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Il Segno Del Comando - Il Segno Del Comando CD (album) cover


Il Segno Del Comando


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.42 | 19 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Genova's `Il Segno del Comando' (The Sign of Command) take their name from a 1970's novel by Giussepe D'Agata and Italian TV series of the same title that dealt with occult matters, reincarnation and the supernatural, and their debut album is a concept album based on the above sources. Bass player Diego Banchero recalls `Remembering our childhood, reading the book and viewing images in black and white of the series was like stepping back in time to be immersed in our worst childhood anxieties...the ghosts of our childhood.' It should then come as no surprise that the music is frequently highlighted by long extended dark instrumental passages built around hypnotic grand church organ majesty, searing electric guitar playing and plenty of analogue synths and Mellotron. There's a love and respect for the defining Italian 70's albums evident, and you can hear a number of influences from other darker Italian bands worked in - the longer lead guitar soloing reminds of Abiogenesi, the thick church organ overload of Goblin and the mysterious sinister drama of the Antonio Bartoccetti projects such as Jacula and Antonius Rex.

The opening soundscape piece sets the scene with a tolling tower bell ringing over disorientating effects and swirling fragments of voices, until intimidating church organ majestically enters, grinding guitars join in alongside Carlo Opisso's fiery drums crashing all over the place, very manic and fiery! Vocalist Mercy soon arrives, crooning wildly one moment, then spitting and feral the next. Diego Banchero's thick and grooving bass murmurs away in the background, always able to be heard perfectly in the mix. About three minutes in the track picks up in tempo and the band takes off with wilding wailing electric guitar soloing. They sound like they're in a swirling vacuum, with the same kind of reckless danger that Biglietto Per L'Inferno' did so well.

`Salma XVII' is a short organ interlude similar to the music on the early Jacula albums. The darkly romantic opening and close of `Messagero di Pietra' has whirling Moog, lovely thick melodic bass playing nice and upfront and grand imperial Mellotron, but before long that reckless vintage RPI spirit kicks in and the band shoots for the skies again, with maniacal guitar soloing similar to the first piece. There's a heavy dirty energy and groove to the piece, with a lovely jazzy electric piano run in the middle. `Ritratto Di Donna Velata' is a lovely instrumental with sighing ethereal female vocals over mysterious Moog melodies, dancing bass and subtle wah-wah guitar. There is just a trace of unease here, but mostly it's quite a pleasing and oddly comforting way to close the first side.

What a showcase for Diego Banchero his relentless foot tapping punchy bass on `Missa Nigra' is! It dominates and holds together the entire track, lurking around glistening organ and a combination of whispering, chanted voices and Mercy's weary drone to give this mid-tempo piece a real catchy kick! It's very repetitive and creates an overwhelming trance-like spell over the listener, and soon settles into more hypnotic dark grooves and murky guitar stabs.

One more longer epic to go, the edgy jazz rocker `La Taverna Dell'Angelo' offers unpredictable Banco-like schizophrenic snaps, Rex inspired synth ambience and kitsch strutting funk, especially with the deep gulping bass as the piece constantly rises and falls in tempo. Just listen out for the murky and dirty sax blowing, played with that same unbridled energy that bands like Delirium and Rocky's Filj used. Absolutely stunning stuff, and lovers of 70's Italian prog will lose their minds over this one!

The final track is a stirring instrumental of whirring Moog, haunted-house lurking piano and howling winds sounding like tortured souls. It has a sad quality that's also strangely reflective, and ends the album in a thoughtful way.

It's difficult to favour one Comando album over another. Both are equally immersive, complex works for lovers of dark progressive music and Italian sophistication. While the follow-up `Der Golem' frequently sees the band advancing the attack, really going for the throat of the listener in a more violent manner, this self titled debut has more of a crawling creeping subtle tension, plus I love that it's firmly rooted in the style of the defining 70's Italian progressive works. It's overload of vintage synths, classical gothic drama, darkly affectionate melodies and funk/jazz excursions would make it the one to start with, especially for RPI aficionados only wanting to gently sample the darker corner of the Italian prog scene for the first time. A tremendous work that I can't get enough of.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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