Sunday, 31 March 2013

BURNING MEMORIES

Tenebrae began life in Genoa in 2005 on the initiative of guitarist Marco Arizzi with the aim to blend rock music with other forms of art such as painting, theatre and literature. After an EP in 2008, in 2010 they self produced an interesting début album, “Memorie nascoste” (Hidden memories), with a line up featuring Marco Arizzi (guitars), Fabrizio Garofalo (bass), Fabio Bignone (keyboards, synthesizer), Emanuele Benenti (drums) and Davide Faudella (vocals).
 
Tenebrae 2010

“Memorie nascoste” is a concept album that tells about a strange meeting between a boy and a mysterious painter. The atmosphere swings between dream and nightmare, a hypnotic hourglass blurs the borders between time and space while the power emanating from the tableaux in an art gallery stirs hidden memories, then ghostly visions begin to dance among games of mirrors and dark shadows. The overall sound of the band reminds me in some way of another Italian band called Minstrel. Their approach is theatrical and emphatic while the music draws from heavy metal, opera, new wave, psychedelia and many other sources of inspiration.




You can listen in streaming to the complete album from the official website. Click HERE.

In 2012 Tenebrae released their second album with a renewed line up featuring along with Marco Arizzi (guitars) Francesco Mancuso (keyboards, synthesizer, back vocals), Fabrizio Bisignano (bass), Alessandro “Attila” Fanelli (drums) and Pablo Ferrarese (vocals). Antonella Bruzzone helped the band to write the lyrics while Sara Aneto took charge of the artwork and of the booklet that she enriched with many nice drawings. The result of their efforts is “Il fuoco segreto “ (The secret fire), a beautiful concept album inspired by Goethe's Faust.




The overall sound is heavier than in the previous work and the new vocalist showcases a great personality delivering some operatic passages, dark growling and soaring melodies. The band interpret Goethe's story freely, adding a touch of original poetical inspiration and dark, Gothic sounds with good results. Despite the changes in the line up there is a strong stylistic continuity with the previous work and maybe Mephisto is just the name of the mysterious painter we met before...


Troubled dreams, foggy memories hanging over the secret fire that burns in your soul, broken mirrors and haunting illusions take you to the limit of reality, towards a new awareness. Well, on the whole another album that is really worth listening to.

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Monday, 18 March 2013


LOCANDA DELLE FATE 
ASTROLABIO

Verona

May 18, 2013

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By the way, you can legally download for free Astrolabio's debut demo album:

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Sunday, 10 March 2013

PIRATES AND BRIGANDS

Vidocq come from Turin and began life in 2009 on the initiative of vocalist Enrico Rigolli, an experienced musician in love with hard rock and melody. The name of the band was inspired by the character of Eugène François Vidocq, a famous French adventurer and criminologist. In 2012 the band released an eponymous debut album on the independent label Andromeda Relix with a line up featuring Enrico Rigolli (vocals), Graziano Picco (guitars), Massimo Martinetto (bass), Alex Quagliotti (drums) and Marco Veretti (keyboards). Some prestigious guests contributed to enrich the overall sound and the result is a good album of classic rock with some progressive influences and nice melodies.


Vidocq 2012


The opener “Cuore nero” (Black heart), starts with a short accordion introduction, then veers towards melodic hard rock atmospheres. The lyrics tell about a romance with a dangerous, cheating woman. The following “Polvere da sparo” (Gunpowder) is a lively hard rock piece with electric guitar riffs in the forefront. It tries to evoke in music and words a story of pirates in the Caribbean sea with thundering guns and a rattling of swords under the shadow of the jolly roger flag. It reminds me of the atmospheres of some works by the Italian writer Emilio Salgari.




