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La Maschera Di Cera - Il Grande Labirinto CD (album) cover

IL GRANDE LABIRINTO

La Maschera Di Cera

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.10 | 128 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars My review of their first album was rather rave to say the least. I mentioned that the number "La Mascheara Di Cera" was their second best. Logically, the best one will be featured here.

Although seaparated by three tracks (I really wonder why this habit has grown so much in rock music). Why the hell, can't we get a full number without interruption ? Mystery. Maybe a track in excess of thirty-six minutes might sound too extravagant ?

"Il Viaggio Nell' Oceano Capovolto" is indeed a fantastic voyage. This is almost as much Italian I can grab. The Maschera universe is all there of course : very complex songwritting, lots of mood changes.

The symphonic Crimson side is there in the intro, and in the finale. The fabulous vocals from Alesandro are so passionate... When I saw La Maschera in concert (October 2005), he had to play the keys as well (Agostino was on a honeymoon travel...). He could even managed to hold the keys while singing! A tour de force, really. The first section is just an appetizer (even if it clocks at almost forteen minutes) to the second portion of this wonderful track.

"Il Grande Labirinto" is quite dark. Sounds as Genesis at times because of some very similar keys play. But the predominent reference here is as well KC. Scary music, yet subtle with very nice piano and flute. La Maschera renders so well the symphonic side of Crimson ! I would have loved so much that this great band (KC) would stick more to this part of their repertoire. I can only be grateful to La Maschera to reproduce such nice moments.

A short and almost classic number will serve as interlude to lead to "Al Confini Del Mondo" (At The Boundaries Of The World). At least my French and Spanish can help me understand some portion of their lyrics (but very few, I admit).

"Il Canto Dell' Inverno" (The Song - or Chant - Of The Winter) will end as the finale of the central piece of this work. It is difficult to wait to get there, but don't worry. WE WILL.

"Al Confini Del Mondo" is another true symphonic moment. So beautiful background keys, so lovely vocals, such a nice flute playing. Do you need something else ? I can not think of one single aspect of the music we love that La Maschera could not render. They combine the best of Italian prog with the most complex anglo-saxon (Crimson, ELP at times) music you could think of. The addition of a full time flutist and at times (live) sax player adds another dimension to this band.

Some "Cinema Show" passages are featured, at times, as interlude in this beautiful song. I think that no one could synthetizes both worlds (Genesis and Crimson) better than La Maschera. This is almost sublime, my friend. Get your hankerchief ready before you listen to them. They will bring you to such extremes (at least it is my feeling) that you'll definitely need it !

So, now we are ready for the long journey. "Il Viaggio Nell' Oceano Capovolto" Part II as it is called. It takes a bit to take off, I must say. But once we reach 3'30", oh boy ! What an extasy ! This crescendo is just magnificent. Get it full volume to be absolutely flooded with their sounds. From time to time, a very tranquil break (almost a cappella) will highlight, if needed, Alessandro's mastery in the vocals. An absolute master.

The band will work at unison to provide another fantastic epic song. You know the ones you listen to and at the end you say : what ? already finished ? Even if they last for more than twenty mnutes. This is my gauge. If at times, I'm bored for some minutes during an epic, I just believe it might be a very good song. After all, writing twenty minutes track is not a guarantee for quality. I'm just tranported with delight with htis one. All the way through.

During this track, there are none of these boring moments. It is full of melody, complexity, weirdiness and ... genious. The end of the song, while played live, gets the audience very much involved. Usually, I do not like these moments but when it came to that point, it was almost as an au-revoir (and the sooner, the better). The whole concert hall singing non-existing words on this marvel of a finale (five minutes long). I can only wish you to live such a moment. Unforgettable.

This album might well be less accessible than their debut. You'll need to get into these wonderful songs. It might not be love at first sight (although it was for me), but your efforts will be rewarded. La Maschera is a great band. "Il Grande Labirinto" is a great album. Retro-prog ? A joke !

Five stars.

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |

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