In 2008 I heard the album Dramma Di Un Poeta Ubriaco. It was made by the Italian band Pandora and had all the traces that they were clearly influenced by the golden era of Italian progressive rock music. The album was certainly not bad at all, but I could most of all hear that they were a band that had taken the first steps in this genre. Not all compositions on this release were of a high level and therefore I lost interest in the band.
However on their second release Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno I did hear a band that had grown a lot music-wise. On all eight tracks you could hear that Christian Dimasi (guitars & vocals), Beppe Colombo (keyboards & vocals), Claudio Colombo (drums, guitars & bass) and Corrado Grappeggia (keyboards & vocals) deliver outstanding performances on their instruments. On those tracks you most of all hear that the great sound of the golden years of progressive rock music is all over the place and has hints of bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Genesis. The last band mentioned even gets a musical tribute on the track 03-02-1974. Several short pieces of music from this band are included. Snippets of The Cinema Show, The Knife and Supper's Ready can be enjoyed throughout this beautiful song-most of all, the strong keyboard parts on the synths, organs and Mellotrons that bring you back to the seventies when the band mentioned above released all those classical albums such as Selling England By The Pound, Close To The Edge, Tarkus, and The World Became The World.
Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno fits perfectly in this list of strong prog albums of the seventies. But the album has more to offer than just musical links to the seventies.
The orchestral keyboard passages sometimes give the music a classical touch. Good examples are the opening track Il Re Degli Scemi and the longest piece Sempre E Ovunque.
Jazz influences are also present on this album. The already mentioned Sempre E Ovunque and L'Incantesimo Del Druido are fine examples on which you can hear some jazzy piano playing-sometimes very much done in a style which Keith Emerson also used on several ELP releases. The musicians also dare to include some heavy guitar parts into their music.
This way the music sometimes moves towards a prog metal style. You can hear this for instance on L'Incantesimo Del Druido.
I also have to mention that it was a wise decision to sing in their native language. Not that the vocals are very strong but this way you don't have the problem that you hear the annoying English accent. Also this way the real emotions in the singing come much more to the surface.
It 's very clear to me that Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno is one of the better progressive rock albums of 2011. What the musicians have delivered on this album is of a very high level, so complements to them are very well in place. Bravo!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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