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Finisterre - La Meccanica Naturale CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.58 | 54 ratings

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3 stars Beautiful yes, but I need a bit more spark.

Conventional wisdom is that Finisterre is supposed to appeal to fans of 1970s progressive rock but I have a slightly different take. While clearly those old bands are an influence on Finisterre I think this band would appeal more to fans of their own time, both symphonic fans and neo-prog fans. Their style of play is hugely accessible and their sound gratifies instantly which seems to be a requirement these days. This album is a good example of why the older bands are more satisfying and fun to me. Call it spark. Call it edge. The hard to define unpredictability present in so many of those old titles. I'm not saying they were better because they are old, I'm saying there is an edge to the classics which is missing in many current bands. A certain disrespectful, devious playfulness which could allow anything to happen. A wild, perhaps slightly crazed glimmer in the eye of those bands who would take the risk of putting the unconventional before the prudent. It is that which separates an otherwise fine album like this from the experience of Cervello, Area, or QVL. I can't be sure what the reason for this difference is but I suspect it may be social and economic, in that these days bands in this style must be "professional" and conform to releasing material that both sells and doesn't offend. There is less freedom than Stratos and Co had during the height of Area, when it seemed he could do whatever the hell he wanted and it was tolerated if not outright encouraged. In today's musical marketplace other considerations sometimes seem to trump artistic flamboyance to the point where something like Palepoli could no longer happen. And don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting they copy the past. I'm just lamenting the decline of one very valuable trait of progressive rock, one that I hold very dear. And that would be the element of true surprise. When did "true surprise" give way to polished professionalism as the element the progressive rock buyer expects? I know you can still find a little chaos and rule breaking in the more eclectic genres but it used to be more prevalent.

"La Meccanica Naturale" is a fine modern progressive album from immensely talented people. It is packed with tasteful and reserved playing, abundant and pleasing melody, and a very professional overall execution. I have no complaints with quality and I acknowledge this is good music I can enjoy when I hear it. The vocals are warm, the keyboards, guitars, and flutes all add up to a sublime and relaxing listen. There is some really nice guitar work that pops up here and there throughout. The songwriting is mostly pretty successful at taking some ideas from the masters but presenting things without a dated feel. But while I like it and I praise the band's effort, it does have a certain polite and "by the rules" quality about it which detracts from the excitement level. Like too many of today's films as well, I know where things are going, I can practically hear the entire album in my head from the first notes. I realize this all sounds like a thumbs-down review but it really is not. If you don't care about the point of my first paragraph then I do recommend this album to you. I simply wanted to raise that issue because I know there are a few listeners who care about that side of the equation as well. One last note, I am unable to describe the songs in detail because for whatever reason this CD will not play on my home computer, one of the very few that will not. I have had to do all of my listenings in the car or locations where I cannot write, so I'm not able to listen while writing a track by track as I might have wished. The mini-lp sleeve edition is a lovely gatefold with a good lyric booklet (in Italian only.) 3 stars and quite good despite my constructive (hopefully) criticism.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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