The Italian band Moongarden has turned into a very interesting prog rock band since their debut album Moonsadness in 1994. However, this new album is only their sixth studio-album in fifteen years. On their previous effort Songs From The Lighthouse (2008), we enjoyed a varied prog rock sound embellished with instruments as the grand piano, cello and tablas. The album contained strong and very distinctive vocals and majestic mellotron layers, so I was very curious how Moongardenís new album would sound a year later.
On A Vulgar Display Of Prog, Moongarden invites us again for an interesting and captivating musical journey. These guys play progressive rock in the true sense of the word! Sometimes we hear bombastic seventies symphonic rock in the vein of Genesis 1976-77 with lush mellotron and a powerful guitar sound, but also mellow atmospheres with dreamy vocals and ambient keyboards like in Demetrio And Magdalen. On other tracks we can enjoy an eighties Queen-like synthesizer sound in MDMA or a heavy guitar wall with rap-like vocals in Compression. What a stunning variety!
Iím delighted about the interplay between the guitars and keyboards. In Aesthetic Surgery, you can enjoy a howling guitar with mellotron choirs. Wordz & Badge delivers an exciting duel between aggressive guitar riffs and again mellotron choirs just like in Demetrio And Magdalen. Sometimes Moongarden sounds mellow and warm with strong emotions like in Aesthetic Surgery with tender piano and melancholic vocals (ĎI am an artist, not Godí). Those emotional and expressive vocals form an important part of Moongardenís distinctive sound. Simone Baldini Tosi has a rather unique voice in the current prog rock with a lot of emotion and expression! This kind of music is not always my cup of tea, but Iím impressed anyway. Fifteen years after their debut album Moongarden are still alive and progging!
**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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