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


La Coscienza di Zeno


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.07 | 195 ratings

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5 stars There is nothing better than seeing various reviewers correctly identify the same vibe, and in this instance with La Coscienza di Zeno, the near unanimity about its slow infusion into one's musical mind is spectacular to witness and nod in rapt agreement. Yes, this is one definite temperate snail (Escargot-prog, a new sub-genre????) that barely elicits a first impression , yielding upward spiraling praise as one revisits over and over willingly (it has mystical effects on the decision-making process, like a beckoning siren in the storm). There are mostly all fantastic tracks that have the audacity to include 2 real killer pieces, the luxuriantly elegant "Nei Cerchi del Legno" and the jaw-dropping "Il Fattore Precipittante". The first is a fully developed 13 minute section that swerves and weaves with utter class and distinction, very much in a team-oriented spirit that eschews egos and prima-donna attitudes, the ensemble playing is seamless, technical yet always romantic, occasionally seasoned with unexpected tones from both the guitarist and the keyboards, led by some dazzling piano runs (always a good omen in prog when the Steinways rule) and throw in some servile flute exercises et voila! Genius stuff! This is precisely the kind of prog that requires blind obedience to the listening experience, no distraction or yearning for background music (the new modern pop!). With a line-up featuring 2 keyboardists (Stefano Agnini and Andrea Lotti) who clearly favor the piano as the predominant instrument, one cannot help to make comparisons with Banco or Goblin. The presence of Andrea Orlando who once drummed for the mighty Finisterre only confirms his immense talent, bashing like a madman on steroids. All these elements are up front and center on the opener "Cronovisione", a rollicking piece of music that has synths fluttering passionately and a crunching church organ finale. Wow! On "Gatto Lupesco", lead singer Alessio Calandrillo infuses his rather insane pipes into the mix with dirty guitarist Davide Serpico slashing wide swaths of fuzzy chords and a strong foundation laid down firmly by the regimental rhythm section. Tremendous variation in keyboard sounds with trilling synths, rumbling organ, dissonant piano give this piece and the remaining ones a clear understanding of the core philosophy behind this band. There are many similarities with newer RPI bands such as CAP, the short lived Foglie di Vetro, Narrow Pass, Chiave di Volta and Notabene. The previously mentioned "Nei Cerchi del Legno" is a total 4 part joy from beginning to end, with countless mood swings and furious playing (that darn drummer again putting on one hell of a cymbal show) but balanced by a lead melody (yeah on piano) to croak for! Supremely refined, gentle and evocative, this music is. Serpico then parallels the theme with his gruff guitar tone and segues into a pastoral lullaby that introduces Alessio's passion laden vocals. This track is an RPI classic and cannot go unacknowledged. Now if you were still unsure about his vocals, check out the delirious "Il Fattore Precipittante" and shiver in delight, as he howls like some helium-fueled hair metal vocalist, a wild lungfest that will leave you bewildered! I could not help but laughing in pure awe. Spooky synths and bruising guitar leads vie for the podium, simply memorable and stunning music as the piano settles the fury and stamps the deal. Man, can this guy sing or what? The phenomenal vocal display continues on "Il Basilisco", a showcase for further instrumental development as well as a welcome change of pace, exposing the band softer side with Höstsonaten's Luca Scherani's use of the Fisarmonica (Italian accordion), again highlighting a gorgeous melody that instills reverence and the highest praise (the choir finale is particularly poignant!). On the instrumental "Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico", the mood is both playful and intense, led by Gabriele Guido Colombi's rabid bass, adorned by Joanne Roan's fluttering flute (she is another Höstsonaten veteran) and some pompous (in a good sense) church organ columns of sound. Orlando keeps things nice and tight with some savvy beats, introducing the suave piano solo that is simply exquisite in its finesse. By this time, it is clear we are in the presence of a fine recording that will continue to grow (is that possible? Yup!) , never tedious or even remotely predictable. The grand finale does not disappoint either as "Acustica Felina" competently résumés the work, a 9 and a half minute opus of sheer splendor, featuring all those characteristics that make La Coscienza di Zeno a strong new player on the Prog scene. Massive blasts of mellotron, strings and assorted other ivories, biting axe interventions, aggressive singing paralleled by some furious drumming. But the unsuspectingly shy melodies are what make this debut such a glittering prize, a gem that needed time and space to blossom and what a jewel it is. Imagine for a second a disc that just keeps growing and growing (thoughts of that silly Enzyte commercial!) . Incredible 5 smiles .
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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