Sunday, 31 August 2014

SAILING ACROSS THE DESERT

Il Quarto Vuoto began life in Mogliano Veneto, a little town in the province of Treviso, in 2010. The name of the band means Empty Quarter and refers to the largest sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula. According to the band, the name was chosen because they say that a man who walks through that desert has always to face his own limits and the band's music and lyrics have exactly the goal of creating a space where the listener can be free to set off on a personal journey in search for his personal limits. In 2014 Quarto Vuoto self-released an excellent eponymous debut album with a line up featuring Edoardo Ceron (bass), Nicola D'Amico (drums), Federico Lorenzon (vocals, violin), Mattia Scomparin (keyboards, piano) and Luca Volonnino (guitar). The overall sound is a wonderful mix of different influences ranging from classical music to hard rock, with a very personal touch and many original ideas. Well, in my opinion the beautiful art work by Silvia Volonnino could help to explain what the music and lyrics are about...

album cover

The opener “Dimmi solo se è così” (Just tell me if it's so) is the shortest track on the album and alternates powerful guitar riffs and calmer passages with soaring melodic lines. The music and lyrics evoke a sudden change in your life and you risk to get drowned into a sea of dreams while the naked truth of reality starts wildly dancing around you. You're stranded but it's too late to change the course of your fate, you can't relive the past and Time takes you away... “I would like to listen again / To the life running in me / And to start over again to carve my name / Into the heart of this reality...”.


Next comes the beautiful “Zattera della Medusa” (The Raft of the Medusa), a complex piece divided into two parts that evokes the colours and the emotions of the 19th-century painting of the same name by Théodore Géricault. The painting was inspired by the wreck of a French frigate off the coast of Senegal in 1816 and illustrates the vain hope of rescue, a view of human life abandoned to its fate. The first part of this long track, “Il giorno della notte” (The day of the night) is completely instrumental, it begins softly, the atmosphere is dark and you can feel rise a sense of impending tragedy. The second part, “Il grido di una vita” (The scream of a life), begins after the shipwreck and the music and lyrics depict the gloomy destiny of the survivors. Everything has changed, in the twilight the certainties of the castways crumble while they seem to sail across the Styx, towards the gates of Hell, in a crescendo of regrets and madness... A great track!

Quarto Vuoto on stage

The album ends with the charming epic “Rub' al-Khali” (Empty Quarter), a kind of manifesto of the talent of this excellent band. The music features an outstanding brew of exoticism and classical flavour while the poetical lyrics lead you through hidden, obscure paths towards a new sunrise to take your dreams back, overcoming fears, burning ties and useless memories... “Now you know who you are / Now you know what you want / Source of happiness, light that sets you free / From your black, murky past / Now you'll be able to live...”.

On the whole, this is a magnificent album even if a bit short. If you like modern Italian progressive rock that’s based on classic prog but it's not stuck in the past, you really have to check this band out.

Quarto Vuoto: Quarto Vuoto (2014). Other opinions:
Todd Dudley: Overall, this is a very engaging album, which not only whets the appetite for what's to come from the band, but it's a very satisfying treat in and of itself... (read the complete review HERE
Michael "Aussie-Byrd-Brother": For now, this self-titled work suggests a superb new band to keep an eye on and launches them in a very fine manner. If they're already this good, imagine what they may deliver with a full-length proper album?... (read the complete review HERE)


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