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Il Balletto Di Bronzo - Ys CD (album) cover

YS

Il Balletto Di Bronzo

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.23 | 571 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars Powerful, in-your-face, confrontational, emotional, and compelling music. Very thoughtful, intentional song construction and performances telling the story of an individual's encounters with darkness and Death. Rarely is music so well fit to the theme of its story content as it has been rendered here. Though many give credit to singer-keyboard whiz Gianni Leone for this project, I must here give proper recognition and adulation to the other three band members as well as the female choir: all are integral--even essential--to the overall effect of this music! I cannot begin to imagine the chilling effect of desperation and fear to be so well rendered without the wild, powerful and often jarring contributions of lead guitarist Lino Ajello, without the eery and unsettling gifts of the background "angel" vocalists, and certainly not without the incredibly tight, subtly virtuosic, and unfailingly steady groundwork supplied by bass player Vito Manzari and drummer Giancarlo Stringa. Gianni may have been in the driver seat but his vision would never be so successfully realized were it not for his highly skilled crew members (who must have fed off of Gianni's vision in order to have performed at such a laser-focused level).

1. "Introduzione" (15:11) opens with female voices followed by long, sustained organ chords before singer Gianni Leone begins to tell the story. At the three minute mark the music shifts into fourth gear. Four almost tow minutes, while Gianni sings, the band cruises along very tightly. Then everything shifts to a kind of long bridge of stops and stars, female choir singing "da-da-da-das" before the band breaks into a new NEKTAR-like groove with keyboards and then guitars taking the foreground for soloing. This goes on for over minutes with some searing organ and guitar work over the rock-solid bass and drum foundation. Then, at 9:38, everything shifts to a new spacey, almost Kosmisches section with dreamy, floating drums and bass through which Mellotron and Gianni's voice Then at 11:35 things shift back into the fourth gear for a bit before settling into a new middle-paced but menacing groove over which Gianni sings. The non-singing sections ramp up into a harpsichord-propelled higher gear, alternating over the final four minutes with the mid-paced vocal sections. This back-and-forth style is carried forward into the next "song." (I can see that the album is really intended to be one "song" as the songs all flow one into the other without breaks or gaps.) One distinctly gripping aspect of Side One of this album is the vocal pitch and style chosen by Gianni in his delivery of these lyrics about this individual "Voice" and his descent and travels into the depths of internal and/or spiritual darkness. Brilliant! And showing such fortitude and commitment. (9.5/10)

2. "Primo Incontro" (3:27) is a continuation of the last section of the "Introduzione" with new inputs from the lead guitar (power strums, fuzz, piercingly clear) and different variations and contributions from the chorus voices. Gianni's lead vocal melody and styling remains rock steady, consistent. (9.5/10)

3. "Secondo Incontro" (3:06) opens side two with a single full band hit which is then followed by a section of heavily echoed a cappella vocal "cries" which transitions into a kind of power bridge before Gianni sings in a more fatigued, plaintive voice styling over Mellotron. The alternating powerful instrumental sections with these sparsely backed vocal sections continues over the course of the song. (9.5/10)

4. "Terzo Incontro" (4:33) shows an immediate shift into more uptempo jazz lines--especially from bass and drums. The electric guitar is in continuous solo mode though all of its notes are being trapped in a heavily-oscillating squealing electronic effect while piano and organs and "boom-boom" vocals coming from the angel choir. It's not until 90 seconds into the song that things thin out and Gianni begins to sing. The walking bass and jazzy drum lines remain constant and fixed throughout the first three minutes but then there is a sudden drop off and a squirrelly synth-backed vocal bridge occurs which is then alternated with a couple of full-on ELP-like bursts to the song's end. (9.5/10)

5. "Epilogo" (11:30) opens at breakneck pace with bass and drums admirably keeping up every step of the way with Gianni's classically-trained piano and organ play. electric guitar and other electric keyboard and organ sounds are introduced with a new funked up, almost military-style rhythm foundation. Very cool! Then, at 2:35, everything quiets down for some Mellotron, creepy intermittent bass and piano riffs with Daevid -like glissando guitar floating around. The intermittent and syncopated instrumental interjections continue as the vocalist seems to be acting stressed. When he does finally start singing, he sounds so tired, perhaps defeated--while the music sounds perhaps its bleakest, most horrific yet. Is this insanity? Or the state of mind just before one gives up? Panned, flanged drums! cool effect. Heavily flanged bass, screeching guitars sounding like screaming banshees and distonal female voices singing so creepily over the insane piano playing. This continues for about five minutes before things finally . . . die(!?) A Bar-do-like stillness with occasional ripples of activity settles in for a few seconds before an energized "resurrection" ensues at the 9:40 mark. Piano and drums arpeggiating madly, angelic voices singing in unison bursts of encouragement and . . . life? And then an end of floating, heavily treated female voices giving the feeling of noncommitment, nonresolution, mysterious as if the resolution is thrown back at you, the individual, the Voice--as if we are being told that it's all up to you, it all results are fully dependent on personal choice--on self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-empowerment. (10/10) What a shocking, surprising end! Was he saved or entering Purgatory/the Afterlife? I guess only Gianni Leone and Il Balletto di Bronzo know.

While I consider this a masterpiece of both rendering and performance, as well as of conception, start to finish--the style of music and dated period-entrapped sound are not nor have they ever been my favorites. The creative delivery of this material using all kinds of incredibly inventive effects and techniques is worthy of high, high praise, for Gianni Leone and Il Balletto di Bronzo have left behind this, a stellar masterpiece fully displaying the true and ultimate potential of music, progressive or otherwise.

A full five stars; a true masterpiece of human artistry.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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