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Logos - L' Enigma Della Vita CD (album) cover

L' ENIGMA DELLA VITA

Logos

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.17 | 347 ratings

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MELNIBONÉ
5 stars Despite its founding in 1996, Logos have released only three albums, the first two (1999 & 2001) being more or less some half-convincing apprenticeship. But we must pay tribute to their enduring persistence, because 13 years after their sophomore album, they offer us a king's (or queen's) delight : 76 min of first-class RPI. By the usual standards of Italian bands (Unreal City, Faveravola and Nodo Gordiano being noteworthy exceptions), an album of such a length is enough to warrant anyone's attention who has kept a close tab on the Italian Prog scene. And, in this age of speedy consumerism, if you think it might be too much music for your money (!) ? then it's high time you take a step back and enjoy the album for what it is, because there's much more to "L'Enigma Della Vita" than sheer length ! The liner notes, the lyrics and the booklet (splendid artwork) being in Italian, a language than I understand but a little, though it has always been music to my ears (wherever you are nowadays Michele, Cesare, Alfredo and Sofia, I thank you and hope you fare well !), I cannot discuss the themes of the songs. I can only suggest that L'enigma della vita means "The Mystery Of Life".

F. Gaspari (drums, bass), L. Zerman (organ, mellotron, synth, vocals), C. Antolini (piano, synth, keys) and M. Massimo (guitar) are given a hand by four friends (drums, guitar and narration) on Alla Fine Dell'Ultimo Capitolo (9:21), Venivo Da Un Lungo Sonno (9:11), In Principio (11:27) and Il Rumore Dell'Aria (2:58). (By the way, when you click on the album above, the line-up that shows up there is kind of mixed up compared to the liner notes of the physical album itself.) Now, it goes without saying that, in a band where two guys handle the keys, they're bound to be center stage? and, that, they do with gusto, ingenuity, but also with some restraint. For their part, guitars are not sidelined, but they don't often play the leading role ; they have some blazing moments but most of the time they're cast in a supporting role, more or less on a par with drums and bass. As for the vocals, it's kept back in the first songs, to the point where they're almost muted or even drowned in the background music. Mid-way through the album, starting in fact with the title song (7:24), it comes on the forefront. Zerman's vocal range is somewhat limited, but he uses his voice both with conviction and restraint, without any theatrics, but not without emotion when need be. There are 11 pieces on the album, three of which are fully instrumental : Antifona (2:03), N.A.S. (7:45) and In Quale Luogo Si Fermo' Il Mio Tempo (2:33), but it remains that Logos have delivered more of an instrumental album than a collection of songs, as there's always much more space granted to music than to the vocals in the latter.

I'd list the main features of the album as follows. 1 ? Intelligent structure (pieces contrasting between one another, but also complementing one another, and, in some cases, pieces answering to one another, such as the closing piece Il Rumore Dell'Aria (2:58) looping back to the opening one, Antifona) ; the thing is that contrasts aren't so much within the pieces themselves (there are some, but most often than not they're kept under thight control, never being too sudden or edgy), but rather between them : e.g. Antifona (spacey lament, a bit creepy with a sense of some vague menace lurking in the background) vs Venivo Da Un Lungo Sonno (lushly textured song with keys swirling in crescendos, muted vocals and blazing guitar licks), Completamente Estranei (7:08 of lavish panoramas coming to life through the full array of keyboards) vs In Quale Luogo Si Fermo' Il Mio Tempo (melancholic musing on piano), Pioggia In Campagna (10:28 with drums and bass setting the stage for a fiery cavalcade between keys et guitar) vs Il Rumore Dell'Aria (narration over spacey synths weaving a dramatic background). 2 ? The subtleness of textures (arrangements and layering of melodies, careful and soft transitions within the pieces). 3 ? The overall musicianship. 4 ? A taste for experimenting forays (flirts with dissonance and the occasional mixing of genres, all in true Prog demeanor). 5 ?A solid musical culture mastered with brio ; a few chords, a riff sequence, a melodic phrase, or a peculiar touch, atmosphere or twist will bring to mind Genesis, Pink Floyd, Eloy, Gilmour, Hackett, A. Phillips, Camel, Caravan, PFM, Le Orme, Banco, Spock's Beard and many others. All these influences are integrated so well within the compositions that it never feels as if Logos are imitating them all ; at best, they're merrily nods and winks to iconic references.

When compared to more or less recent releases from the "new wave" of RPI, I'd venture to say that Logos' musical ID as perceived through "L'Enigma Della Vita" is less urban than "Nous" (Nodo Gordiano, 2014) and less spirited and passionate than "La Crudeltà Di Aprile" and "Il Paese Del Tramonto" (Unreal City, 2013 & 2015) , but bolder than "Dedalo E Icaro" (Il Cerchio d'Oro, 2013) and more balanced than "In Hoc Signo" (Ingranaggi Della Valle, 2013) or "Deus Lo Vult" (Il Bacio Della Medusa, 2012) (I mention these last two releases together because they share common ground : both are based on the First Crusade (end of the 11th century).

4,5 clues rounded up to 5 for a full mystery

MELNIBONÉ | 5/5 |

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