Another amazing “five stars” review on progarchives.com
Thank you very much tszirmay
Original review: http://progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1617917
It was easy, real easy! It took only two names to smilingly press the send button on the order and get Il Corponauta shipped into my avid hands. Fabio Zuffanti can do no wrong , as far as a modern prog icon is concerned as all his output is phenomenal (with only 2 hiccups , the Merlin concept as well as that ambient noise experiment Quadraphonic ), creating delirious music with Hostsonaten, la Maschera di Cera, Finisterre, La Zona, Rohmer and many more , as well as facilitating Unreal City to achieve their stardom. The second name is my fellow reviewer on Progarchives, Aussie-Byrd-Brother, with whom I share incalculable amounts of common releases and subsequent reviews (“He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”). His recommendations are eternally spot on, as we seem to have parallel tastes, remarkable only that we are literally at each other antipodes (he in Australia and myself in Canada). The third thing that got me was his depiction of a lascivious bass carving through this entire opus, and well,…my Achilles heel of doubt was dutifully severed.
Il Paradido degli Orchi are from lovely Brescia, a relatively younger crew by all accounts who venerate the RPI tradition by taking the style to new modern heights, fresh and crisp like the Lombard morning sun. Being a bass guitar fan of the highest order, immediate kudos need to be sent out to the ever present groove maestro Andrea Corti, whose demeanor gives all the tracks a great foundation and presence. Main man Michele Sambrici handles the guitar chores with considerable talent, as well as fiddling with a variety of keyboards, inspiring gigantic melodies and flipping some desirable solos on both instruments. With a dedicated drummer and a deft percussionist, the rhythmic expanse is lush and defiant, pulsating, throbbing and thumping. Finally, vocalist Sven Jorgensen may have Scandinavian roots with such a typical Norse name, but he sings in perfect Italian and perfectly well.
From the opening bars of “Il Mondo dei Pensieri”, this endowed bunch catapult straight into a vortex of sound, pummeled by intricate beats, humongous bass ramblings and slashing guitars, Sven howling to the moon. Complex weavings, elaborate time sigs and undeniable zeal, the piece takes you on an immediate journey beyond the routine musical sounds and flirts with audacity and appeal. Sambricci peels off a few slithering solos, all sulfur and spice, infusing fire and finesse, pushed along by the hard clout of the drums. A world of thoughts, indeed. The title track is short, sweet and manic, dissonance and dexterous disaster just waiting to explode. And it does, boom! In total contrast, the soporific pacifism of “Silenzi” takes on epic proportions, serene pillows of sound, restraint and calm shaping the arrangement, flute dabbles and a bucolic vocal that nears early morning awakening. This man can sing, mamma mia! Aromas of classic RPI linger in the Lombardino air, with massive mellotron crests, flute and clanging guitars that recall old PFM, this is a true corker, as hallway through the melody blooms into sheer magnificence, a melodic rainbow of colored sounds and undisguised emotional release. Nifty guitar blast, insistent and buzzing really shoots for the stars. I mean, wow, these guys are on!
“Specchio” is a shorter track that has doggedness stamped all over it, a manic ramble bustling with muscle, Sven wailing again, undeterred. Loopy rhythms, curved synth flights, rotund bass musings (this guy is just fascinating) and driven pulse, all congeal the track into submission. “Pioggia” on the other hand, while remaining focused and exhilarating, infuses some fun and fantasy into the proceedings, swerving like some Alfa Romeo on steroids, careening down some rainy Alpine pass, unafraid of any guardrails. The piece unexpectedly evolves into a more obscure cadence that highlights a soaring melody, searching, scouring and ultimately finding resolution. The suave guitar arch, aided by some serene mellotron waves, is totally mesmerizing. I was almost thinking Carlos Santana at one moment, so rich and melodic is Sambrici’s style. Barely halfway through, and you just feel that this is going to be a masterpiece, perhaps even a revelation for 2016.
“Volare Via” underlines this initial Santana feel I had earlier, as this sounds like something off his ‘Borboletta’ album, the honeyed and determined guitar rifling like some Beretta machine gun, shoved along by polyvalent percussives, a real unique sound that may recall fellow Italians Proteo (whose album ‘Republikflucht’ is a modern prog classic), then as per norm, the tune veers into a contemporary song that has lightness and simplicity as main directives, a ridiculous contrast that shows incredible creativity and impeccable delivery.
Complexity returns initially on “La Stanza dei Ricordi”, brooding cross rhythms that recall a proggy The Fixx, but in a more playful countrified style, Sambrici masterfully raging on his guitar as if was some derelict mandolin, metamorphosing into a Dexy’s Midnight Runners-like pattern of entertaining, almost Irish in style, playfully reeling along , proud as a peacock. Incredible audacity, masterfully pulled off. This initial half time of amusement turns into a second volume that is way more brooding and austere, still maintaining the original spine but now it’s the mellotron strings that imperialize that arrangement. Sven displays a multitude of tones, singing his heart out serenely one minute and wailing like a banshee the next. Pazzo! Throw in a bluesy saxophone solo, courtesy of Andrea Calzoni and one cannot help but smile in sheer adulation, as the ‘tron sings along.
Back to the theater stage we go on the frenzied “Addio al Corpo”, a schizophrenic vocal display only matched by more schizoid playing that is all buzzing and monstrous, cannonading drums blasts from Marco DiGiacomi and hectic guitar histrionics. Desperation, obsession and rage fuel the relentless furrow, this is verging on the ridiculous. Time for some praying? Va bene, these ragazzi go religiously to the altar and do the spiritual thing on “Il Volo”, celestial mellotrons and busy bass hustling the voice to urge on the Gregorian choir feel, a sensational diversion that speaks of their vast pool of creative juice.
The balls, the courage, the gall to place this 18 minute behemoth here is the playlist! I have rarely witnessed such confidence from any young band anywhere on the planet, assembling this ultimate prog manifesto, highlighted by this unreal capacity to recreate new horizons while respecting the glorious past traditions. Seemingly the Italians have this in their blood or DNA, it’s unbelievable. “Deserto” sort of encompasses all the previous tracks and the comments associated with them, a roller coaster of sound and texture, forever evolving and seeking adventure. I am generally never at a loss to find words to express my thoughts ‘but I fear tomorrow I will be crying’ as I am clearly failing. Everything is here, from excitement to discovery, from familiarity to complexity, the well-oiled ‘macchina’ is superlative in creating the drive and the mood. Andrea Corti motivates the sonic pistons to boldly go beyond the norm, everyone exuding impeccable technique as well as unabashed zeal, a true voyage of distinctive peaks and valleys, occasionally playful, often securely serious and always masterfully blended. The flute goes delirious, the drums flail obediently, the choir pleading with the heavens and Sven engaging his lungs with willpower.
Finishing off with another epic track, the breathless “Il Gran Finale”, one gets the same impression as after a 80s Springsteen concert: total exhaustion! The energy, drive, commitment and deliverance are just simply overpowering, as the percolating percussion overtakes the frantic vocal, sublime Santana-esque guitar lines from maestro Michele Sambrici take hold and sustain the mood. But when Magma-like chanting kicks in, one is reminded of fellow Italians Universal Totem Orchestra. Just as suddenly, the mighty mellotron veers the finale into a parallel universe, lyrical electric guitar carving mightily, as the bass cavorts openly with the rhythmic expanse. This is hysterically delicious prog.
I rarely if ever anoint a debut with 5 star perfection but this is just plainly a progressive rock colossus. Perhaps the finest RPI album in recent memory and definitely Paradise . Ancora, per favore! I need a nap now, buona notte
5 body cosmonauts