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Distillerie di Malto - Suono! CD (album) cover


Distillerie di Malto


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.20 | 28 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Formed back in late Eighties in Ortona, in the province of Chieti, yet releasing their debut album in 2001, Italian band Distillerie di Malto return 13 years later in 2013 for the follow-up album `Suono!' The band offer an unpredictable and devil-may-care take on the classic Seventies sound of vintage Italian Prog, especially the schizophrenic quality of the early Banco albums. While all the symphonic prog, psychedelic touches and expected classical theatrical flourishes are accounted for, a welcome wildness and rough-around-the-edges charm runs through the entire disc, a quality that instantly makes it stand apart from many other polished and pristine RPI works of the current era. The band also boasts one of the most charismatic singers of modern RPI in the form of Fabrizio Pelliciaro, whose raspy drawl is incredibly effective and moving. There's plenty of ravishing acoustic/electric interplay throughout the album, the music full of aching beauty with gentle melancholy.

After a magical twinkling of piano and panning dreamy signing harmonies introduction, `Il Guardiano' races back and forth between wild electric sections and thoughtful acoustic passages, often twisting deliciously together. It instantly leaps to life with dazzling piano, sprightly drumming and darting flute, all those usual classic vintage Italian prog trademarks! Singer Fabrizio has a coarse but sympathetic voice that flows between rollicking lively acoustic strums and tasty moments of electric guitar bite, with the band leaping through a rapid-fire range of tempos with a beautiful building drama and sense of urgency. Part one of `Il Suono Seducentre Del Sogno' offers lonely saxophone and synth weirdness with a delicate mysterious shimmering electric piano outro that is simply sublime. `Nemesi' opens playfully with devilish grinding electric guitar twists, loopy synths and puckering bass, but quickly Hammond ripples and heavy grooving riffs give way to a sprinkling of classical piano drama and a wounded croon with moments of Genesis-like regal pomp.

`Rovescia...' is an effortlessly cool instrumental piece, crammed with relentless up-tempo bursts of snarling groovy heavy guitars over forceful synth waves, with a sneaky jazz piano rumination in the middle. `Il Suono...' returns for a second part, with murmuring bass, warm acoustic guitar and a nice serrated quality to the electric guitar throughout. The piano middle is oddly creeping before plenty of back and forth solo duelling between the players. Thirteen minute epic `Lorca E Dali' is the highlight of an already incredible album. The first few minutes drift by in a dreamy haze of delicate piano and floating ethereal synths behind spoken word passages, soothing yet sombre. The piece quickly turns quite deranged and disorientating in the middle, with psychedelic unravelling synth spirals and maddening guitar twists. Peppy colourful bubbling synth runs and scorching triumphant guitar soloing returns the track to uplifting hopefulness to close on. The album then finishes on a brief acoustic guitar/piano ballad `The Sun', strangely sung in English.

Not only does `Suono' offer incredibly strong song-writing and thrilling instrumental arrangements, there's a refreshing leave-it-alone quality to the production that retains many welcome rough edges. While it contains all the theatrical drama and swooning sophistication expected of Italian progressive releases, there are so many moments of dark impossible beauty, a creeping sense of unease lurking throughout the work, giving it some grit and edge. It just may be one of the best modern Italian released of the last few years. Let's hope it doesn't take Distillerie di Malto another thirteen years to deliver their next album, but if the results would be as good as what they've presented on `Suono!', then it would truly be worth the wait!

Five stars for a modern RPI stunner.

Special thanks to Prog Archives member Sagichim who constantly hounded me into getting this title! Better late than never!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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