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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Decameron. Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part II CD (album) cover

DECAMERON. TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

4.04 | 51 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Despite the Colossus Projects beginning their ambitious projects in 2001 to promote the outstanding accomplishments of Finnish progressive rock (which there have been many), the whole thing kinda took on a life of its own as the collaboration with Musea Records created a synergistic effect that guaranteed an exposure to a worldwide network of tuned in prog aficionados salivating for something both creative, traditional and, of course, entertaining! After a diverse eclectic palette paving the way for even more sophisticated projects, in 2011 Musea Records released "Decameron - Ten Days in 100 Novellas - Part I" which isn't remotely Finnish but rather a collection of Italian tales excavated from the 14th century. The word DECAMERON is a neologism of the Greek words deca (ten) and mera (days) and THE DECAMERON which is subtitled Prince Galehaut is a collection of novellas written by the author Giovanni Baccaccio (1313-1375) and is structured as a frame story that contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men who were sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in order to escape the black death plague that was rampant at the time. Well, three years after the first installment of this series comes DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II which continues the themes in musical form with some artists making a reprise and yet others entering the Musea equation for the very first time.

Once again, this collection also consists of 4 compact disc each clocking in over an hour's length, holds a whopping 35 tracks beautifully played out by 34 exquisite artists. Only Robert Webb who provides the "Intro" and the "Outro" is represented twice. Once again most of these tracks are instrumental but many are not and exist in the realms of the world of classic 70s symphonic prog only with the most updated production values and interesting and compelling creativity attached to the sense of traditional prog values. Several artists like The Samarai Of Prog, Nexus, Karda Estra, Jinetes Negros and Ars Ephemera seem to owe their career to the Colossus Projects utilizing their prog talents on seemingly every album but there are many other newbies fully represented here as well with an equal variation of styles that despite being limited to the subject matter at hand with a stylistic approach to boot, all seem to rise to the occasion to unify under one thematic flag and produce some of the best that melodic symphonic prog has to offer in the 21st century.

Because of the retro nostalgic nature of these albums, DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II also exudes a prog-by- the-numbers check list approach as it basically takes the playbook of the 70s bigwigs such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis and Pink Floyd amongst others and takes excruciatingly detailed notes and then constructs their compositional prowess accordingly. While that may sound like a turn off from the get go, it is anything but as these artists under the confines of the musical limitations of the thematic structure are forced to exude their creative forces in limited yet seemingly unfettered ways. In that regard, all tracks are very much connected in not only theme but musically as well and the creative outlet comes in finding new ways of extending these limitations in various methodologies. The results are similar to the first installment of this sequel and utterly stunning in scope and delivery. Overall i would say that this 2nd edition is a bit more sensual than #1 with bands finding it in them to exude a slightly folkier take on the symphonic prog of the first edition.

Four discs of material at FOUR hours THIRTY-SIX minutes and THIRTY-THREE seconds is a whole lotta music to digest and despite the sense of overwhelming proportions is reigned in by one addictive take on symphonic prog after another with all bands rising to the occasion of producing incredibly melodic hooks that exude the truest sense of traditional prog elements but not over exaggerated nor overly sentimental as to sound like mere ripoffs of the greats of the past. While the influences are clearly worn on drooping sleeves, enough reverence for the past greats detracts from any disrespectful treading on sacred territories. This reverence is felt in full effect on the entire album as bands steer their influences into fresh new territories that sufficiently distance themselves from the past masters.

Some of my favorite tracks on this one include: the prog Italian funk of Intarsia on "9th Tale," the exquisite folky rock "First Tale (V, 1)" of The Samarai of Prog which even has sort of a Steely Dan jazz-rock vibe with its symphonic keyboards antics. Good guitar soloing as well, Steve Unruh's "Second Tale (V, 2) with its classical guitar meets Tullish folk flute escapades that take off into way cool heights, the tango turned synthpop symphonic prog track "Third Tale (V, 3)" by Ars Ephemera, the intriguing "Senogul - Ninth Tale (V, 9) which starts out sounding like an Indian raga but turns into the ever so rare mix of prog rock with traditional African tribal music, the synth rich riffs of the Italian "Camelias Garden - Tenth Tale (V, 10), the multi-themed 20 minute "Ninth Tale (VI , 9) by Unitopia, Karda Estra's "First Tale (VII, 2) with its tasty piano, chime action and cool progressive epic feel and D'AccorD's Bowie-esque "Third Tale (VII , 3).

This is yet another outstanding collection of prog tracks in the Colossus Project collection. I have to admit overall i prefer "Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part I" over this PART II ever so slightly as the tracks on here are just a tad below that high quality mark but there are no bad tracks here and so many great ones that i could write a review for each and every one. The packaging is off the charts beautiful with not only colorfully painted CDs but also contains a big fat booklet with not only gorgeously illustrated artwork but is also chock full of liner notes, lyrics and philosophical mythology all coming to gather in one sanctified place. Once again this is a whopping 4 disc album clocking in at over 4 and 1/2 hours and not even one track is worthy of skipping. I cannot recommend these Colossus Projects more for those who love the zeitgeist of 70s melodic symphonic prog with modern day spins and production value. It certainly doesn't get any more diverse or divine than this.

In case you're wondering here is the whole list of Colossus Projects released so far:

Tuonen Tytar: A Tribute To Finnish Progressive (2000)

Kalevala - Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (2003)

The Spaghetti Epic - Six Modern Prog Bands For Six Seventies Prog Suites (2004)

Odyssey - The Greatest Tale (2005)

The Colossus of Rhodes (2006)

The 7 Samurai - The Ultimate Epic (2006)

The Spaghetti Epic 2 - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (2007)

Treasure Island (2007)

Giallo! One Suite for the Murderer (2008)

The Empire and The Rebellion (2008)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part I - Dante's Inferno (2009)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part II ? Purgatorio (2009)

Rökstenen - a Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's (2009)

The Spaghetti Epic 3 - The Great Silence (2009)

Tuonen Tytar-A Tribute To Finnish Progressive Rock Of The Seventies - Volume Two (2009)

Iliad: A Grand Piano Extravaganza (2010)

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: A SyNphonic Collection (2010)

Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part I (2011)

The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection (2012)

DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART II (2014)

Decameron - Ten Days In 100 Novellas - Part III (2016)

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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