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Ad Maiora - Repetita Iuvant CD (album) cover


Ad Maiora


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.96 | 55 ratings

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5 stars Ad Maiora is back with a sophomore album, nicely following up their rather spectacular self-titled debut back in 2013. Italian prog has been in a revival mode lately, featuring a slew of new and innovative bands that span the spectrum from young talents like Unreal City, Il Paradiso degli Orchi and Ingranaggi delle Valle, to older seasoned pros like Sezione Frenante and of which Ad Maiora are probably the ideal candidates to point to. All the instrumentalists are obviously first rate technicians, from sleek bass man Moreno Piva, keyboard maestro Sergio Caleca, drum phenom Enzo Giardina, axeman Flavio Carnovali and lastly, the energetic vocalist Paolo Callioni, all unchanged from the previous line-up. These Milanese signori have raised the bar with this thunderous effort, artistically enhanced by terrific cover art that perfectly captures their innate sense of contrast and fire. Wilder, brasher and evidently confident, the tracks reveal a zest for adventure, theatrics, technique, passion and a tad of insanity, after all they are Italians! The clean production is a glorious affair of pristine power and delicacy, shedding powerful light on every note and creating an insightful sense of both density and luxury.

A bouncy, compact and exalted opener in "Molokheya", steered by a stinging synth loop, tectonic drums, bruising bass lineage and a complex main riff, only provides the platform for lead lung Callioni to exalt with the best of them, utilizing English as his 'plat du jour', sounding very much like a typical concert opening statement. "Life" keeps the pedal to the floor, pushing the 'macchina' like some turbo-charged Lancia rally racer, spitting out a deluge of notes wrapped in a variety of moods, the irate Callioni howling as he steers the mike through all kinds of sonic chicanes and Caleca flipping a whistling synth solo that scours the heavens. Guitarist Carnovali is no slouch either, chugging, churning and challenging the arrangement with daredevil twists and turns. Needless to state, the rhythm tandem is rock-solid and lethal in its precision.

Switching to Italian on "Fermati" should be no problem as this initially heavy outburst contains some explosive contours, volcanic drum blasts and on-a-dime contortions that will leave the fan shell-shocked at the flawless ability displayed. Callioni gently calms the mood, warbling in his native tongue, floating on charm and elegance, while the athletic Piva rams his bass through some oblique maneuvers that will please the bass guitar fan to no end. The electric guitar does take a hard-jazz approach this time around, a hint of the great Jan Akkerman in the air but unafraid to propel some nasty riffs just in case it may be too mellow.

Mighty mellotron cascades in pure vintage Genesis mode introduce the lavish instrumental "Torba", a swirling symphonic behemoth that takes its merry time to disperse, a lovely piano eventually taking over, aided by a linear guitar phrasing. This is very RPI styled prog, in the Goblin, PFM, Banco tradition, uninhibited grandiosity and pomp, allied with meticulous choices as far as soloing is concerned, giving the virtuosos a stage to perform musical ping- pong, as they sway back and forth. Yes, old school! Fabulous piece of music.

Up next, "Invisible" (perhaps but surely not deaf, I assure you) is another bass fueled masterpiece, offering up a delectable upfront clavinet foundation, and smeared with sublime oboe synth patches, classic mellotron surges and divine rhythmic sustenance. Buzzing guitars, exigent Italian singing and confident delivery all combine for another satisfying track. The guitar wails, sobs, cries and implores like some hysterical mamma who has temporarily misplaced her bambina. Morena Piva really shines in a funkier vein here, an inflexible and grisly furrow that just slaps you across the face each time.

The lugubrious title track "Repetita Iuvant" again hearkens back to the glory years of RPI, a mystery-laden symphonic dirge owned by colossal mellotron winds, medieval-tinged organ flurries paralleled by electric guitars, threatening bass patterns and bold drums. Moody, atmospheric, dense and intense, this is a pure prog of the finest vintage, exuding cinematographic tendencies that inspire the mind. Echoes, trembling, sizzle. "Etereo" encapsulates those sentiments quite perfectly, a glittering prize where Carnovali gets to reign supreme, a prodigious talent who glides over the fret board with impunity, a hard/softness that is difficult to describe. A pastoral Italian vocal mid- section, accompanied by a nostalgic acoustic guitar expanse, with laid-back percussives and ultimately slayed by a killer electric solo, pushed along by more mellotron and that wicked bass.

Bluesy little ditty to finish off? Sure, no problem, we can do that! "Never Mind" is a modern twist to this venerable musical style, led by a fluid guitarist who has studied both his Carlos Santana and his Gary Moore lessons, a jazzy organ solo section that is convincingly relaxed, a springy bass throughout and slick stick work from Giardina. Thoroughly tasty piece of blueberry 'panettone'!

Add a brilliant bonus, one of their very first projects when uniting as band back in 2009, "Whaling Stories" is a track developed for the Mellow Records tribute album to Procol Harum and exudes the theatrical drama associated with that legendary British band, except here the Italians add some deliberate thunder and lightning, doom-laden exuberance and a raspier arrangement, with Paolo Callioni howling into the savage gale. Obviously, Caleca emulates successfully the Brooker/Fisher organ splurges to great effect. The debut was outright terrific, this is a quite definite step up. Ad Maiora is a proud player on the prog scene and needs your immediate attention.

5 repetitive depletions

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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