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The Trip - Caronte CD (album) cover

CARONTE

The Trip

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.67 | 61 ratings

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Jack A Lynn
4 stars An unusual release for the Italian scene of the first 70s, and maybe unusual as an Italian record, as heavy music had never proved popular in Italy. What made possible the release of an Italian heavy prog record in 1971 is maybe be the presence of two English musicians (guitarist William Gray and bassist Arvid Andersen), who came in Italy in the sixties with Ritchie Blackmore.

You will surely read loads of reviews saying over and over that the record is influenced by Pink Floyd and King Crimson, but I don't think so. It reminds me more of heavy bands with massive use of keyboards such as Atomic Rooster (Two Brothers), Deep Purple (the two parts of Caronte, at the beginning and the end of the record), Quatermass (Ode A Jimi Hendrix), and obviously ELP (L'ultima Ora).

Anyway, this is a classic concept album, appearently based on mythology (Caronte, best known as Charon, is the guardian and ferryman at the gates of hell, both in Greek mythology and in the famous book by Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia). But the use of a mythological figure is a metaphore for the conformism that sentences its damned to lose themselves, literally "crossing the river of Acheron"; the damned are Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, who both died shortly before.

The musicianship here may seem a little bit raw, but I do think it's good. Joe Vescovi's multiform keyboards (he uses piano, Hammond and church organ and mellotron) are the pivot of the band, being able to provide atmosphere, strenght and virtuosity. The powerful and driving hard rock riffs of William Gray's guitar gives to the music its real "physical" strenght, even if it sounds very close to Deep Purple and similar English acts. Arvid Andersen's deft, pulsating bass and Pino Sinnone's solid and powerful drumming makes a strong and competent rhytm section. Maybe the worst thing about the record are the vocals: they are just good, but they could have been done much better.

The production is quite raw, but since all the instruments are clearly audible, it's a good supplement to the rawness (not meant as ineptitude) of the music itself.

Anyway, I would suggest this album to all the ones who love Italian prog, and it might be a delight for heavy proggers!

Jack A Lynn | 4/5 |

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