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Pholas Dactylus - Concerto Delle Menti CD (album) cover


Pholas Dactylus


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.75 | 53 ratings

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3 stars It's funny how sometimes an album can grow on you, and you just can't explain why. Of course writing a review of that album can be ..tricky .. to say the least. This album, Concerto Delle Menti, the only release by Pholas Dactylus sort of fits that bill. The album consists of a 53 minute piece of music split across the two side of the original vinal release without any breaks. The most noteable feature of the album is the spoken word style of the vocalist Paolo Carelli. VERY interesting. In fact it can be sort of disconcerting at first. You keep thinking or wondering if he would fall in with the melody. At times I swore I thought he would. My first impressions were, very prog, interesting but it really didn't grab me. Like any good prog fan, I continued to give it multiple listens, until one day.. it clicked. Now it's in my top 10 RPI albums. A gem it is but, unlike some albums, may not grab you or hit you on the first couple of listens. Give it a chance.. let it grow on you. You may really come to like it... or like me.. come to love it.

Before I jump into the album I'd like to touch on something. The lyrics. As anyone who follows my reviews knows, I don't speak the language... yet. So my reviews of PRI tend to deal with vocal quality not lyrical quality. A note must be made of the lyrics and the Carelli's delivery. For those who do understand Italian.. I will trust the love of my life who is an Italian and tells me that these lyrics are INSIPID.. Overwrought... horrid.. junk.. pick your adjective. Deduct a star from my ranking if your are a speaker of Italian. Since most of us do not, we won't worry about that. However what we all can understand is delivery, vocal quality. To say that Capellli's spoken delivery is not a thing of beauty is a bit of an understatement. It is not bad, it is just differerent. In some sections, it actually fits perfectly.

As far as the music, trying to describe a complex 53 minute 'instrumental' is never a fun task. But that's why I make the big bucks so let me take a stab at it. The best way to describe this album is intense. I love the use of dramatic build-up and release and it is used to great effect in places here. A good comparison album would be YS, not in the heavy use of keyboards like YS but he music is very dark. While on YS, Gianni Leone was front and center throughout the album, the guitar and bass drive much of the music with the keys in supporting, counterpoint roles. Fans of organ, mellotron and accoustic piano will find great sections but as whole this is a a guitar and drums album.

There were several sections in this music that really hooked me on the album. I touch on my favorite to keep it short. The drum and bass groove which kicks in about the 10 minute marks begins an exteneded period of out of this world intensity. The groove abruprtly ends into a brutal stomping bass and guitar pattern which the keyboards including the accoustic piano and mellotron dance over. Fanstastic stuff.. it continues on for several minutes.. the keyboards building the tension.. along with increasing crashes of the drummers crash cymbal until we have.. orgasm... then we have Capelli return along with a reprise of the bass and drum groove. Some really nice accousic piano plays overtop and is a real footstomper. Again my favorite section of the piece.

Again, not an easy album to review. I love the album with so many different moods though the intense nature of the music never really receeds. Moments of great beauty like the echoed accoustic piano around the 46th minute mark are nice respites from the almost avant nature of the music. Probably something musically in this album for any fan of RPI. One of my favorites from the genre. 5 stars personally.. for the forum at large 3.5. With the avant style of vocals and at times music. Not an album I'd recommend to those who associate PRI with musica bella. Will give it 3 stars for the forum.. it isn't essential by any means and points of this album may drive people away. For me though.. I love this album.

Michael (aka micky)

micky | 3/5 |


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