Monday, 22 December 2014

THE CYBERNETIC WITCH

Dances Of The Drastic Navels is the fifth album by Daal, a project that began life in 2008 on the initiative of composer and keyboardist from Bergamo Alfio Costa and Roman drummer Davide Guidoni. It was released in 2014 on the independent label Agla Records and confirms all the good qualities of Daal's previous works. During the recording sessions Alfio Costa and Davide Guidoni were helped by some guest musicians such as Ettore Salati (guitars), Bobo Aiolfi (bass), Tirill Mohn (vocals), Letizia Riccardi (violin) and Guglielmo Mariotti (vocals) and the final result is an interesting, well balanced mix of vintage sounds and electronica, classical influences and an experimentalism that never falls in the trap of self-indulgence and never loses touch with melody and rhythm.


The dark opener "Malleus Maleficarum" is a long epic that could recall Goblin or Antonius Rex. The title refers to The Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for “The Hammer of Witches”), one of the best known medieval treatises on witches whose main purpose was to challenge all arguments against the existence of witchcraft and to instruct magistrates on how to identify, interrogate and convict witches. Although officially banned by the Catholic Church, it soon became a kind of handbook for witch-hunters and Inquisitors throughout Late Medieval Europe. So you can imagine charms and spells, wicked monks and exorcisms conjured up by the music... This track is completely instrumental but for the murmured narrative vocals in Latin provided by Guglialmo Mariotti and it goes through many changes in rhythm and atmosphere. Anyway I can find in this piece also a pinch of light irony that every now and again makes me think of Good Omens, a funny novel written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman about the birth of the son of Satan and the coming of the End Times...


Next comes "Elektra (An Evening With...)", an eerie instrumental piece that, according to Alfio Costa, was inspired by the memory of a dear friend of the night who's not with us any longer. It features an exotic, disquieting atmosphere and alternates calm passages to sudden surges of electric rage. The title and the music could recall Elektra, a 2005 Canadian-American superhero film directed by Rob Bowman... It leads to the following "Lilith", a short, delicate track filled with a nice sense of ethereal romanticism. According to Alfio Costa, it's an hypnotic lullaby that was inspired by the carving on a tree...

Davide Guidoni and Alfio Costa

"The Dance Of The Drastic Navels" is a long, complex suite that in some way summarizes, develops and concludes the story begun on Daal's debut album Disorganicorigami and its sequel on the following Destruktive Actions Affect Livings. It's the story of a man from the future bewitched by a strange, beautiful creature half-woman and half-robot. Eventually the unfortunate man becomes just a toy boy in the hands of the cybernetic witch but most of the narrative is up to your imagination that the music just tries to inspire and stir... On the conclusive track, "Inside You", Tirill Mohn's suggestive vocals in some way give shape to the witch, a dark angel in a dream that becomes nightmare, a magic dancer able to drive you insane and to damn your soul... "We'll never be the same / We'll never see this light / Your sun will fall in my dark sea / And my drastic navel will dance over your soul...".


Well, probably the beautiful art work by Davide Guidoni describes better than all my words the spirit of this excellent album. Anyway, have try and judge by yourselves: you can listen to the complete album HERE

Daal: Dances Of The Drastic Navels (2014). Other opinions:
Michael "Aussie-Byrd-Brother": With it's sinister and unsettling cover artwork to the Gothic inspired creeping suspense with the music itself, DAAL's fascination with real mood and black atmosphere ensures the album is their most cultivated and mature work so far. Those who find darker Italian prog artists, as well as the poetic sadness of bands like My Dying Bride will very much relate to this one, and even more adventurous metal and Gothic fans will find plenty to interest them here... (read the complete review HERE)

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