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Il Balletto di Bronzo - Ys CD (album) cover


Il Balletto di Bronzo


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 516 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The heavy prog trend of 70s Italian symphonic rock was full of Genius and enthusiasm, and solid proofs of that are the recordings by Museo Rosenbach, Biglietto per l'Inferno and others, of course the "others" including the Il Balletto di Bronzo line-up that recorded "Ys". I'm not among those who regard this album as vastly overrated or among those who consider it a masterpiece, but I certainly appreciate it as a cornerstone of Italy's prog rock old school. When keyboardist extraordinaire Gianni Leone entered the band, it became a powerful art-rock ensemble that benefitted greatly from his inventive writing and charismatic frontman deliveries (strong chanting with an extra dose of affected neurosis). 'Introduzione' kicks off with mysterious female vocals that seem to emulate sirens of Doom, after which elegantly dissonant organ chord progressions elaborate a mood, which eventually leads to a synth-dominated section that is mostly eerie, yet a bit creepy as well. After a slightly neurotic organ-led interlude, an instrumental section is built on a 7/8 jazzy basis, featuring a fabulous guitar solo that leans closer to McLaughlin than to Gilmour or Howe. The prior synth-dominated section is reprised, only this time with featured mellotron, which makes it a bit spacier. 'Primo Incontro' is, in my opinion, the highlight of this album's first half. Consistently based on a 5/4 tempo delivered in alternating ELP and Crimson-inspired trends, this piece comprises some of the most explosive playing in the album: Hendrix-like psychedelic guitar fills and heavy Blackmore-like solos, intertwined organ and spinet chords, an abrasive rhythm duo, magical female backing vocals, Leone testing his pitch to the limits. Everything works greatly here all the way toward the chaotic ending plus the genius spinet coda (very Manierist, indeed). 'Secondo Incontro' is, to my ears, the second half's highlight. All the qualities I enjoy of 'Primo Encontro' are prolonged in this Second Encounter, only this time with a bigger presence of jazzy cadences in the rhythmic development. There is also a frantic section that serves as a framework for a polyphonic orgy of strings, flutes and chorale mellotrons. The intro section is also a powerful impact provider, with Leone's demented singing reaching for pure musical hysteria while the chaos persists. 'Terzo Incontro ed Epilogo' is the last track, starting with the most constructed rocking section in the album. The main body of the piece's epilogue is a mid-slow psychedelic jam that creates a mood of mystery and solitude in a cleverly sustained fashion. The opening motif's reprise and the following female chanting provide a full circle ending to this track and the album as a whole. The bonus track 'La Tua Casa Comoda' is a gentle mid-tempo song that sounds a bit like early 70s Cat Stevens with a featured RMI electric piano. As commercially driven as it is, it is actually a very good song, having elegantly constrained arrangements and a confident rhythm section in the underflow. Well, "Ys" is an excellent item that should grace any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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