“Volo” (Flight) is nocturnal and dreamy. It describes a flight in a starry sky following the acrobatics of Peter Pan. Next comes “Il volo del falco” (The flight of the hawk), a delicate acoustic ballad featuring on vocals two prestigious guests such as Vittorio De Scalzi (New Trolls) and Aldo Tagliapietra (Le Orme). The lyrics invite you to observe the flight of a hawk and then to look at a little child and to an old man and to reflect about their desire to fly for different reasons. 
 



“Frà Diavolo” is a frenzied, southern blues rock ride inspired by the character of an Italian famous brigante, Michele Pezza, best known with the nickname of Fra' Diavolo. “Tanto tempo fa” (Long time ago) features a nervous pulsing beat and evokes a feeling of nostalgia for a past love where new fears feed a vague sense of solitude. “Welcome (resta tra gli dei)” (Welcome – stay with the gods) is another nocturnal track where dreams clash against a bleak reality.




“Genesi” (Genesis) is in a more progressive vein and features some nice piano passages and evocative melodies. The lyrics depict a sky which is vomiting its rage upon men incapable to react against the decay of their environment and invoke the rebirth of a humankind that this time would be wiser and less greedy. The following “Contro il tempo” (Against time) is more aggressive and is about a pointless quest to eternity. Then the short title track brings a change of atmosphere and a softer mood. The accordion and the female vocals of the guests Gianni Ceretto and Laura Conti take you to Paris while the lyrics conjure up the ghost of the adventurer after whom the band was named.


Vidocq on stage


Two acoustic covers, credited as bonus tracks, conclude the album, a nice version of BMS' “750.000 anni fa... l'amore?” and Franco Battiato's “No Time, No Space”.

Well, despite some ingenuities and the lack of really outstanding tracks I think that this album is worth listening to.

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Friday, 8 March 2013

AN INTERESTING MASKED BALL

I am a singer of songs that I learned in the far city, and my calling is to make beauty with the things remembered of childhood. My wealth is in little memories and dreams, and in hopes that I sing in gardens when the moon is tender and the west wind stirs the lotos-buds...” (H.P. Lovecraft, from The Quest Of Iranon). Well, I think that this quote could describe in some way the spirit and the mood of Goad's new album, “Masquerade”. Maurilio Rossi and his band have been around for many years although they have never emerged from the underground scene. Luckily they never gave up the musical dreams of their youth and in my opinion “Masquerade” is their best work so far. It was recorded between 2007 and 2011 with a line up featuring Maurilio Rossi (organ, keyboards, bass, guitars), Francesco Diddi (violin, flute, sax, guitar), Gianni Rossi (guitar, backing vocals), Vick Usai (drums), Tommaso Baggiani (drums), Luis Magnanimo (bass), and Antonio Vannucci (piano, keyboards) but during the recording sessions they were helped by many guest musicians. The album was finally released in 2011 on the independent label Black Widow Records and I think that the result is excellent. You can find here all the passion of the band for vintage sounds and the literary works of artists such as Edgar Allan Poe or Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Among Goad's sources of inspiration there are bands such as Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis or King Crimson, of course, but the song-writing of this Florentine band is good and rich in ideas.


The opener “Fever Called Living” features heavy electric guitar riffs, touches of flute and dark organ rides. It describes a desperate escape from reality where the grave becomes a shelter, a peaceful bed where you can rest and dream for the eternity... “Thanks Heaven! The crises, the danger is past... And the fever called living is conquered at last...”. The following “Eldorado” is a hard rock track in two parts that could recall Deep Purple. The lyrics are taken from a poem by E.A. Poe describing a gallant knight and his pointless quest for the land of gold... “But he grew old / This knight so bold / And o'er his heart a shadow / Fell as he found / No spot of ground / That looked like Eldorado...”.

