Saturday, 28 February 2015

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

Pollution is Franco Battiato's second album and was released in 1973 on the independent label Bla Bla Records. During the recording sessions Franco Battiato took charge of vocals and synthesizers and the line up was completed by Gianni Mocchetti (bass, vocals), Gianfranco D'Adda (drums, percussion), Roberto Cacciapaglia (synthesizer, piano) and Mario "Ellepi" Dalla Stella (guitars, vocals). This album, as its predecessor Fetus, features a provocative art work by Italian graphic artist and cultural agitateur Gianni Sassi. The inner sleeve contains a picture of the band with Gianni Sassi and his wife and the mysterious copy of a manifesto of an imaginary agency, the International Centre of Magnetic Studies, announcing an experiment that would have switched off for twenty-four hours all the internal combustion engines circulating in Italy...

art cover

As you can guess the content of the music and lyrics involves environmental issues and a poignant criticism against the industrialized world. Anyway, despite the subject matter, this is probably the most easy and accessible album of Franco Battiato's "prog period". Here all the tracks are bound together and form a long suite with recurring themes holding it together. The opener "Il silenzio del rumore" (The silence of the noise) begins by the echoes of a Viennese waltz by Strauss, then comes Battiato's recitative voice that in some way tries to wake you up from a sleepy, passive life-style characterized by addiction to noise and where people don't think with their own head and can't perceive the importance of being free and independent... "Have you ever been wondering / What is your function?". A "percussive" rhythm guitar and a church organ follow and lead to the sonic explosion of "31 dicembre 1999 - ore 9", just a few seconds of musique concrete. In the aftermath the sound of keyboards introduces the theme of the following "Areknames", that goes on with strange vocals and "experimental" lyrics written in "reverse style" (for example Areknames = Se mancherà). 


It leads to "Beta", where you can listen to sound effects and recitative vocals that conjure up a "mystical mood" while the piano plays some notes of the previous theme. The lyrics are based upon the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. In the novel, from birth, people are genetically designed to fit into one of five castes, which are further split into 'Plus' and 'Minus' members and designed to fulfil predetermined positions within the social and economic strata of the World State. Fetuses chosen to become members of the highest castes, 'Alpha' and 'Beta', are allowed to develop naturally and are given stimulants while maturing to term in 'decanting bottles'. Fetuses chosen to become members of the lower castes of 'Gamma', 'Delta' or 'Epsilon' are subjected to in situ chemical interference to cause arrested development in intelligence and physical growth. Here we can listen for a moment to the voice of a happy Beta, interpreted by Franco Battiato with poignant irony. A short orchestral passage taken from a symphonic poem by Smetana ends the first side of the original Lp while a question arises... "Inside of me some micro organisms live my identical life without knowing that they belong to my body / I, what body do I belong to ?".

inner sleeve

The second side of the original album is divided into three tracks. The first is the dark, surreal "Plancton" that describes in music a words a kind of evolution in reverse, a regression from the human form to the shape of a strange sea creature. Hands become scales, hair become algae... Then a weird "space tarantella" passage leads on a solitary beach where you can hear the sound of the waves... Here you can listen to a nice, dreamy melody and to a strummed acoustic guitar, then soaring vocals evoke formulas used in physics and engineering, fluids dynamics and hydrometry... In fact, on the next track, "Pollution", the music and lyrics conjure up magnetic fields and expanding gas in a world formed by atoms and molecules that follow the rules of physics. The melancholic instrumental "Ti sei mai chiesto che funzione hai?" (Have you ever been wondering what is your function?) ends the album mixing regretful laments and whining with echoes of classical music. It seems to forecast a gloomy fate for a human race victim of his knowledge and technology...


