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Sad Minstrel - The Flight Of The Phoenix CD (album) cover

THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX

Sad Minstrel

 

Prog Folk

3.80 | 15 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While the influences of Celtic folk and progressive rock are apparent in this one-off, the blending of Italian roots and Fabio Casanova's quirky spoken singing style give this album a refreshing flavor all its own. Closest reference points would be SILVER LINING, FAVERAVOLA, or GIAN CASTELLO.

The use of narratives is by no means new in the Tolkien and sci fi obsessed world of prog. What is different here is that the storytelling is part sung and part spoken and melds with the music, which is not relegated to the background during these passages, and the vocals themselves span a wide emotional range. Just listen to the opener "Mad Minstrel", which builds from quiet gentility to a dual organ-lead guitar attack before Casanova injects his angst driven diatribe, or the equally wrenching and more acoustically crystalline title cut. "Silent Revolution" is more ponderous and martial in tempo, but even this restriction does not hold Casanova back in his melodramatic rantings. The flipside is the divine "Friend of Mine", which evokes the more reflective early work of the English neo folk group OSTARA.

Only one track, "Canzone della Bambina di Triora", is actually sung in Italian. It begins with whistles conjuring open landscapes of yore, before becoming a full fledged Celtic progressive rock gem. The closer, the wondrously named "Wood of Memories", develops similarly but again reverts to the spoken style. The latter parts are simply string synthesizer bliss for those like myself that revel in such guilty pleasures, and they also recap the original suspenseful theme of the opener. Great stuff.

If you wish that prog-celtic was a booming subgenre of progressive music, or if you want to diversify a predominately metal or heavy collection with something more gentle but still edgy, I suggest you stop being a sad minstrel and listen to one instead.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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