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Zundapp - Sotero CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.51 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Proper debut from these Tuscan progressive bluesmen is a big step forward from their 2005 demo and gives us a band stuck in the past in the best way - with an early Jethro Tull pedigree but a more sophisticated jazz sensibility - a quintet that could and should open for any big prog act out there. The band plays to its strengths as a unit rather than to individual performances, each member contributing to a healthy group dynamic, just tight enough to impress but never enough to distract. There are a few passages that don't quite measure up to the rest of the material on Sotero (a set of entirely instrumental guitar-based prog) but that percentage is low and for a first pro effort, I think we have a winner that shows the promise of even better things to come.

The two guitars of Fabrizio Brilli and Moreno Mencarini loop together with Roberto Chechi's jazz flute for 'Black Commendha' and gives a taste of the melodic riffing abundant on the album, perhaps a bit unfinished but a decent opener with room for drummer Francesco Biagianti to solo. But 'Catalyst' leaves little doubt of this group's raw talent as they splay open this hefty hard-rocker and its distant clap of Aqualung thunder, followed by samba 'Elefantentreffen' and jazz beats of 'In a Club' with Chechi's lithe flute accents perfect over the band's heavy fusions. Tentative and unsettlingly-named 'Oswald Mincing Machine' gets into some neat guitar/bass drones, bassist Francesco Rossi holding it together nicely, Chechi taking some soft solos. It's followed by the insistent 'Rockwool' featuring a very prog midsection with lots of interesting changes and harmonies, rock 'n roll of 'Ruzzman' and very nice alternating tight-to-loose jams of 'Sinfonia per Traghetti'.

Full of nostalgic cool and an indifference to the modern music of the outside world, Zundapp are a welcome time machine to an era long past when five guys and three amps could just plug in and sound great. Three and a half solid stars.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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