In 2011 I introduced our readers to Spettri, an Italian band from Florence. Their eponymous album (see review) was written in 1970/71 and recorded in 1973. Black Widow Records released it in 2011, almost forty years later and brought it to a larger audience. Now suddenly, out of the blue, another album of this band is released by the same label, five years after their debut came out.
However, this time around they didn't release an album with material that was already written and recorded a long time ago. On 2973 MMCMLXXIII La Nemica Dei Ricordi the listener can enjoy music that, as far as I know, was written recently. The release of the band's official debut must have brought the band back together and made them realise their work wasn't done yet! Almost everyone who played on their first musical effort is present again on the band's follow up album. Once again you can find Stefano Melani (keyboards), Raffaele Ponticiello (guitars), Vincenzo Ponticiello (bass) and Ugo Ponticiello (lead vocals) in the credits section. Only Giorgio Di Ruvo on drums is missing. He has been replaced by Mauro Sarti who also plays the flute and gong. He isn't the only new musician that got on board though. Matteo Biancalani is also welcomed on sax. Moreover they asked two guests to help them out in the studio. Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre), did some vocal parts on Il Delfino Bianco and Stefano Corsi (Whisky Trail) played the Celtic harp and harmonica on L'Approdo.
When you hear the nine tracks on 2973 MMCMLXXIII La Nemica Dei Ricordi (The Enemy Of Memories) you get the idea it was made at the same time as when they recorded Spettri. This was strangely enough done on purpose, just to create the same kind of musical atmosphere. To remain faithful to the native sound of the seventies they even used instruments that were popular forty years ago. Their compositions had a story to tell that go back to the storyline of the first album. The debut had a concept focused on a man struggling with the ugliness of the world and the hardships of civilization that sought answers in the social revolution. The story told here (1001 years later) is ideally linked to the previous one even if, in this case, the protagonist embarks on a kind of metaphysical journey in search of himself. The protagonist in the second chapter takes a metaphorical journey on board of a ship, coming into contact with the inner life and human frailty.
On the band's debut you can hear that they were influenced by Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Spirit, Colosseum and Deep Purple. Music wise it wasn't bad at all, but when you hear the new album you only can say the musicians have developed very strongly. The level is much higher and therefore even more enjoyable to listen to compared to the band's predecessor. As far as the influences go it has to be said that Deep Purple and Black Sabbath can be heard again, but you can add a few of new names to them. Thanks to the expansion of the keyboards a band such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer certainly must have been an inspiration when they wrote this new album. Tasteful solos can be heard a lot of times and that's just what I like to hear on progressive rock albums! Also King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator are never far away, thanks to the use of a saxophone player. The parts performed on this instrument are very well done and never annoying. The addition of more keyboard and a saxophone gives the band a more varied and above all a fuller sound. A sound that suits the band very well.
I can only be positive about the resurrection of Spettri and the way they present themselves on 2973 MMCMLXXIII La Nemica Dei Ricordi. It didn't bother me they still sound like forty years ago. As long as everything is very tastefully done it is fine by me! So, welcome back Spettri, you came back with a bang!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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