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Malibran - The Wood Of Tales CD (album) cover

THE WOOD OF TALES

Malibran

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.62 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Malibran is one of the bigger names in the nineties' resurgence of Italian progressive rock, and this 1990 debut is the album that put them on the map for prog fans worldwide. The Wood of Tales is an interesting, but flawed, concoction of neo-prog, Italian symphonic prog, and even a few dashes of progressive folk. Flute plays a major part in Malibran's debut, and I love how the instrument is presented as an integral part of their sound - other than that, The Wood of Tales is characterized by the mix of pastoral symphonic prog and eighties' neo-prog that inspired many Italian prog bands around this era. The Wood of Tales is not a flawless gem that's been forgotten by the sands of time, but it's a solid debut that should satisfy most Italian prog enthusiasts.

The easiest comparisons to draw when talking about this album are probably Premiata Forneria Marconi, IQ, and even a bit of Jethro Tull (the flute-led sections make this comparison almost inevitable). The Wood of Tales is a mainly instrumental album, but there are a handful of vocal sections that ultimately leave me with a lukewarm impression. At least on this album, Giuseppe Scaravilli is not the most gifted vocalist and his singing parts come across as detrimental to the compositions. While he's far from an atrocious vocalist, the album would've been a bit better had it been fully instrumental. After all, The Wood of Tales does have plenty of excellent moments of symphonic prog - though there aren't any killer tracks here, Malibran was still a group of gifted songwriters from the beginning. The musicianship on this debut is also quite impressive, and every musician delivers their part with finesse.

While it may seem that The Wood of Tales is a near-flawless album after reading the first two paragraphs of my review, I've yet to mention that the album has a pretty weak production. The sound is simply muddy and unpolished, and the occasional 'buzzing' noises and uneven mix really don't do the album any justice. It's not unlistenable or anything like that, but The Wood of Tales definitely would've left a better impression if the production were up to par with the music.

The Wood of Tales is a flawed, but ultimately promising, debut from one of the biggest names in nineties' Italian progressive rock. Malibran offered plenty of cool ideas and solid compositions with this effort, and I'll be curious to hear what that's led them to create on future albums. Though not essential by any means, The Wood of Tales is a solid observation worthy of 3 stars. Fans of symphonic prog may want to check out this somewhat obscure classic.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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