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Barrock - La Strega CD (album) cover

LA STREGA

Barrock

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.48 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
3 stars Barrock is another of those lesser known and underappreciated Italian prog bands from the 90's and recorded 3 fine albums before disappearing into the mist. As the moniker unsubtly implies , the general theme is a robust combination of baroque and rock with massive amounts of keyboards (organ, piano, synthesizers, string machines) as well as guitar , bass and rather mechanical drums , mostly played by the Poles family, with some occasional female vocals and some guest musicians. "Nell'antro della Strega" is an introductory instrumental that sets the basic symphonic parameters that will illuminate the rest of this album. In fact, the next piece, the 10 minute + "La Mutazione" is quite an atmospheric promenade with a grandiose mid-section loaded with waves of orchestrations courtesy of Mauro Martin , an extended and superb electric guitar run from Valter Poles. Paola Polese does a fine operatic aria, elevating the magnificent main melody, really giving the piece some coloring and pomp. As mentioned by another reviewer, the drums are a bit rudimentary (a somewhat rare occurrence in ISP as Italian drummers are generally very inventive). "Super Flumina" is a Valter Poles synthesizer adaptation of a classical motet by noted XVI century Italian composer Palestrina, a swirling electronic reverie that is both clever and creative, though sounding very much like a 90s production , which of course it is. The brief "Il Giullare" is an almost ELP-like trio workout with Valter on both keys and guitar, with brothers Giampaolo on bass and Maurizio on drums. The pace is fast, furious and somewhat in your face. "Solo Con le Ali" is another Poles keyboard piece with violin/cello synths flirting openly with a Rossano Palý guitar sortie. The choir mellotrons are particularly effective here but the drum machine really ruins it a bit. It's okay but nothing earthshaking. "La Preda" prefers leaving the spotlight on the grand piano, with some synth backscapes before morphing into a more atmospheric section and then suddenly reverting to a full organ-led blowout. "In Sogno" is a dream-like interlude with lots of orchestrations and various keyboard patterns, with some tubular bells for effect. "Romanza" revives the magical "La Mutazione" theme, with a fantastic flute intervention and the rippling Paola Polese operatics, the grandiose piano adding to the angst and building to an explosive climax, very nice indeed. The final "Orient Express" is a tune from guest keyboardist Giuseppe Vendramin and offers really nothing more than a brief technical romp. A good album but not indispensible and at 37 minutes, a bit too brief for my liking. 3.5 Poles
tszirmay | 3/5 |

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