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Pandora - Sempre E Ovunque Oltre Il Sogno CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.75 | 99 ratings

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5 stars It's an eerie silence followed by the powerful blow of a gong that opens up Pandora's masterful Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno, their second studio album to date. An album that must be listened to more than once, not just because it causes you to do so, but because you will surely find something new with each listen. From the booklet one learns that much of this CD's birth is credited to Pandora's drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Claudio Colombo, the youngest musician.

Right of the bat, Il Re degli Scemi, makes for an excellent Intro start to this album, entirely orchestral and its entirely colossal entrance hints at a likewise incredible content that will follow. From the start there is a definitive sense of narration, almost as if it were cinematic. The moog is alive and well, showing up proudly towards the middle, joining the orchestra.

Another instrumental comes forward presenting us with the three-part mini saga: L'Altare del Sacrificio, L'Incantesimo del Druido, and La Formula Finale di Chad-Bat, the latter one showing up after another mini suite that takes us through the Dante's Styx river (I'm talk about Discesa Attraverso lo Stige and Ade, Sensazione di Paura, but I'll get to that later). According to some articles, they tell the story of a powerful Celtic priest or druid called Chad- Bat. L'Altare del Sacrificio in an instrumental song that immediately promises an epic battle. An outstanding "conversation" between keyboards and electric guitar creates a great sense of narration and conclusion for the sung L'Incantesimo del Druido, the second part to the mini saga. Incredible atmospheres and use of the drums here is mesmerizing to say the least. The third and final chapter of the saga is entitled La Formula Finale di Chad-Bat, the shortest track, wonderfully held by an captivating electric guitar solo that sums up our Celtic priest's victory and end of story. Pandora's themes are varied and fantastical, and just like with their Breve Storia di San Georges (2008), they successfully added yet another Fantasy- themed song, or in this case mini saga, capturing all the magic and imagination with their music.

Of course it isn't all fantasy for the group, as they show their cultural and mythological side with Discesa Attraverso lo Stige. The simplicity is what makes this track so intriguing and takes us right into the waters of the Styx river. The moans and anguish coming from the background are a good touch that creep through the spine and gives a sense of realness. Acoustic guitars and a mellotron is all it takes to journey through this emotional song, the final note fades away and is immediately followed by one of my favorite tracks, Ade, Sensazione di Paura, that still maintains the dark and gloomy atmosphere left by the previous track, and slides into an even darker side, accentuated by bass and drum work and the unmistakable moog that turns things up a notch transforming the environment into total chaos. In my opinion this is the most complex and experimental track, yet still finds a way to make a fine ode to Pink Floyd's Shine on You Crazy Diamond with David Gilmour's unforgettable four notes. The with a single moog note at the end is one of the most exciting moments in Pandora's music.

There is a song that quickly catches your eye entitled 03.02.1974 (February 3rd, 1974), the date of a historical event for Italians and all others that came to see Genesis' Selling England by the Pound tour at Turin, Italy. The dedication to the English band is evident by the nicely added hints of memorable songs such as The Cinema Show, Supper's Ready and bits that recall that Tour, especially those bits of recordings of Peter Gabriel's voice that echo through the song and makes you, for an instant, live a second of those glorious moments that made Progressive's history.

And now to the final track, the very potent and masterful Sempre e Ovunque, a 23 minute- long final suite that makes you travel through Progressive's past, present, and future. Upon doing some research, Sempre e Ovunque turns out to be the story that reflects the strong bond and relationship of a father and son, namely Claudio Colombo (drums, multi- instrumentalist, vocals) and his father Beppe Colombo (keyboards, vocals). The suite is divided into eight parts, containing a wide variety of melodies that transform and evolve as the song goes along. Once can compare it to Genesis' Supper's Ready, as far as its compositional placement and changes. A lot of the keyboards remind me of E.L.P., especially Tarkus. Hints of jazz, hints of hard rock, metal, symphonic melodies, all put together accompanied by mini guitar, drum, and keyboard solos, ranging from slow pace to fast pace, to happy, to sad, to victorious melodies, all full of instrumental moments that leaves one in awe at what music can still do nowadays. Of course a touch of Italian lyrics is another good element as well. Composed by Claudio Colombo, seems like an upgrade of his Salto nel Buio (2008).

Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno is double rainbow of musical inspirations and techniques that cross all borders and experiments with new idea yet keeping their style intact and stronger than ever, going beyond what your typical Italian-Prog band is all about, they are in fact an All-Prog band. Pandora surely shows what its capable of, with a successful debut album Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco (2008), and now with the release of this second album. No instrument is left behind, as drums are fantastically musical and lively reminding me of Simon Phillips, 70's Carl Palmer, and Mike Portnoy. Incredible and varied electric guitar work reminding me of John Petrucci and sometimes of Steve Hackett and incredible keyboards that remind us of the legendary Keith Emerson and melodic Rick Wakeman. Pandora's vast musical culture, influences and genius are present and these elements work as an intense Prog lesson for any new and old fan. Italy has a group that will go on for the ages, and is for all ages. This is what Pandora is all about.

5/5 stars

m00girl | 5/5 |


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