Italian prog formation Macchina Pneumatica was born in 2013 as an instrumental power trio from an idea by Carlo Fiore (keyboards) and Carlo Giustiniani (bass), with Michel Nesti as drummer, its first name was Atom Age Empire. The music was a mixture of different genres, like prog, funk and fusion. After the band had its first successful live performances Macchina Pneumatica vocalist and guitar player Raffaele Gigliotti joined, adding a heavy rock component to the sound but never sacrificing its sense of melody. The lyrics are in the Italian language, and always inspired by everyday life, moods and relationships. The choice to sing in the Italian language delivered the opportunity to change the band name into Nudo, and after this the first video Quadrato was available on YouTube. Meanwhile the band started to realize its first album and, on the run acquired drummer Vincenzo Vitagliano, a middle-aged drummer with a good experience in jazz, prog and fusion area. The name Nudo didn't last very long: during the recording performances the band decided to definitively change its name in Macchina Pneumatica (Pneumatic Machine - from a little constellation name, which gives the name to the last mini-suite song of the album) and with this name published their first album Riflessi E Maschere (Reflections And Masques) early 2019. At the moment the components are already working on new music for their second album.
Listening to Macchina Pneumatica debut album is going back in time, to the realm of early Seventies Italian Prog, with hints from Le Orme, The Trip, Biglietto Per L'Inferno, Metamorfosi and New Trolls. I also hear elements from heavy guitar-organ oriented UK bands like Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster and Rare Earth. The six compositions are simply structured, with the emphasis on the strong and expressive Italian vocals (with some slightly theatrical overtones) and the Hammond organ. The band also delivers some nice musical ideas, and a pleasant colouring with synthesizer flights, acoustic - and electric piano and electric guitar (a couple of fiery soli in Sopravvivo Per Me).
The most adventurous and dynamic composition is the instrumental title track Riflessi E Maschere. It starts in a Heavy Prog atmosphere featuring rock guitar, synthesizer flights and lush Hammond. Then a wonderful mellow part with tender piano and electric guitar, followed by lots of short shifting moods, and a series of soli, from a swinging jazzy piano and a powerful guitar solo to flashy synthesizer and swirling Hammond. Gradually the climate turns more and more bombastic, the interplay between the musicians is outstanding and the Hammond organ shines.
A fine debut album that will please the fans of Italian prog and Heavy Prog.
*** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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