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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Darwin! CD (album) cover

DARWIN!

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.38 | 760 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Darwin! hits the mark with some of the most innovative and experimental RPI

Darwin! Is a real curio from these giants of RPI, their third album following two incredible albums that helped to put Italian prog on the map. Darwin! Is a full blown concept album that centres on the Darwinist belief system or theories of life on the planet, how we came to be here, disregarding creationism, and wholly encompassing ideologies of evolution. Banco thankfully do not attack God as such but take on this evolutionary ideology as a theory of how the earth, the universe was created ? by sheer chance. Darwin refuted these ideas on his death bed, nevertheless it is an enticing idea, and I guess an irresistible one that many bands hold to for content. In the case of Banco they feature some interesting lyrical notions on the idea.

Translated they state: Try, try to think a little different, nothing was made by the great Gods but Creation had been created by itself: cells, fibers, energy and heat. The earth is rolling into a cloud swelling, spreading in the heat its limbs the Mother is ready, she will bear she's already bowing her womb, she wants another son and she will have it, son of earth and electricity. Grey coats of lava and coral moist and without colors skies, here comes the world breathing musks and lichens, green earth-made sponges are the hothouse for the sprout that will come." So it is evident that judging from the lyrics there is no real attack on creationism, but it is a fanciful notion that Banco are adhering to.

The music is as usual very accomplished ranging from ambient keyboard section and falsetto soft vocals to all out frenetic drumming and erratic keyboards and bass. There are some incredible tracks on this such as 'La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta' translated The Conquest of the Upright Position. It is an ambient synth soaked piece and very animalistic in texture and tone, in fact I thought I was hearing animal effects at times. The piece captures a feeling of being lost in a jungle surrounded by primates and only Banco can produce this type of music which is absolutely mesmerising.

'Danza Dei Grandi Rettili' can be translated as Dance of the Large Reptiles and is heavily influenced by jazz overtones with some captivating bass and piano. Indeed it is a soundscape capturing the imagination of when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

'Cento Mani E Cento Occhi' meaning A Hundred Hands and a Hundred Eyes is one of the masterpieces of the album. The dynamic interplay of keyboards and drums makes for some compelling listening. Francesco Di Giacomo adds his own interpretation of singing, which may be understood as more of a howling sound than actual words but it suits it perfectly. The tribal chanting and African drumming is enough to drag you out of this reality into the warped landscape of Darwin! Indescribable music certainly but it will convert you if you allow it.

'750,000 Anni Fa...L'Amore?' is a very intriguing track centering on the theme of 750,000 Years Ago...Love?. It is a love song of sorts, being a lot more balladic than other tracks and in fact Francesco Di Giacomo tries his hand at some romantic crooning. It is so different than what we have already heard that it comes as a shock to suddenly hear this style, and therefore it is perfectly balancing the frenetic material; chaos has become order for a term at least and we needed it.

'Miserere Alla Storia' is Misery to the History and returns to the highly progressive style with sharp blasts of chords on organ and this is complemented by piccolo and acoustic guitar. On this track the words are half spoken and half sung by Francesco Di Giacomo. Not my favourite track but still a worthy addition to the album and a very similar style to King Crimson.

The final track is a short rocker called 'Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde...Non Ne Ho!' or you can translate this as And now I Ask the Time to Time and he replies...I haven't got it! Self explanatory really. The track begins with a donkey noise, a violin being dragged across with a bow very slow and creaky, I guess like the creaking floorboards of an ancient house. It is unsettling but once again draws you in patiently. The piccolo chimes in beautifully and Francesco Di Giacomo croons along in a low key style. And thus ends this incredible album.

This album is one of the master works of RPI without a doubt and deserves a place in history as one of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's best albums. The artistry of the band, the virtuoso musicianship is second to none, though this is not my favourite Banco album. That honour has to go to their debut album. However this is highly recommended among the best of the RPI genre.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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