Alta Via comes to us from Italy and in the finest tradition of Italian Prog the band has a truly unique sound. Their influences are most definitely rooted in classic era progressive rock, but with enough originality to ensure the disc is no way anachronistic.
Originally formed in 2008, Alta Via's sound is created by the perfect combination of the talents of keyboardist/vocalist Andrea Stagni, drummer/vocalist Marcello Bellina, guitarist/vocalist Mauro Monti, bassist Giuliano Vandelli and vocalist Betty Copeta. Kreosote is the band's second album (the first being 2010's Girt Dog, see review), and runs the gamut from complex to accessible but always remains interesting and the production on the disc is top-notch.
The album opens with About To Fade which really sets the tone for the album. The track is a showcase for the collaborative talents within the band. An absolute stand-out of a song! It is followed up with So Far So Good has an almost bluesy feel to it at the start but segues nicely into an accessible piece of prog. Road To Nowhere is a little foray into a more “pop” influenced territory without getting repetitive or cliché. Paradox is in many ways a traditional or classic progressive track that builds slowly and pulls you into its world with fantastic counter-vocals and harmonies and concludes into an almost cinematic climax. Love Is Worth A Try is another “accessible” track which is quite catchy. The Storm is, to my mind, the best track on the disc, painting a musical landscape worthy of its name, with fantastic vocals and some excellent musical interludes. You Are The Sailor is possibly the weakest track in the collection, but with a disc of this calibre it is still quite a good piece. The album concludes withVelathri, a classic progressive rock composition that weaves its way through a number of moods and styles and truly leaves you wanting more.
Over-all this is a brilliant album and while there are no big solos the strength of Alta Via is how all of the individual parts come together to form a consistent and truly fluid whole.
I really can't say enough about this album - it is quite unfortunate that I didn't encounter it a few weeks ago or this would have been in my Top 3 discs of 2017! Beautifully crafted songs, impeccable musicianship, fantastic production and great vocals (and vocal harmonies)...This is a disc that belongs in every progressive rock fan's collection!
****+ David Carswell
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