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Spettri - 2973 - La Nemica Dei Ricordi CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.99 | 25 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 678

Spettri is an Italian progressive rock band from Florence which appeared during the height of the Italian golden era of the 70's. The history of Spettri is a bit strange and not easy to follow. Spettri was formed in 1964 in Florence and they disbanded in 1975. For some reason, their eponymous debut studio album which was written in 1970/71 and was recorded in 1972 was only released in 2011. Black Widow Records released it in 2011, almost forty years later and brought it to a larger audience. Now suddenly, out of the blue, another album of this band is released by the same label five years after their debut came out. I'm talking about their second album "2973 MMCMLXXIII - La Nemica Dei Ricordi".

So, we can say that in the seemingly endless pool of the Italian progressive bands, Spettri is another new name, but the term "new" is not really appropriate in this context. As I mentioned before, this band already existed in the early 70's. Okay, maybe a bit thick, Spettri probably didn't have more than insider status, especially outside of Italy. And more than the untitled debut from 1972, re-released 39 years later by Black Widow, didn't exist for a long time either. But now it came to a reunion in almost complete original cast around the three Ponticiello brothers, the real formers of Spettri.

Their debut album, "Spettri", is a conceptual album about a young man who wants to find answers to war, violence and economic power. During this search, he only hears reflections from himself. His story continues on this album. "2973 MMCMLXXIII - La Nemica Dei Ricordi" is just like its predecessor, a sequel of it. The protagonist is again in the centre of the story. 1001 years later, in 2973, he sets out on another journey that will make him realize that nothing will ever change, if he doesn't first wins his fears and inner struggles. During a night walk on a deserted beach, a seagull shows him the way to a mysterious ship that takes him on a journey that will finally take him to a new level of consciousness.

The long interval between the albums is integrated into the underlying concept of this album. The music was actually composed in the early days, namely 1972. The story around it's narrated from the perspective of the year 2973. So, "1001 years later", much has allegedly nothing changed by then. The band stresses having used the same instruments that were used "1001 years ago". And so we are in the expected typical Italian progressive rock music of the 70's in a mixture of symphonic prog and hard rock. The keyboardist Stefano Melani drives the usual equipment, the Hammond organ dominates this clearly, but also a Mellotron appears. The singing is performed in native language and is in some places a bit getting used to. Short jazz sounds are also occasionally heard, especially when Biancalani intervenes with his saxophone in the action. A beautiful female voice on a song, which seems familiar and not unfounded, appears here. Elisa Montaldo, who should be known as the keyboardist and singer of IL Tempio Delle Clessidre, performs here.

The sound of Spettri is dark, with many thick layers of keyboards including Hammond organ, Wurlitzer and Mellotron. The guitar is sharp and raw, and at times with the saxophone it sounds brilliant. The vocals are flooded with character and they fit the music perfectly well. On the band's debut you can hear that they were influenced by Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Spirit, Colosseum and Deep Purple. Music wise it wasn't bad at all, but when you hear the new album you only can say the musicians have developed very strongly. The level is much higher and therefore even more enjoyable to listen to compared to the band's predecessor. As far as the influences go it has to be said that Deep Purple and Black Sabbath can be heard again, but you can add a few of new names to them. Thanks to the expansion of the keyboards bands such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Uriah Heep certainly must have been an inspiration when they wrote this new album. Tasteful solos can be heard a lot of times and that's just what I like to hear on progressive rock albums. Also King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator are never far away, thanks to the use of a saxophone player. The parts performed on this instrument are very well done and never annoying. The addition of more keyboards and the presence of a saxophone give the band a more varied and above all a fuller sound. This is a sound that suits the band very well.

Conclusion: With "2973 MMCMLXXIII - La Nemica Dei Ricordi" we can feel like turning back the clock. We go back in time when heavy prog were very much in command and demand with plenty of Hammond organ, Mellotron, Leslie effects, etc. This Italian band has resurfaced that many years later with a second album. Their music is still locked in time a la 70's with that unmistakable Italian prog influence and style. All you can dream of regarding classic prog rock sounds, time signatures, complex themes and often heavy musical excursions are to be had on this fine release. Founders and brothers Ugo and Rafaelle Ponticiello are still here in the six musician's line up. It doesn't bother me if they sound like forty years ago. As long as everything is tasteful, it's ok. So, welcome back Spettri, you came back with a bang. A musical time travel well worth your time and money, that is, if you are into said genre and mentioned bands.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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