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Ombraluce - Distanze Ravvicinate CD (album) cover

DISTANZE RAVVICINATE

Ombraluce

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.27 | 7 ratings

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seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator
RPI
3 stars It really is remarkable, and I think significant, how many RPI albums have been released this year; there's been a veritable swarm of the beggars and some of them have been quite stunning. Now, as far as comparisons with those others go, 'Distanze Ravvicinate' isn't one of the year's more spectacular releases but it does reveal Ombraluce as a band with real potential.

This collection of tracks represents a conceptual work based on some Homeric mumbo jumbo about the struggle between man's dreams and his day-to-day sufferings. The three- part 'Dualità' mainly focuses on this rite of passage but its central themes can actually be found spread over the entire album. The first part begins menacingly with a drawn-out wail that sounds like the voice of suffering carried on the air by a sentient levanter: 'The conflict within each of us can make us confused... The struggle to return to the light begins.' The other parts of 'Dualità' don't follow consecutively but they are linked musically, and the eastern influence alluded to above continues to bubble to the surface with some spicy, spiky sitar-guitar on part two. Its lyrics outline how the rational aspect of the dual identity prevails upon the protagonist to abandon his dreams, and his isolation is highlighted when he addresses himself: 'My friend, you are frail / Lost after this useless struggle / The shadows will devour you.' Personal growth eventually arrives in the final part as he comes to the realisation that the 'duality' is inherent in everyone and that 'no struggle is useless' - man must not be overwhelmed by either side. Of course, it sounds more poetic in the original Italian rather than my pidgin translation.

'Il Cerchio' is a nice chunk of guitar rock although, since it follows 'Dualità Parte 1', it effectively sticks a pin in the balloon of that track's gloomy atmospherics. It's an optimistic- sounding song with a familiar theme - love is the answer - although the message is dressed up in metaphysical perplexity with lyrics that concern a flood of people all driven by their own personal thoughts, history and gods: 'this energy that clashes in dissonance, and you are looking for harmony'

'Ancora Un Po Di Cose Inutili' also relies on well-known ideas (Adam, forbidden fruit and the serpent) in its examination of the absurdity of human existence. This is one of the album's longest tracks and as may be imagined there are some fine keyboards here, although the one shortcoming is an occasional reliance on digital keys. In spite of that minor criticism this is a fine song and it's followed by another highlight.

'N'gas (Nuoce Gravemente Alla Salute)' is characteristic in that it takes an idea from the preceding song and develops it, in this case the snake's venom: 'I feel the flow of this poison, flowing slowly inside me... this needle within me dissolves my actions.' The song challenges the concepts of good and evil, and it distinguishes itself as one of the heavier pieces with just a hint of Dave Gilmour in the slide guitar of the closing section.

The brief 'Prigionia', which features a murmur of voices like the hallucinations of a soul in anguish, deals with the prisons of prejudice and intolerance that we create in our minds. Alessandro Vitale is a singer with passion and strong personality and his vocals are of utmost value to the project. He personifies the theme of duality while the instrumentation represents the inescapable forces driving the protagonist; the album's several instrumentals therefore add some important dimensions to the proceedings.

A couple of the album's later tracks flirt with funk whereas 'Allucinazioni' plunges into it tackety-boots-first. This isn't my favourite style of music but the balance is thankfully restored with 'Giochi Di Luce' which also ends the 'struggle to return to the light.' This is wonderful, coloured variously by the keys and twin guitars, and the guitarwork even betrays something of a Mike Oldfield influence.

'Distanze Ravvicinate' can be purchased as an MP3 download from Amazon or from the band's official website. Alternatively, the band has posted most of the tracks on YouTube so I'd recommend you to try before you buy. Ombraluce fit well into the context of modern prog rock and are as likely to appeal to northern beer-and-sausage guys as southern wine-and- cheese ones. Since a variety of styles meet on this album it'll be interesting to see which direction the band takes with future releases.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |

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