Leo Carnicella -
Super-Sargasso Sea

(CD 2022, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- The Place Where Lost Things Go(9:34)
  2- Conundrum(5:55)
  3- Tell Your Mom I'm Not Coming Home(3:36)
  4- Balance(4:40)
  5- Oblivion(2:06)
  6- The Place Where Lost Minds Go(13:38)

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Sometimes browsing on the internet is worthwhile to discover new artists. It happened to me when noticed a new name which didn't ring any bells for me. Strange you might say if you are reviewing progressive rock music since 1996. Well the name I am referring to is Leo Carnicella. An Italo-Venezuelan independent songwriter and producer with residence in Germany. The album that I stumbled on is titled Super-Sargasso Sea. The follow up to his albums Until A New Dawan (2021) and Strange Land Of Weird Colors (2011).

On his latest release you can find next to Carnicella (vocals, keyboards, Moog & Mellotron) a stellar line up of exceptional musicians. On bass he found the well known Tony Franklin, who had been working with acts such as The Firm, Glenn Hughes, Jimmy Page, Lana Lane, Erik Norlander and David Coverdale. Also drummer Jan-Vincent Velazco is known to a lot of people because he is a member of Pendragon. On guitars he came up with Beledo. Furthermore I'll have to mention vocalist Alexis Peña and guitarist Thomas Krampl. The most surprising guest however is ex-Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barré.

The album starts with a composition which might be called the first epic on the album. The almost ten minutes long The Place Where Lost Things Go is divided into several parts and is a great album opener. Music wise this composition reminded me of Steely Dan. Next up is Conundrum which sounds a bit like a song done by Fish. Mainly because of the vocal parts. Maybe Supertramp also comes to mind because of the piano parts. The included synthesizer and guitar solos makes this song a true progressive rock tune. It is followed by Tell Your Mom I'm Not Coming Home. Again Fish comes to mind. The guitar solo that you can hear is very tastefully done. Strangely enough the next piece of music reminded me of Eric Clapton. But don't think that Balance isn't a true progressive rock composition. The way Leo included the flamenco guitar parts and several solo's done on the organ, synthesizer and electric guitar can only put my thumb up. The only instrumental is next. Oblivion is also the shortest track on the entire album. It's a beautiful mellow tune with only guitars and string synthesizers. The best part of the album is kept until the end. The second epic, with almost 14 minutes of music, is a real beautiful progressive rock track and again divided into several parts. The title The Place Where Lost Minds Go of course reminded me of the opening track The Place Where Lost Things Go. In a way it starts musically the same way but moves into a totally different musical direction later on. Sometimes you think you hear Jethro Tull. However when you hear the beautiful Mellotron parts and excellent guitar and synthesizer solos come out of your speakers you can think of bands such as Genesis and Yes.

Not only is the music on this album is top notch. Also the CD cover is beautifully presented. It reminded me in a way of Deep Purple's Stormbringer. The cover image of Stormbringer is based on a photo. On 8 July 1927 a tornado near the town of Jasper, Minnesota was photographed by Lucille Handberg. Her photograph has become a classic image, and was used and edited for the album's cover. The same photograph was also used for Miles Davis' album Bitches Brew in 1970 and Siouxsie and the Banshees' album Tinderbox in 1986. And now we have Super-Sargasso Sea, which is very much related but not copied.

Also the packaging of the digi-pack is excellently done, especially in light of the exceptionally designed 3d lenticular box emphasizing the intriguing darker portentous album theme of different dimensions of loss.
All in all it is easy to say that Carnicella with his third album Super-Sargasso Sea made a great progressive rock release. Certainly one of the few surprises of 2022 for me. So check it out as I did myself and step into the musical world of Leo Carnicella. You won't regret it. Listeners tip The Place Where Lost Minds Go.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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