Franco Battiato: Pollution (1973). Other opinions:
Michael Berry: A step forward here? oh yes.. take an afternoon and listen to his albums chronologically. Fetus was mainly a showcase and a first draft if you will for Battiato and his minimalist aspirations for composition and instrumentation. His VCS3 was the 'star' of the album... other instruments were mainly for texture other than the violin of Cariocinesi. Here, both compositionally and of curse in instrumentation Battiato has stepped forward... A wonderful album with some POWERFUL moments and I find the contrast this album represents fascinating. Highly recommended and may be the best place for new fans of Battiato to start... (read the complete review HERE)
Jim Russell: This is pure RPI (in spirit, if not in peer conformity) with all of the experimental flair so common in the genre, influenced by spacey English psych and Krautrock I would guess. Battiato's first three albums are all very high quality but different enough to make each essential listening for RPI fans in search of a deep collection. He is certainly more eccentric and weird than the symphonic giants like Orme, so if you are an RPI noob, be warned he may take some getting used to. But if you like outlandish sounds and trippy aural festivities, Battiato will not disappoint you... (read the complete review HERE)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

SICKLE, HAMMER AND GUNS


Area had been one of he most important bands of the Italian prog scene of the seventies. Their debut album, “Arbeit Macht Frei”, was released in 1973 on Cramps with a line-up featuring Demetrio Stratos (vocals, organ), Patrizio Fariselli (piano, keyboards) Giulio Capiozzo (drums), Patrick Djivas (bass), Paolo Tofani (guitar, synthesizers) and Victor Eduard Busnello (sax and reeds). The musicians came from different experiences and the overall sound of the band was an incredible and “revolutionary” cocktail of influences ranging from Mediterranean folk to free jazz and rock, always characterized by a strong political commitment. Their producer and advisor Gianni Sassi, co-founder of the independent label Cramps, took care of the lyrics and of the art cover and could be considered a kind of guru for the band, almost an additional member. Thanks to him the band could meet and collaborate with some exponents of the artistic avant-garde as John Cage. Area’s music is challenging and never banal, the lyrics are strong and in some way shocking but never vulgar...


The “explosive” opener “Luglio, agosto, settembre (nero)” (July, August, black September) deals with the Palestinian issue and terrorism and was inspired by the Munich massacre during the 1972 Summer Olympics. It’s a seminal, controversial track, but it’s not exactly a song against terrorism. It begins with female narrative vocals in Arab (1). “Forget your rage / Forget your pain / Drop your weapons / Come with me my darling / Come with me, let’s live / Our cover will be the peace...” (2). Then, on a progression of organ chords the particular voice of Demetrio Stratos soars describing the horror of powerful politicians playing dangerous games and the consequences of their acts... “To play with the world / Smashing it into pieces / Children that the sun / Has already turned into old men...”. Then follows a section inspired by a Balkan melody where the vocals state the refusal of resignation and of an unbearable peace that is the equivalent of submission... “It’s not my fault if your reality / Compels me to move war to this guilty silence / Perhaps one day we will know / What it means / To drown in the blood the whole humankind... Read in history all my pain / Look at my people / Who do not want to die... It’s not my fault if your reality / Compels me to move war against humankind...”. A chaotic section follows before a more melodic part and an instrumental reprise of the previous “Balkan” melody. In the early seventies Area supported the extreme left wing Italian movements that were characterized by strong anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. In the lyrics what prevails is a feeling of empathy with terrorists. Times have changed and today former members of Area point out that they are now against every form of violence but also that the problems generating the hate leading to terrorist attacks are not solved. To complement comprehension of this track I could suggest seeing Seven Spielberg’s film “Munich”...


Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free) is a track against capitalism. In the booklet you can see a picture which portrays an elegant businessman with the head of a bird of prey and the words “Arbeit macht frei”. This slogan was placed at the entrances of a number of Nazi concentration camps but here it could refer to modern factories where workers are employed on assembly lines and treated as slaves. The piece opens with a drum solo and experimental sounds, then a repetitive bass pattern comes in. Try to imagine Charlie Chaplin in “Modern Times” while listening to the frantic rhythm section and to the sax evolutions... “In your miseries you will recognize / The meaning of an Arbeit macht frei / Bleak economy, daily humility / Always push you towards an Arbeit macht frei / Awareness will make you see / One more time / What is Arbeit macht frei...”.


