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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso CD (album) cover

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.28 | 554 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Classic example of progressive rock from the 1970's, and this isn't an English band. The RPI movement is a special niche in prog rock for taking what the English bands like Genesis and Gentle Giant were doing and throwing in more classical understanding to the mix, or at least that's my limited understanding of the genre. I've been slow at acquiring and appreciating this specific sub- genre, and I feel that Banco del Mutuo Soccorso can help change my mind.

First off, there are only three ''full-length tracks'' as ''In Volo'', ''Passaggio'' and ''Traccia'' are all no more than 2 and a half minutes long. So you're probably thinking that these are fillers, and they could be to an extent, but they all try to achieve something musically whether to set up the next epic, or, in the case of ''Traccia'', be great in their own right. I find them similar to the short pieces of Caravan's IF I COULD DO IT' album or Yes's FRAGILE in that the short tracks aren't that distracting.

With that out of the way, most viewers probably want to know how the three longer pieces function, and I think taking the big pieces track by track is the best way to look at this album.

''R.I.P'' is really the reason why this album first caught my attention. It's divided into two distinct sections, the first being very in-your-face aggressive and high-energy. The pianos are probably the heaviest you will ever hear in music, period. But then halfway in, the song smoothly segues into a poignant ballad emphasizing DiGiacomo's vocal talents as well as the delicate piano lines.

''Metamorfosi'' is pretty much what you're thinking of; even if you don't speak a lick of Italian (as is my case), you can expect a wild ride. The opening theme (that's reprised halfway in) continues the neckbreak pace of ''R.I.P.'', but swirls around the dynamic levels with the theme immediately thereafter. The band does a fantastic job of toying with the dynamic levels in the first five minutes to keep the listener on the edge of their seat the whole time. BdMS pulls about the same trick they did for ''R.I.P'' in completely pulling the mood down into ballad mode (and the lone vocal spot on the song despite the 11 minute roller coaster), but here, the group goes hard rock at the end for a thrilling climax.

The big epic ''Il Giardino del Mago'' opts to start on a more gentle note with a crawling ballad that can crescendo at the right time. The moments of intensity that BdMS had been babying the listener with throughout the album are still here with Hammond organs that sound like if Keith Emerson was a member of Magma (there's an interesting visual image for the progsters out there). The themes switch off fluidly for the most part, but what makes the epic special is the smart placements of any recapitulation. BdMS does this here whenever you feel like you've forgotten about that softer point halfway through the song because there was another dramatic theme that sucked you in before, or at the very end in getting a summary of what was played in about a 40 second span.

A quick comment on the Nocenzi keyboard brothers. It's simply amazing how front-and-center the two are in the scope of the band, and yet they build a unique sound for BdMS nevertheless. They both are like the Italian Kerry Minnear in that they can really make their keyboards sound perfect for the song. And like I've stated earlier, they can make a grand piano in hard rock music sound plausible. That alone should give them a medal.

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's debut album is probably that album that the symphonic progster fantasizes about being that epic masterpiece album they've always dreamed of. There's no fantasy here; it's a real deal masterwork.

Sinusoid | 5/5 |

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