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Areknamés - Areknamés CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.42 | 75 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having attained accolades and praises since 2006, the release year for their fantastic sophomore album "Love Hate Round Trip", Italian ensemble Areknamés really caught my attention and made me curious about their eponymous debut effort released a few years earlier. The band started as a trio, with leader-singer-keyboardist Michele Epifani playing some guitar as well (and the guitar isn't really that featured in the instrumental deliveries). Way back then, Stefano Colombi was an occasional collaborator. Epifani uses his arsenal of organ, mellotron, synthesizers, electric and grand pianos to provide the core for the song's melodic developments. Overall, this album bears only a portion of the grayish, neurotic energy that eventually will make the best of "Love Hate Round Trip", but at the end of the day, you can tell that this band has stamina, the performances are tight and convincingly inventive, the material is strong. if a bit derivative. Epifani & co. wear their major influences on their sleeves and are not afraid to flaunt them. The album's repertoire goes through lyrical moments and sumptuous passages fluidly, with notable references to pre-"Pawn Hearts" VdGG (mainly), pre-"Foxtrot" Genesis, Procol Harum and some heavy symphonic rock from Italy (Biglietto per l'Inferno, Museo Rosenbach). For contemporary references, we can cite coincidences with the sort of sound that Norwegian band Gargamel is pursuing; there is also a liberal use of jazzy undertones in some electric piano passages and drumming techniques. But all in all, regarding Tofani's singing, the most recurrent bases provided by Vitelli's drumming and the Gothic brilliance of many organ passages are related to early VdGG. 'A Day Among Four Walls' occupies the album's first 12 minutes, with a mood of desolate resignation, stirred by the ugly perspective of self-imprisonment. The mood doesn't fully explode, remaining somewhat constrained even for the conclusive coda. 'Wasted Time' is shorter, stating a sort of tribute to VdGG's 'Darkness' with a certain touch of primitive Crimson. 'Down' is another long piece, lasting almost 10 ˝ minutes. It comprises effective tempo and motif shifts, not too contrasted internally, with a slight predominance of the languid sections. You can notice the lyricism of PF's 'Cymbalaine', the autumnal majesty of "Trespass"-era Genesis, as well as the ever-present Hammillian somber emotion. All three lasts songs last 8+ minutes each. 'Season of Death' returns to the path of 'Wasted Time', albeit with an enhanced energy and a more elaborated complexity. It includes a blues-infected hard- rock section that brings a peculiar excitement for the melancholic general flow. 'Boredom' is the most intrepid song in the album - the rhythm section is focused on the jazzy side of things, while the main motifs are robust and catchy. Even the slower passages bear the echo of the more extroverted ones. Finally, 'Grain of Sand Lost in the Sea' states once again that gusto for cerebral despair and controlled restlessness that has marked the album's predominant moods, as if reevaluating and mixing the spirits of 'Down' and 'Season of Death'. The finale of organ psychedelic effects and flute mellotron free-form flows bears an inscrutable ending for the majestic litany delivered by the full ensemble. Not very original but firmly relying on its retro-prog convictions, "Areknamés" is a very pleasant album that should please any fervent prog fan that can't have enough of the genre's essential roots. 3.40 stars for this one.
Cesar Inca | 3/5 |


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