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Dante Roberto

The Circle

Review by Gary Hill

This is an instrumental album that definitely fits under progressive rock. Within that heading it leans toward symphonic stuff at times, fusion at others and neo-classical at times. All in all, this is a ride that never feels tired or redundant. It can be serious at times and fun-loving at others. I really like this set a lot.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Dante Suite:

               
1) Preludio

Rising up gradually, piano comes in and paints some great classical tapestries. After a while electric guitar joins and helps in the creation of those classical elements. It works out to a more rocking edge as it continues, but this is decidedly prog rock. Piano takes command again at the end. Some sound effects segue this into the next piece.

2) Processionale
Rising up gradually, and quite classically, from the previous piece, this grows outward slowly. This builds in fine fashion. In a lot of ways it is pure classical music. Still, there is a rock insistence and energy to it. There is some pretty amazing technical, neo-classical guitar work here. It does move more toward the pure rock side of things as it reaches nearer to the closing section of the piece.
3) Speedy
Coming out of the previous one, this is a real powerhouse. There is a metal crunch and energy here. Yet, it's technical metal driven by classical music.
All Change
Here we are taken out into fusion territory. This is a fast paced, ever shifting and changing powerhouse of a cut. In fact, this is one of my favorites here. It's just so tasty.  The guitar gets a chance to show off at times, but so do the keyboards. They really weave some intriguing tapestries and movements into this beast.
Tra fuoco e fiamme
At close to ten and a half minutes in length, this is the epic of the album. It comes in with a powerhouse prog rock and jam and works forward by variations on that basic theme. Around the two minute mark there is more of a melodic rock section, but it still manages to soar and deliver the fire and the passion. The cut just keeps shifting and changing from there. At times I'm reminded of Dream Theater. At other points it leans more toward fusion. I really dig the keyboard solo section around the five minute mark. Don't miss the bass line that runs behind it. It's classic. By around nine minutes in, they drop this to a piano solo. That holds the cut until it ends.
Open Your Heart
Coming in fairly mellow and quite pretty, this grows slowly and gradually. Some strings come in over the top to add a lushness. It turns toward more of a melodic fusion after a while. It still remains almost balladic in the process. This is powerful stuff, while remaining quite mellow.
Lisea
More of a rocking element brings this in with an almost "guitar god" kind of vibe. Yet there is still a bit of a prog and fusion element at play. It works forward with some proggier things. At times this makes me think of Queen just a bit. That said, it's also quite symphonic at heart. This works into more pure fusion as it carries forward. It gets very intense, but drops to just acoustic guitar to end.
Funky Disco

In a lot of ways that title tells you exactly what this is. Still, there is plenty of jazz and fusion built into this stomper. The funky disco is just sort of the territory where this wanders. There is some great funky bass work as the keyboards solo later. This has some scorching guitar work, too. There is a drop back to just piano around the four minute. That instrument, by itself, holds the cut for a while. Then the rest of the musicians join for a screaming hot return to fusion. That motif takes the piece to the end.

Toccata
With some harpsichord, this comes in with a decidedly classical bent. It's playful and rather fun as it works forward. This gets into some definite fusion territory beyond that. There is a bit of island groove to it. This makes you want to get up and move. Yet, it's still a fusion turned prog kind of thing. It just gives you happy feet. It's a lighthearted way to end the set.

 

 
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