Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Zion began life in Naples in 2000 on the initiative of Francesco Cimminiello and Domenico Sepe. After some line up changes and two demos, in 2006 the band self-released a first album entitled The Three Hands, influenced by hard rock and vintage sounds, completely sung in English. In the following years the band turned to a more original, mature Italian style and, after a hard studio work, in 2014 self-released an interesting concept album, 9P - Nove pianeti (9P - Nine Planets) with a renewed line up featuring Francesco Cimminiello (bass, moog, vocals), Michele Boggia (organ, keyboards, synthesizer), Mauro D'Ambrosio (drums) and Vittorio Galdi (vocals, percussion). The overall sound could recall bands such as Le Orme or Quatermass but it's not too derivative and the music perfectly fits the storyline. As for the lyrics, according to the band, they are freely based on a kind of apocryphal pseudo-gospel and tell of a spiritual journey from the darkness of hell to the holy light of God that is in some way depicted by the art cover by Antonio Massa.

The opener “Plutone” (Pluto) begins with an evocative keyboard passage, then powerful organ waves and a nervous rhythm section set a dark atmosphere. Not only is Pluto the ninth planet from the sun in the solar system but it's also associated with Pluto or Hades, the ruler of underworld in classical mythology, God of the Dead and Riches. The journey towards the light begins right here, in this land of darkness and doom where crime and sin rule... “Helios, please tell me if there is a path / That could lead me to you...”.

Then the dreamy “Nettuno” (Neptune) takes you to the eighth planet from the sun, named after the Roman God of the Sea. Here you get lost in the smell of the sea and in your thoughts as you glide in a blue dream. There's sand in your hands and distant echoes fill your ears. You're surrounded by a strange silence while the distant light of the sun is burning on your chest, it's your last resort, nothing but the sun can show you the way...

The next leg is “Uranus”, the seventh planet from the sun, named after the primal Greek god personifying the sky. The atmosphere is tense and full of mystery. In the night you can observe the timeless dance of the nine planets around the sun while the stars are looking for a balance in their astral trips. This is the only track on this album sung in English... “Like owls need sun to rest / The humans need night to find their own light... Uranus God! Master of Thunder!...”.

Next stop is “Saturno” (Saturn), the sixth planet from the sun, named after the Roman God of Agriculture. The lyrics depict a tired peasant, there are tears running down his face, cuts in his hands and sweat on his forehead. At night he can't rest, he goes through nightmares and strange signs, bad omens such as toads, owls and spiders... “I prey to you, God of Earth / Give me peace instead of war / Please, tell me when men are wrong...”.

Giove” (Jupiter), the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in the Solar System is also associated to the Roman King of the Gods. Here the music and lyrics depict a haughty king who rules over his people with unlimited powers and no mercy. But in the end there's some room for hope left. Suddenly the rhythm calms down as the lyrics describe an unexpected meeting: one day, looking towards the starry sky the king sees a face with sweet eyes, blond hair and a sunny smile. “You have to serve, not to rule in this world” - tells him the vision. And the king feels like an adult coming back to childhood, touched by the light of his creator.

The marching beat of next track takes you to “Marte” (Mars), the fourth planet from the Sun, named after the Roman god of war and often described as the Red Planet. Here the music and lyrics describe an apocalyptic landscape drowned in war. There are bloody streets and singing swords, desperate screams of children soar in the air while the wings of Death are dancing all around. A whole city is rolling upon uncountable skulls, the skulls are like seeds carried away by the wind, destined to sprout in new fightings. But Mars is now worried since Helios could wage war on him...

The following “Terra” (Earth) begins by vocals a cappella, then the rhythm rises while the lyrics depict in some way the mysterious ways of life. Wisdom and madness are playing, day after day, in an endless ring-around-the-rosey while men are like children lost in an illogic dream...
The next leg is “Venere” (Venus), the second planet from the Sun, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. The music and lyrics describe in some way the meeting with a female grace that can light the spirit of humankind dancing in harmony around the planet, defying even the darkest fate...

This spiritual journey is coming to an end. The last track is divided into three parts. The first one takes you to “Mercurio” (Mercury), the smallest and closest to the Sun of the eight planets in the Solar System, named after the guide of souls to the underworld, the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves. The lyrics tells about a man who tries to sell his life, too complex and cold... But who's buying it? The second part, Helios, tells about the final goal of this spiritual journey describing in music and words the perfect balance of spirit and body. Everyone has a place in this world and has to find it to let the light of the creator shine on him... The third part is an instrumental “outro” that concludes this excellent album.

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