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Il Cerchio d'Oro - Dedalo E Icaro CD (album) cover

DEDALO E ICARO

Il Cerchio d'Oro

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 64 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars A very welcome comeback from the lost classic age of the vintage 70's Italian progressive scene, Il Cerchio D'Oro return with only their second proper album in an almost 40 year career! We had to wait until 2008 for their proper debut, the band never having had the opportunity to record anything other than a handful of singles in the second half of the 70's, and curious fans have only had two inconsistent compilations to offer them a glimpse of what potential the band had. That all changed with their official studio debut `Il Viaggio di Colombo' nearly six years ago, and they now follow it up with the lush and joyous `Dedalo e Icaro', a concept album based around the mythological legend of Dedalus and Icarus, with the help of some Italian prog notables such as Pino Sinnone (The Trip), Giorgio 'Fico' Piazza (PFM), Ettore Vigo and Martin Grice (Delirium)!

Where the `Colombo' album saw the band finding their feet (yet still delivering the goods, it was generally considered a winning album by Italian prog fans, and was something of a personal favourite of mine), `Dedalo...' sees the band in a more relaxed, warm and excited mood. Their skills have been honed by practice and a return to live shows, the rust worked out of their system from the uncertainty of their debut album, and they deliver grand, melodic and charming Italian progressive rock that will surely please fans of the RPI genre.

Opener `Io Mio Nome e Dedalo' makes for a lovely introduction, an upbeat and stylish pop/rocker with a catchy chorus, warm vocals and nice use of mandolin by special guest Athos Enrile. But the album truly starts with the second piece `Labirinto'. Beginning with a regal, faraway triumphant synth refrain that calls from the distance, electric guitars come roaring in with a real driving Pink Floyd sound behind a sprightly foot-tapping electric piano melody, humming Hammond organ and murmuring bass. This up-tempo and infectious instrumental also finds time for a touching solo piano spot in the middle and a spiraling darting flute solo from Delirium's Martin Grice during a reprise of the main theme in the outro with some peppy drumwork. This one ticks a lot of essential RPI boxes, not exactly challenging, but impossibly pleasing and very hard not to like.

Don't be fooled by the first two minutes of `La Promessa' into thinking it's just a lovely power ballad! Lead vocalist Piuccio Pradal still has that scratchy, lived-in voice full of wistful heartfelt passion, and despite sublime group harmonies and a very stirring electric guitar melody that is repeated at many points throughout the song - just try getting it out of your head - the track has a very dirty and blustery middle section and lots of extended soloing in the later sections. Wailing guitar solos that sound very similar to the rougher style of their previous album, a loopy synth solo in the finale, and drummer Gino Terribile gets to show a little fire right near the end with some rapid-fire bashing fills. `L'Arma Vincentre' that follows is a reflective and thoughtful ballad, with a lovely grand classical backing. Listen out for the whirring moog soloing and extended guitar solo in the second half.

`Una Nuova Realta' moves through bombastic, punchy rock bluster that sees the band in perfect unison with eachother. Lots of quick snappy runs, somber and thoughtful piano passages, ghostly veils of Mellotron wisps, emotional guitar soloing and lovingly weathered vocals from Piuccio. I love the uptempo final moments in the last minute and a half that sees the band racing to the finish line with as many quick little musical fills as possible. A moving, exciting and unpredictable track full of energy!

`Oggi Volero' is a short gutsy bluesy guitar number over dreamy Mellotron and Hammond washes with more of those winning group harmonies.

The dramatic and frantic `Io Sogno Spezzato' is tinged with darkness, as it details Icarus' epic flight and tragic fall to back to Earth. Classical piano tension, snarling guitar runs, snapping Hammond stabs, punchy bass and gothic classical organ soundtrack this climactic finale. Italian prog at it's most dazzling and sophisticated best.

The lazy atmosphere of `Ora Che Son Qui' wraps the album in a very sobering manner. A shimmering other-worldy treated vocal from Piuccio over warm acoustic guitar strums, pulsing Hammond washes and layered group harmonies remind very much of Seventies Pink Floyd, perfectly suited to the lyrics filled with regret and stream-of-consciousness ponderings. The final two minutes features a brief but commanding sax solo again from Martin Grice that is both sad and triumphant at the same time.

Available on both LP and CD versions from Black Widow Records, you may wish to purchase the vinyl for an exquisite larger-format gatefold recreation of the stunning cover painting by Stefano Scagni, but the CD version comes with three video live performances from 2009-2012. The lyrics are displayed in both Italian and English along with photos of the band and special guests.

2013 has already seen a number of outstanding quality releases from Italy, and the second proper album from Il Cerchio D'Oro is no exception. So it may not have the same reckless energy, rough around the edges charm that a lot of the vintage defining releases had back in the 70's, but there is no denying it is a high quality album, full of strong melodies and terrific playing. It's also nice to hear something so upbeat and full of life, from a band that is really excited and humbled at still having an audience craving quality Italian progressive music. Definitely one for fans of the first album after a more sedate pleasing listen, and deeply romantic Italian progressive bands like Locanda Delle Fate.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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