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La Coscienza Di Zeno - La Coscienza Di Zeno CD (album) cover


La Coscienza Di Zeno


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.09 | 216 ratings

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4 stars La Coscienza di Zeno (CDZ) is a contemporary RPI band that recently completed its first album for Mellow Records. They began recording in May 2010 and when they emerged from the studio in November they must surely have believed their musical vision had materialised. After listening to the sample songs on the band's official site I couldn't wait to get my hands on the album. It's probably worth saying straight from the off that their music is not instantaneous. I wasn't exactly bowled over at first by the seemingly less-than- adventurous music, but then some of the best progressive music suffers from the very same perceived deficiency. And sure enough this album's initially vague landscape slowly came into perspective with repeated plays, like clouds of mist drifting away to leave a clear summer's day.

CDZ are undoubtedly influenced by the golden generation of Italian progressive bands but this isn't the only circumstance that guarantees my enjoyment of the album. My understanding is that CDZ write discerning lyrics in order to create a distinct style; each song is apparently linked to visual images and sensations in an attempt to whelm the listener's imagination. While this high ambition is somewhat lost on a non-Italian speaker, I can still appreciate a vivid sense of grandeur in the texts. Lyricist Stefano Agnini, in addition to providing all the words, was involved in composing the music on all but two tracks here. Apparently he is no longer a full-time member of CDZ but will continue to write lyrics for the band's songs; hopefully they will continue to come up with equally good material in the future despite Stefano's departure. However if the only track he didn't have a hand in writing, 'Un insolito baratto alchemico', is anything to go by then there's no need for concern.

The intricate compositions are highly articulated and there's an effective conflict between the band's soft and hard sides; melodies are elegant and full of lustre while riffs are robust and, at times, sinister-sounding. All in all it makes for a balanced, well-proportioned mix of styles and CDZ certainly seem to have brought their A-game with them. They demonstrate their seventies-inspired RPI passion on 'Cronovisione' which basks in some eerie synthesizer parts that in a curious way remind me of a track on the first Alphataurus album, although it also features some wonderfully spacey guitar and later has a slightly Arabic feel. There's also plenty of that Italian eclecticism thanks to the energetic leanness of the synth- work on 'Gatto Lupesco', the spirited wanderings of the multi-part 'Nei cerchi del legno', and the discordant 'Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico' with its dialogue of flute and fuzzed guitar. But I really don't need to describe every track in detail because devotees of traditional Italian symphonic prog should just plunge straight into the album.

The RPI subgenre shows no sign of diminution with the recent and imminent additions of some very exciting bands, and with the release of this album CDZ has produced what I think will be one of the dominant works of the year.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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