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Ingranaggi Della Valle - In Hoc Signo CD (album) cover


Ingranaggi Della Valle


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.03 | 263 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano!
5 stars Even in the standout year of 2013, the debut of Roman band Ingranaggi della Valle, "In Hoc Signo", is a landmark album, one that only comes around every decade or so.

The band started as a fusion/jazz rock outfit, and they retain a distinct fusion sound. However, they are much more symphonic in their approach than a typical JRF band--in fact, they remind me of what Arti e Mestieri might have been like had they gone more symphonic instead of the fusion route in the late 70s. Probably the strongest link in this regard is the incredible frenetic drumming of Shanti Colucci, who sounds like the second coming of legendary Furio Chirico. Also there is the beautiful melodic violin of Marco Gennarini, quite reminiscent of Giovanni Vigliar's prominent role in Arti e Mestieri. Finally, the keyboard work of Mattia Liberati evokes the best days of Beppe Crovella, as Venegoni is recalled by Flavio Gonnellini.

One of the strongest elements of the band is the incredible vocalist Igor Leone, one of the most talented vocalists to arrive on the RPI scene for a long time, and the list of outstanding RPI vocalists is quite long. In many ways Leone reminds me of Gianfranco Gaza, amazing vocalist of Procession and later Arti e Mestieri (though grossly underutilized by the latter band). But Leone's sound is his own, his tone is clear and his range is remarkable.

The songwriting is handled by outstanding keyboardist Mattia Liberati and understated but excellent guitarist Flavio Gonnellini, the founders of the band. Together they have crafted a symphonic masterpiece which combines strong melodies, rich textures, and fusion-level musicianship, pulled together in an incredible way by a strong concept. They have decided to continue in the Medieval concept vein that many RPI bands have recently explored, notably Le Orme, Il Baccio della Medusa, Latte e Miele, and labelmates Il Cerchio d'Oro. Like Il Baccio della Medusa, the idea is centered around the Crusades, but viewed through modern sensibilities. The packaging is luxurious, despite being housed in a jewel case, and complements the ambitious concept.

As for the music itself... wow! This album has it all--strong melodic hooks, great multilayered vocals, dramatic flair, sensitive violin, fiery sax (courtesy of David Jackson, who also contributes some excellent flute), virtuosic displays, compositional variety, even funky sound treatments (thanks to Mattias Olsson). I have been enthralled with this one from the very first listen, and I am not overstating when I say that this just may be my favorite RPI release since the 70s! That's quite a claim, I know, but it's that good. You really need to try this one, even if you haven't been a fan of the current RPI trends. Five stars (Gnosis 14/15).

Todd | 5/5 |


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