Tuesday, 27 November 2018

LEGAL ISSUES AND DELIRIUM

Jesahel – Un viaggio lungo 20 anni should probably be considered an official studio album by Delirium but reading the book by Mauro La Luce that is dedicated to the history of the band (Il lungo viaggio, Zona Music Books, 2018) I noticed that he even omitted to name it. It’s not because of inaccuracy, the omission was deliberated. It’s a fact that many prog sites do not list it at all or consider this work just a compilation album... Of course, it’s not an essential album for a progressive rock fan, but why deny its existence? Why the band disown it?


The album was originally released in 1996 on NAR Records and later re-released with a different cover and a different title (Delirium, 2004, NAR International 11404-2). The line up here features three historic members of the band: Rino Dimopoli (vocals, keyboards), Pino Di Santo (vocals, drums) and Marcello Reale (vocals, bass). During the recording sessions they were helped by Alberto Radius (guitars), Stefano Previsti (keyboards), Andrea Bianchi (sax), Claudio Alifranchini (flute) and Alfredo Golino (drums). Together they re-recorded, with the new arrangements by Alberto Radius and Stefano Previsti, five tracks from the early seventies: two from the debut album Dolce acqua (“Dolce acqua” and “Favola o storia del lago di Kriss”) and three from singles of the same period (“Jesahel”, “Haum” and “Canto di Osanna”). The other pieces are brand new songs, four signed by Dimopoli – Di Santo – Reale (“Jerico”, “Signora della notte”, Musicalità” and “Più tempo per sognare”) and one by Dimopoli – Cassella (“Sola”). The focus is all on the pop side of Delirium’s repertoire and prog fans would be deeply disappointed by the result. The new versions of the old tracks miss the charm of Ivano Fossati’s vocals and the energy of the originals while the new tracks are just melodic pop songs… 


Probably the release of this album in 1996 was just an attempt to put the band together after many years of inactivity and a way to try to have a new go but the project was ephemeral and this line up did not last long. As I said before, despite the great competence of the musicians involved, this is not a great album and for sure is not a progressive rock one. Nonetheless, it exists and apparently there would be no reason to disown it. Well, probably the problem is that its existence originated the ground for future painful legal issues… 


In fact, in 2001, on the initiative of Pino Di Santo, came to life another incarnation of the band, the one that signed a deal with Black Widow Records and released some excellent prog albums such as Il nome del vento or L’era della menzogna. Meanwhile Rino Dimopoli and Marcello Reale persisted in carrying on the melodic flag of the repertoire with new musicians. The branch with Pino Di Santo and other historic members such as Ettore Vigo and Martin Grice in the line up added the words International Progressive Group to the name Delirium while Dimopoli’s band was simply called Delirium Project, kept on performing live and in 2016 released an album in a pop rock vein entitled Con i nostri occhi on K1 Records... 


For prog fans Delirium IPG are the “real ones”, those who really matter but if you are interested in melodic pop and like bands such as I Nomadi...

More info:

Saturday, 24 November 2018

MADAME SUITE

Masquerade are a young band from Rome. They began their activity in 2012 with influences ranging from metal to classical music and progressive rock. According to the band, their aim is drawing from the past while looking to the future, mixing modern sounds and complex structures. In 2013 they recorded a debut EP entitled Madame Suite with a line up featuring William Belpassi (keyboards), Jacopo "Xso" Persoglio (guitar), Jacopo Quercia (drums, vocals) and Alessio Borsani (bass). For this work they collaborated with Gianmarco Marzo for the lyrics trying to develop in music and words the relationship between man and music… To be honest, the result is not always convincing: in the four tracks of the EP you can find some brilliant instrumental passages and some good ideas but the vocal parts, in my opinion, are not up to the task...


The opener “Where Are You (Leading Me)?” starts with a proud marching beat and a bolero pace, there’s an atmosphere of mystery and an exotic flavour in the air that seems to invite you to follow the muse portrayed on the album cover who’s climbing the steps of a lost temple in a fantastic world of creation and fear to enter a hypnotic vortex of colours and sounds… The long, complex title track follows blending classical piano passages and organ rides with touches of psychedelia and soaring guitar solos that every now and again seem trying to take off to the dark side of the moon...


