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Faveravola - Contea Dei Cento Castagni CD (album) cover

CONTEA DEI CENTO CASTAGNI

Faveravola

 

Prog Folk

3.71 | 40 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Our two "Prog Archives" colleagues from Italy, both named Andrea (Salvador and Cortese) have every reason to crow once again, as their storied country has come up with another fine prog nugget. Sadly, outside of the recent PFM-Stati and La Maschera di Cera's Luxade , both massively impressive releases, nothing really new has come out of the Italian school for quite a while now. I thought winning the World Cup would fire up their musical juices but I guess they are still too busy victory-partying. They know how to live, let me tell you! Faveravola proposes a rare, over 60 minute long CD, where the overall mood is very respectful of the "tradizione", with a somewhat muffled old-school production, crushingly beautiful melodies crammed with tons of hooks, lots of Michael Giles influenced cymbal work, evocative lead guitar solos, bewitching flute and numerous violin details, mounds of classic vintage analog keyboards and way above average vocals courtesy of ex-Asgard Franco Violo. This is dressed up in a Medieval- Renaissance veneer, beautifully evoked with the rather splendid fairy-tale artwork (gorgeous booklet and cover) and featuring riveting Italian Folk "Canzioni"(Songs) of the highest order. The proceedings kick off (soccer pun!) with a stellar opener, setting the table with an achingly simple main theme, pied-pipered by a lively flute that you swear you may have heard before, churning organ and Eminent (a much heralded Italian version of a string-synth), crisp guitar playing, steady bass and drums prancing the tune along. Because of the occasional narration, all 12 tracks pleasantly flow in harmonious continuity, with special mention to the 4 epics (between 7 and 10 minutes in length), the first being "Lo Specchio" and its where this CD really takes off, a romantic extended foray into pure Italian Symphonic prog of the highest caliber, reminiscent of CAP, LeOrme, Malibran etc., with a shiveringly emotive vocals , a bolero-like motif ending with a 4 minute long guitar led instrumental flight, leading to a long violin solo of exquisite beauty. Wow! The title cut is where Violo's vocal prowess graces center stage with sheer delicacy and supreme passion, coated again in a highly orchestral violin-led arrangement, ending with "la musica.la mia ragione."! Whispering children introduce "La Foresta degli Elfi Alati", a full scale 9 minute blow out, featuring a bewitching bluesy jam (picture a Traffic-Tull hybrid but in Italian), with a brazen Hammond leading the way, making room for some juicy guitar caresses and liquid flute flights, this is exceptional quality prog! But it only gets better! With "L'Incontro", the pace continues unabated, a folky acoustic piece that edges towards the medieval madrigal, with female-male vocals dueling with ebullient passion. "Il Sogno" is another major highlight, a beguiling melody with a hook the size of the Coliseum, a befuddling piece that exudes simplicity, charm and elegance. The next piece is the core jewel, a romantic 9 minute mini-operetta featuring more intense narration and the guest vocal participation of Le Orme's legendary Aldo Tagliapietra, with a dreamy orchestral backdrop of violin, flute, piccolo and gentle percussion. Only Italians could pull off such delicate splendor. Rainstorm effects and a call to duel prepares the rockiest epic track, "Lo Scontro", a colossal operatic prog-aria, with the Hammond conducting once again, more bluesy guitar leads, aching violin support and more kick ass vocals from Signore Violo, who is a true revelation. A magical harpsichord-led pastoral minuet dance piece is next up, another Renaissance nod to the rich folk tradition, with the dual sexed vocals that are so characteristic of this type of musical genre. Already 10 tracks in and no weakness, no filler and like a good Italian dinner, it just goes on and on, one great dish after another. The final 3 tracks nail down the "cinque stelle" (five stars): "Legenda" features a nifty and nagging synth solo that is unexpected and deliriously effective. "Neorinascimento" is another extraordinary vocal gymnastic routine that score high both on artistic and technical merit, adding a slippery lead guitar solo to the pot. The curtain goes down on the final piece, a piano/violin-led gentle ballad with plaintive vocals, majestic peaks and valleys, wind effects and the last words being "Il tuo cuore": your heart. Amazing
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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