Quite fast after the release of Eleven Mysteries (2012, see review), Daniele Liverani's previous album, the Italian multi-instrumentalist returns with an instrumental follow-up which underlines his qualities on the guitar. After many impressive prog rock projects, like the Genius trilogy and the albums with Twinspirits being The Music That Will Heal The World (2007), The Forbidden City (2009, see review) and Legacy (2011, see review), Fantasia is his second guitar album. On this new record he got some help from keyboardist Marco Zago, bassist Nicolo Vese and the young and talented drummer Simon Ciccotti.
Some songs on Fantasia contain passages of spoken words used to announce the next composition for instance on the solid opener Unbreakable. This is a fast guitar driven song wherein Liverani plays over fast riffs and robust drumming. Just as for the previous album, Liverani knows how to select his fellow-musicians and therefore he provides them all the room to excel as well. This is demonstrated by Vese's fine bass solo during this opening piece. Next is Joke, a composition in which I noticed influences that I didn't notice before in Liverani's guitar play. The sound and style surely is reminiscent of the early albums by guitarist Gary Hoey. Peacefully has the same atmosphere as Joke, which means that speedy playing is less important here than emotions and fine melodies.
Many guitar shredders, like Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine and George Bellas, usually implement neo-classical influences in their music. A strong point in Liverani's music is the combination of these influences with rockier and slower played parts. Just listen to Apocalypse, Outstanding and the heavy piece Rage and you'll get my drift. This is not just the typical neo-classical style. Something special is the piano driven piece Daylight that starts with a piano and gradually becomes powerful just to end as a heavy monster with a jazzy piano. If you want to hear a 'gigantic' piece, then listen to the song with the same name. The opening bass part definitely blows your head off, and don't underestimate Ciccotti's drumming in this energetic composition. Here it all comes together: power, speed and musicianship.
Black Horse lacks the heavier technical music and demonstrates emotional guitar play in the vein of Gary Moore. This perfectly fits together with Zago's piano. Guilty is played in a more heavy progressive style with a dominant role for the keyboards this time. Musically the keyboard and guitar parts challenge each other just to lift the composition to a higher level. Heaven again shows the emotional side of Liverani's guitar playing which takes you to the place with the same name, although others call it Fantasia...
Fantasia is just as good as the previous album. On the one hand the album contains neo-classical elements; on the other all the above-mentioned influences have been perfectly blend to a coherent album. Strong compositions go hand in hand with the steady performance of a number of gifted musicians.
More about the artist:Interview Daniele Liverani.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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