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Mad Crayon - Preda CD (album) cover


Mad Crayon


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.86 | 41 ratings

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5 stars Mad Crayon continues on its merry journey with an out of this world release much heralded by PA gurus Mellotronstorm and Finnforest and providing some additional vindication for this band that takes its sweet time to push out a bambino (10 years have gone by since 'Diamanti'!) and the wait has been quite worth it. The scope of their songwriting has evolved tremendously, with anything from harder rock, to funk, via some space, a touch of symphonics and a dose of fusion-jazz. Main guitarist Daniele Vitalone is unafraid to squeeze as much wah-wah pedal and assorted effects out of his crunching macho style, while the dual keyboard attack rekindles fond memories of RPI stalwarts Banco, Goblin and Il Volo. Delicious bass and thoughtful drumming makes this a pulsating affair, full of bravado, pomp and passion. Mad Crayon likes to offer 2 part song structures, often one after the other like a suite but also book ending the disc with sulfuric "Re Schiavo" and its reprise finale.

This opener is a devastating piece, metallic, tangible and yet audacious, setting a bold tone right from the get go, stating the fact that this will be an inspired ride.

On the 2 part "Preda" suite, everything is tossed into the mix including brutal organ rumblings, swift electronics and slithering beats, all welded together by some molten-hot guitar runs.

But it's the next core series of songs that impresses from the very first listen, a captivating flow of RPI of the highest standard. "Gabriel" is more keys oriented and as such there is a lovely piano lead into the arrangement that has some jazzy moments as well as a more psychedelic one, whilst providing some excellent Italian language vocals. The raspy axe stretches the mood brilliantly while the ravishing bass burps comfortable and content to even solo fretless. Darn good stuff this! When the guitar solo erupts, the tension is palpably demented like sonic Vesuvius, exploding chords into the air.

But the cornerstone genius of this album is the blooming electronic aura of "Xoanon", a scintillating slice of stellar space/psychedelia of the loftiest caliber, loaded with mood and atmosphere, all played with vivid authority and dedication. The synthesizers hold the rushing organ's hands as they travel through space and time, a loopy bass scurries thoughtfully, emitting a definite Brand X feel. But when the organ starts flying, ooooh my! This is a fascinating piece of work that can rival anything in the RPI catalogue (Si signore, its dat good!).

"L'Isola di Sara" is the designated ballad, a style Mad Crayon is very good at (as per the delectable "Poggia di Fiori" off Diamanti) showcasing Federico Tetti's buoyant and dreamy vocals , all blanketed with some spirited playing by all instrumentalists , less languorous and more assertive than ever before. The acoustic guitar solo is expressive to the max and surprises with its freshness and vivacity. Damn these guys are talented; just check the guitar solo, pfffff!

Then we have the epic 2 part "Sovrano dell'Illusione" with its ultra symphonic mellotron- guided intro, allied with nimble piano and acoustic guitar, evoking hints of pastoral/medieval Ant Phillips-like horizons before the fragile vocals kick in and remind us that we are in Alba and not Albion . But the 'tron keeps reappearing amid the various passages, where somber vocals reign supreme and flute-patch synths whistle in the gale. The longer second part has a more cohesive makeup, the rocky guitars reappear with unabashed vigor, the bass rumbles nastily and the whole sonic locomotive becomes a authoritative force. This is splendid music, where organ, synth and fretboards combine to create a frenzy of resonance, constantly weaving between soft and hard sections, like a musical teeter-totter. When the piano 'jazzlounges' towards the end, we are knowledgeably in the presence of something astounding as the ivories flow into the "Re Schiavo reprise". This only serves to consecrate this lively album further, easily the biggest surprise of 2011, as I thought these guys were gone from the face of Prog. Bravo!

I am therefore not surprised that mellotronstorm may have humidified his Fruit of the Looms, as this is definitely his style of adventurous, hard-edged yet fluid progressive rock. This is a monster album that deserves the highest praise, only the sucky cover art is unworthy (Pacman , really?).

Anyway, I adore it too, Gianni!

5 Atari Italiani

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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