Consapevolezza” (Awareness) is a dramatic call to revolution. Jazz rock and exotic atmospheres lead to a hypnotic rhythm pattern from where suggestive vocals soar inviting you to take a lift and go up in the sky, open your eyes and see what’s happening on earth... “You will see all the bleak reality... All the love reduced to nothing... Smash merciless against the wall / Your morality that wants to keep you imprisoned among mediocrities... Start up and take power!”.

Le labbra del tempo” (The lips of time) is another great, complex track featuring jazz and Mediterranean suggestions where the voice of Demetrio Stratos is perfectly at ease. It’s an obscure reflection about life, time and the need to fight for your rights overcoming fears and superstitions... “Inside me / I feel that a deaf rage is rising...”.


240 chilometri da Smirne” (240 kilometres from Izmir) is an instrumental jazz rock track where all the musicians are allowed to showcase their great musicianship.

The last track, “L’abbattimento dello Zeppelin” (The shooting down of the Zeppelin), is conceived as a criticism against the music business and depicts conceited, haughty bands flying through the sky swollen by the wind, drunk with power. Here the vocals are ironic and theatrical... “Everyone says that it’s my fault / Everyone plays with the body deflated by the wind / That has no memory / Everyone says that it’s my fault / The wind says that I will die...”.

(1) In the booklet they say that the voice was “stolen from a Museum in Cairo” although some other sources say that the voice was that of an Arab girl, a strip-tease dancer who used to work in Milan near the studios where the album was recorded. See D. CODUTO, Il libro degli Area, Auditorium, Milano, 2005, p. 70
(2) I found the translation from Arab to Italian on the forum of the site www.arlequins.it


You can listen to the complete album HERE
 

Friday, 20 February 2015

ALTERED STATES

Posidonian Fields is the third album by Taproban, a band from Rome formed in 1996. It was released in 2006 on the independent label Mellow Records with a line up featuring Gianluca De Rossi (keyboards), Guglielmo Mariotti (bass, guitars, vocals) and Davide Guidoni (drums, percussion). It's a concept album containing three long suites that tell about a journey through an imaginary submarine abyss, a metaphorical one way trip in the subconscious. The lyrics by Davide Guidoni are loosely based on Altered States, a 1980 American science fiction-horror film directed by Ken Russell and are based on a novel by the same name by playwright and screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky about a sensory deprivation research conducted in isolation tanks under the influence of psychoactive drugs. Davide Guidoni took also charge of the art work that in some way depicts the content of the album... Anyway here words, images and notes are like touches of colour used to stir your imagination and you have to fill the gaps. As for the music, every now and again the overall sound could recall bands such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Le Orme, with the use of a wide range of vintage instruments such as Hammond C3 organ or Minimoog, but the song-writing is brilliant the final result perfectly fits the storyline.


The first suite, "Chapter One: Immersion", is divided into three parts and begins softly, with the narrative vocals in Greek and the mysterious atmosphere of "EvapZis". The second part, "Immersion", begins by a dreamy acoustic guitar arpeggio and floating vocals to bid farewell to reality... The one way journey to the unknown begins while colourful psychedelic images appear and melt during the long dive into the submarine kingdom of Poseidon... On the third part, "Caronte’s Ship Imponderability", the rhythm rises while frenzied keyboards waves and rough, nervous bass lines take you across the Styx to a kind of blue hell...


The second suite, "Chapter Two: Suspension", is divided into four parts and begins by the surreal calm of "Riding in Posidonian Fields" that depicts in music and lyrics the meeting with a strange creature. A strummed acoustic guitar pattern reminds you that the ocean is like a desert with its life underground where you can find nameless seahorses and other creatures riding into the blue... The second part is the instrumental "Entwinings" that conjures up the image of a mysterious dance into the deep and fades into "Suspension" where you can hear the echoes of a choir of submerged voices coming from a world that you can't reach. Then you relax, you get lost in your dreams, among corals and fishes you become someone or something else in a kind of new Genesis... The fourth part, "Octopus!", suggest what could be the result of this metamorphosis...


