Presence - Evil Rose

(CD 2008, 68:46, Black Widow BWRCD 105-2)

The tracks:
  1- Prologue(3:29)
  2- Cassandra(7:03)
  3- Evil Rose(18:35)
  4- Subterreans(6:09)
  5- Funebre Dea(3:22)
  6- The Prophet’s Song(9:00)
  7- The Reason Why(3:19)
  8- Gates Of Babylon(7:10)
  9- Orphic(10:39)

Presence Website        samples        Black Widow Records

Evil Rose is my first encounter with Italian band Presence . Therefore, I have no references at all how Evil Rose sounds in comparison to the band’s back catalogue. According to the inlay of the booklet, the band already released quite a number of CD’s in the past. With every new spin in my sound system, my appreciation for this album increased. At first, I thought that this could have been music performed by Kate Bush if she would have joined a prog metal band, but from time to time I had also the idea that I was listening to a seventies album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer with guest vocals by the same Kate Bush. Female lead singer Sophya Baccini must have listened a lot to her. Her only obstacle, however, is her Italian accent. There is no doubt that keyboardist Enrico Iglio was heavily inspired and influenced by Keith Emerson, while g uitarist and bass player Sergio Casamassima seems to be responsible for the heavy parts on this album. Presence likes to play it rough, but always in a very melodic way as the two cover versions on Evil Rose prove. The performance of Rainbow’s The Gates Of Babylon comes pretty close to the original version. The guitars and keyboard parts are tastefully done, but unfortunately, Sophya is not Ronnie James Dio… Guest drummer Valerio Silenzi also did a good job. He plays almost in the same way as Cozy Powell did on the studio version. The second cover The Prophet’s Song I did not recognize. The prog metal version of this Queen- song has nothing to do with the original version. In general, the symphonic tracks on Evil Rose are the extended ones. The title track and Orphic, contain all the elements that will appeal to people who are fond of progressive rock music. Especially Sergio’s melodic guitar solos in the songs mentioned, I enjoyed very much. My first acquaintance with Presence was a nice one. A fine release, that is for sure.

*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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