Ingranaggi Della Valle is a new Italian band from Rome. Recently the debut album In Hoc Signo appeared which is rather fast if you consider that the band only started in December 2010 with the following musicians: Flavio Gonnelllini (guitar), Mattia Liberati (keyboards), Edoardo Arrigo (bass) and Shanti Colucci (drums). They play a mixture of jazz-rock, fusion and funk-rock that evolved in a musical style of their own. This resulted in compositions associated with vintage prog and jazz in a new and personal style. Later on violinist Marco Gennarini joined the band and then they started to look for a singer with a great voice and theatrical skills. They found such a person in Igor Leone!
After the line-up had been put together they started to record their music which finally resulted in the album In Hoc Signo. Thanks to some friends they could produce a very professional album. Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, drums, synthesizers) helped them out by suggesting some arrangements and he also played on two tracks. Another guest musician was saxophonist David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator). He heard a demo of Ingranaggi Della Valle and he offered to play some flute and saxophone parts on the final track of the album.
When you listen to this concept album about the Christian crusaders, you'll notice that the musicians based their music mostly on two types of music. Firstly the prog sound recorded by the well-known Italian progressive rock bands from the seventies like Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Area, Le Orme, Delirium and Premiata Forneria Marconi. This is mainly due to the use of quite a number of vintage keyboard instruments such as the Mellotron M400, the Hammond B3 Organ, the MiniMoog Voyager, the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the Elka Synthex synthesizer. Secondly their music is strongly influenced by jazz-rock acts like Return To Forever, Jean Luc Ponty, Yellow Jackets, Tribal Tech, Steps Ahead, Weather Report and Allan Holdsworth. The violin parts mainly reminded me of Ponty, while the electric guitar parts strongly resemble Holdsworth's. Occasionally the Moog and Fender passages shift the music towards Steps Ahead and Return To Forever. Then again some influences from bands as Magma, King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator can be noticed as well.
This mixture of two different styles of music into one is maybe difficult to digest for lovers of both individual styles. However, in my opinion they cleverly managed to blend prog and jazz-rock in very pleasant sounding and strong compositions that don't show any weak spots. All musicians master their instruments and the singer has a marvellous voice; this all leads to a professional sounding album.
Beside the CD version of In Hoc Signo there's also a coloured vinyl version available with a fantastic gatefold cover and a limited edition of hundred copies. A colour book comprising of twelve pages and a large poster are also included. I'm already looking forward to the band's second album. I would like to hear more from these very talented musicians. For people who like the above-mentioned bands In Hoc Signo is a must have!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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