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La Maschera Di Cera - Il Grande Labirinto CD (album) cover

IL GRANDE LABIRINTO

La Maschera Di Cera

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.11 | 127 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Thankfully, the sophomore jinx rarely applies in the current prog world, as artists are not pressured into releasing sub-par performances in order to stay within contractual confines. Good, lawyers should learn to be more relaxed and try some good progressive, maybe they will see the light of justice (I know of a few here at PA)! La Maschera di Cera's debut was received in stunning disbelief when it appeared as a Finisterre offshoot and may have even outshot the "Lands End" mother. "Il Grande Labirinto" only serves to further define the style and the charm of this unique band (Side A and B, just like with those old LPs) and the focus squarely on new keyboard whiz Agostino Macor (who in my opinion is the new Wakeman, what with his stellar work here, with Zaal and Lazona to boot) and his arsenal of mellotrons, Hammonds, pianos and synthesizers. "Il Viaggio Nell Oceano Capovolto Pt1" is a mad foray into heavy jam territory full of blazing mellotron shades, chilling organ patterns, a little wicked electric guitar, solid bass and sassy drumming. Sandro Corviglia has a voice that is simply loaded with theatrics as any self-respecting Italian School of Prog singer would benevolently adhere to. Number 2 the title track slaps some Fabio Zuffanti fuzz bass turbo charge into the arrangement, giving it an almost explosive Canterbury/Magma touch, especially when the flute decides that its ballet time and the celebrated 'tron decides to start fuming! Oh, this is a nasty piece of heavy music that has a mid section that basks in peaceful tranquility before another torrential dive into the lost abyss, like the title implies, of a great musical maze. "Il Canto dell' Inverno" is a brief yet playful piano exercise that adds mellotron wisps to evoke the bleak grandeur of winter and gets a little experimental. The 12 minute plus "Al Confini del Mondo" gets funky, zipping along with some juicy woozy Hammond runs, swirling flute and electric piano thumping along with the fuzzed out bass rumble. The tempo suddenly evolves into a supremely peaceful melody with genteel flute weaving the way while Sandro sings with unbridled melancholic passion and the piece then heads back and forth into the heavy symphonics this band knows how to erect with intricate impunity. Pure succulence, as Frank Zappa would say! To the confines of the world indeed, as a dreamy piano solo shows the incredible lyrical talent that Macor can display on the celebrated keyboard, gliding effortlessly like a virtuoso. Andrea Monetti gets to show off his flute skills as well. This is another peak performance that deserves repeated plays to truly appreciate such a bombastic finale. Hardly plausible but the next track is the monstrous 22 minute part 2 of the "Il Viaggio.." that started off the maze in the first place. Deliberately a slow burn, this massive epic follows all the key elements, each layer is a ratcheting up of the tension, the energy growing in majesty until the main theme is brazenly espoused and clamored without any restraint. Once that peak is achieved, its time to let the breeze in, sweeping back up into a massive coda propelled by a sibilant synth sortie that whizzes like a bumblebee over the arrangement. Another valley of peaceful musing is only the platform to launch another orgasmic crescendo of symphonic bliss, with that confounded Zuffanti bass slithering into the deepest recesses of your brain's audio receptor and causing extensive but euphoric damage. The mood gets hectic verging on insanity with noodling galore at times almost improvisational and then swerving back into the maelstrom. Again the fiery after burn of the deranged mellotron will sear your ears, once and for all (lucky you are). A plaintive oboe takes the theme into another landscape, with folksy simplicity, searing the lament deep into the soul, loaded with hopeful melancholia. A finale to die for, full of lusty operatics that is showing the door to freedom, escaping from the harrowing web. A short bonus track ,the sterling "La Consunzione" seals the labyrinth's access until the next time mythology needs to flavor our prog. 4.5 Minotaurs
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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