The last suite, "Chapter Three: Oblivion", is divided into three parts and begins by the dark, nightmarish "Uncontrolled Dreams", where you risk to get trapped behind a series of doors corroded by time... The rhythm is frenzied and the tension is higher and higher while you seem unable to climb out from the abyss... Well, an altered state of consciousness is a condition which is significantly different from a normal waking beta wave state and the expression describes induced changes in one's mental state, almost always temporary... But beware! Sometimes there's no way out and the following part "No Return" marks a new awareness while you realize that you can't turn back and that it's too late to escape from the fog of your subconscious. The mystical final part, "Farewell (including Rebirth)", marks the beginning of a new journey towards the eternal mystery of the afterlife while your soul spreads beyond the infinite...

On the whole, an interesting concept and a very nice album, although I think that's a pity that the band did not exploit their mother language for the lyrics as in their previous works.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A BLACK AND WHITE STATION

Il Viaggio (The journey) is the third album by Murple, a Roman band whose roots date back to the seventies. It was released in 2014 on the independent label AMS/Btf with a renewed line up featuring historic members Pier Carlo Zanco (piano, keyboards, vocals), Duilio Sorrenti (drums, percussion) and Mario Garbarino (bass) along with the new recruits Mauro Arnò (guitars) and Claudia D'Ottavi (vocals). After a long hiatus, the band came back to life in 2007 and in 2008 released a long awaited second album, Quadri di un'esposizione, followed by a good live activity. In my opinion this new work is better than the previous one, here the mix between vintage and modern sounds is more calibrated and all the new compositions are convincing and well performed. Forty years have passed since the wonderful 1974 debut album Io Sono Murple, but the band is still alive and kicking and the new members are able to give new energy to the overall sound with excellent results.


The opener "Il viaggio" (The journey) begins by a short acoustic guitar intro. The guitar is played with a bottleneck and this is rather unusual for an Italian prog album... Then the other instruments come in and conjure up the black and white images of an old railway station. The lyrics compare life to a metaphorical journey where everyone has a train to take. There are so many rails, stations, connections, the other passengers are ever changing, someone gets out while others come in... No one can know where his journey will end but one day you will hear your train slackening and you'll arrive in a black and white station lost in the mist, from where you won't set off any more...

Next comes the beautiful, mysterious "Alejandra". The title seems to refer to a charming woman of Hispanic ancestry while the music blends dark keyboards passages with more solar parts where electric guitar and synthesizer bring a touch of joyful lightness evoking the suggestive evolutions of a dance under the full moon.

video

According to the band, the following "Nani e clown" (Dwarfs and clown) was composed in 1973 and performed live at the Be-In festival in Naples. Starting from an old tape, the band re-arranged and properly recorded it in the studio breathing a new life into this piece that describes in music and words an acrobat who walks on a tightrope during a circus show. Dwarfs and clowns are his only family and he enjoys the spotlight when he puts his life at stake for the delight of the public... The music goes through many changes in mood and rhythm underlying the acrobat's feelings and the emotions of the crowd gathered below him... Excellent!

Next comes the calm, dreamy "Angelika", an instrumental track that could make you think of a wonderful woman in the ethereal, breathtaking atmosphere of a Nordic landscape. It leads to the melancholic "Per una volta" (For once) where the music and lyrics depict a proud, vain man without ideals who is wasting his days looking for something that does not exist... The charming voice of Claudia D'Ottavi warns him to change and to break down the wall that he has built around him before it's too late.

Murple on stage 2012

Then it's the turn of "La battaglia" (The battle), a sumptuous instrumental track with baroque echoes and a lively pace that conjures up the image of an army on its way to the battlefield... Then the ironic "Sirene" (Sirens) ends the album. A beautiful voice warns you that nowadays sirens are not half-women and half-fish as in the old lores and legends but they can still threaten and kill evil men with their spells. They were born from a beautiful woman in love, cheated by her husband who pushed her from a high cliff. Instead of dying into the sea, the woman was transformed into a siren... Now her spawn look like every other woman but they're hungry of vengeance: beware! If you listen to their singing you'll die!

