In 2011, the Italian outfit La Coscienza Di Zeno impressed me with their eponymous debut. Two years later they once again impressed me with their second release Sensitivita (see review), an album which I regarded as one of the musical highlights of 2013 in the progressive rock genre! With a flow of releasing a new studio album every two years, it was for me obvious that I couldn't wait to lay my hands on their third album in 2015.
Named La Notte Anche Di Giorno the new album was recorded with almost the same line-up which was responsible for the bands strong predecessor- Gabriele Guidi Colombi on bass, Andrea Orlando on drums, Stefano Agnini on keyboards, Alessio Calandriello on lead vocals, Davide Serpico on guitars and Luca Scherani on keyboards. I said almost because a new member was welcomed into the band with the addition of violin player Domenico Ingenito. I could hardly say this comes as a surprise because on their second album the string section was already an important factor in the bands composition. Many times you could hear the beautiful violin and cello parts next to the wonderful sound of the flute. Those musical elements return once again into the music of the band and this was something which I liked a lot. However this time around the violin even managed to get a leading role throughout the entire album next to the strong theatrical emotional vocals of Calandriello and the fabulous keyboard parts of Agnini and Scherani. This way, the band sounds on La Notte Anche Di Giorno more and more like the godfathers of Italian progressive rock Premiata Forneria Marconi comparable to the music they displayed on La Coscienza Di Zeno andSensitivita. On the bands earlier work, the comparisons with the British bands Yes and Genesis could be made several times as well as those with the Italian progressive rock acts Le Orme, Locanda Delle Fate, Maxophone and Metamorfosi. Furthermore the neo-progressive rock bands like Pendragon, IQ and Pallas could be heard as possible influences as well. Sure they come occasionally to the surface on this new release but not very often. I guess nowadays more and more the bands know how to get a sound of their own next to the several musical links to the already mentioned PFM. Also, the traditional folk elements shine through even more than I heard on their first two musical efforts.
As for the compositions on their third album, I can only be positive because all of them are of a very high level. In a way you could say the album has only two epics which are divided into several chapters. The album opens with the almost twenty four minute long Giovane Figlia. It includes the first six tracks on which you hear lush, symphonic progressive rock old school stlye. This continues on the four tracks divided second epic piece Madre Antica. This lasts twenty minutes and ends in a very beautiful climax which can be heard on the final part Come Statua Di Dolore. On both epics it becomes very clear that the singer's voice is very present. His voice is so incredibly influential, catchy and dominant and is therefore most of the time the centre of all songs-even more than on the band's earlier work. With that said, it doesn't mean the strong beautiful instrumental passages are less in the forefront-not at all. All kinds of keyboard instruments old and new make sure there is enough to enjoy. Voluptuous passages with almost baroque opulence proliferate. Although the guitar occurs in the foreground, the solos are performed remarkably strong. That's where the violin takes over its dominant role from the guitar. This instrument is a very important tool to make the music very appealing. Moreover its contribution makes the overall sound even more colourful. Guests on the flute, cello and the female voice of Simona Angioloni (Hostsonaten, Aries) bring folkloric motifs to the compositions and are fresh breath of air.
Certainly the quality bar on La Notte Di Giorno Anche is set very high. The nostalgic music of the seventies is quite clearly again well served. Those who can't get enough of the sound of classic progressive rock Italian style mixed with elements taken from folk music are recommended to check this album out. You won't regret it just like I didn't and therefore discovered that they made one of the musical highlights of 2015. No question about that!
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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