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Ibis - Nico, Gianni, Frank & Maurizio: Canti D'Innocenza, Canti D'Esperienza... CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.31 | 46 ratings

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3 stars Initially released by a band with no name and graced with only a stylized question mark on its cover, Canti d'Innocenza, Canti d'Esperienza was Nico Di Palo's first venture outside New Trolls. Eventually the nameless group would be identified only as Nico, Gianni, Frank, Maurizio; a magazine poll would later have fans christen the group Ibis. Ibis will forever be associated with New Trolls not just because of Di Palo's involvement but the musical similarities between the two groups, and the legal wranglings that ensued over naming rights. Vittorio De Scalzi of the New Trolls camp would title his group NT Atomic System out of necessity, as neither party would retain the New Trolls moniker during those proceedings. Semantics aside, both bands never really did much to differentiate themselves from the New Trolls sound and one wonders why they split at all...De Scalzi and Di Palo would put their differences aside a mere three years later for the creation of Concerto Grosso N.2.

Of Ibis and NT Atomic System, Ibis are perhaps more familiar and similar to New Trolls' heavy side; there are still ample symphonic moments to firmly assign them to the RPI category, but a Heavy Prog label could also be applied. Some of Di Palo's greatest riffs are contained within these 34 minutes, and also some of his more personal material ("Simona"). Unfortunately, the embarrassing vocals ruin an otherwise essential album. The falsetto timbre is bad enough but the decision to double, and in some cases triple- track, the vocals is lamentable. I hate to sound contrite or even shallow, but Di Palo's voice does rub me the wrong way enough to downgrade my recommendation. That being said, Canti d'Innocenza, Canti d'Esperienza is still first-tier material and should be somewhat high on your RPI list even given the three star grade.

"Innocenza Esperienza," like its namesake, portrays a sense of innocence and experience from a group essentially starting over. The energy and muscle of Di Palo's new band is immediately felt, particularly in the aggressive guitar and deliberate drumming; Ibis is not trying to be cute or clever - this is basically heavy metal with a prog tinge. This onslaught is then countered with the stunning "Signora Carolina." Musically, the second track is a ten but lyrically it is more like a four. This is particularly true during the second half when the vocals are simply laughable and practically unlistenable. Somehow it is still the best song on the album. The gorgeous acoustic introduction and symphonic piano touches during the first half nearly make up for the rest. The plush "Simona" follows, and its brevity is equal parts heart-stopping and heartbreaking; I get goose bumps every time I hear it, but the song is over before I have a chance to relish it.

"L'Amico Della Porta Accanto" again sees Ibis in heavy metal mode. The riff right before the three-minute mark is ridiculously thick and creamy, and haunting keyboards only further add to the considerable weight of the composition. "Vecchina Amica" is the longest song on Canti d'Innocenza, Canti d'Esperienza, and the best on side two. Though the booklet in the AMS/BTF CD reissue does not mention who actually sings on the verse, it sounds quite unlike Nico Di Palo (whose dated singing the liner notes do reference). A Hendrixian vibe permeates "Angelo Invecchiato" and brings the album to a close. The excellent Sun Supreme was only a year away and probably a better starting point for this group. Please take the three-star rating with a grain of salt, as this is about as close as you can get to four without actually earning it.

coasterzombie | 3/5 |


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