In 2014 I was very pleasantly surprised by the debut album of Italian act Ad Maiora. The band recorded some very strong pieces of music on their eponymous debut album. Most of the songs were instrumentals and in my review I advised them to find a good singer and write more songs that include vocals. Well, of course I was curious if they had noticed what I wrote at the time. Their new album Repetita Iuvant could give me the right answer.
The lineup is still the same, so we have Paolo Callioni (lead vocals), Flavio Carovali (guitars), Sergio Caleca (keyboards, additional guitar), Moreno Piva (bass, backing vocals) and Ezio Giardina (drums) in the band. Musically the band didn't chance much either. This is of course a good thing, because I didn't want them to move towards other musical territories. Maybe they did incorporate more influences from jazz and blues next to the main progressive rock influences. What did chance are the songs with vocal lines. This time around only three tracks are instrumental. Strangely enough the band has difficulties in choosing to sing in English or in their native language. Some of the tracks on Repetita Iuvant are sung in English as well. One of them, mentioned as a bonus track, has originally English lyrics and is a well done Italian cover of a composition written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. They wrote Whaling Stories for Procol Harum and released it on Home in 1970. It has to be said that the songs sung in Italian have more passion compared to the English vocal lines. But don't get me wrong, Callioni does a great job singing in English.
As for the nine compositions on this album I can only be positive. Many times I had to think about bands such as IQ, Camel, Focus or Pendragon, but also the seventies line up of Genesis came to mind. Most of all the use of the Mellotron was to blame for this. Just listen to the opening of Torba and you will find yourself back in the seventies listening to the intro of Watcher Of The Skies taken from their 1972 album Foxtrot. The same composition also has a great musical duel between the electric guitar and synthesizer. Here you will hear the influences of the earlier mentioned IQ and Camel. The strong instrumental guitar and keyboard parts can be found throughout the album, something I like a lot. And therefore I really love to play this album over and over again.
So I can honestly say that Repetita Iuvant is a very good album with no weak tracks at all. Anybody who likes strong instrumental parts and the bands mentioned earlier is advised to check out Ad Maiora. They certainly have something to offer musically, most of all their latest is a not to miss progressive rock release! Therefore Repetita Iuvant is for me, without doubt, one of the best progressive rock albums released in 2016.
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2016