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Habelard2 - Maybe CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.85 | 20 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Putting out two superb albums with modern Italian band Ad Maiora - `Ad Maiora!' in 2014 and `Repetita Iuvant' two years later - wasn't enough for keyboardist Sergio Caleca, he also spends his time with a solo project that goes by the name of Haberlard2, with his latest work, `Maybe', proving to be a joy for symphonic and eclectic prog music fans, and it's one of the most diverse and colourful progressive music albums of 2017, Italian or otherwise. Predominantly instrumental but finding time for some charming English rock/pop vocal pieces to slot in as well, multi-instrumentalist Sergio has not only enlisted the help of his Ad Maiora bandmates to help flesh out the disc and give it a more full, rich sound, but he's also received valuable contributions from members of a diverse range of Italian groups such as The Watch, Phoenix Again, Silver Key, Ubi Maior and even RPI legends Maxophone amongst others!

The propulsive drum-beat and relentless bass of opening instrumental `In A Bell's House' instantly reminds of `Nude'-era Camel, with lots of momentum-building piano and bubbling runaway synth noodling. Slinking electric piano gives `Barlafüs' a cool laid-back lightly jazzy flavour that could have easily found a home on the debut Arena/Di Tollo/Marras album `ADM' from 2012, but some fiery electric guitar bursts throughout bring a darker hint. `A Lie' is the first vocal piece of the album, a lightly melancholic ballad featuring both Soulengine/Redzen member Ettore Sallati's haunting guitars and his brother Giorgio (Joe) on charmingly accented English vocals, and `Waiting For A Saviour' is a half playful/half damning pop/rocker also performed in English by lead vocalist Alberto Ravasini of legendary vintage RPI band Maxophone with lovely additions of violin, sax and flute throughout.

The album then hits another fifteen-odd minute stretch of instrumental tracks again, and `Stress' is one of the longer pieces that darts through a range of tempos and moods, made up of groaning sitar, brooding electronics, serene ambient passages and urgent symphonic turns. `Stringa' is a warm classical guitar interlude that seems to have wandered off from a Steve Hackett album, as does `Chi Era Laynson?', a lavish and regal (if too short!) symphonic instrumental with harpsichord, viola, oboe, brass and Mellotron choirs aplenty. Ad Maiora's vocalist Paolo Callioni enters for `Looking For An Ashtray' that almost sounds like the more introspective Adrian Belew sung moments of King Crimson's `Thrak' and `The Power to Believe' albums (and watch out for the synth-tastic freak-out in the middle and lovely serene Mellotron in the finale!), but then it's back to a final stretch of three vocal-free tracks. `Anonimo' is a hybrid prog-electronic/symphonic mix with Phoenix Again's Antonio Lorandi's bouncing bass guitar, and Sergio himself even lets rip with a fiery electric guitar solo in the climax! The piece is something like classic-period Genesis and early Steve Hackett solo meets `Stratosfere'-era Tangerine Dream - very tasty indeed!

But it's the title-track `Maybe' that leaves the biggest impression, an elegant swoon of classical acoustic guitar delicateness, thoughtful flute, grand organ and sweeping orchestral grandness, and its exemplary build and control means it lifts to the heights of being one of the best symphonic-prog pieces of 2017 so far. `Taste The End' is then a reflective and sweet piano-led closer with lovely bluesy guitar soloing from Ad Maiora's Flavio Carnovali.

`Maybe' is a symphonic prog fans delight, and if you don't mind the three vocal tracks, this is seriously one of the best instrumental albums of 2017 to date. All of the guests offer valuable contributions (in particular Francesco Lattuada's viola is a constant highlight on several of the pieces), but it's Sergio that shines brightly with his brilliant performance across a range of instruments and keen ear for melodic and luxurious compositions. Maybe? More like absolutely completely YES!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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