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Il Castello Di Atlante - Sono Io Il Signore Delle Terre A Nord CD (album) cover


Il Castello Di Atlante


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.57 | 58 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars Some bands rush to market with little material, but usually they can draw on more for their first releases than subsequently, which might explain why peaking early is more the norm than the exception. However, it's hard to imagine a scenario where a band needs to wait 18 years before blessing the public beyond their neighbors' living rooms. If Il Castello Di Atlante can be judged on the basis of their debut, I would say that it was time well spent.

In the tradition of violin dominated 1970s RPI groups like PFM and QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA, this band deserves considerable credit for this 1992 offering which can be distinguished from those predecessors by a more Celtic folk feel on at least half the tunes, while still decidedly symphonic in nature. It's specifically the violin which is played in a more earthy manner, but the melodies and, in some cases, vocal styles also support this assessment. It's far more vivacious than ERIS PLUVIA's equally significant 1991 disk, while still mentionable in the same breath. But better points of comparison come much later in the form of SILVER LINING and FAVERAVOLA, heady company indeed.

Highlights are pretty much endemic here, with only the opener (possessing some excellent but also trite keyboards) and the plodding GEORGE WINSTON and PROCOL HARUM-influenced "Estate" being short of dazzling. In particular, "La Foresta Dietro Il Mulino Di Johan" is a progressive tour de force and the most adventurous piece, with many always charismatic shifts in vocals, instrumentation and pace. "Il Saggio" is a grand ballad with a few sprigs of far eastern ginger and exquisitely timed bells. "Il Pozzo" accentuates the folk influence down to the verse meters, still interpreted with devotion to the original idiom and the group's own vision. Perhaps ANGELO BRANDUARDI and STEFANO TESTA could be an earlier reference point. "Non C'e Tempo" has a Breton feel especially in the vocals, adulterated by 1980s styled thumping bass that somehow works. The album closer is pure genius right down to its placement. It begins as a lively almost jig like main tune on fiddle gives way to a breathless and brief vocal section with various rapid-fire shifts in mood before dreamily expounding on an equally compelling melody carried mostly on strings and bass. The pace intensifies leading into the return of the main theme, and a fitting finale it is.

Another gem from the dawn of the early 1990s progressive revival in Italy, this achievement is a striking example of perseverance in the progressive community, and one that can be lorded over naysayers north and south.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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