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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Chocolate Kings CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.95 | 433 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Jeff Carney
5 stars Absolute perfection from PFM. The way these songs develop leaves my spine tingling. We're talking about an album with 5 gems. 4 of the tracks are flat out masterpieces and the title track is a nice little diversion that kind of takes you back to the fun of E Festa.

So many reviews on this one already but after spinning it again recently it confirmed for me that this is arguably PFM's finest hour, and I thought I'd say a few words about it. The band had really matured here and the compositions are simply not to be believed. They weave in and out of different textures and moods effortlessly. The way the band is working together by this point is nothing short of astonishing, and to have a great lead vocalist seems to have propelled them to an even higher level. I suspect that some of these songs might not have the immediate impact for some folks of some of the earlier material, but repeated listening to this one is really a reward that in some ways transcends even the brilliance of the first three albums. These are highly complex pieces of music that are as much about feel as they are about simply executing them. No better example illustrates this than when the main melodic theme is reintroduced by Pagani towards the end of From Under. It's as if you can feel him caressing the melody. Utterly breathtaking and a moment that truly depicts the inside the note concept if ever prog was able to venture into that territory.

Of special note is the guitar work of Franco Mussida, which is sensational and rivals most any of his peers from the time. He is really off the charts on this album.

Sonically, this is a fantastic sounding album. The original RCA CD is best in the digital world. Avoid the Japanese mini lp versions. If you insist on collecting those, then at least get the JVC version (and note that the regular K2 will slightly beat out the K2HD so don't waste your money on the latter). The BMG Japan release with the original Italian cover is horrible. Avoid that one, BIG time. Oh, and that RCA gold disc is also a kind of a joke. Not nearly as good as the original CD.

I also intend to pick this up on vinyl again soon, because as good as the original CD mastering sounds, I think it had a bit of EQ applied and sounds a bit smiley-faced (read: bass and treble goosed). I ownded this on vinyl years ago and I'd like to do some comparisons with the CD, but for those who just want a nice sounding disc without any compression, grab the original CD and turn it up!

Jeff Carney | 5/5 |


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