre natura” (Mother Nature) is a joyful track that recalls Jethro Tull and depicts a timeless ritual dance in honour of Mother Nature. There are children playing and people dancing in a ring, hand in hand, while the music conjures up a strong sense of positivity. Sun rays break through the sky while incense smells soar and spread all around... “Mother Nature, listen to us if you can / Look at your children, they know what is hope...”. You can find a first version of this piece on The Rebus' eponymous album from 2002.
The long, complex epic “Hop Frog” is another track composed by Luca Sterle in the nineties that here comes to a new life thanks to the contribute of all the musicians involved. It was inspired by Hop-Frog, a tale by Edgar Allan Poe set in the court of an imaginary country. It tells about the vendetta of the king's fool, a deform dwarf called Hop Frog, who, during a masked ball, with his last jester's trick sets fire to the king and his ministers dressed up in ourang-outangs costumes... “Burn, burn vile king / Burn, burn into the fire / Burn, burn vile king / In Hop Frog's stake...”. “I now see distinctly.” he said, “what manner of people these maskers are. They are a great king and his seven privy-councillors, - a king who does not scruple to strike a defenceless girl and his seven councillors who abet him in the outrage. As from myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester – And this is my last jest.
“Magic Kazoo” is a psychedelic track featuring an exotic flavour. It invites you to take a trip on a very strang spaceship and set off on an interstellar musical journey, through dazzling star lights and asteroids dancing in a ring, towards a new reality... “Maybe it's just an imagine / A voice will call me back / Maybe it's nothing but an imagine / A voice will speak to me...”.
Next comes “Nova Res”, a beautiful instrumental piece that blends psychedelia, sweet melodic lines and Latin rock. It leads to “Non mollare mai” (Never give up), a bright track full of positive energy that invites you to fight for what is really important in your life, searching for a way out from the darkness of a personal crises by leaving behind false solutions such as booze or drugs.
“La battaglia di Kosovo-Polje” (The battle of Kosovo-Polje) is a new version of a piece from The Rebus' previous album, Acroterius. It features strong ethnic influences and a martial atmosphere. It tells about the battle fought in 1389 between the Serbian army led by prince Lazar Hrebeljanovic and the invading troops of the Ottoman Empire. This battle is also known as the Battle of Blackbird's Field and is particularly important to Serbian history, tradition, and national identity... “Prince Lazar, what a silence! / Kosovo Polje cries for your people / The blackbirds are flying over the corpses / Men are dying for their Motherland / The invaders are the winners / And the crescent moon is high in the sky...”.
“Un villaggio, un'illusione” (A village, an illusion) is a nice Quella Vecchia Locanda's cover that the band interpret here with passion. It leads to conclusive epic “Dorian Gray”, inspired by Oscar Wilde's novel of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The music and lyrics depict a troubled man who has sold his soul in exchange of eternal beauty. But Death and remorse haunt him... “If you look at your portrait / You are upset, Dorian Gray / It's like a spell that blurs reality / A damned soul is growing inside you / You innocence is lost / What way will you choose? / Diabulus ita est / Demoni vocant te / That's Death behind you...”. A wonderful finale for a very interesting album!