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Clepsydra - Fears CD (album) cover





3.94 | 170 ratings

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4 stars Few bands combine the anthemic spirit of arena rock with the complexities and subtleties of progressive rock as well as Clepsydra. If this be neo, then I am a convert, yet I find much neo prog is listless and obtuse for the sake of it. Now, while Clepsydra cannot be considered the most unique of bands, they know whereof they write, sing, play, and arrange, and are sublime tunesmiths, so are among my favourite proponents of the genre. "Fears" opts for longer tracks than the other Clepsydra albums, without using the suite approach, and sometimes they meander a bit as a result, but when they work, which is often, it really clicks.

Ushered in by chanting monks and a steady rain, "Soaked" provides a dignified, fitting start, encapsulating Clepsydra's chief qualities - in order, strong melodies, soaring lead guitars, and the slightly fragile endearing voice of Aluisio Maggini. Even when the guitars get a bit heavy on this disk, Maggini remains the consummate sensitive new age guy, yet with masculine vigour. "The Missing Spark" is less interesting to begin with but picks up after about 3 and a half minutes and features a spine tingling melody played on synth, a diversion for Clepsydra, where keyboards tend to play a more atmospheric role. "The Age of Glass" again shows Clepsydra experimenting with neo classical motifs and some harpsichord style motifs although Marco Cerulli does serve up some tasty lead to provide continuity. "Daisies in the Sunshine" is short piece consisting almost entirely of acoustic guitar.

"The Cloister" is an instantly likeable song that sounds almost like a 70s ballad from Styx, featuring a brilliantly uplifting chorus and yet another colourful synthesizer solo. That is when Clepsydra chooses to diverge from any constricting formula, presenting a gorgeous vocal section floating above cosmic keys, building up to a repeat of the synth solo and closing lead guitar histrionics. This is possibly the high point of the whole album, and simply scintillates, and the song eventually closes in a sweet cacophony. "The Nineteenth Hole" is probably the weakest entry among the "epics", with pleasant parts but generally unconvincing as a cohesive work. The title track effectively erases any previous disappointment and brings a fitting end to a great effort.

Have no fears of acquiring this Clepsydra album if you are a fan of melodic rock of any type.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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