Thursday, 6 August 2020

THE BLACK KNIGHT SHADOW

Protean Circus began life in Colleferro, near Rome, in 2016, inspired by classic rock, prog and a touch of power metal. In 2019 they self-released an interesting debut album entitled Rhymes In The Voice Of River with a line up featuring Daniele Imperioli (vocals), Marco Cutini (guitar), Lorenzo Zanelli (guitar), Andrea Piacentini (keyboards), Luigi Sebastianelli (bass) and Luca Cutini (drums). According to the band, this is a conceptual work loosely based upon The Matter of Britain, the body of Medieval literature and legendary material associated with the myths King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Anyway, the band interpret these legends in a very free form: there’s no philological research nor real effort to revive Medieval music and the approach to the music and lyrics is definitively closer to Toto or Kansas than to Alan Stivell... 


The opener, “Ancient Rhymes” starts softly, the atmosphere is dreamy... But after a minute and a half a slapping bass breaks in determining a sudden change of mood: that’s not Avalon but Hollywood! As the music veers to AOR and the singer is asking if you are ready for an immersion in a fairy world, I’m reminded of Black Knight, a 2001 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Gil Junger and starring Martin Lawrence who plays the role of a theme park employee who is transported through time to medieval England... 

Protean Circus on stage, 2019

Next comes “The Vision” that tells of the meeting with a fallen angel and fades in the sweet, delicate “Whisper”, dealing with motherly love. Then it’s the turn of “Wild Waves”, about the need of a helping hand to overcome the storms of life and with the shadow of Dire Straits looming large. With the bluesy “Deception Is Revealed” we are on the road again between desires and passions while the following, melancholic “Imprisoned” is softer. For this track the band shot a video, a nice cartoon where painter Giulia Guglielmetti interpret the content of music and words with her images... 


“Alone” opens by a sudden surge of energy, then goes through many changes of rhythm and atmosphere as darkness falls down and merciless cold winds drain out the last energies of the solitary protagonist. Then the powerful, melodic “The Land Of Fortress” and “The End Of The King” take us in the lands of Avalon as imagined by the band. The long epic “Mild Immortal Nymph Of River” closes the album with an elegiac mood.

Well, lyrics and vocals are not the strength of this work and in my opinion the band should have tried to use their mother language for better results but they showcase a good potential and I enjoyed the album despite some passages that sound a bit kitsch to my ears...

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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