On the whole, this is a very nice album that's really worth listening to (despite the dangers evoked by the final song!). The art cover by Cesare Pietroiusti portrays the shapes of three men, three ghosts coming from afar but still able to give us some excellent music. I really hope that this will not be the last leg of their journey and I'm looking forward to Murple's next work.

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS

Barnum's Freak began life in Naples in 2012 on the initiative of Massimiliano Romano (guitars), Sergio Vassetti (keyboards) and Salvatore Oroso (drums). Their music was influenced by seventies prog bands such as Pink Floyd, Goblin, Focus or PFM but also by post rock and more recent acts. The name of the band refers to some attractions of Barnum's Circus, monsters and curiosities such as Joice Heth, an African-American slave who was exhibited by P.T. Barnum with the false claim that she was the 161-year-old nursing "mammy" of George Washington. According to the band, the monster is necessary to the mental integrity of us all and, against its will, increases the cohesion of the so-called ‘normal people’ against all the forms of perversion. A quite confused conception, but sufficient to satisfy the early craving of normality: that blurry desire of conformity and uniformity that each of us harbours inside ourselves.


In 2014 Barnum's Freak self-released a debut work featuring the collaboration of two guest musicians, Alessandro Bagagli (bass) and Manuela Papa (vocals). It's a concept album about a spiritual journey towards a new awareness titled Revolution Loading, where the words revolution and evolution are in some way merged to create something new. The album is almost completely instrumental and you have to rely upon your imagination and on the explanations of the band to understand and appreciate the storyline. According to the band, the world in which we live is a professional system created to hide a terrible reality... We are all slaves, locked into a prison with no walls, no bars, no smell, a prison to our mind... So, we have to search for a way to breakthrough!


The calm opener "Appearance (DayDream)" describes an unconscious, apparent normality made by conformity and uniformity. It's sung in English and, unfortunately, it's the only track where we can appreciate the vocal qualities of Manuela Papa. Behind an ethereal, surreal dreamy mood you can feel an impending change in the air...


The following "Doubt (UnReal)" begins by the sound of a storm in the background and marks the loss of confidence and a state of uncertainty. The rhythm rises, doubts are spreading all around, you feel confused... It leads to the dark, powerful "Crisis (SetBack)" which tries to describe the dramatic inner conflict and the confrontation with the ‘other-than-itself’.


Next comes "Awakening (Resurgence)" that tries to depict the birth of a new attitude in the way you observe and perceive the world. You begin to breathe again fresh air under a dark sky, eventually the sunlight shines through the clouds... "NeWay (Beaming)" ends the album with a surge of cosmic energy and a touch of optimism while the gates of the house of the king open for you.

On the whole, an interesting debut work from a band that deserves credit and that could have a bright future.

You can listen to the complete album HERE

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

BROKEN WINGS

Il Cerchio d’Oro's roots date back to the seventies when they released some singles. After a long hiatus, the band came back to life in 2006 and in 2008 released their first full length album, Il viaggio di Colombo. In 2013 they released an excellent second work on Black Widow Records, Dedalo e Icaro, with a consolidated line up featuring veterans Franco Piccolini (organ, piano, Mellotron, synth), Giuseppe Terribile (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), Gino Terribile (drums, gong, vocals) and Piuccio Pradal (12 string acoustic guitar, vocals) plus a new member, Bruno Govone (electric guitar). During the recording sessions they were helped by some prestigious guests such as Pino Sinnone (drums), Marin Grice (flute, sax), Giorgio "Fico" Piazza (bass), Ettore Vigo (piano), Daniele Ferro (electric guitar) and Athos Enrile (mandolin) who contributed to enrich the sound. The new work is a concept album freely based upon the myth of Daedalus and Icarus where the music and lyrics do not try to tell in an emphatic way a story that probably everyone already knows, but rather focus on the emotions and feelings of the protagonists trying to stir your imagination. Well, maybe the beautiful art work by Stefano Scagni describes the content of the album better than all my words...

art cover

The music and lyrics of the opener "Il mio nome è Dedalo" (My name is Daedalus) introduce the character of Daedalus and his challenge. We meet a proud, unscrupulous genius who is able to invent an endless array of tools and who is jealous of his secrets and of his craft. The music starts softly, then the rhythm rises following the course of a baroque vanity. At last Daedalus accepts to build a labyrinth without a way out for the king of Cnosso and the following "Labirinto" (Labyrinth) is a beautiful instrumental track that depicts this challenge trying to evoke all the difficulties of the project and of its realisation... 
 

