I'd never heard of this Italian band before. After listening to Primati, however, I can only say: “Wow!”. Not one for tender souls for sure. While you will not find long progressive epics on this second album of theirs, they manage to cram all what other bands use for 16 minute pieces into songs that hover around 4 or 5 minutes in length. That makes for an extremely dense and eclectic sound that is complex, shows influences of jazz and 1970s prog (judging by guitar lines King Crimson, maybe also some Magma, and definitely Italian bands like PFM). Heck, Lavavetri even contains reggae influences!
Checking the net, I found out that they started in 1999, first as a prog metal group, later shifting into more jazzy realms. Today the band consists of Claudio Mirone (guitars, vocals), Marco Castaldo (drums), Valerio 'Fluido' Celentano (bass) and Roberto Porzio (Rhodes, synthesizers). On this CD they were assisted by Fabio Renzullo (trumpet), Claudio Convertito (bass), Pietro Santangelo (saxophone) and Claudia Sorvillo (backing vocals), all of which can be heard on the first two tracks.
Let's look at some of the tracks. The short Struzzo is quite typical for the band with an energetic fusion influenced. Bugia, on the other hand brings relaxed sunny jazzy Italo-prog-pop. My favourite track is probably Accendino with a fantastic combination of progressive rock and jazz-rock with some finger-licking keyboard work. Fastidio has a harder edge, with typical Italian singing (but aggressively). Preambolo starts loose and playful with some deceivingly twisting rhythmic patterns - maybe a bit too heavy on the vocal parts (as in: there are too many words such that there is little space for other things), but with some twists that remind me pleasantly of Gentle Giant. Half way through the piece it gets more threatening and shifts towards King Crimson-like sounds. A fascinating piece, but challenging. The vocal part around 4 minutes will leave you breathless and possibly hyperventilating before the music returns to the starting theme. The final piece Finestrino is the longest, but even this one doesn't cross the six minute mark. It is relatively dark with pretty aggressive vocals and menacing, King Crimson and almost metal-like leanings.
Somewhat of a rollercoaster, but like with many of these rides: let's go for it once more! And I'm curious about their first disc now.
***+ Carsten Busch (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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