Nodo Gordiano comes from Italy and formed in early 1994, after the meeting between Andrea De Luca (bass, vocals), Alessandro Papotto (wind instruments, vocals) and Tony Zito (drums). Later on, they were joined by Roberto Proietto (guitars) and Fabio D'Andrea (keyboards). They made their live debut in 1994. During the following two years, they mainly played Genesis and King Crimson covers. In 1997 the band released their eponymous debut album. The following year they played gigs with John Wetton and played King Crimson covers. Following many changes in the line-up during the last eight years, the band became a trio, featuring founding member Andrea de Luca, who is accompanied by Carlo Fattorini (drums, vibraphone, percussion and glockenspiel) and Fabricio Santoro (electric guitar, bass and synthesizers). In 2013 they recorded their fourth studio album, Nous.
First song, Portonovo, starts off with slow, spacey synth sounds, combined with jazzy drumming and the typical Italian nasal voice of Andrea, telling the short tale of Portonovo. After three minutes, I got rocked by a cacophony of sounds; I heard a strange musical combination. Aion, the second piece, is totally instrumental, in the vein of the aforementioned King Crimson, and the old, English band Van Der Graaf Generator. Experimental progressive rock, without any logical structure. The last part of Aion is slightly better because of nice drumming and the dreamy waves from the synths. In song no. 3, Apologia Del Nodano, we are hounded by the busy drums and bass. The middle-part is quite interesting; heavy guitars, alternating with a glockenspiel and an organ. It's a pity that it suddenly ends. The title song Nous, has a long - early Pink Floyd - intro and it gets more and more interesting because of the high Porcupine Tree content. Even more dramatic singing takes place in track no. 5, Officina. It is the last song, with very short lyrics. Here you can hear the influence of early Genesis for the first time, mainly due to the synths played by Fabricio. Another pleasant surprise is the longest song - almost 9 minutes - Arturiana. It kind of sounds like early Rush, like they sounded on A Farewell To Kings (1977) and Hemisphere (1978). All three members get their separate solos on guitars, glockenspiel, synths and bass. The last song, Stella Maris, begins with sounds of waves, accompanied by a piano and an electric guitar. The lazy mood is soon taken over by haunting synths and drums. There are audible influences of Vangelis and Gandalf in this interesting piece. The female vocals are by Silvia Scorei.
Final conclusion: not a bad album, and the second half is much better than the first. Almost similar to the games the Dutch football team played during the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil: the second half was always better than the first one!
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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