The long, complex "La promessa" (The promise) begins with a vocal part a cappella, then the rhythm rises and goes through many changes in mood and atmosphere and you can feel desperate rage, hope and overwhelming energy. This track depicts in music an words a man betrayed but still untamed, prisoner of his work and art. Daedalus is in the labyrinth now, there's no way out, his world has begun to fall to pieces around his head but he does not accept his destiny and he's planning an escape for him and for his beloved son. He swears that he'll find the way...


Next comes the calm, dreamy "L'arma vincente" (The winning means) that describes the feelings of Icarus. He's just an unconscious, curious boy attracted by the splendour of the sun and he's sure that his bravery will help him out... Then it's the turn of "Una nuova realtà" (A new reality), a beautiful track that announces the end of the nightmare and conjures up a feeling of hope in a better future. You can dream of a breakthrough obtained defeating old taboos, soaring in the air and talking to the wind...

"Oggi volerò" (I'll fly today) describes in music and words the day of the take off and the strong, fiery emotions of the departure, a dream that comes true, flying away, higher and higher, towards the sun... Then the nervous rhythm of the following "Il sogno spezzato" (The broken dream) takes you back to earth. Icarus is falling down, his ambitions are melting in the sun like his wings of wax. For Daedalus it's time for mourn and pity, his moaning will to fly for ever... Can you hear it?

Il Cerchio d'Oro 2013

The last track, "Ora che son qui (Icaro... La fine)" (Now that I'm here - The end of Icarus), describes Icarus' final lament, his last thoughts and feelings, his regrets and his pain. Now he's in the afterlife and asks just for a flower that will bring him another bit of sunlight... Can you hear him?

On the whole, I think that this is really a great album. Of course, every now and again the influence of bands such as PFM, Le Orme, New Trolls, Delirium or the Trip is apparent, but the band managed to recreate a vintage atmosphere without sounding out of date nor derivative and the final result is impressive!


Il Cerchio d'Oro: Dedalo e Icaro (2013). Other opinions:
Michael "Aussi-Byrd-Brother": It may not have the same reckless energy, rough around the edges charm that a lot of the vintage defining releases had back in the 70's, but there is no denying it is a high quality album, full of strong melodies and terrific playing. It's also nice to hear something so upbeat and full of life, from a band that is really excited and humbled at still having an audience craving quality Italian progressive music. Definitely one for fans of the first album after a more sedate pleasing listen, and deeply romantic Italian progressive bands like Locanda delle Fate... (read the complete review HERE)

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Monday, 2 February 2015

CELEBRATING MOTHER NATURE

Alienatura is the second album by Il Tempio delle Clessidre and was released in 2013 on the independent label Black Widow Records with a renewed line up featuring Elisa Montaldo (keyboards, vocals), Fabio Gremo (bass, classical guitar, backing vocals), Giulio Canepa (electric and acustic guitar, backing vocals), Paolo Tixi (dums, backing vocals) and Francesco Ciapica (vocals). After the excellent eponymous debut album, the old vocalist Lupo Galifi left the band to join the reformed Museo Rosenbach and Francesco Ciapica stepped in proving that in Italy there's no shortage of excellent singers. All the good qualities of the band's previous album are confirmed here, the overall sound is a wonderful mix of vintage sounds and new ideas and all the compositions are convincing and well performed. Somehow the beautiful art cover by Alessandro Sala depicts in a very effective way the content of the music and lyrics inviting you to wander under the moon, looking for the right balance between your every day life and an alien nature that the contemporary society can't understand.

