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Nuova Era - L'Ultimo Viaggio CD (album) cover


Nuova Era

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When the guys of Nuova Era debuted with 'L'Ultimo Viaggio', they were seeing themselves as mere heirs of a glorious prog time passed: what they couldn't foresee by then was that they were actually pioneering an era of, as some label it, prog revival in Europe. Since this is the starting point, Nuova Era has not managed yet to achieve its own voice, that is, they are still very dependant on the peculiar sounds that their old predecessors created. Nuova Era articulates a prog with a hard rock leaning, infused with a melodic sensibility (like Alphataurus, Biglietto per l'Inferno, and to a lesser degree, Museo Rosenbach) and a sombre romanticism (Apoteosi, E. A. Poe). Their repertoire comprises plenty of excellent musical ideas, such as catchy melodies, well crafted textures on keyboards (the main factor), a tight confident rhythm section, interesting guitar and synth solos; the performances are skillful and sensitive, without meandering in the excesses of self- indulgence (that's actually a real danger inherent to the pretentiousness of the prog genre). 'L'Ultimo Viaggio' is a concept-disc, centered on a heroin addict's struggle to kick off his terrible habit in order to assume a more constructive attitude towards life. The story's happy end is properly reflected on the enthusiastic two final numbers: 'Ritorno alla Vita' is a splendid testimony of self-redemption, while 'Epilogo' celebrates the sense of hope regained with excellent bombast. But before all that, some stuff had already kept the listener's interest. For instance, the namesake track developed the opening track's main line and added a lot of melodic and mood shifts, depicting in this way the addict's danger of dying; the two 'Cattivi Pensieri' numbers are fiery instrumentals full of creative pyrotechnics, yet keeping themselves very structured; 'La Tua Morte Parla' exhibits the more obscure side of the album, in an almost nightmarish horror-movie-esque ambience - this is the crucial moment where the addict character ultimately faces the prospect of his own death. While not perfect, it is clear tha 'L'Ultimo Viaggio' is the initial testimony of a band that had a lot of good stuff to offer,... and so they did, eventually!

(I dedicate this review to myy friend Aldo Buscaglia, whose generosity allowed me to become familiar with Nuova Era's music)

Report this review (#5191)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is significant at least because it was released in 1988, a year that can be considered the starting year for the second coming of Italian prog. Only a few other albums came out in this particular year and among these were the albums by Ezra Winston and Aton's. This debut by Nuova Era is actually the last one I heard from this group because I had the impression that this was supposed to be their worst. After hearing it I was surprised because I really can't say that this is the case. There are already all the elements that the follow-up albums have and in some ways I feel that this might be at least my sentimental favourite release from this group. This is mostly because the band sounds so fresh in this debut. If there was a thing to criticize this group it is the fact that all their albums sound very samey, even the last album Il Passo del Soldato without electric guitar is actually similar to the earlier albums.

The music is of high level already in this debut. The trademark of the group, composer Walter Pini's keyboards, are a little more highlighted than the rest of the instruments. There are not really any standout tracks, like there are not in their other albums either, but there are not any weak moments either. The cd version includes a bonus track "Senza Parlare". This track is actually very good but it is ruined with an awful sound quality.

Conclusion: An excellent debut!

Report this review (#39999)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars NUOVA ERA are one of my favourite Italian bands, in part because they were one of the first Italian bands that I ever heard, but mostly because I love their energetic and fiery music.

"Eterna Sconfitta" opens with vocal melodies and powerful organ runs before drums and piano take over. Vocals follow and they sound amazing. I especially like them 1 1/2 minutes in as he sings with passion and confidence. Check out the organ solo as bass throbs and drums pound. Great drum work before 3 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back 4 minutes in. Just a fabulous tune. "L'Ultimo Viaggio" is the longest track at almost 13 minutes. It's spacey to begin with until we get this pleasant melody after 1 1/2 minutes with reserved vocals. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes as more passionate vocals come in. Pulsating synths and pounding drums continue. Just a pleasure to listen to this music. Vocals return 5 minutes in. A ripping guitar solo a minute later. Oh my ! It settles a little 7 minutes in with some nice drumming and more laid back vocals. A calm before 9 minutes and then it starts to build. Guitar becomes prominant then a full sound.

"Cattivi Pensieri I" opens with drums and lots of synths. The tempo picks up and then guitar joins in 1 1/2 minutes. "Cattivi Pensieri II" is an instrumental like the last song (Part I). Full speed ahead right off the bat. More killer synths and aggressive drumming like the last one. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes in lights it up. Nice bass lines. "La Tua Morte Parla" is experimental to begin with as bass comes in and builds. Drums follow, then guitar after 2 minutes. Lots of synths again. A calm 4 minutes in as it becomes solemn with vocals to match. DOORS-like organ after 6 1/2 minutes. Kicks into gear before 8 1/2 minutes. "Ritorno Alla Vita" is spacey to open before keys, drums and guitar take over. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as synths continue in the background. "Epilogo" opens with some solid drums and organ work. It settles quickly with organ before the vocals come in softly at first, then they get passionate 1 1/2 minutes in. Nice. Lots of synths and pounding drums.

Not as good as their final album, but I like how raw and powerful this one is at times.

Report this review (#182125)
Posted Wednesday, September 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In year 1988 the prog revival was already on its way with bands like Marillion,IQ,Pallas carrying the torch and trying to bring to the surface some of the 70's progressive rock spirit...Well,in Italy things didn't go that well,the giants of the 70's went ''pop'' and nothing showed a clima of change...But a bunch of young italian guys had a different opinion...NUOVA ERA suddenly appeared with their debut ''L'ultimo viaggio'' and the sound of the album was really a shock...Complex yet melodic musicianship very close to the traditional italian symphonic rock sound with an excellent concept theme and dramatic atmosphere!A stunning piece of prog music!

