Around 1994, Gigi Longu and Mauro Mulas laid the foundations for what would become Entity. It would take almost 20 years to get the release of their debut album Il Falso Centro. In these 20 years, the band went through large number of line-up changes and live performances, until they got signed by Lizard Records. At that time, the band consisted, next to the founders, of Marco Panzino (drums), Marcello Mulas (guitars) and Sergio Calafiura (vocals).
Il False Centro (The False Center) is a concept album around identity crisis, based on poems by Yuri Deriu, a friend of the band. This is mainly expressed in the music, given that a large part of the album is instrumental. Apart from this, the lyrics are in Italian and there is no lyrics sheet, so without knowing that language, the concept cannot be derived from what is sung.
The music of Entity is largely driven by the keyboards and bass, the instruments of the band's founders, with Mauro Mulas being the composer of all songs - making piano, keyboard and strings prominent parts of the music. With that, it contains elements that can also be found the work of other Italian symphonic bands like Le Orme and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso.
This shows immediately in the first track, Davanti Allo Specchio, where the piano takes care of a large part of the music, accompanied by the bass. Only in the end the rest of the band joins in, accompanying a short electric guitar tune that serves as a perfect bri dge to the second track, Il Desiderio. Here the bass and drums open, setting the stage for a large instrumental piece where the keyboards dance over a jazz rock like bass line, until they start taking turns with the electric guitar - in a somewhat Emerson, Lake and Palmer like manner but without the bombast of Keith Emerson. After this, the vocals come in, bringing emotion to the track - while at the end the bass comes forward again as the foundation for a guitar solo.
Il Tempo is a more relaxed song, carried by keyboards and strings, but with a somewhat hacking, metal like guitar at the end of each chorus. Despite that guitar, the song has a melancholic feel, strengthened further by the piano piece at the end. The best track of the album, for me, is Trip Dell'Ego, which starts with piano, guitar and bass exchanging short phrases, gradually building up into a real symphonic rock part, that is only interrupted by a short vocal piece, presumably expressing one of the poems of Yuri Deriu. Almost chaotic, but after a while the structure becomes clear.
After this, ANT takes us, briefly, back to the melancholy of Il Tempo, but the piano is soon replaced by a slow but driving guitar and keyboard combination. The guitar and keyboard become even more prominent on L'Armatura, a 12 minute symphonic rock piece that show clear metal influences, which gives a very nice effect combined by the slow, emotional vocals.
For dessert, the band treats us to a 6 minute piano and vocal track, La Notta Oscura Dell'Anima - resulting in a round trip to the opening track.
This is a modern symphonic rock album, which will certainly appeal to fans of other (and older) Italian symphonic rock bands. Keyboards play a lead role, but leave more room for other instruments than with some other bands, leading to a better balance.
**** Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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