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Alphataurus - Alphataurus CD (album) cover

ALPHATAURUS

Alphataurus

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.08 | 241 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The temptation to overvalue rare works always exists. This is a rare work, though with the recent renaissance of Italian Symphonic Prog it is readily available via mail-order CD. But rare works are usually rare for a reason.

Alas, the reason in this case is not the quality of the music. This album, the band's only 'official' release, deserved wider exposure, and would have received it had the band not been swamped by the 1972-3 explosion in Italian prog. The music on this record is very good without ever reaching the heights of a few of the band's contemporaries. But what makes me sad is what this band could have become with a bit more luck.

The music is slightly darker and definitely heavier than standard melodic Italian symphonic prog, yet is clearly in the tradition. It could not have appeared before 1973, as it is clearly the result of the widespread exposure to albums like VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's 'Pawn Hearts'. Certainly the phrasing of BAVARO's vocals owes a great deal to PETER HAMMILL, and the song structures are reminiscent of VDGG and KING CRIMSON. Not to deny the obvious Italian influences, of course. The vocals are interesting, and often overwrought - though given I don't understand the language I have no idea whether the styling fits the message. Coupled with large slabs of keyboards and repeated ominous ascending and descending chords, the music evokes the heavy rock of the late 60s to early 70s, bands like BLACK SABBATH and VANILLA FUDGE - though you have to imagine those bands led by the keyboard.

All good so far. Trouble is, like much Italian prog, the ideas aren't given enough space to flourish. Motifs are introduced and dispensed with before they register. And the compositions are sometimes puzzling. 'Croma', for example, shuffles back and forth between a slightly cacophanous jazzy keyboard/guitar/bass workout and the most amazing melody that would have erved well as an outro to the opening track. I can't see the reason why these two disparate pieces are so tightly juxtaposed in this song. To my mind the two outstanding tracks are the opener, a splendid heavy prog ride, and the psychedelic slow builder 'La Mente Vola', which would have been a great closer for the album.

This is well worth acquiring for twenty great minutes of heartland 70s symphonic prog, and another twenty minutes of less essential improv-sounding work. ALPHATAURUS came close, I suspect, to making it, but sadly did not. A pleasant and sometimes engaging listen.

russellk | 3/5 |

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