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Banaau / Hollowscene - Hollowscene CD (album) cover


Banaau / Hollowscene


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 33 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This Italian band started in 1990 but didn't release anything until the EP The Burial in 2015. Since that they have changed the band name from Banaau to Hollowscene. They seem to be strongly inspired by classic literature: the early, unreleased compositions were based on the poems of T. S. Eliot. This new release contains 'The Worm', based on E. A. Poe's poem "The Conqueror Worm", which was composed in the early nineties as well. The main thing here is the five-part, roughly 42-minute epic 'Broken Coriolanus' based on the tragedy by William Shakespeare. Respect for that! To think of all childish, fantasy-oriented stories that the history of prog is so full of... Well, maybe I was carried away a little, as I'm a lover of literature, and anyway I'm not familiar with Coriolanus (the play).

Onto the music. It is very symphonically structured. 70's Genesis is mentioned in the artist bio as a reference, and indeed up to the point. The sound is somewhere between the golden era of prog (especially for the analog-sounding keyboards) and the Neo Prog of this Millennium. The vocals are rather clean and technically convincing, but perhaps slightly lacking of passion and personality. Although the line-up consists of seven musicians - guitars and keyboards are doubled - the sound never gets too thick. There's an airiness I'd compare to WILLOWGLASS. The most notable difference between Willowglass and Hollowscene is that the latter has vocals. Flautist Demetra Fogazza also adds her vocals in the final part of the epic; a pity she's not singing at least to the equal measure with the guys. The epic is very solid and dynamic. Some more instrumental approach would have been great, but the lyrics seem quite good and perhaps in time I'll get some hold of the story too (for me the music always comes first, in all music).

'The Worm' (7:54) starts in a peaceful tempo starring flute and guitar, before the whole band and the vocals arrive. Again the structure of the composition is very symphonic; it's such a rollercoaster ride within the limited length. The CD ends with a nice cover version of GENTLE GIANT's 'The Moon Is Down'. However I clearly prefer the original: this one's technically excellent, but it doesn't reach the magical, nocturnal atmosphere.

All in all, this album is excellent work of melodic, classic-style symphonic prog with modern flavours to the sound. In theory, this could be a five-star masterpiece, but somehow the emotional side of my reception never reaches to heavens. Maybe it's mainly the vocals, but there's a slight clinical feel to this marvelous music. A strong four stars, without a question!

Matti | 4/5 |


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