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Il Giardino Onirico - Complesso K - MMXIII CD (album) cover


Il Giardino Onirico


Crossover Prog

4.01 | 42 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars After their superb debut album `Perigeo' back in 2012, Italian instrumentalists Il Giardino Onirico return to an early demo work and remake the material to superb effect in the form of `Complesso K MMXIII', and it's their strongest effort to date. Once again, the band offer a thrilling selection of extended heavy spacy instrumental prog somewhat in the manner of Riverside, Eloy, Dream Theater (though not as technical) and even Goblin, with a little added touch this time around of a few surprising proper Italian R.P.I influences. Based around the concept of the K-Complex, a waveform that occurs during Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep (thank you Wikipedia!), the album sees the band just a little less heavy than the previous album, but there's still those endless ocean- like synth passages, leaping upfront bass runs, snappy drumming and searing electric guitar solos that are sure to please progressive listeners, and the evidence on display here once again suggests the band is on its way to true greatness.

Despite the album being instrumental, the disc opens with a creaking, raspy narration that grows more frantic and urgent as it progresses over eerie and doomy symphonic synths. Hallucinatory and evocative imagery emerges in the words, and the scratching tension strangely starts to resemble similar passages to be found on albums by the darker-edged Italian acts Antonius Rex and the more recent Il Babau & I Maledetti Cretini. Although not as menacing as those two examples, whether this is simply a coincidence, or evidence that Il Giardino Onirico may have been listening to these darker artists, it at least brings them a little closer to a particular kind of proper R.P.I, as do some surprising classical elements that emerge later in the disc.

Once the album kicks in properly, it's divided into 4 lengthy compositions that offer a range of exciting and intoxicating moods. `Parte 1' tears through unpredictable tempo changes with seamless transitions, overloaded with imposing heavy riffs, glorious washes of majestic synths, other-worldly howls and dream-like tip-toeing piano. Thick bass punches through the tension, and a victorious rising electric guitar solo in the finale helps us through this mysterious mental fog. `Parte 2' offers gorgeous stirring piano that weaves throughout heavier guitar attacks to bring a luscious and rich classical drama in the proud tradition of vintage Italian prog to the track, eventually adding a gothic pantomime-like quality. There's bombastic blasts by way of dazzling swirling synth solos that would give Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater a run for his money, intimidating powerful drums, grinding electric guitar soloing that takes on a strangled middle-eastern-like drama, and plenty of sneaky up-tempo bursts and perfectly executed reprises. `Parte 3' has creeping piano and ethereal synths, chiming guitar strums and fretless bass ruminations. All this culminates in crashing heavy vacuum-like blasts that slowly morph into an exquisite groaning heavy distortion drone that concludes with a final passage of narration. Ghostly piano dances amongst dark grooving raging guitars in `Parte 4', as black-hole bass gulps at the listener threatening to devour them whole and floating synth breezes carry us to safety at the climax.

This talented group of musicians have now released two top-notch albums in a row, and `Complesso K MMXIII' shows just how much potential the band still has, while also hinting at many exciting directions they can go on future releases. Never so dark to be pitch-black and overwhelming, always with an atmospheric and thoughtful edge, Il Giardino Onirico perfectly balance frenetic energy with subtle and delicate touches, and their music is always endlessly melodic. They deliver heavy colourful instrumental arrangements played with skill and precision, and heavy prog and space-rock fans should really investigate the band right away.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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