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RanestRane - Nosferatu il vampiro CD (album) cover

NOSFERATU IL VAMPIRO

RanestRane

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.31 | 17 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Attn fans of melodic symphonic and 90s neo-prog

RanestRane is a band from Italy who in 2006 released this fine musical companion to the vampire film "Nosferatu the Vampire." The band would actually perform live during screenings of the movie in Italy and this is the result of how the project evolved in a studio release. The work is a sprawling and epic 2-disc set, a veritable "rock-opera" of nearly two hours in length. The music can be described as a melodic-symphonic progressive rock with clear influence of 90s neo-prog, particularly Marillion. But certainly fans of popular groups like Willowglass, Pendragon and Arena et al are going to wish to hear RanestRane. My first impression of the band was that they reminded me a bit of Brave-era Marillion in their blend of keyboard textures and soaring electric guitar leads, in the pacing of the tracks and the drumming style, even in the "feel" of the vocals. The album is often vocal oriented although there are some instrumental sections. The story is punctuated by the inclusion of dialogue clips (narration) which were effective in setting mood without being so frequent as to destroy the musical flow. The musicians are highly proficient and have really done a stellar job arranging and performing what must have been a fairly complicated process, almost soundtrack work. It must be pointed out however that the music here does not exist as soundtrack but is completely engaging as a recording.

Musically things move from one mostly gentle soundscape to the next with a fairly languid pace. Lovely piano playing which sometimes lulls you to a dreamy state, pleasing vocals, hypnotic beats and orchestrations. Guitarist Massimo Pomo has the classic lazy Gilmour/Rothery/Barrett feel of holding long, peaceful, sunset filled notes on the one hand, while using a clean jangly strum or minimalist patterns on the other. Whatever they need to set the mood appears at the ready, from those guitars to Riccardo Romano's piano or Matteo Gennari on bass. Singer Daniele Pomo does not sound like Hogarth exactly, but purely speculating, I bet he's a fan. He carries the duties of this long album with the emotional "control of ceremonies" that Hogarth has over an album like Brave. He is comfortable with every musical scene, always hitting the right amount of involvement and never overplaying the music. I believe some may complain that the music never breaks free from a kind of professional reserve but they likely started typing too soon. This album lingers and sinks its teeth into your neck slowly, teasing you first with a few restless nights of unsettled sleep. Even without watching the film that inspires it, or understanding the language, I feel at the end exactly as I should. Like I've been spun a fine tale! But the caveat is that this is not an instant adrenalin payoff but music for those who love to kick back patiently and let a narcotic breeze of progressive rock smooth you out. It's a successful and very enjoyable project.

Interesting that for a project one is expecting to be "dark" there isn't much darkness or fright to the sound. There is some desolation and melancholy but even this comes off as beautiful while much of the rest of the music struck me as being quite uplifting. There is no darkness here of the Jacula/Antonius Rex variety which is what pops into my head when I think about dark or horror-based prog. Then again I'm not exactly familiar with the story of Nosferatu, perhaps overt shock and darkness are not what this horror story requires. Perhaps this story is more about unease and sadness than about fright. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one, but the point is not to expect any shock-prog from the music if that's your thing. On the other hand they are masterful at creating a coldly unsettled vibe in "Alla ricera del Conte" which is almost a new age-psych infused instrumental and certainly conjures images like the album cover. There are moments where visuals are conjured of walking a frozen field at night with rolling fog and ethereal moonlight peering down. An anxious walk with dread in the palms of your hands. But the music always returns to something uplifting to me. The climactic "Il ritrovamento" is glorious!

The two-disk set is packaged in a standard single jewel case with gorgeous cover art and a lyric booklet (in Italian.) If you are a fan of beautiful music with a somewhat distant, moody feel and relaxed pace, RanestRane is for you. Good stuff. 7/10

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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