In June 2000, singer and keyboard player Frank Centauri established Ghiribizzi, a band that I certainly believed to become one of the best Belgian progressive rock bands. The band impressed me a lot with their second album Panta Rei (2005). The album contained songs with different musical styles, but despite that still sounded consistent and strong. The band members proved to be masters on their instruments by performing several strong guitar and synthesizer solos. On a live stage, they performed their music with hardly making any mistake. It’s obvious that I was looking forward to their third release.
Finally, in the spring of 2010, the new album was ready to be released. During a concert of Quantum Fantay, another Belgian band in which some members of Ghiribizzi also participate, I fortunately got a copy of Circuit Rewiring. However, a day before that concert I found out that two band members no longer formed party of Ghiribizzi. When I asked them why they’d left, they fenced my question in a way which I thought to be rather strange. The day after the live performance, I put Circuit Rewiring in my CD-player and I got a bit of a shock by what I heard. Was this really the same band that five years ago recorded such a wonderful progressive rock album? I couldn’t believe it, but gone were all the fine instrumental breaks and the solos that I’d enjoyed so much. Could this be the reason why the keyboard player and the guitarist had left the band?
After a message from drummer Gino Verhaegen, the air became clear and the truth came out. The band wanted to play more straightforward rock songs, more song-oriented material you might say. Their current compositions sound rather simple without all the complex song structures. In a way, it’s the same process Marillion and Genesis endured with their music after a period of recording only pure progressive rock albums. Their music moved to a more commercial direction as well. This was most probably the reason why two members left the band to be only replaced by a new guitar player. However, they can still play progressive music in Quantum Fantay, so it seems that everybody’s happy now!
The question is whether the people who normally buy progressive rock albums are still interested in Ghiribizzi? Well, to be straight, I don’t think so. If you like complex songs with many strong instrumental passages and strong solos, I think you will avoid this release, but if you like simple stuff you can try Circuit Rewiring. Some sound samples on their MySpace-page will help you to decide. But remember, you’ll only hear song-oriented pieces with hardly any solos. The keyboards are still present, but without having a leading role; they just accompany the music. One of the best songs on the album is Valley Of Gold. It’s the follow-up of the first part that appeared on Panta Rei starting very progressive with keyboards, but after the impressive intro it moves to a simple rock song. That also applies for the final track. Descent Of The Dyad contains traces of the sound the band once had on their previous album.
Unfortunately, this promising band decided to change their musical direction. Of course, we have to respect this decision, but it certainly means that they will lose the attention of people calling themselves progheads. Only time will tell if this was the right decision for them to make. All I can do is wish them luck…
** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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