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Eris Pluvia - Third Eye Light CD (album) cover

THIRD EYE LIGHT

Eris Pluvia

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.57 | 58 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The Family tree of ERIS PLUVIA, ANCIENT VEIL, and NARROW PASS is fast becoming like a miniature FAIRPORT CONVENTION in terms of members and guests floating in and out apparition-style. When ERIS PLUVIA disbanded some time after their landmark 1991 "Rings of Earthly Light", 2 of its main men, Alessandro Serri and Edmundo Romano, formed "The Ancient Veil", often incorrectly assumed to be a rebranding of the original group, but actually an offshoot. A few years ago, Romano and Valerie Caucino (who guest vocaled on "Rings"), were hired to perform on the NARROW PASS project debut, and both reappeared on that group's sophomore release. While all of these permutations retain certain hallmark characteristics, none has been able to match the original incarnation, and that is why "Third Eye Light" has been widely anticipated since its imminent arrival was announced over 2 years ago.

To add to the intrigue, neither Romano nor Serri have returned to the fold. Marco Forella, Paolo Raciti and Alessandro Cavortati remain, and recruited several other members and guests to help fill the void. Add to these upheavals the passage of 17 years and I can only marvel at the degree of continuity. not to mention the quality of the compositions and the pervading sense that this is another remarkably complete work.

The overall mix of gentle RPI, medieval folk, and classical influences remains a key trait of ERIS PLUVIA. One aspect that has changed is the introduction of heavy, almost metallic elements at times, these being completely absent on "Rings". Even mellower concoctions like the impeccably textured "Rain Street 19" and the instrumental "Shades" occasionally lose their lid and expose a darkly sinister brew. More overtly, "The Darkness Gleams" and "Fixed Course" sound like a quite different band, admittedly still proposing harmonic guitar leads and even jazz fusion influences. "Fellow of Trip" strikes more of a balance between all these aspects, even incorporating growling vocals in a couple of instances along with ethereal passages, but half buried in the rich arrangement. Here I think of the 1980s German group AMENOPHIS and their self titled debut.

My suspicion is that Romano's absence on sax is missed relative to "Rings", where this brass was often the take-charge instrument, and as a result lead guitar is more prominent here. But the flutes of Roberta Piras and Raciti's keys do play critical roles, and reach absolute fruition on the divine "Peggy", mostly sung by Diana Dallera, with several different verses and instrumental choruses alternately played on flute, synth and CAMEL like guitar. The ageless melody bears witness to the awe of progressive balladry. One final twist in the guitar work near the fade out takes me just a few heartbeats away from passing to another plane of existence.

By comparison to "Peggy", the two other full fledged ballads, while reminiscent of early work, and beautifully produced, are characterized by a certain lack of follow through, a sense of spent energy, lacking the final thrust of even short songs like "Pushing Together" and "You'll Become Rain" from their debut.

While this is not a flawless work in the manner of its predecessor, I daresay it will appeal to more progressive fans due to its moodiness. Moreover, the pedigree of ERIS PLUVIA remains unblemished by the pedestrian, and more than salvaged by a commitment to the musical equivalent of Ikebana. This Eye believe.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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