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Narrow Pass - A Room Of Fairy Queen's CD (album) cover


Narrow Pass

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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erik neuteboom
3 stars - The man behind this Italian project is multi-instrumentalist Mauro Montobbio, he is supported by musicans like singer Alessandro Corvaglia from La Maschera Di Cera en Edmondo Romano van Eris Pluvia.

1 - Earth - Je Cherche La Vie (5'19) : A wonderful spacey intro by the keyboards and Roland guitar synthesizer. Then a fluent rhythm featuring Spanish guitar runs and quick synthesizer flights with strong echoes from Tony Banks his ARP Pro Solist sound. A great start!

2 - A Room Of Fairy Queen's (5'32) : This track has a beautiful Medieval atmosphere with pleasant female vocals (like Annie Haslam), flute and classical guitar.

3 - Lord Of The Headline (7'37) : Now Narrow Pass turns to a propulsive mid-tempo with raw male vocals, flashy synthesizer runs and harder- edged guitar work. We can enjoy fiery electric guitar soli and Minimoog-like synthesizer flights. The music sounds dynamic and tasteful.

4 - The Lake (6'50) : This is an instrumental piece that starts with flute and acoustic rhythm guitar, then the surprising sound of a bagpipe, very unique! After a strong and compelling guitar solo, the climate turns into mellow with acoustic guitar and soaring keyboards.

5 - Coming Off My Shadow (1'45) : A short instrumental with a catchy rhythm and a spectacular duel between guitar and keyboards, in the vein of Hackett his work in In That Quiet Earth.

6 - Desert (7'46) : Another instrumental, very alternating with Hackett-like guitar and lots of strong soli on guitar and keyboards, great!

7 - Wake Up (10'15) : Her is the longest composition, it sounds very dynamic, from dreamy with twanging guitars to bombastic with fiery electric guitar. It often evokes early IQ their pleasant neo-prog. Remarkable is the omnipresent work on saxophone along the Hackett-like guitar and lush bass pedal sound.

8 - Into The Light (6'04) : After a dreamy intro the music slowly turns into compelling symphonic prog, culminating in a 'grand finale' delvering bass pedals, lush keyboards and howling electric guitar, this progheaven!

This is a very pleasant and melodic CD that will delight the fans of 70-77 Genesis, Hackett solo and neo-prog like IQ and Pendragon.

Report this review (#88775)
Posted Saturday, September 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars You can always count on our italian friends to provide further quality chapters to their much vaunted school of Prog. It seems that style , food, football and prog are their most reliable attributes. Upon deeper analysis, this project really has some very solid contributions , mainly from the brilliant Edmundo Romano of Hostsonaten and Eris Pluvia/The Ancient Veil fame whose distinct style on various winds add a high luster to an already shimmering set of mostly instrumental tunes. But the vocal presence of La Maschera Di Cera's Alessandro Corviglia is really most surprising , as his distinctive voice emanates more charm in this lighter environment than his usual more somber, angst driven delivery with his day band. All this to further elevate the considerable talents of Mauro Montobbio on e-guitar,guitar-synth and various keyboards. He is an obvious student of the Hackett/Hillage/Latimer school of heartfelt, fluid and elegant guitar playing. As the production is very pristine and the style quite pastoral , this very clean style is reminiscent of Aether's Vinicius Brazil , where tone, agility, emotion and crescendo combine to create a heady recipe. The entire disc is outright exhilarating, with hushed sexy female french poetry on the opener, progressing to medieval female vocals a la Haslam on the third track. In fact, this voyage gets more focused as we go along , culminating with the breathtaking "Desert" , a moody and atmospheric piece slashed by a blinding guitar sandstorm, elliciting a series of smiles of admiration. Wow! what a blast and an undeniable prog classic. In fine prog tradition, you don't let go when on a great run, the last 2 epic pieces keep the tension going without mercy until the end, confirming that we are in the presence of another jewel. If you enjoy Spectral Mornings, Latimer's work with Camel or the recent Odyssice releases , then you will be one step from heaven. Bravo, ragazzi! 5 stars, its my cup of tea. Enjoy to the last drop.
Report this review (#90085)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars After excitedly purchasing this on the basis that it features Edmondo Romano and Valeria Caucino, formerly of Eris Pluvia, I have given it many listens and find it hard to pinpoint why I find it somewhat disappointing. The only excuse I can come up with is that, while the sounds are all there and all so sweet, so much of it appears with no real songwriting or compositional context. I think of progressive music as progressing within a piece of work as well as, optionally but hopefully, within a recording. Here I find neither to be the case. Appealing acoustic and Spanish guitars ring out at intervals and settle back without great impression or emotional impact. Gorgeous lead guitar passages burst forth, coming from nowhere and returning from whence they came. Romantic vocals call out for my approval, yet seem to take no real chances and hide no mystery to be slowly discovered in time. Wistful whistles and bagpipes beckon, but all I can say is "nice". Male and female vox convey elegant melodies that are just a bit to saccharine for even my sentimental tastes.

