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Cervello - Melos CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.12 | 233 ratings

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5 stars The first time I heard Melos, I hated it. Superficially, it is a discordant mess, seemingly random, and obnoxious. It sounds like nothing, and nothing sounds like it. And now some ten years later, that's exactly why I love it so much. It would be impossible to sum up in a few paragraphs what Cervello were able to accomplish here, it must simply be heard. But it will take most listeners some time to really warm up to Melos, as it is chock full of avant garde musical ideas, other-worldly sounds, and a general sense of mystery; just the right amount of creepy and transcendent in equal doses. I seriously would give it ten stars if I could.

Cervello were a short-lived group of five musicians from the Napoli area, all multi-instrumentalists and all extremely talented. Guitarist Corrado Rustici is the younger brother of Osanna's Danillo Rustici, and would later join that group in a limited capacity. But Cervello have more in common with Semiramis than Osanna, blending a traditional rock sound with atypical instrumentation like vibraphone and 12-string guitar. Add a charismatic and super-talented singer and you've got all the ingredients for a prog classic. "Canto del Capro" begins the album with a sense of dread and a foreboding tone, a theme that will be sprinkled throughout. What sounds like a low-tuned Mellotron* plays the same note repeatedly while flute and muted electric guitar interject; cymbal splashes and vocal scatting augment an already spurious arrangement. Then Rustici, as if out of nowhere, begins a melodic arpeggio and the entire band fire on all cylinders. At this point, your head is already spinning and the first song isn't even over yet.

"Trittico" will please Genesis fans with its symphonic introduction; but it won't last long as three minutes in, singer Guianluigi Di Franco hits an inhuman crescendo, and the song explodes into a barrage of saxes and Frippian guitar runs. The original theme returns and the song draws to a close, and "Euterpe," with its similar instrumentation, begins. This song has one of the coolest guitar solos I've ever heard, and Corrado Rustici even surpasses the reputation of his talented brother. "Scinsione (T.R.M.) recapitulates the horrific sound of the album's opener - I would not recommend listening with headphones on in the dark. The middle section with the brooding Mellotron* sound and oscillating effect still freaks me out to this day. Luckily the title track will bring some much needed melodic relief, before "Galassia" shatters any illusion of the status quo...the end of the song features some of the most complex, high-level technical skill in all of Italian Prog. What sounds like 12/4 time is broken up into poly-meter, a bar of three then four then five, then back to standard 4/4 time for two measures! It's enough to make your head spin if you can keep it above water. "Affresco" is a brief and somber end to this masterpiece of progressive rock music. Highly recommended.

*There is some debate as to whether keyboards are used on Melos. Though none of the musicians are listed as playing keyboards or synthesizers specifically, bassist Antonio Spagnolo is credited with "Pedals." I believe the Mellotron sound heard may actually be an organ pedal processed with various effects; a Mellotron can only hold a singular note for so long before the "tape runs out" - so it is unlikely a Mellotron or similar mechanical synthesizer was used for the droning sound on "Canto del Capro" and "Scinsione (T.R.M.). It makes more sense that a pedal organ was used, as this would also allow Spagnolo to reproduce the song live while playing bass, a la Geddy Lee.

coasterzombie | 5/5 |


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