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Universal Totem Orchestra - Rituale Alieno CD (album) cover


Universal Totem Orchestra



4.09 | 86 ratings

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5 stars Though not a big fan of Zeuhl (i do like my 2 Magma albums and Weidorje), I cannot help really admiring this very creative offering from UTO. "Pane Astrale" is a riveting "Da Vinci Code" like soundtrack theme, with shimmering operatic vocals and a beautiful melody. Then , the band takes its first big plunge into the absurd with the epic 21 minute "Saturno" , a devilish roller coaster of chants, booming bass and savage drumming (Hey, that's Zeuhl!), with spiraling guitar and keyboard motifs pinging and ponging all over the place. This is quite evocative prog , sensibly original , diverse and inspired. Each time I give this a spin, I cannot help but revisit in my mind the Omen Trilogy of horror flick fame, as this would definitely serve as a wonderful soundtrack alternate, chillingly eerie, sweepingly powerful and really mesmerizing in its constant contrasts and hues. The medieval cello-driven theme continues on "El viaggio di Elric"(Elric's Voyage), with some more theatrics from the orchestra , spewing out booming synths , doom-laden percolating percussives and angst drenched vocal themes. The bass is the maestro leading the show, always hunting for new sonic territories to lead his mates to, ( a la Paganotti-Top with a dash of Howlett -era Gong for good measure). Guest guitarist Marco Mauro shows great skill in travelling to great flight of notes , loaded with frenzied restraint (an oxymoron?) . This track is fascinating, the igniter of the great ratings this album has received, with a apocalyptic finale that defies reason and odds , sinister and martial , akin to the march of the "Pink Fascists" of the Wall. Next up, a psychotic musical landscape with funky bar room jazz piano noodlings , laying down the carpet for some repetitive chanting (Me High, get it?), some tortuous six string slinging in a Soft Machine-era Holdsworthian mood, creepy bass underpinning, groovy syntho-sonics a la Gilly Smyth (her legendary Space Whisper) and recurring male demonic chants . The next two tracks continue the voyage into the Carmina Burana like world of these Italian masters. This modern prog masterpiece is often revisited and like fine wine, it gets better with each go around. Time for another offering but I somehow find it improbable to surpass this level of originality . But, Prog is soooo unpredictable (which is its most coveted attribute , when you think of it...)

5 vander zeuhls

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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