Alienatura - art cover

The beautiful opener "Kaze" sets the atmosphere. It's an instrumental track with a touch of exotic mysticism where you can hear lost, distant sounds and voices still blowing in the wind. In fact, kaze is a Japanese word that means wind and the music flows away with many changes, carrying you from east to west, from Oriental waves to echoes of native American rites... By the way, on this track you can hear for a moment the voice of Yoshiko Kase, a Japanese friend of the band and a passionate prog fan.

Next comes "Senza colori" (Colourless) that depicts in music and words a man on the edge of a deep personal crises who reflects about his past errors. Slowly part of him gets lost in the spiral of time, his memories get blurred and his hopes melt, suffocated by an oppressive reality. The mood is dark, but never say never! Even when his world seems crumbling down his inner will is still pulsing and pushes him to find a balance to repair what's wrong and to look for that kind of madness that's called Truth...

Il Tempio delle Clessidre 2013

"Il passo" (The step) is another great track that describes a man who's falling down, betrayed by his self confidence and his desire of adventures. He was walking in the mountains, now he can remember nothing but the sound of his steps in the void and the wind blowing around him. He's scared and the night is coming down. Nobody will find him, lost in a solitary ravine, injured, surrounded by the desperate roots of the trees and naked rocks. His rage burns inside his chest as he shouts for the last time... Oh, what a lucky man he was!

"Fino alla vetta" (Up to the mountain top) is about hiking in the Alps and tells in music and words about the spiritual experience of a day spent in touch with beautiful, breathtaking panoramas, far from the daily grind. At dawn you can walk to the top breathing fresh air and listening to the melodic sound of soft rain drops falling on the trees until you get lost under a spell, led by the moon, free from the chains of civilization, in harmony with Mother Nature...


On the dark, nightmarish "Onirica possessione" (Oneiric possession) the music and lyrics describe in a theatrical way a very troubled night. As the veil of darkness comes down you fall asleep in a vortex of obscure thoughts, then your mind begins to fly across scary, bleak landscapes. You're filled with a strong sense of fear and risk to get lost, eternal prisoner of your madness and of your ill dreams. Then you see a creek in a wood and clear water flowing. Maybe there's another reality, you try to go forward to touch the illusion of a life after death while your thoughts fall down like autumn leaves... But soon you realize that your feet are sinking in the quicksand, the burden of your pain makes you heavy, the curtain opens and a crazy, dramatic play begins... In the last section you can hear the suggestive call of a demon and his false promises interpreted by Elisa Montaldo.

"Notturna" (Nocturnal) is a short, dreamy piece where you can fully appreciate Elisa Montaldo lead vocals. Here the music and lyrics depict arcane rites of cosmic harmony under the moon and a myriad of dancing stars, an ethereal celebration in honour of a pagan goddess who speaks of mountains, trees, rocks and of a world where your soul is free to fly high...

Elisa Montaldo 2013

The magnificent epic "Il cacciatore" (The Hunter) concludes this excellent work in a perfect way. It's divided into five parts and tells the story of a hunter who gets lost in the forest following the tracks of his pray. He's tired, stranded, injured. Who is the pray now? When he meets a wolf he's almost helpless, ha can't use his bow and arrow anymore. But the wolf is merciful and protects him. At last he repents, he understand that shooting down an innocent life is pointless and cruel. So, he becomes a new man who's finally aware of the importance of living in a perfect balance with Mother Nature... Well, a nice fable and another great track!

On the whole, this is really a wonderful album, full of passionate melodies, mellow symphonic passages and a pinch of melodramma. I think that this is a real must for every prog lover! Anyway, judge by yourselves: you can listen to the complete album HERE

Il Tempio delle Clessidre: Alienatura (2013). Other opinions:
Paul Fowler: The sound is rich, warm and full with some incredibly powerful moments alongside the more reflective elements. After a few plays the sometimes subtle and complex melodies really grab you. It's not always immediate but persevere and you'll be rewarded with a fantastic body of work... (read the complete review HERE)

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