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Areknamés - Love Hate Round Trip CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 83 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars 4.3 stars really

Areknames is modern Italian band, and their music style can be described as Symphonic prog. Therefore somebody can get an impression that this is one of the numerous bands continuing wonderful traditions of all those Italian Symphonic Progressive Greats such as PFM, Le Orme, Banco etc etc etc. However this impression would be wrong. Areknames deviate from their native musical traditions quite far and move closer to UK progressive school. They can be compared (if comparison is really necessary) with representatives of the much darker side of the Symphonic spectrum, such as Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and Gnidrolog.

This album contains 12 tracks varying between 1:23 and 11:22 minutes length. The shortest of which is track no. 9 A grotesque gift - 1.23, described in booklet as "a piece of concrete music, just a collection of filters and tapes" and could be considered as a filler, if it had not made a perfect intro for track no. 10 Someone lies here - 4.43, which is kind of epitaph song, based on lyrics by anonymous English poet of XVIII century. It seems like these lyrics were taken from a grave tomb at some old English churchyard. This is obviously very philosophical and sad song, but sadness is kind of a light one, as life goes on. But let's start from the beginning. The first couple of minutes of opening track The skeletal landscape of the world - 6.42 may send you a wrong message that you are in a realm of Metal. The heavy metal guitar riff reminds me of Black Sabbath circa 1971-72 - one of those Tony Iommi's riffs which are being used down to exhaust by so many modern metal bands. The vocals of their leader Michele Epifani (who also plays organ, synth, mellotron, and piano) are very tense and intense, and bear clear resemblances to Peter Hammill. On about 3rd minute tempo slows down, and beautiful grand piano interlude starts sending shivers down my spine, and the opener develops into progressive ballad - dark.heavy.melodic. The second track Deceit - 10.15 starts slowly and very melodically and can remind Genesis circa Trespass/Nursery Cryme but with Hammill on vocals, then pressure builds up, tempos change constantly creating very realistic feeling of drama surrounding you. Masterpiece track. Track no. 3 Outcast - 4.04 is short and not very exciting but still adding to the somber mood of the album. Track no. 4 La chambre - 7.26 is another masterpiece track on this album. It contains beautiful Hammond organ solo - reminding Jon Lord technics with some jazzy touches to it, but overall sound of this track is closer to King Crimson Red era. Track. no. 5. How many artists would include a cover song right in the middle of their album? Not that many that I know. But here we go - track no.5 is cover version of Gnidrolog's song "Snails" from their "In Spite of Harry's Toenail" fame. Gnidrolog is brilliant although obscure band from 70's UK scene, and their song Snails, being a bit disturbing in itself, fits perfectly in general musical stylistics of the album. Track no. 6 - slow tempo beauty Yet I must be something - 5.15 - very light and airy, but containing very serious philosophical contemplations. Narration by female voice (Lucy as guest) adds so much charm to this number. Track no 7 Ignis fatuus - 11.22 the longest track of the album and another masterpiece, starts with piano, bass and cymbals, followed by vocals in very Hammill- esque manner. Singing is full of tragic overtones (PH "Over" comes to mind immediately), instrumentation is rich and thick with small portions of piano soloing thrown here and there. Great track with some quite jazzy parts in it's second half. Track no.8 Stray thoughts from a crossroad - 7.24 - mid tempo track with beautiful piano/trumpet interplays. Trumpet is played by another guest - Luigi Belfatto. As track 9 & 10 were briefly described already, let me jump to track no.11 Pendulum arc - 6.49 - another great one. Not overly long (I wish it would be a bit longer actually), it's most jazzy song of the set, developing into fusion fest. The last track no 12 The web of years - 5.08 - starts with melodic acoustic guitar chords, then bass joins in, and keyboards supported by drums come in and take the lead, allowing just enough space for the vocals; thematically it is another song where sorrow meets frustration, and it logically brings the album to its closure.

May you not be mislead by a bit of name-dropping here, as despite Areknames clearly have their influences and use them (oh well, who does not?), they produce unique and very original sound, thus cloning or ripping-off is not the issue here whatsoever. Being unable to make any comparison with their previous debut album, I still must stress that this one, although not being Masterpiece in true sense of this word (quite close though), would make an excellent addition to any prog-rock collection, and I therefore would whole-heartedly recommend it to all lovers of Dark Symphonic Prog, and especially to all fans of Van der Graaf Generator. This album will keep you interested from beginning to end, despite it's 78+ minutes length. And all thumbs up to band's leader Michele Epifani, who is not only hugely talented keyboardist and a very good singer but also a poet and a composer, as he'd written all music for this album (except for "Snails" by Gnidrolog) and all lyrics in English ! Bravo!!!

eugene | 4/5 |


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