Colossus Project is an Italian musical project featuring four members and a wide range of guest musicians, including big names like Keiko Kumagai (Ars Nova), Fred Schendel (Glass Hammer) and fellow Italians Cristiano Roversi (Moongarden, Submarine Silence and recently The Watch) and Joe La Viola (Malaavia) . The concept story, based upon the popular Star Wars Episode IV directed by George Lucas, is a tribute. You can read all about the story in the elaborate booklet that also includes information about the foundation of this project, the musicians, the use of vintage instruments and the lyrics. The booklet has been embellished with tasteful pictures of all band members.
The music sounds very varied. Along pure prog rock, we can also enjoy a pleasant blend of several styles with lush vintage keyboards, especially mellotron, Hammond organ and minimoog. Sometimes the music has a bluesy feel with tasteful work on organ, guitar and saxophone. We hear a swinging Hammond solo in The Millennium Falcon. In My Tears For Alderaan, the music sounds folky with soaring female vocals, flute and Celtic harp and classical sounds in the beautiful instrumental May The Force Be With You. The short and funny piece The Millennium Quartet sounds jazzy with a powerful saxophone. We hear melodic rock in the propulsive Meeting The Force with strong breaks and a swirling Hammond solo by Fred Schendel, while Two Suns sounds dreamy with steel guitar and Fender Rhodes electric piano, flute, acoustic rhythm guitar and sensitive vocals. When I Was A Jedi is a symphonic rock ballad featuring a distinctive harpsichord sound, Hammond, Moog and dramatic vocals. One of my personal highlights is the instrumental composition Astral Prelude that contains wonderful vintage keyboards and a groovy bass solo, including the 'slap' technique. Another one is the alternating The Dark Lord Of The Sith: from fado guitar and acoustic guitar to bombastic keyboard sounds and Fripperian guitar work. However, the magnum opus is The Rebellion Suite, an epic that consists of three parts that will last about twenty minutes. You can enjoy beautiful flute, violin-mellotron and howling guitars like Steve Hackett (glissando and 'hammering down'), a swinging bass solo and a compelling finale with excellent interplay between grand piano, mellotron and emotional vocals. Goose bumps!
Don't expect an album loaded with seventies ELP, Yes or Genesis, but if you like tasteful and varied music layered with Moogs, Hammonds and mellotrons and a wide range of instruments with an important role for the vocals, you will be pleased with the Colossus Project.
*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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