“Queen Of Shadows” is in the same vein, trying to evoke a dance of Fire and Rain as reality melts, shadows creep and loom and everything fades away… “Sanctuary” ends the album with a nice instrumental first section and a weak second part with clumsy vocals on a strummed guitar pattern. 

Masquerade 2013

On the whole, I think that this is a still immature work but I’m sure that the band has a great potential and could do much better in the future. In the meanwhile you can listen to the complete EP and download it for free from bandcamp…

Click HERE

More info:

Friday, 23 November 2018

MAGIC TABLEAUX

Promenade are a young band from Genoa with a solid classical background and a deep love for progressive rock. Formed in 2010, after a long, painstaking work and a good live activity on the local scene, in 2016 they released an excellent debut album entitled Noi al dir di Noi on the independent label Altrock/Fading Records with a line up featuring Matteo Barisone (vocals, keyboards), Gianluca Barisone (guitars, backing vocals), Stefano Scarella (bass, sax, backing vocals) and Simone Scala (drums, percussion). Some guests such as Damiano Baroni (violin), Francesco Bagnasco (violin), Gigi Magnozzi (viola), Giacomo Biagi (cello), Giovanni Aquilino (flute) and Jacopo Bagotti (bassoon) gave their contribute during the recording sessions and the result is powerful and fresh, a perfect blending of symphonic influences in the best Italian tradition (Maxophone or PFM come to mind) and Mediterranean jazz rock in the vein of Arti e Mestieri. The lyrics do not tell stories but are more like pastel touches of colour on the musical canvas and with the wonderful art work by Libero Ruglio they help to conjure up a magical world where imagination rules.


The long, sparkling opener “Athletics” is an amazing instrumental track where virtuoso passages and good musicianship give free rein to pyrotechnical explosions of positive energy while avoiding the traps of self-indulgence. It’s a kind of manifesto where the members of band feel free to showcase all their inventiveness and ability to create dreamy music landscapes.

On “Il secondo passo” (The second step) the band describe in music and words all their love for a music that can draw you in a fantastic world of notes and dreams where daily acts become just still images of a rite with no beginning nor end. Inspired notes fall down like touches of colour on a white canvas creating a beautiful tableau that drop after drop comes to life lightning the senses...


“L’albero magico” (The magic tree) is a dreamy, ethereal piece that combines melody and jazzier passages. In some way here the music and words celebrate the magic of the nature and the strength of its elements. In your dreams you can get lost by diving in deep water circles, burning your identity or following the scent of a flower like a swinging, coloured butterfly... Every now and again the music of this piece reminds me of Maxophone. 

The following “Roccocò” is a brilliant divertissement that blends rock and baroque music with a funny, ironic touch. The music and lyrics evoke the calm of a castle and its court where you can feel safe and free from distress and worry, almost achieving a state of ataraxia. You are free too play the music you prefer and in the meanwhile there’s somebody else who cares for you and even thinks for you. Eventually you’re nothing but the prisoner of a fairy tale and your autonomy is lost...


Then it’s the turn of “Kernel” a nice piece that could recall PFM from their Passpartù period. The title refers to a software that is the core of a computer's operating system while the music and words evoke the dangers of internet addiction. You can imagine the riders of the cubic table chasing a dummy with cables in the head between nets and connections...

“Pantera” (Panther) is jazzy and sensual. It deals with the painful memories of a past love, the sense of void that leaves a broken romance and the faded colours of a solitary life in the company haunting ghosts and fragile dreams under the moonlight. You’re still looking for a thought that could touch the soul in the vain search for a love that’s sliding away… 

Promenade 2016

The melancholic final track, “Crisantemo” (Chrysanthemum), is a beautiful piece where music and lyrics evoke the sense of dismay and incompleteness that you can experience in front of the mystery of death. A silent night, burning candles, pale smiles, promises written in the wind, fresh tears, forgotten heroes, abandoned children, broken hearts, uncertain steps… In the dark you can see nothing but the burn out sparkles of a merciless dream.