“The Last Knowledge” is another track divided into two parts. It is calmer, melancholic and evokes overwhelming memories, the dark shadow of a missing lover and the killing strength of her absence. Next comes the reflective “The Judge” which describes in music and words a strange meeting with a talking painting crying blood. It's the painting of an old judge who during his life condemned many people to death and now is haunted by their ghosts for the eternity... “I spent all my life sitting on that chair / Trying to understand, trying to be fair / Many and many lives I had in my hand / I was a judge, I was like God / They gave the power to punish with my rod...”.


The next three tracks are also taken from E.A. Poe's poems. “The Valley Of Unrest” features an ethereal, sad atmosphere evoking perennial tears which descend in gems from a cloudy sky, “To Helen” features a strong classical inspiration and is an unconventional ode to beauty while the delicate, introspective “Alone” expresses isolation and inner torment. Then comes “Masquerade (Fast & Short)”, just an appetizer for the long conclusive suite.

The nice classical inspired instrumental “Intro (Classic Guitar Prelude)” leads to the mysterious, mystic “Slave Of The Holy Mountain” which describes an unsuccessful, metaphorical climbing to Heaven. The following “Dreamland” is another good track inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's powerful poetry and precedes a beautiful, dark instrumental titled “The Haunted Palace”. 
 

The last track, “Masquerade (With Dance Macabre)”, is a long, complex suite divided into five parts. It describes a strange dream and reminds me of the atmosphere of a H.P. Lovecraft's story... “There in the moonlight that flooded the spacious plain was a spectacle which no mortal, having seen it, could ever forget. To the sound of reedy pipes that echoed over the bog there glided silently and eerily a mixed throng of swaying figures, reeling through such a revel as the Sicilians may have danced to Demeter in the old days under the harvest moon beside the Cyane. The wide plain, the golden moonlight, the shadowy moving forms, and above all the shrill monotonous piping, produced an effect which almost paralysed me...”. (H.P. Lovecraft, The Moon-Bog). The musical texture here is extremely rich, there are many nuances and every time you'll listen to this piece you'll discover something new...

Well, all in all I think that this is a very good album... Have a try!

Goad: Masquerade (2011). Other opinions:
Jim Russell: At 77 minutes "Masquerade" is a long and chilling journey which some will say could use editing, but those who enjoy it will not want it to end. Driving heavy guitars and bass, chunky, lumbering and distorted are featured with all manner of dark keyboard textures, saxophone, and larger than life vocals. The moods are powerful and thundering, occasionally contrasted with eerie softer sections which just make the tracks pop with intrigue. In these sections you will experience sumptuous solo string performance, flute, and acoustic guitar----even a classical solo interlude at one point. But the most important impression to convey is the sense of unease and imbalance foisted on the listener as this unfolds like a tale from a dusty old magician's book... (read the complete review HERE)

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Monday, 4 March 2013

OF STONE AND WIND

Aldo Tagliapietra is the historic vocalist and bassist of Le Orme, a band that he contributed to found in 1966. In 2009 he went solo and, after a double unplugged live album, in 2012 he self released an interesting studio work with the help of some members of The Former Life, a very promising young prog band from Vittorio Veneto. On this album, titled “Nella pietra e nel vento” (In the stone and in the wind), the line up features, along with Aldo Tagliapietra (vocals, bass), Aligi Pasqualetto (piano, Minimoog, keyboards), Andrea De Nardi (electric and acoustic guitar), Matteo Ballarin (organ, keyboards) and Manuel Smaniotto (drums, percussion). There are no long, complex suites here but just ten beautiful ballads with a mild progressive rock vein that in some way recall the atmospheres and the melodic passages of some albums by Le Orme such as “Elementi” or “L'infinito” while the art work by Paul Whithead adds a touch of charm and mystery
 
Aldo Tagliapietra 2011

The opener title track is a melancholic piece about time passing by. It was inspired by some words in Latin carved in an ancient sundial, Felicibus brevis miseris hora longa. Time can cover with a magic veil memories and nostalgia even if it is too slow for those who have to wait, too fast for those who are scared, too long for those who feel pain, too short for those who are happy. The following “Silenzi” (Silences) brings a gust of optimism and the atmosphere is brighter. What will remain of us after our time will come to an end? Nothing can last forever except our souls and a smile which will shine in the silence of immensity.


