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Clepsydra - Alone CD (album) cover





4.02 | 149 ratings

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4 stars I came to Clepsydra via comparisons to the Collage classic, Moonshine, and was happy to find enough similarities and differences to create a compelling piece of work. This is highly emotive neo progressive rock, without a trace of the self pity that can sometimes accompany some of the so called leaders of the genre, and in this way it warrants mention in the same breath as Moonshine. It also has enough contrasts to prevent the 20 minute burnout that sometimes seems part and parcel of neo prog work. Nontheless, over the course of the hour long opus, a certain degree of sameness does creep in, and the vocals do tend a bit too much to the fore, so these factors limit the overall rating. In contrast, Collage's work provided more potency particularly in the vocals, not that they are poor here by any means.

If you like listening to motivating music in the gym, "Alone" is a safe bet, being as it is largely optimistic and high energy, while allowing for breaks, and the production is glorious. The vocalist Aluisio Maggini is mostly pleasing in his naturally high register, his accent being endearing more than distracting, and he draws comparisons to Jon Anderson for sure, and even to Dennis de Young, but also to lesser known singers like Garfield French of 70s Canadian band Garfield, stunningly so in the intro to "Travel of Dream". A friend to whom I passed it to in the gym thought it all a bit Moody Blues-ish in fact, perhaps for its mystical feel more than for its vocal styles.

While the album is very vocal oriented, the guitars and keys do play a critical supporting role in enhancing the already melodious nature of Clepsydra's sound, and to this we owe thanks to Marco Cerulli and Philip Hubert . The lead guitars occasionally pick up on a repetitive motif in a manner to induce goosebumps, namely in a couple of the album's best tracks, the opening suite "Tuesday Night" and in "The Nest". But the band also does remarkably well in the semi acoustic ballad "Return", with Pietro Duca's drum rolls and the effusive keys backing one of the best vocal workouts of the album. Beautiful is a hackneyed but totally accurate way to describe the outcome. And the guitars do approach those of Collage's Mirek Gil in clarity and succinctness in "the Father". Interesting that "Alone" was the album title of Mr Gil's first solo work from 1997. Does the intro to "God or Beggar" sound like Frank Bornemann's Eloy or what?

In all, a great album that can seem a bit trite at first listen, or even second listen, but really speaks well for the power and sensitivity of this European neo prog group, even if Clepsydra now seems defunct or at least long dormant. I look forward to discovering some of their other works.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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