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Choruscant - A Christmas Carol CD (album) cover





4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Choruscant began life in Chieti in 2015 when three former members of Severed Garden, Joele Turchi (vocals, rhythm guitar), Giorgio Manca (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Ivan Di Sipio (keyboards, backing vocals), after the split up decided to go on and put together a new project teaming up with Davide Di Camillo (bass) and Leo Cornacchia (drums), inspired by prog bands such as Genesis, Jethro Tull, Dream Theater or Haken but also by artists such as Ennio Morricone or George Gershwin just to name a few. After a long, painstaking work, in 2020 they self-released an interesting debut album entitled A Christmas Carol, conceived as a tribute to the immortal Charles Dickens' novella of the same name, a work that they still find valid today for its description of the complexity of the human soul and for its articulated social criticism. The band's sound emerges as a tasteful mixture of vintage prog, prog metal, folk rock and classical music while the lyrics and vocals try to respect as much as possible Charles Dickens' work picking up some crucial passages of the novella and interpreting them in a theatrical way. Some guest musicians contribute to enrich the sound with excellent results and the final product is really worth listening to...

The instrumental opener "Victorian London And The White Snow" sets the atmosphere and takes you back in time, on a bleak, cold Christmas Eve in London, seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley... Then "To Begin With" introduces the first stave of the novella, "Marley's Ghost" with its incipit, "Marley was dead: to begin with... Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail...". The following "Scrooge" introduces the protagonist of the story and tells of the meeting with his nephew Fred and of his refusal to celebrate Christmas with his family. Then Scrooge turns away two men who seek a donation from him to provide food and heating for the poor and only regretfully allows his exploited clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay... Next comes "Marley (Seven Years Later)" that tells of the visit of Marley's ghost, condemned to wonder on Earth bearing heavy chains and money boxes because of his life of greed and selfishness. Marley's ghost announces that three spirits are going to haunt Scrooge. As for the music, all these tracks are linked together and form a long suite with some passages clearly in debt with Gentle Giant although with a harder approach...

Next comes the long, complex "The Ghost Of Christmas Past" where we can appreciate the talent of the guest vocalist Sara Antonelli. This piece takes us to the second stave of the novella, "The First of the Three Spirits", where the Ghost of Christmas Past dressed in a shiny white tunic visits Scrooge. The ghost clasps Scrooge gently by the arm and tells him to rise and to come along for a walk, then conjures up scenes from Scrooge's boyhood and reveals other important episodes of his past, like a Christmas party hosted by his first employer, the birth of his nephew Fred or the end of his relationship with his girlfriend Belle. The aim of the ghost is to warn him about the consequences of his selfish way of life, Scrooge is very upset for this strange trip in the maze of his heart and quickly falls asleep... The music is excellent and here every now and again could recall Genesis and Marillion.

"The Ghost Of Christmas Present", introduces the third stave of the novella, "The Second of the Three Spirits", with the meeting between the Ghost of Christmas Present and Scrooge. Scrooge touches the robe of the ghost and they suddenly plunge into a busy market with people buying the makings of Christmas dinner... The following "The Torch" describes the city streets on Christmas morning, where the people make a rough, but brisk and not unpleasant kind of music, and the ghost's torch: a very uncommon kind of torch that can do magic and restore good humour... Then "Cratchit's Dwelling" depicts Bob Cratchit's family feast and his ill son Tiny Tim. Next comes the folksy "A Christmas Eve" that describes the journey through the celebrations of Christmas in various places and the visit to Fred's Christmas party while "Ignorance And Want" depicts two starved, dangerous children of Man, a boy called Ignorance and a girl called Want. "Midnight" is just a short passage that marks the ghost sudden disappearance and links the third stave with the fourth, "The Last of the Spirits".

The hard electric guitar riffs of the dark "The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come" introduce the third spirit, the one Scrooge fears more than any spectre he has seen so far. The phantom slowly, gravely approaches... In the following "The Death Of An Old Man" the ghost shows Scrooge a Christmas Day in the future revealing the funeral disliked man... Then, in "An Uncertain Future" Scrooge asks to see tenderness connected with death and the ghost shows him Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the death of Tiny Tim. The ghost then allows Scrooge to see a neglected grave, with a tombstone bearing his name. Upset, Scrooge pledges to change his way of life. "The End Of It" closes the album with a burst of positive energy and a lively marching beat... Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning a different man and from that moment on he treats everyone with kindness, generosity and compassion, embodying the spirit of Christmas...

On the whole, a very good work!

andrea | 4/5 |


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