I like every track here and revel in it from time to time, yet cannot elevate my rating above 3 stars, because, for all the lovely sounds, it's all too ephemeral. I peel back the layers to find there is no essence, no core, nothing enduring that remains.

Report this review (#130355)
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another Italian modern sympho band that blows our minds away.The album begins with a 5 min.intro that is influenced by the italian music and mediterrenean tradition in general,the acoustic guitar play sounds like a mandolin in my ears!...The next song is folk oriented in the vein of LOREENA MCKENNITT,Valeria Caucino's voice is simply amazing...The weakest track is the third,a good song but should fit better in an ARAGON album,even the singer's voice is similar to ARAGON's singer voice...The next bunch of tracks are going through the neo-prog road,very emotional guitar solos of STEVE ROTHERY type of playing with lot of folk touches,very good indeed...For the end we have a somekind of folk ballad where Valeria Caucino and her great voice re-appears which ends up with great guitar soloing...Recommended for fans of prog in general but highly recommended for fans of symphonic prog who dont mind a folk flavor in their taste...I would rate this easily with 4 stars but I'll give them 3 cause' I think their future can be much much brighter than this disc!!!
Report this review (#168903)
Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I got this on the recommendation of a friend whose musical tastes parallel mine very closely. He rarely misses when it comes to introducing me to new bands, and he hit it right on the mark with this one. This band caught me on first listen and just refuses to let go.

There is quite a diveristy to Narrow Pass' music. Lots of keyboards, multiple guitar lead riffs and some nice recorder work. For me, the real standout track is The Lake, which has strong Camel influences.

One thing that haunts me about this band: I cannot help but hear a really strong similarity between the male singer on this effort and Bernado Lanzetti, who sang on one PFM album (Chocolate Kings). The resemblance is rather haunting, and a big feather in the band's collective cap, IMO.

Fans of Italian (or any!) symphonic progressive rock should revel in this band's lone release. Long may they grow and prosper. There is always room for more in the symphonic vein!

Report this review (#183883)
Posted Saturday, September 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars The man behind this project Mauro Montobbio used to play in ERIS PLUVIA (a couple of the guest musicians here are from that band too) and I must admit I wasn't really a fan of that project or THE ANCIENT VEIL another off shoot of that band. So I went into this album not expecting much but soon found myself giving this record a lot of respect. I still wish the vocals were in Italian, but at least the singer here is excellent. He's the singer for LA MASHERA DI CERA. Another negative for me is the Celtic flavour. And while i'm a big IONA fan it's because they do Celtic like no one else. They soak it in atmosphere and make it spacey.

"Earth (Je Cherche La Vie)" is orchestral-like early then it kicks in before 2 minutes. Lots of keyboards. A calm with spoken words before 4 1/2 minutes as the birds chirp. "A Room Of Fairy Queen's" is very Celtic flavoured. Female vocals too. I like the nimble bass before 2 minutes. Flute a minute later. A pleasant track. "Lord Of The Headline" has lots of keyboards and drums as male vocals join in. Nice guitar before 2 minutes and later before 6 minutes.

"The Lake" is the first of three straight instrumentals. It opens with gentle guitar and flute. Bagpipes after 2 1/2 minutes then the guitar comes in ripping it up. It settles again after 4 minutes. It's raining late to end it. "Coming Off My Shadow" opens with synths, bass, drums then guitar. A vibrant track. "Desert" features bass,drums and guitar as synths wash over top. The tempo picks up before 3 minutes with guitar out front. The contrasts continue. "Wake Up" has male vocals early with sax. Guitar takes the lead before 2 minutes. Sax after 4 minutes. "Into The Light" is pastoral with reserved vocals. Female vocals too as they continue to trade off. It kicks in after 4 minutes with guitar.

This is really good. Not 4 stars though because of the Celtic influence and female vocals, but the parts I like, I really like.

Report this review (#282430)
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permalink

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