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Il Castello Di Atlante - Cap. 7  - Tra Le Antiche Mura CD (album) cover


Il Castello Di Atlante


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.05 | 109 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars After a miraculously mature debut that blended RPI, symphonic and folk, IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE altered their sound somewhat by largely eschewing the folk side and aiming for extended if not necessarily more ambitious compositions. Mostly it worked, but the material wasn't as uniformly captivating, as lovely emotive passages juxtaposed not always harmoniously with more technical aspects. Here on their most recent album they appear to have embraced their inner RPI as never before, and, while I can lament the continued emphasis on electric guitar and keyboards over acoustic guitar and violin, I cannot argue objectively against claims that "Tra le Antiche Mura" is their most impressive offering to date.

Bracketed by two short spoken pieces, this disk consists of 5 long tracks, every one of which represents a salve for the embattled aural consumer. Probably the strongest is the title cut, as the organ and guitar themes reach into a Gothic past more than we have heard before, and not one but two vocal melodies are developed. Then there is the centrepiece, "Malebolge", which doesn't just recall METAMORFOSI's "Inferno" because it too is about hell. The violin is used in a completely different manner than we have come to expect, fueling a suspenseful theme on which the whole piece leans. Some of the synthesizer motifs make me think of space sci fi movie theme music, which is not an entirely favorable assessment but is evocative. The second half of the piece is more reflective and melodic both in its new vocal and instrumental passages, until the original themes return. One of the aspects that I enjoy is the continuity of the driving organ themes in both of these two tracks.

The remaining 3 principal tracks do not really let down at all, but continue the established pattern of alternating lush and relatively more rocking passages, with plenty of fine keyboards including piano facsimiles, vocals, and CAMEL-like guitar solos. "Ancora Suonare Ancora Insieme" includes one of the best of these divine inspirations from Andy Latimer, and it happily materializes on a couple of occasions, never malingering. The hymn like vocal break just before its final bow, and integrated into it, is one of the most emotive and fully realized moments on the disk. "Legge E Ascolta" has the most impact from the outset, with a pleasing piano theme underneath plaintive harmonized vocals and wrapped up in a stringed keyboard blanket. The second vocal theme is even lovelier and is elevated by gentle violin and more keys. In the break is an uplifting synthesizer solo over raunchy rhythm guitar, before we return to the original "song" within the song. The original theme way back at the start of this 11 minutes of bliss is reprised with a few sweet alterations including blended lead guitar and bass. "L'Uomo Solo" is also wonderful, with another heartfelt vocal melody which naturally turns into an opportunity for guitar and synth excursions - you get the picture.

While this group's first album had "it", the magic that transforms a collection of great songs into a 5 star masterpiece, I can't quite award the same accolades to "Mura". Every track here is different, but their patterns tend to converge. To call them contrived would be unfair and inaccurate, because they are nothing if not genial. But together they are little better than apart, at least musically. This is still a superb effort suggestive of a band that won't be running into a creative wall any time soon. 4.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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