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Senza Nome - Senza Nome CD (album) cover


Senza Nome


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.56 | 24 ratings

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4 stars One of the new leaders of the Ital-prog scene?

Senza Nome ("Nameless" in English) are from Marino, near Rome. They formed in 2003 with the difficult goal of mixing the grand Italian song tradition with a modern progressive rock. They also began aggressive live activity from the very start, determined to progress as players and composers through the experience of live performance. I believe it shows already. Other bands have attempted to merge the '70s Italian progressive with modern music characteristics with patchy success, Senza Nome is pretty convincing. This band might be a leader in shaping where Italian prog goes in the future I believe, not content to simply recreate the past (even though doing that can be enjoyable enough) but to wrap it in their own confident package. It's a very impressive piece of work and reminds me of bands like Tilion and Imagin'Aria just to give a reference point. Composition is handled by vocalist/guitarist Emanuele De Marzi and keyboardist Stefano Onorati, with Onorati writing the lyrics as well. Lead guitarist Mirko Mazza is very gifted and the rhythm section of bassist Piero Portelli and drummer Leonardo Bevilacqua capable of some pretty intense change-ups. The band has even worked with actors to incorporate certain theatrical performances into their work. They are proud members of "NoSlappers" which is a collective of Italian bands who seek to support each others attempts to find venues for the performance of *original* material, as opposed to the clubs who insist on filling their slots with cover bands and tribute bands. (The whole world could use a NoSlappers philosophy.) In May 2008 the band self-released their uncompromising debut, a surprisingly accomplished and broad work for a first attempt. The band joke in their Bio that choosing a name is the first important step for a new band and thus they chose "Nameless" and proudly state "We prefer playing" as opposed to thinking up clever names I assume. The band seems bound by confidence, hard work, and raw talent which as mentioned seems to have served them well. But what about the music?

The album cover seems like another appropriate choice for this debut's material. We have a strange hand (the band?) holding forth a small paper boat with ominous clouds in the background. This little boat (ideas, will?) is going to be placed into the water and from that point the water and wind (fate?) will decide the destination and success as much as the hand that guided, though both forces are important. (That's just my interpretation, no idea what the band intended.) But as I said, it seems appropriate to what I'm hearing here. To the songs, I believe the album can be dissected into two parts. First you have the three standout "anchor" tracks, ranging from 8-12 minutes each. The three-part suite "Illusioni di un Anima Lontana" (Illusions of a Distant Soul) is an impressive opener which right off the bat will attempt to frame the marriage of past and present. Part 1 strikes me as classic symphonic with characteristic heavenly melodies laid down by acoustic and electric guitars, Moog, and rich Italian vocals. Part 2 brings the "modern" crashing through your door with little warning and here we see that Senza Nome has the ability to play to the chops-obsessed fans of modern proficiency-rock. My skepticism of this creeps in when I feel the worship of the proficiency factor exceeds the emotional quality of the music. Senza Nome is not immune to this criticism but they rarely take their eye off the ball that is melody and emotion. They can blister ears with the best players out there but they understand the role of proficiency in their composition. Part 3 almost addresses the issue as the band seeks to respect both camps while having some fun by bringing a bit of Latin flavored flair to the conclusion. Quite a ride and just the first track! The second anchor track would be "Tumore" and here the band is at their most feisty: wild and playful solos trading between electric guitar and keyboards sometimes approaching a manic pace. The third anchor "Ulisse" is where Senza Nome really pulled me in and won me over. The band has a love for poetry and philosophy and here they really pull out the stops. It opens with the sounds of the sea (birds and waves) over harmonica and sentimental acoustic melody and slowly builds up the mood. After some delicious instrumental work comes a strange interlude in which an actor performs a passage from Canto twenty-six of the Inferno, in spoken verse. You can imagine how corny this *could* be by some bands if handled poorly but it works wonderfully here, again, because of the total conviction and respect of the band for what they are dealing with. Behind him they soon throw in some beautiful choir vocals. This track is simply in the best traditions of the romantic Italian prog.

The balance of the album consists of shorter tracks which while less epic in scope contain their share of pleasant moments. "Passi" (Steps) features gorgeous, romantic melodies in the guitar and keyboard parts along with poetic verse. "Non sono mai esistito" is the lowest point of the album, an inconsequential bluesy number that frankly does not fit well with the overall work in my opinion. "Si la do" is another somewhat questionable track with humorous intentions (also present on the bonus video) but is musically interesting enough to win me over (the song that is, the bonus video is not something I ever wish to see again.ouch!) Humor can be fine but the crude silliness of this video really has no place in an otherwise classy collection of music in my opinion. The closer "Sopra a un Pensiero" (Upon a thought) is a perfect one, a dreamy, window gazing little piece of beautiful piano, acoustic guitar and bass. Lovely. Senza Nome contains a few missteps but has enough quality and heart to earn that 4th star. I look forward to watching these guys in the future and believe they are filled with potential. Their self-released disc is very well done, actually more impressive than many label releases. Great sound and a gorgeous, thick lyrics booklet with pictures round out this impressive package available from the band's website for a very fair price. 7/10

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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