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Phoenix Again - Look Out CD (album) cover

LOOK OUT

Phoenix Again

 

Neo-Prog

4.04 | 8 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Second delightful studio offering from this obscure Italian band. As in "ThreeFour", here we have music that was composed in the 80's by the band but only now saw the light. Compared to that album, the group has grown with the addition of more members from the Lorandi family (Marco on guitars and Giorgio on percussion) and Andrea Piccinelli on keyboards/cello. The result is a more dynamic, varied and somewhat heavier sound.

The voice of Claudio Lorandi (R.I.P.) appears on the only sung track (Invisible Shame), which, although pleasant, is arguably the weakest moment, balancing between a pop-Marillionesque and Phil Collins style, but closes with an impressive neo-prog keyboard solo and strong vocal melodies. Although the average track length approaches the 8 minute mark, the instrumental compositions of Phoenix Down flow freely.

The moods vary from pure Neo-prog passages to heavy fusion and symphonic prog coming straight from the 70's. "Summer" and "Dance of the Tree Clowns" shows the mellower side of the band, with the former reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's soundscapes and organ-like dreamy keyboards and the latter a short baroque, chamber prog, ethereal piece with cellos, flutes etc., which will bring a smile to fans of (mellower) Anglagard. On the contrary, the up-tempo "Endless Battle" reminded me of Maiden's "Transylvania" with a hefty dose of fusion, which shows the band's heavier side. "Look Out" builds up to similar riffology but coming from a funk/jazz intro with lush Neo-prog keyboards that see it out to the end. "Oigres" is a mix of King Crimson and accordion on low tempos! "Asdo da Melk", inspired by the "Name of the Rose" is the highlight of the release and grasps the listener's attention with the "romantic" opening acoustic guitars that swiftly change to early Marillion styles, progress to jazz/fusion dancing rhythms and uplifting bass lines and peak towards the end with cello accompaniment - breathtaking.

A multitude of rhythms and styles, a background of Neo-prog but with space to elaborate on jazz/fusion and classic progressive rock, "Look Out" is an album with a distinct character, even though we can only hear snippets of the band's Italian heritage. Emotion, skill and character: this has to be in the top-10 for 2014. 4+ stars.

aapatsos | 4/5 |

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