On the whole, I think that this is an excellent album that should find a place in the collection of every Italian prog lover! 

You can listen to the complete album HERE

More info:


Thursday, 22 November 2018

HEART OF DARKNESS

Elisir d’Ambrosia come from Venice and were formed in 2013 on the initiative of guitarist and composer Marco Causin and drummer and music teacher Simone Sossai. Their aim was to play original music inspired by the historic prog bands of the seventies but adding a touch of modernity and their own sensitivity, so they looked for other musicians who would share their project. After some personnel changes and a hard work, in 2018 the band self-released an eponymous debut album with a line up featuring Marco Causin (electric and acoustic guitar), Alessio Uliana (keyboards), Riccardo Brun (bass), Andrea Stevanato (vocals) and Simone Sossai (drums) and the help of some guests such as Quanah Parker’s leader Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Paolo Ongaro (percussion) and Enrico Callegari (bass). In some way, the album cover by Simone Faggian describes its musical content and its dark evocative colours... In my opinion it’s a very nice work full of passion and vintage sounds that should be of real interest for Italian prog lovers. 



The opener “Ambrosia” is a good instrumental track built up with electric pink bricks and dark vintage keyboards. Although every now and again the music could recall Pink Floyd and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso there’s ample room for the band’s own creativity… Then comes “Cenere” (Ash), a long track that evokes the cathartic power of dawn. The light of a new day sweeps away the ashes of a nightmarish, restless sleep crowded by opaque spectres and cannibal gods, disturbing memories and broken hearts. Here the vocals and some hard guitar riff could recall Jumbo or Biglietto per l’Inferno… Not bad at all! 


“Cardiologia” (Cardiology) starts by a nervous electric guitar arpeggio, then heartfelt vocals depict in music and words the doubts and the inner struggle of a vain musician whose heart is burning like an old firewood. He plays his concerto over and over again and his music is compared to the arrogant image of his mirrored ego… There is a nice central passage that could recall Santana, then a sparkling keyboards solo ends the piece. 

Elisir d'Ambrosia on stage 2018

The following “Dimensione deserto” (Dimension desert) is the shortest track on the album. It’s a curious mix of melancholic atmospheres and Latin rock, a strange musical path that ends with the voice of a barker that invites you to enter another dimension where you can find all the time you need, but beware! You have to leave behind flesh and bones… It’s a perfect introduction to the long, complex “Libero di volare nel vento” (Free to fly in the wind), a beautiful piece that describes in music and words a transcendental, esoteric experience and every now and again could recall Il Bacio della Medusa and Il Biglietto per l’Inferno. There are strong poetical images and a surreal sense of absurd, here the Grim Reaper has a laughing, mocking face and plays a white guitar as the protagonist leaves his memories as a pilgrim leaves behind his possessions to take off in a dark sky, without chains and finally free to fly in the wind and to melt into a timeless immensity… A great track! 


The melancholic, relaxed “Piano piano” (Slowly) conjures up the image of a man slowly floating on the sea, carried away by the waves, crossing the currents and waiting for better days, trying not to drown while escaping from the raging storms of everyday life... Then comes the dreamy “Luna” (Moon), a kind of lay prayer to the moon, the astronomical body that has always illuminated the heart of poets and filled them with hope. The ashes of our burnt dreams can’t cover its timeless light, pure and inviolate... 

The last track “Tenebra” (Darkness) is a committed complaint against the obscure games of power of the political and economical world. It depicts a smothering fog falling down, obscuring the mind of the protagonist and driving him mad. He tries to escape but nightmares as tentacles of a mysterious entity try to capture him and draw him back into the darkness where godless gods push humanity into a primordial chaos stirring irrational fears. There are unscrupulous madmen in charge of our destiny who think to be immortal and their overwhelming greediness risk to bring humanity on the brink of extinction… A very good piece to end a very interesting work! 

Have a try, you can listen to the complete album HERE. For the physical copy, ask the band! 

More info: