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Armonite - Inuit CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.51 | 33 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two lead e-violinists!

Violin-lovers listen up! The now defunct one-shot band Armonite was born in 1996 when drummer Gabrielle Rossi met up with two talented violinists (Jacopo Bigi and Giovanni Lanfranchi) to begin a project. They added a keyboardist from a prog-metal act and a bassist from a Dream Theater cover band. If that sounds like a scary prospect I can assure you there is nothing to fear. The band Armonite began writing and playing gigs, finally seeing a CD release on Mellow in December of 1999. I am not certain how long they were together but unfortunately "Inuit" with its mysterious cover art was their only release.

The album has an intro and outro of one minute each which feature strange sound effects and odd female choir vocals, very lovely, and very sadly just a teaser. There are no other vocals in the six main tracks and this is a real shame, because those vocals would add just the depth that this album needs. However, it is still a very worthwhile and unique collection. Unique because there is no guitar on this album and just the brief mentioned vocals. Above all else "Inuit" is an album for lovers of the violin. The typical guitar and vocals are replaced by two accomplished violinists who handle the lead parts of the tracks, the melodies and direction. Drummer Rossi and bassist Andrea Bacchio provide a very solid and yet delicate rhythm section, minimizing heaviness for something a bit classical and elegant here. The other wild card is keyboardist Paolo Fosso who wrote most of the material and also contributes flute. He has thankfully set aside his Dream Theater tribute band skills and opted for spirited elegance as well, playing synth and piano both complimentary and sometimes in direct reaction to what the two violinists are doing around him. I don't want to give the impression this is a snoozy, sluggish affair. The songs are dexterous and light on their feet, often full of energy and edgy rhythmic pursuits. Great drum fills and bass lines flesh out the inventive songwriting. This leaves Lanfranchi and Bigi to do the rest on their electric violins and they are up to the challenge. They are everywhere, from offering beautiful counterpoint to some of Fosso's gorgeous piano twinkling, or adding tension with some frenzied build-up. "Agora" is a favorite, the most classical sounding track with lots of piano, it almost reminds me a bit of Quella Vecchia Locanda which is one of my favorite RPI bands. Overall however the band lacks the same level of dynamics and importance QVL possessed.

A truly lovely outing full of classy energetic numbers, "Inuit" would be so much better with some well-timed, crystal clear soprano Italian vocals to add another color. As it is I still recommend this rare gem for any fan of violin-filled lighter RPI. The 8-page Mellow booklet features a band bio and nice portraits of the group. The sound quality is pretty good, clear, but perhaps could use more oomph on the low end.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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