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Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra CD (album) cover


Museo Rosenbach


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.31 | 918 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Cryptic, red-blooded and pulsating, Zarathustra is a ride of massive proportions. If you're looking for pastoral beauty, take a step back. Not to say that there isn't any, but the best part of the near forty minutes here take a more sinister, darker and heavier approach to the concepts usually found in Italian symphonic rock.

Built around Nietzsche's work, the album's main focal point is the title piece, which consists of many shorter songs-within-a-song in true progressive spirit. Needless to say, the lyrics are lost for those who don't speak the language, and thus I cannot comment on whether the concept works or even exists. Based on track names alone, it does seem to make sense. I've never been hard on lyrics anyway, and when the music speaks for itself, all possible concerns about lost depth and philosophical comments are left behind.

Zarathustra is definitely more aligned with the rest of the European prog scene, without losing a distinct Italian touch of melodrama and passion along the way. Instead of the rather delicate compositions provided by many of Museo Rosenbach's contemporaries, power is top priority. A rocking guitar takes a lot of space which, granted, gives the music a grittier, earthier flair together with a Hammond sound that would make Atomic Rooster proud. Drummer Giancarlo Golzi does a tremendous job behind the kit in delivering consistently powerful and interesting drum work. Once again: heavy. But on top of this are massive layers of atmospheric Mellotron, with sprinkles of different sorts of keys, both varied and beautifully arranged in a lot more interesting compositions than one first would think. And just because the guitar is prominent doesn't mean that it overshadows the keys in any way, this is still very keyboard-heavy music. Dotted across the album are also a number of softer interludes. With sublime and suggestive keys (sometimes piano) and gentle guitar, they are melodic and dramatic like early PFM. They often end in 'explosions', either from the combined forces of the band or in rough, raspy outburst from vocalist Stefano 'Lupo' Galifi. He's got a colourful voice, perhaps not of everybody's liking, but it is nothing if not passionate.

Not much to complain about as it seems. But Zarathustra suffers from one small drawback. This one being that the band knows what they do well and thus never really broadens their horizons on the album. There are a lot of variations on themes used earlier, and the structural differences between the songs are never very big. Too often you find yourself thinking 'haven't I heard this before?' when spinning the album. And in order for it to reach the elusive masterpiece level, I just want more variation. Pauses, crescendos, interludes, rising and falling tension, all in a natural flow that enhances the musical storytelling. It exists in one form or another, but it's not perfected.

A very enjoyable and balanced release, interesting for RPI fans, heavy prog fans and fans of more readily accepted symphonic bands.

Excellent addition to any prog collection. 4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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