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Ubi Maior - Nostos CD (album) cover


Ubi Maior


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.75 | 36 ratings

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4 stars Ubi Maior is a new group formed last year in Milan Italy with the warm regards of many masters of the classic Italian prog that we all love. In listening to this, Ubi Maior's debut, it serves notice they were not just masters of making great music, but possessing a keen eye in recognizing a budding talent. Nostos is the debut album recorded over a period of three months over the spring and summer of 2005. The album was released in October 2005 and was immediately hailed as a great debut album and a group worthy of watching.

The album itself is a wonderful listen full of great keyboard work by Gabriele Manzini, Mario Moi's strong and somewhat theatrical vocals, varied and most important to me.. tasteful guitar work by Stefano Mancarella, the rhythm section of Gualtiero Gorreri on bass and Alessnadro Di Caprio never fail to provide a solid foundation on which the music was built. Being a bit of a bassist myself I found myself listening quite closely to Gorreri and found his bass was tastefully played and enjoyed his tone.

As to the album itself: The album kicks off with Vendetta. The song spotlights the wonderful keyboard palate of Manzini and the nice contasting guitar tones of Mancarella who makes good use of dreamy reverb drenched, and the crunchy guitars so commen in todays rock. Moi's vocals in this one remind me strongly of Christian DeCamp of Ange in it's rather theatrical style and would add that Moi does have a more pleasant voice to boot. Very nice album opener.

The second track Terra Madre is not much of a challenging listen almost popish in sound in feel but oh is it worth a listen for the confirmed prog-head, especially those Moog fans. Wonderful Moog like synth tones remind me of another 'popish' song, ELP's Lucky Man, that some great Moog playing can take to a place that even the most die-hard of prog firebrands can enjoy.

The third track: Livia is where I really started to fall for the album. A very nice piano-synth-Hammond ascending intro which once the drums and guitars fall in builds into a nice bombastic section. After it's crest the track calms a soft repeated guitar and key section,which then appears to seque into the fourth track Messia.

Messia starts with some spacey sound effects that start just at the end of Livia under the sound effects is some rather nice electric piano. A very nice aggressive rhythm driven by Mancarella's guitar. Here again he alternated between lovely reverb guitar during Moi's vocal turns to fiery guitar runs. Great playing my favorite by him on the album. Great contrasts between light and heavy in this track.

The fifth track Oltre il Vetro has a wonderful percussion intro by guest Mauro Gnecchi. Love the bass on this.. could be wrong but sounds like a fretless and sounds wonderfully placed in the song. The song has a wonderful vocal melody. The song has a vibe that exudes warmth and invitation. Another song that I really enjoy putting on the just kicking back. Well played and Moi's vocals match the musical tone here.. very warm and invitiing.

The next track up is Nostros. The epic of the album clocking in at over 23 minutes. It begins with atmospheric keyboards over reverb guitar. The vocals fall in under this musical canopy before long and continue for several verses. I like the soft Hammond solo break, very tasteful. The second vocal turn by Moi is driven by an interesting bass and drum rhythm for several verses before a bombastic key. This pattern of vocal sections with bombastic breaks, with a couple fiery guitars solos serving a breaks as well, continues for a bit. The rhythm and tempo slightly different each time culminating between halfway betwen the 8 and 9 minute more with a frenetic rhythm layed down by Gorreri and Di Caprio. A pretty guitar and vocal section allows you a moment to catch your breath. The rest of the track is punctuated by great guitar and keyboard playing and great threatrical singing by Moi. Love this song.

The last track is a nice homage to Gianni Leone of Il Balletto di Bronzo. A cover of La Tua Casa Comoda. The song recorded by Il Balletto di Bronzo after their landmark YS album. Very well done and a nice way to end the album.

I'd like to thank a very special friend of mine for turning me on to this album. You have not only opened my eyes to some great wonderful music, but to a great deal more in life. For that I will always... forever be your debt. I could say a lot more.. but this isn't the place for it.

The album itself. 5 stars for personal enjoyment. I found little to nothing that I didn't enjoy in it. For the site... I will go as far as to say this album along with Maldoror's L' Arbre-Cimietre are the best new symphonic releases I've heard recently. A wonderful homage to the traditional Italian prog scene. However I can't quite rate it esesntial so going with 4 stars for this site. Highly recommended as proof that not only symphonic prog but Italian prog is alive and well.

Michael (aka Micky)

micky | 4/5 |


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