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Akron - Il Tempio di Ferro CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.23 | 9 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 2nd and - as far as I'm concerned - last album of untypical band Akron, shows signs of quite big improvement compared to their first album "La Signora del Buio"(look to my review of that album to also find out more info about this band). Songs became longer, varied and more melodic. They also seem to really "rock" instead of only create dark, gloomy atmosphere (like in debut), which is a good "innovation". Also vocalist Eugenio Mucci clearly improved his vocal skills and prefers to sing than "recite" in sleepy tone. Addition of two guest Hammond players (Antonio De Angelis & Gabriele Di Monte) and female vocalist (Gabriella Saia who - as I suppose - joined the band after the debut recording 'cos I rather didn't hear her in "La Signora del Buio") is also welcome of course. However I still can't recommend "Il Tempio Di Ferro" as prog masterpiece for casual prog-rock listener. Why? Read my detailed reviews of the songs to find out:

1. "Il giuramento" - album starts with 1 minute intro which include thrilling church organ passage. It sounds really creepy and I'm almost sure that real pipe organ instrument was used for this fragment. One of few moments where Jacula influences are so evident. After this part mid-tempo drum join in and Mucci present as more accessible - compared to previous album - style of singing. Instead of screaming or recitating he really sings and it's big plus. His voice is slightly operatic here and together with floating synthesizers create not so bad song. However 8 minutes is too long for this material and after several minutes starts to drag. It's good that "Il giuramento" finishes with short pipe organ passage just like it began.

2. "A Gerusalemme" - the longest track (almost 10 minutes) starts rather unpromising with simple keyboard plumping, string synthesizer landscape and some bass guitar which try to imitate acoustic guitar notes. Fortunately in 2:30 minute Lea Palmieri starts uptempo drum beat and one of the keyboardist (Antonio De Angelis? Gabriele Di Monte? or maybe Fabio Barraco by himself?) plays very catchy Hammond motif. Dynamic and very 70s sounding part. After that softer part with vocals and first arriving of Gabriella's choirs. Her vocal really adds melodic component to the music. After that quite good organ solo, at first very melancholic and later transforms to more dynamic one. It's followed by another nice-sounding vocal part and another Hammond soloing which suddenly stops to leave place for beautifully haunting acoustic piano passages. In typical prog-rock tradition the longest song is the best one. Opus Magnum of the record.

3. "Il tempio di ferro" - titled song is full of fast analog sounding, fast synthesizer flights, string ensemble backings and angry vocal section. I also enjoy harpsichord-like synthesizer which often takes leads here. Good, Antonius Rex alike composition.

4. "Gadio a te" - this track kicks in with another pipe organ section, however after few seconds Mucci joins with his operatic singing and Barraco move from organ to harpsichord-like keyboard and "choir" synthesizer. Nothing extraordinary but surely good one.

5. "Deus Vult" - rather slow, jazzy sounding Hammond (I'm sure it's a real thing. Such warm sound can be only made by analog gear) and "metronomic" drums. Quite surprising track, a bit like Brian Auger in his softest numbers. Really like.

6. "Verso Notre Dame" - so-so composition with mostly not interesting keyboards parts and some screams of vocalist. Fortunately in the middle Fabio Barraco changes keys for some repetitive, but surely atmospheric piano. Also Mucci start to sing using quite good, very dramatic voice. Passable.

7. "Il giudizio" - I really like this one. Very slow track with mostly "loud whispering" or "crying shout" style vocal and extremely infectious 2-notes piano motif. Very passionate song which always brings goose bumps on my neck. After 3rd minute "Il giudizio" changes mood thanks to more frantic percussion rhythm and synths runs. Near the end we can hear to some recitation which brings memories of their first album. However this fragment is much better thanks to usage of normal style voice. In general very good track.

8. "Le catere di Chinon" - I was almost eager to give 4 stars for this effort...until I remind myself about this horrible, 8+ minutes piece of junk. No drums, only "dark", monotonous synthesizer floating in the air and unbearable screams of vocalist. These awful voices he spit out of himself are truly ridiculous. And this dull ending which sounds like some black mass prayer finished with asthmatic chuffing. Brrr... Skip before you totally lose faith in this band.

9. "Condanna" - after disaster of previous track everything is good. Funeral drum stomping, very Antonius Rex-like synthesizer and "AAAA" choir of cigarettes addict. In the end few seconds of church-like singing and some digital piano. Could be worst I can say so I don't complain.

To summarize "Il tempio di ferro" is surely better than its predecessor. And except "Le catere di Chinon" doesn't have too many stinkers. This time music much more brings resemblances to Jacula and Antonius Rex music however it still keeps its own special favor. Relying on Hammond organ, pipe organ and pianos was surely a good idea. But it doesn't change a thing that it isn't album I can easily recommend. It's still too not very outstanding and some parts drag too much. No doubt that Akron made big step forward with this release and it's a pity that from 7 years they didn't record anything new. I suppose they disbanded and if it's true it's a pity. Their next album could be a real treat I think. In general 3,5 stars is a fair rating for this one.

ozzy_tom | 3/5 |


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