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Areknamés - Love Hate Round Trip CD (album) cover

LOVE HATE ROUND TRIP

Areknamés

 

Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 69 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Almost 80 minutes of progressive greatness heavily stated from the somber side of the genre - this sentence serves as a proper introductory description of "Love Hate Round Trip", Areknamés' sophomore release. After a promising eponymous debut album that was very good but not to the level of magnificence, now Areknamés, augmented as a quartet, really went to musical heights: this album's material is exquisitely powerful in terms of composition, arrangements and performing stamina. "Love Hate Round Trip" is an exhibition of how pessimism and self-loath can be combined together in order to inspire demolishing musical ideas like whirlwinds across the sky. The band's overall sound has evidently tightened up, nurturing the permanent VdGG references with sonic procedures partially inspired by Black Sabbath, King Crimson and, to a lesser degree, Gentle Giant. I really find coincidences with old obscure prog bands that played the game through the filter of heavy rock-related psychedelia, such as Island and Gnidrolog. For the less tortured moments among the overall display of sonic energy, Areknamés leans a bit close to illustrious compatriots such as La Maschera di Cera, "Eclissi"-era A Piedi Nudi or Ubi Maior. You can also notice some relations with the dense darkness of early Anekdoten, Hypnos 69 and "Storm Season"-era White Willow. The album kicks off with the dark vitality of 'The Skeletal Landscape of the World'; the classicist piano interlude and the complex motif that sets the second part's scheme bring a proper sense of variation. 'Deceit' is longer and more ambitious, refurbishing the general anger with diverse sonorities that feel really creepy. even in the calmer moments in which the band elaborates spacey nuances. 'Outcast' doesn't change things, but it brings a less heavy approach to the perpetuating mood of solitary bitterness. 'La Chambre' starts quite playful: the organ is featured here, as if Emerson had decided to play some music written by Banton and let go of his signature chops. The rhythm duo indulges in some jazzy undertones through the track's versatile structure. At times, the track goes for extremes of creepiness. 'Snails' sort of restores the overall mood of 'Deceit', but this track reveals a much bigger focus on the contrast between the eerie and heavy passages. Guest trumpeter Luigi Belfotto adds excellent colors to the closing moments. 'Yet I Must Be Something' brings a moment of reflective serenity, mostly grayish but also apart from the quest for disturbance and tension. 'Ignis Fatuus', the album's longest piece, starts on a very lyrical note, but after the 2'30" minute mark, the menacing disturbance makes a first announcement. After the 3'30" minute mark, the track's central core is revealed as a majestic heavy prog ballad: Colombi's blues-friendly guitar leads prove quite complementary to Epifani's synth solos, more flashy and rotted on the standard of psychedelic prog. The ominous mellotron layers that take center stage near the end design a proper farewell. 'Stray Thoughts from a Crossboard' is primordially constrained in a rare sense of serenity: the trumpet lines complete the aura of emotional tranquility. Only near the end things get a bit denser, with traffic sounds announcing the song's definitive conclusion. 'A Grotesque Gift' is a brief exercise on free-form psychedelia that might as well fit a scene in a horror movie featuring sinister looking toys in a dark attic; it serves as a kind of prelude to the following track, 'Someone Lies Here', a constructed semi- ballad that stands somewhere between the aforesaid prelude's pending creepiness and a cuasi- symphonic melodic vibe. 'Pendulum Arc' brings back the harshness that had been predominant, although this time with more pronounced jazzy cadences in some sections and old-fashioned hard rock vibes in others (almost like a Uriah Heep-ed VdGG). The lead guitar is all over the place when soloing, bringing an eerie somberness to the overall jazzed jamming that states the track's nucleus. For the moment of the synth solo, the whole ensemble is engaged in a more concise architecture. The bombastic closure is quite effective. The last track 'The Web of Years' apparently begins as an acoustic ballad, but it soon develops a now overtly familiar angry psychedelia in a very ceremonious fashion. "Love Hate Round Trip" is an excellent prog gem of our times: Areknamés is growing solidly as a big current name for the genre.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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