Wednesday, 19 March 2014

A FINE MUSICAL BREWERY

Le Distillerie di Malto come from Ortona, in the province of Chieti, and began life in the late eighties playing covers of prog rock bands such as Jethro Tull, Genesis or King Crimson. In 2001 they self released an interesting début album featuring original compositions, Il manuale dei piccoli discorsi. In 2014, after a long hiatus, le Distillerie di Malto came finally back with a brand new album released on the French label Musea Records and titled Suono! (Sound!). The current line up features Marco Angelone (guitar), Fabiano Cudazzo (keyboards), Alessio Palizzi (drums), Fabrizio Pellicciaro (vocals, guitar) and Giuliano Torelli (bass) but two former members, Maurizio Di Tollo (drums) and Luca Latini (flute) contributed to the recording sessions and are credited as special guests. The final result of their work is absolutely worth listening to and I'm sure that Italianprog lovers will appreciate it.


The opener “Prefazione” is just a short instrumental intro with a mystical atmosphere that leads to the following “Il guardiano” (The keeper), a beautiful track that deals with environmental issues. The music and lyrics depict men ravaging the banks of lakes and rivers while Mother Nature, as for magic, starts to cry. There are new dreams, new hands at work and new faces, then pains and tears as the seasons change and rage rises. The soul of the keeper of this injured Earth is in fire, the air is polluted, the trees are dying... There's nothing to do, men are prisoners of their greediness and they will never be free without any respect for their environment.

Album cover

The long, complex “Il suono seducente del sogno” (The seducing sound of dream) is an excellent track that deals, as you can guess, with music and dreams... “Every dream comes to life in a magic castle / When the day will come, go in and don't close the door / You will find spears and shields, cold blood and mercy, the boldness of the heroes and a soaring music...”. The magic castle of music and dreams is a nice metaphor for the need of a shelter from the daily grind, but beware! The charm of those magic sounds is dangerous and you could risk to become nothing but a slave of your dreams while reality looms outside.

Then comes “Nemesi” (Nemesis), a track full of dark energy that was inspired by Greek mythology. Nemesis was a goddess representing the idea of divine retribution and this track tries to capture in music and words the spirit of the righteous vengeance by depicting a loveless sense of justice without light inside, cold and cynical... “It is useless to anneal your strength / A body is nothing but a heap of snow / It melts in the first sunshine / To jump higher, to run faster / What does really matter is the soul...”.


Rovescia l'immaginazione e scopri la realtà” (Reverse your imagination and discover the reality) is a beautiful instrumental where the members of the band can showcase all their musicianship and where frenzied passages alternates with calm, dreamy sections, heavy guitar riffs with surging organ rides. It leads to the second part of “Il suono seducente del sogno (parte II)” where the light, gauzy mist of a never ending dream lays on everything... “This music plays inside me / I will never run away from this dream...”.

Lorca e Dalì” is a long, complex track inspired by poetry and painting. It features ethereal atmospheres and narrative vocals where words are just touches of colour on the evocative musical texture. Golden angels drink your soul while your eyes are burnt by dreams, you look for a meaning but you can't find a clue, you can't find the key to gates of dream and you get lost... The following “The Sun” is a short acoustic track sung in English that closes the album with a mystical mood and in some way takes you back to the starting point.

On the whole, a very good album. Welcome back Distillerie di Malto!

Distillerie di Malto: Suono! (2014). Other opinions:
Raffella Benvenuto-Berry: Though Suono! (whose rather minimalist cover runs counter to the widespread trend for elaborate, often fantasy-tinged artwork) lays no claims to being a wildly innovative effort, the sheer quality of the musicianship and songwriting set it apart from other similar releases, and reveals the care and effort that the band have put into its production. The music's complexity is never overdone, and melody co-exists with intense, dramatic pssages, with a warm, natural flow that makes listening a pleasure. Needless to say, this is a must-listen for fans of classic Italian prog, and a rewarding proposition for everyone else... (Read the complete review HERE)

Michael "Aussie-Byrd-Brother": Not only does `Suono' offer incredibly strong song-writing and thrilling instrumental arrangements, there's a refreshing leave-it-alone quality to the production that retains many welcome rough edges. While it contains all the theatrical dra ma and swooning sophistication expected of Italian progressive releases, there are so many moments of dark impossible beauty, a creeping sense of unease lurking throughout the work, giving it some grit and edge. It just may be one of the best modern Italian released of the last few years... (read the complete review HERE