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

IN HOC SIGNO

Ingranaggi della Valle

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.93 | 171 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

PaulH
5 stars I've been waiting to write this review, mostly because I wanted to see how much this album would grow on me. After almost 9 months, it still hasn't stopped growing on me, so it's probably about time to get to it.

Wow, this is an amazing album! Seriously, if you're a fan of RPI and prog-fusion, just go get it. It's an all-time must-have. I don't say that lightly, it deserves the highest praise.

This is a particularly impressive album when we consider that this is the first effort by a group of young musicians. Talk about getting people's attention! As if putting together a great album in their own right wasn't enough, they gathered folks like Mattias Olsson (Anglagrad) and David Jackson (VDGG) to guest on it, and not just to use their names, but as peer contributors.

As far as the style of music goes, take a strong base of honest RPI in the tradition of Le Orme, Banco, Area and PFM, add in a healthy mix of the virtuosic jazz-fusion of Unorthodox Behavior era Brand X, Bruford, Jean-Luc Ponty and KBB, and a pinch of complex symphonic prog ala UK, and you get something like this. There is even a taste of adventure in a few avant/artsy sections, just to spice things up. But this album is far from derivative. It takes that foundation, updates to the modern era, and takes it to new heights.

The compositions are wonderfully complex, yet accessible, growing more familar with each listen, but still revealing subtleties even after months of play. The songs are ever-changing, with twists and turns and segues that put widely varying sections together in a way that makes total overall sense. This is just flat-out interesting and enjoyable music. My wife laughs at me for dancing around to the 13/8 section in L'Assedio Di Antiochia, but that's the kind of thing you find in this album. It's impossible for me to pick any tracks as highlights -- there are outstanding sections throughout.

The musicianship is superbly virtuosic. But unlike some contemporary groups that seem to be individually great but lack the synergy of a true ensemble, these guys put it together with great interplay and a true sense of a greater whole. It would be unfair to point out any one musician more than any other. Being a drummer myself, I especially appreciate Shanti Colucci's efforts here -- reminds me Phil Collins back in those heady early Brand X days. But jeez, Mattia Liberati on keyboards is excellent. Flavio Gonnellini on guitars absolutely rips it up. Marco Gennarini on violin is one of the best violinists I've come across in the prog genre since the days of Ponty, right there with KBB's Akihisa Tsuboy for sure. Last, but certainly not least, Igor Leone gives us a truly outstanding vocal performance with excellent pitch and timbre to his voice. The lyrics are in Italian, as they should be for this genre, but even though I hardly understand a word of it I find myself singing along just for the great melodies.

The production is first rate. The recording quality is nice and clear, and the mix is very well done so every track can be heard with everything in perfect balance. They manage to get that vintage feel with modern clarity and frequency range. The mastering is good, although they do push the levels a bit like most modern releases, with a little more compression and limiting than I would prefer. I hit it with a light pass of SeeDeClip to restore the dynamics nicely.

This is genuine 5 star material, and I reserve my 5 star ratings for truly masterpiece material. I can't even think of why I'd even deduct a couple of tenths of a point. Maybe just because they aren't pioneering a new prog genre like the greats such as Le Orme or Yes or Genesis did. So maybe this gets a 4.9 just because of that, but there's no way I could round this down to a 4 with a clear conscience. So, it gets a full 5 star rating from me. One of the top 50 albums in my entire prog collection (of over 2,200). I haven't been able to go for more than 2 weeks without listening to this album for over 6 months now! A must have, for sure!

PaulH | 5/5 |

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