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Areknamés - In Case Of Loss ... CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.00 | 166 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album in the running for the best of 2010

Areknames is one of Italy's premier modern-day progressive rock bands. Look no further than their triumphant 3rd album "In Case of Loss" released by Black Widow Records. Areknames are led by composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michele Epifani, who handles the Hammond organ, piano, mellotron, synths, harpsichord, acoustic and electric guitars as well as the recorder. Their second album "Love Hate Round Trip" was a dark and often agitated album which won the band both awards and a dedicated fanbase. Here they have upped the ante considerably with an album that should become known as their "breakthrough" work, as I have to believe any modern prog fan who hears this is going to be convinced and very pleased.

While I've not heard their debut, the sound on the second album was pretty rough and aggressive with abrasive sax and a heavier VDGG vibe (and I mean all of that in a good way.) Here the sound has evolved with the injection of a strain of spacey serenity. There is still plenty of doomy mood and heaviness to be enjoyed, but there is a new sense of melodic confidence which has established itself. Right from the first track I noticed that there was something more refined going on and was reminded instantly of Anekdoten's "A Time of Day" sound more than the VDGG one I was expecting. This music soars on a melancholic breeze rather than being knocked around by turbulent gusts. "beached" is not unlike modern Porcupine Tree in some ways, with infectious groove and building pressures in rhythm and numerous spacey keyboard textures, though the comparison stops there. (The Areknames sound remains in-tact and far less commercial than the Steven Wilson sound.) Somewhat dreary but pleasing vocal melodies ride on top before it closes with e-piano over mellotron and light guitar notes.

The album's vast mid section covers a swell of compositional ideas, one right after the other, which at any given moment could remind the listener of Cryme/Foxtrot era Genesis, a raging Deep Purple jam ("a new song"), or the brooding, crashing-waves heaviness of Giant Squid's Metridium Fields, the latter courtesy of the violin/cello presence atop thick, murky prog rock. By the time we get to the 21 minute long epic closer "the very last number," it may be wise to take a breather and listen with fresh ears. This is one of those albums that is so compositionally dense I really recommend listening in sections at first, so that each section is able to be absorbed by fresh ears. The 8-part mammoth Areknames closing suite begins with the sound of child's voices and eerily sparse keys before a tentative, peeking-around-corners bass guitar sneaks up on us. After a cool sax solo the piece builds into an epic jam best described as stormy waters, as a clash between powerful saxophone, guitar, and keyboards. These battles have plenty of time to expand and contract over 20 minutes so this is truly a joy for listeners who enjoy the lengthy instrumental piece. The ending is a delightful bit of harpsichord.

Generally I don't comment on lyrics or lyrical themes as I'm mostly interested in music, and second, I'm rarely bright enough to figure out what poetic verse is really about. Here however I must mention the successful marriage of the musical, lyrical, and visual/presentation elements of the release. The tri-fold digipak's artwork features two sprawling 3-panel historic photographs of a beached whale carcass that washed upon a Florida shore in 1896. The front shows the mysterious "sea monster" while the inner photo shows the large group of actual gawkers who made their way to the shore to see the monster. Epifani ties together the imagery of a lost, dying animal alone on the beach surrounded by the curious. Reading the lyrics you sense the angst, searching, the writer's message being one of confusion but also a defiant will to act, to not become paralyzed by fear. The final glue is then the music which could not be more appropriate to the verbal and visual cues, projecting equal parts loneliness, confusion, but also tempered hope and defiance.

"in the river of regrets, the more you move the more you sink!"

"In Case of Loss" is one of 2010's finest prog-rock albums and a must-have for those who love a dark/heavy sound that somehow sounds both modern and retro. It moves Areknames to a new level in my book as one of the bands I will be most excited to follow, to see what else they have in their bag of tricks. I do hope there is more! Bravo to the eight musicians who brought this work to life. It is a minimum of 4 stars and if it holds up for me over time, I may add that elusive 5th star.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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