Sunday, 7 June 2015

THE MASTER OF TIME

Fate Of A Thousand Worlds is the second album by Gran Torino, an interesting prog band from Verona. It was released in 2013 on the French label Musea Records, two years after the promising debut grantorinoProg, with a renewed line up featuring Alessio Pieri (keyboards, piano), Gian Maria Roveda (drums), Fabrizio Visentini (bass) and Leonardo Freggi (guitars). According to the band's website, this is a conceptual work about a man who travels in space and in real time throughout the universe that is based on a short sci-fi story written by one of their friends, Paolo Gadioli, that you can find in the booklet and that's also mirrored in the beautiful art work created by Ed Unitsky. The music was conceived as a soundtrack to describe the adventures, emotions and torments of the protagonist...


The opener, "Child of the Stars", sets the atmosphere and introduces the protagonist, Velasquez, a kind of super-hero created by a superior race whose mission is to conquer the whole universe. His birth required a huge amount of energy that was obtained by destroying a planet... The music starts softly, then the rhythm gradually rises, calms down for a while and rises again, powerful and threatening...

Then comes the frenzied "Absolute Time". Here every now and again I'm reminded of bands such EL&P and Goblin... The merciless protagonist can travel through space and time and when he finds a planet inhabited by a superior race he can go back to an era when that civilization was not so evolute and can't resist to his powers...


"The Battle of Velasquez" is a dark, powerful track that could recall some passages from Darwin! by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. It's a perfect score for the destructive actions of the protagonist who defeats powerful armies and ravages fortified cities. It leads to the following "Dead Suns" where you can hear the great poem of the extinguished suns and the last pulses of the worlds swept away by Velasquez...

The melancholic "The Fog of Time" describes the feeling of loneliness and deep sadness of the protagonist. Velasquez can't find anyone who can match him. They call him just the child of the stars, they fear him, they hate him... Next comes "Empty Soul" that tries to capture in music the strange feeling that the protagonist experiences by approaching a new planet: it's just like a deep emptiness in his soul. So, he begins to observe this new planet, to explore it from above...

Gran Torino 2014

The delicate, romantic "Arìda" is a piano solo track that describes the meeting between Velasquez and a beautiful woman called Arìda who lives on the mysterious planet. The heartless protagonist finally falls in love and the following "The Short Dream" describes in some way this complicate, unsettling romance...

"End of a Planet" breaks the dream, the rhythm rises suggesting an impending danger, something is going to happen. Suddenly Velasques has to go back in his spaceship, there's something wrong... As he gets on board the planet blows up and his love is lost forever... Here the music reminds me slightly of other two planets in a distant solar system, hidden behind the jewellery of a thousand stars and forests of coral...


The title track, "Fate of a Thousand Worlds", ends the album describing the dark thoughts of the protagonist, condemned to live alone in his immense spaceship, master of time, master of the universe... Master of nothing!

On the whole, this is an excellent instrumental album and the music is really worth listening to. Have a try, even if you don't like the storyline!


Gran Torino: Fate Of A Thousand Worlds (2013). Other opinions:
Mark Johnson: The musicianship is inspired and unique sounding enough to set this band apart from the many instrumental prog bands that roam the universe. Imagine all of the things that you might encounter on a journey through the universe. Without lyrics you are left to your imagination... and sometimes that can provide its own horrors as well as inspirations... (read the complete review HERE)
Pedro Bekkers: Gran Torino have made a lot of progression compared to their debut. With the replacement of the guitarist they moved the bar up by a few notches and forced themselves to create more challenging compositions shifting toward a heavier prog rock or prog metal style. With an album like Fate Of A Thousand Worlds Gran Torino may be very proud of themselves! They can face the future with confidence... (read the cmplete review HERE)

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