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Minstrel - Faust CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.20 | 31 ratings

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4 stars A soaring power-symphonic feast

What talent on display! Minstrel is an Italian band who began in the 90s and released this gem in 2000. It has been described by others as a rock opera and it certainly sounds like it in places, but it also just a very good heavy symphonic prog album. Based on the famous play "Faust" it is a dramatic feast of amazingly talented vocalists, especially the lead man Mauro Ghilardini who just has this booming operatic voice that would bring any room to their feet. It unfolds like a typical play with various scenes acted out with narration and superb vocal interplay. The music I described as soaring because it really does have that dramatic, larger than life, emotional feel to it. It is like Fiaba in that theatrical sense though much more symphonic than folk-metal. There is a slight metal edge here only in the guitar playing of Michele Savoldelli, who perhaps was influenced by 90s prog-metal guitarists. But the metal edge is only very slight in the occasional solo and sound of the chug. Mostly the guitar work is just very lush and dreamy, the solos delivered with great emotion but very disciplined restraint. As powerful as this music is there is always a good balance of light and heavy, and no musician ever gets carried away or selfish. For an independent project the quality of the composition and production are truly top notch. My only complaint is that it might be too good on that front, perhaps a bit over-polished and precious at times. In need of a bull or two in the china shop.

"emphasis laid squarely on classical melodies, operatic vocals and rocking guitar solos....high on drama and very operatic in nature, but not succumbing to the worst excesses of that genre. The music is gentle and romantic, with delicate acoustic guitars and subtle orchestration from the keyboards. Michele Savoldelli plays neo-classical solos with remarkable restraint, having all the technique but none of the arrogance and bluster of so-called "masters." Gianpaolo Pasini provides powerhouse backing on the drums, but always knows when to step off the gas. The whole piece is thoughtfully constructed, with plenty of contrasting sections, and includes some nice clarinet from Guiseppe Peracchi for that added authentic orchestral touch." -Dave Sissons, DPRP

This was a Tszirmay recommendation and he gave the album 5 stars. I can't go quite that far personally, but Tom is right as usual that this album is a gem. It will please all fans of melodic, high class, heavy (and romantic) symphonic progressive rock. The booklet provides nice liner notes and dialogue but only in Italian. This is an indie production distributed by a small label, so my advice is to get this sooner than later if it sounds interesting to you. It may not be around forever.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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