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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pandora

Alibi Filosofico

Review by Gary Hill

I really loved the last album these guys released. Well, I feel the same about this one. Like the other one, even the packaging here is cool. They created a package that resembles a tiny record album, gatefold sleeve and all. It’s a good complement to the progressive rock delivered sonically here. There is a wide range of prog sounds. This is adventurous, creative and unique. It’s also quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Il Necromante, Khurastos e la prossima vittima

Weird sounds open this set in an electronic way. It is atmospheric and quite a bit like early space rock as it starts to rise upward. Then drums take over and pound away in a solo. Other instruments are added and the whole thing gets noisy and weird. Then there is a strange crescendo and a new guitar based sound enters. This is frantic and powerful metallic prog. Yet, as other layers are added to the mix it’s also quite symphonic in a lot of ways. This is like Dream Theater and Deep Purple with a bit more of a symphonic prog added to the mix. It modulates out to something a bit mellower and more purely melodic after the first set of vocals. Then we get an even more metal approach as this works forward from there. As it grows out we get more of an Italian prog vibe, but mixed with that definite metallic thing. Change after change ensues from there. They take into some pure prog territory and then to jazz. Then it drops to a piano dominated mellower motif from there. It fires back out into some killer progressive rock as they continue. Then it gets more metallic in a Dream Theater kind of way for a time. One thing about this piece of music, it never stays in one place very long. They continue shifting and changing this as it works its way to the end.

Né titolo, né parole

Rather symphonic elements open this. Then acoustic guitar enters and some female vocals come across the top. The cut has a lot of world music turned folk and dark prog as it continues to evolve. It’s past the minute and a half mark before we get any major changes in this one. When it does shift it’s to a more hard rocking jam that again calls to mind both Dream Theater and Deep Purple. There is a rather Yes-like vibe as the changes ensue. They turn it back out towards a more folky arrangement with world music in the mix after a time. Even then, though, it has more pure prog in the mix as it carries forward. The keyboard solo section later is classy. That section with some variation takes the piece to its close.

La risalita
Piano opens this in a very classical way. Although the classical element takes a back seat and piano does, too, this remains a keyboard solo. It has a definite space rock vibe to it. It does shift back to more classical territory later, though. Also, the piano comes back into a prominent role.
Apollo
Echoey saxophone brings this in jazzy. Weird space emerges. Then we get a shift to some almost Celtic music for a short time. From there it’s back to space. This time it’s ominous, but also beautiful and melodic. It builds outward from there in an almost New Age way. The song continues to work through and evolve from that point. Then it crescendos. A new motif, sort of jazzy and yet quite proggy takes over. It shifts towards harder rocking as they continue. More shifts and changes emerge. It gets quite weird at times. Then it drops to ambience with waves of spoken words. After the seven minute mark it works out to some harder rocking jams that feel a bit like Frank Zappa meets Dream Theater to me. It drops down to a mellower motif and piano drives it. Then we get some harder rocking music again. Keyboards solo over the top. The cut continues to evolve as it works to the end.
Tony il matto

The opening here has a found sound kind of vibe. It grows out from there into a real world music meets jazz approach. Around the two minute mark the bass serves as an energized dancing backdrop for some great horn soloing. That horn oriented arrangement continues as we’re taken into a jam that’s a bit like a cross between early King Crimson and Traffic. Guitar soloing later heralds an excursion into more pure prog territory. Then it shifts towards the Italian prog style when the vocals return. A dramatic, mellower prog section comes in after that. That movement eventually takes the piece to its close.

Sempre con me

Mellow, ambient space opens this and holds it for almost the first minute. Then acoustic guitar joins and brings a real folk prog vibe to the table. Eventually this works out to a harder rocking, but definitely prog jam. Shifts and changes emerge as it continues along that musical path. At times this gets harder rocking (and there are valid comparisons to Deep Purple again) but overall the general melodic progressive rock heading holds true for this piece through numerous changes. There are some bits here that definitely make me think of Yes, too. A dramatic keyboard oriented section beyond there brings some world music and classical elements to the table. Then it drops to ambience before a symphonic sound rises. They fire out into some frantic and metallic progressive rock from there. Yes and Dream Theater seem to merge as this continues. A later section almost makes me think of early Genesis merged with Hawkwind. That evolves down to just keyboards later. Those mellower sounds eventually become the outro.

Alibi filosofico

The dramatic flourish that opens this really does make me think of early Genesis. The cut drops to atmospheric elements from there. Then it rises upward and shifts out to some weird, but quite crunchy, progressive rock. A mellower movement with Genesis like melodies and female vocals takes over from there. The sounds of a storm are heard. Then acoustic guitar brings a balladic movement into play. Eventually symphonic progressive rock takes it. Then it gets more of a metallic vibe incorporated into that sound. This thing just keeps changing and growing. Then more melodic progressive rock takes over from there. After this works through, it drops way down to a mellow motif and they build it out (mostly through the vocals) from there. A new fast paced jam emerges beyond that combines classic and modern progressive rock.

 
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