''Eterna sconfitta'' is the opener delivering smooth rock musicianship with nice keyboards and guitar interplay...The eponymous track is amazing with changing rhythms,melodies and climates,a progressive beauty!...''Cattivi pensieri'' (parts I and II) are two short yet perfectly played instrumentals with speed complex themes...As the album unfolds,it gets darker and darker...''La tua morte...'' is among the best tracks of the album,dark italian symphonic sound with haunting keyboards and mysterious drums and bass lines followed by strange dark solos,very close to the darkiest moments of EZRA WINSTON...I cant find any comparisons with the neo prog genre except maybe from ''Ritorno..'', which is a very emotional track with melodic solos yet it has a very italian sound as well...''Epilogo'' is the closing track,a short song where Ivan Pinni makes a dramatic performance,a thrilling track!

If it wasn't of the kind of flat production we would talking about a progressive rock classic!!!That doen't mean that this is not an excellent disc...4.5 stars is my rating for this album,this isn't just an essential one,it's almost a must have...Extremely highly recommended!

Report this review (#185062)
Posted Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although the band fully corresponds to Italian symph, this album features a harder edge which is already noticeable as soon as the album starts.

Complex and strong: so is ''Eterna Sconfitta'' which ends up as a rip off of ''The Knife'' by whom you might have heard (it is actually the second time tonight that I make this comment, the first one being for the debut album of ''Flame Dream'').

The hard feel is also conveyed during the epic and title track. The furious guitar is just splendid, but again the work from Phillips on this early ''Genesis'' track already mentioned is a bit too obvious. Apart from that, it is full of some wonderful synthesizers: from spacey during the intro to somewhat neo-prog later on. A highlight of this album.

This debut is lacking variety IMO. It also reminds the work of some earlier prog giant. A bit too much...When it is not ELP, it is Floyd. Just listen to the intro of ''La Tua morte Parla''. If it doesn't sound familiar with ASOS.I like it of course, but at the end of the day one has a strong feel of déjà vu (and more of déjà entendu). The second part of the track is dark, weird and scary. But I prefer this sort of personal mood.

The most symphonic and beautiful number from ''L' Ultimo Viaggio'' is the great ''Ritorno Alla Vita''. A jewel of a melody, full of emotion. Production is maybe not that great here. Drumming being too much on the forefront of this delicate song. Still, this is another strong moment.

I won't rate this album with too many stars; it lacks of personality and great tracks aren't too many. It is a pleasant and encouraging debut though. Three stars.

Report this review (#190111)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nuova Era is to the RPI scene what the early neo-prog bands were to the UK's symphonic prog tradition: young upstarts putting out a prog rock album at a time when conventional wisdom had it that the style was past, and winning over audiences with their modern update of the classic sounds of the past. In this case, we see the influence of various giants of the RPI scene comparing to more than occasional glances at Emerson Lake and Palmer - I'm thinking particularly here of Walter Pini's keyboard work, which often has a Keith Emerson flavour about it.

Apparently this is a concept album about a drug addict having a bad trip, almost overdosing, and swearing off the junk for good, but if you didn't know Italian you'd never know it - the music is usually rather pretty and happy even when the concept demands a dark, foreboding atmosphere. Still, the music presented is a lot of fun, though the band are let down quite badly by the rather cheap production values - the mix often sounds a bit off, the sound's a bit flat and thin, and whilst at the album's better moments this does mean you can fool yourself into thinking this is a lost RPI classic from the 1970s, at other points it's evident that this is just a rather poorly produced album. It's a strong enough debut for the band, and worth a listen if you like the idea of ELP-influenced RPI updated for a new generation, but with improved sound quality it could have been so much more than just "good".

Report this review (#591835)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars Basically all bands from 80's were drinking heavily in the Neo Prog waters. Which for me is a downhill, I don't like the overall 80's sounds in basically none of the musical genres.

L'Ultimo Viaggio (1988) is the first album of Nuova Era, an Italian band that released 4 albums between 1988 and 1995. Not to mention the 'best of' album released in 2010.

Their music is completely Symphonic, even if they're born through mid 80's, they don't use all that 'modern' instruments and sounds that today's so dated.

7 songs in an album that can be listen without worryings when it comes to the year of his release.

Report this review (#768728)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Figuratively studying under the keyboard oriented masters of the British (ELP) and Italian scene (METAMORFOSI, ALPHATAURUS) of the previous decade, NUOVA ERA catapulted themselves into RPI history with this 1988 release. Though their fiery style is dominated by the organ and synthesizer of Walter Pini, Alex Camaiti's guitars strike the right note in a supportive role and occasionally hold serve. The wattage of this small but boisterous group rarely wavers for long, even if more ambient passages cloak the mayhem here and there.

The opening two tracks are my favourites, both heavy yet effervescent, with the title cut doing justice to its length through a series of dynamic swings and a few judicious repetitions. The second installment of "Cattivi Pensieri" is the more revved up and appealing of the two, with an organ timbre reminiscent of RICK WAKEMAN's early live work. As the album winds down it softens, with the splendid ballad "Rittorno alla vita" being the best from the home stretch. It's unabashedly romantic but that same passion lies beneath the translucent surface of the harder rock tracks. The bonus track is pleasant in a 1960s way, and was probably kept off the initial release for that reason as well as for its poor production even when stacked against the disappointing standards of the original album.

As with a few other Italian bands that played some role in the RPI revival of the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of the later work of NUOVA ERA is often judged their best, but this debut is quite a statement in itself, and would have done the band proud if, like too many of their contemporaries, their voyage had ultimately ended where it began.

Report this review (#1579816)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2016 | Review Permalink

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