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Arjuna - La Montagna Sacra CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.58 | 5 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars Perhaps just as much a project as a band, this is another album with Andrea Monetti Roccasanta (also involved in Amanita and Alhambra, both listed on ProgArchives under Prog Folk and Space/Psych Prog respectively) behind the steering wheel.

In many ways those two categorisations give a clear hint towards what you can expect from the music, and in essence La Montagna Sacra is a somewhat eclectic combination of both psychedelic and folk influences, with a clear and tangible RPI vibe that connects and enriches the music further. Very familiar and pulsing, pleasing and nostalgic music that emphasises the freedom and range in style that many of the 70s RPI classics master like few others.

Take for example the theatrical defiance and drive of the latter half of opener Perso Nel Vueto (don't miss the eerie resemblance to Led Zeppelin's No Quarter during its introduction), with the action-packed mix of whirling flute, powerful drumming and slightly playful keys that expand into uncompromising and naked guitar solos, and both giants like Jethro Tull and lesser known gems of RPI springs to mind. Salva La Tua RealtÓ has the same hard-hitting riffs as early Il Rovescio Della Medaglia, but with more emphasis on sweet melodies with once again gorgeous flute in between. Bonus points for pulling off the mandatory drastic changes in tempo and force with a lot of finesse and maturity. It's easy-going, natural and just lovely for much of the time.

A Song For Timothy is a great light-folk excursion with delicately played acoustic guitar and romantic flute with a soft, absorbing atmosphere to it (no edges whatsoever - smooth stuff), and it's one of those songs you're just drawn into whether you want it or not. Mushroom is a bit similar in concept, but stretches a bit further into psychedelic territory (as the title quite bluntly suggests), being quite loaded on a floating structure and spaced-out keys sounds and guitar effects. Introspective, and featuring a rather repetitive and nervous guitar motif, it comes off as more adventurous than it really is, only due to that effectively created atmosphere. Once again Zeppelin references to be heard. The title track offers even more of the elusive folk/psych/RPI mix of this album, being overtly folky in an Eastern kind of way, with propulsive sitar creating the textural weight needed to support the focal point of the music - yes, you guessed it - the dancing flute melody.

Bringing it all together, the music ends up being something like the only track I haven't mentioned yet, the very balanced E Cadere D'improvviso. A short but sweet rollercoaster piano steers the mind towards Reale Accademia di Musica before the rock guitar kicks in for some powerful licks. The piano will be back later, but sadly understated along with the rest of the keys (goes for a lot of the album - a Hammond can't be too loud) for a return back to mellower flute-laid soundscapes.

A potential goldmine for all interested in nostalgic, vintage RPI eclecticism and quality musicianship - but really not much more. I love it just because of that, and because of the pride and energy by which these guys acknowledge their musical heritage and influences. The faint hints of contemporary alt-rock are soon forgotten and easily missed. The production is unfortunately of the muddier type, and while I normally don't see that as a problem, it really disintegrates much of the individual instruments performance, and it is the keys that suffer the most.

3 stars. I will gladly discover the other projects related to Arjuna after this.


LinusW | 3/5 |


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