“Il santo” (The saint) was inspired by the character of the Dalai Lama. It tells about a meeting with a smiling man born from a dream, with no home nor land but with a border-less love in his eyes.The delicate, sweet “La cosa più bella” (The most beautiful thing) is dedicated to Aldo Tagliapietra's grand-son Francesco Ian while the following “Un grande giardino” (A wide garden) is for all the children of an ancient mother called Life, flowers of light in a wide garden who need all our love to grow up.

“Sette passi” (Seven steps) is full of spirituality and was inspired by the character of Siddhartha. It evokes the morning wind and a peaceful, almost magic sense of freedom where flowers shine in the infinite. “C'è una vita” (There's a life) invites you to open your mind, look beyond appearances and search for the life that flows inside your heart... “There's no light without dark / There's no night without day / There's no sound without quiet / There's no peace without war / Inside every pain there's a hidden love / In every morning there's the evening...”. 
 

“Tra il bene e il male” (Between good and evil) features on bass the guest Claudio Galieti who was a member of Le Orme in the sixties. It's another track that draws some reflections about the meaning of life in a world divided between silence and noise. We have to walk on a tightrope hanging on the void, between joy and pain in the never ending game between good and evil.

“Dio lo sa” (God knows it) is full of positive energy, almost an ode to a merciful God who is aware of our weakness. For Him we're just angels living between dream and reality who keep on rolling down from a steep hill like stones, lost in the dark and looking for an ephemeral freedom that we can't find. 
 

The conclusive “Il sutra del cuore” (The sutra of the heart) in some way is linked with the title track and closes the circle. It invites you to open your mind to love without hypocrisy nor fear. You have to forget the evil ways and look for love without any compromise, you have to carve in the stone all the positive things and remember all the love you have received from the others. As for the bad memories, let the wind blow them away and keep on searching for the light of love, beyond the immensity.

All in all a very nice album!

More info:



Friday, 1 March 2013

PIANO VARIATIONS

Tony Pagliuca was Le Orme's keyboardist until 1990. In the early nineties he went solo following a personal artistic path and since then ha has released six albums so far. His last work, “Après Midi – Ormeggiando”, was recorded between 2007 and 2010 with the supervision of Le Orme's historic producer Gianpiero Reverberi and features twelve tracks from Le Orme's repertoire re-interpreted for piano solo. The album was finally self released in 2010 with an elegant packaging featuring an art cover taken from a painting by Walter Mac Mazzieri, Canzoniere notturno. Well, in my opinion the art cover depicts in a very effective way the mood of this charming work full of delicate nuances and evocative, nocturnal passages. 
 

The opener “Gioco di bimba” sets the atmosphere. From the very first notes you can realize that this is not just an unplugged album or the fruit of a nostalgia operation. The music respects the feeling of the original pieces but explores new melodic solutions drawing beautiful games of lights and shadows. 
 

The following “Aliante” is the only track recorded live and it's taken from a concert in Florence in November 2009. “Venerdì” is an instrumental piece originally released in 1981 and this “naked” version, purified from the sounds of the eighties, in my opinion adds new perspectives and colours with an excellent result...

Tony Pagliuca 2010

Just imagine to sit in a café in San Marco Square, in Venice, and let the music stir your fantasy, unveiling hidden melodies and unexpected rhythmical solutions... “Verità nascoste”, “Aspettando l'alba”, “Immagini”, “La fabbricante d'angeli”, “Era inverno”, “Se io lavoro”, “Cemento armato”, “Sguardo verso il cielo”, “Collage”. The music flows away as in a beautiful dream and if you like Le Orme's historic works I'm sure you'll enjoy all this new instrumental versions as well. Have a try!

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