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Il Bacio Della Medusa - Discesa Agl'Inferi D'Un Giovane Amante CD (album) cover


Il Bacio Della Medusa

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A musical crime of passion in progress.straight for the jugular

Best new thing I've heard in ages. Every once in a while, quite unexpectedly, a band shows up at my door and just takes my breath away. A band that I really feel honored to not only experience but to share with others. Il Bacio della Medusa (Medusa's Kiss) is such a band. This is their 2nd album in what I hope is a long career. BdM combine progressive rock with hard rock, blues rock, moonlight folk, and stunning contributions of flute, violin, piano and saxophone. You really get the whole package here: amazing composition, passionate performance, great melody, and tons of enthusiasm and spark. This is a band that pays homage to the greatest '70s Italian bands, English bands like Purple and Tull, and even flash the bluesy burn of Wicked Minds or Jack White. They are every bit as fresh and exciting as Finisterre but with more edge. But as powerful as their rock side is, equally dynamic is their softer side, perfectly blended with extended passages of flute and violin. Before I get further into their album just a brief bit of history for you.

BdM (from the Perugia area) began in 2002 when vocalist Simone Cecchini, drummer Diego Petrini, and bassist Federico Caprai launched the project. Later they would add Simone Brozzetti on guitar, Eva Morelli on flute, and Daniele Rinchi on violin. The six piece line-up labored intensely on this album and you can literally feel the great efforts put into each track to make them special. Each song is so well rounded musically and artistically, like great art the pieces take the time they need to develop but without ever getting boring. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Diego Petrini composed the majority of this fine music. The band are big fans of art in general as noted by Simone: "we are all student of Art and we like very much Renassaince and Baroque one of our favourite painter is surely Caravaggio, and not only by artistic point of view but also for his crazy life, a life spent to run by something, a short life of sure but he left of sure an incredible sign of his presence with his painting." [Simone Cecchini] The band cultivates sort of a dark image in their album art and dress which gives them a somewhat menacing public image when in fact it is but one side of their music. Believe me, there is more than enough beauty here to balance the dark edge.this music will lift you, not depress you.

Most tracks in this conceptual album flow together without breaks, adding to the sense that it unfolds like a grand play. They have a bit of that dramatic theatrical flair that recalls Ange and Queen at their finest. According to Cecchini the album is "a sort of Dante's "Paolo e Francesca" but made in our way, it's the story of a lover who is on hell with his women, flash backs feelings and many sensations by the point of view of the lover." The first two tracks provide the album's introduction, slowly and softly bringing the listener in with gentle piano, violin, and flute. We are introduced to Cecchini's outstanding vocal talent which is rich and provocative and commanding, but unlike the way some bands get carried away with constant vocals, he knows when to lay back and let the music have the stage. He does often, there are long instrumental passages. As I mentioned they masterfully build up to the rock stuff rather than just diving into it. Throughout the album they transition so well from bombast to gentleness, running the emotional gamut. When the full band does begin to come alive during "Confessione d'un Amante" they feature feisty keyboard runs, raunchy electric leads, and a powerful rhythm section. They'll rock for a bit and then out of nowhere drops these change-ups, like one interlude with devilish gypsy-folk sound, with fiddle and handclaps over acoustic guitar. You will hear a spooky dirge with storms, spoken narrations, strange voices, and vultures overhead. The middle section of the album is the meat of the heavy and bluesy rock. Arrangements are impeccable as the keys and guitar are so effortlessly woven to the sax and flute parts. They make the traditional rock so much zestier and it's all laid over Petrini's drumming which would make Bonham proud. "Melencolia" is my favourite track, a gorgeous amalgam of Camel/Floyd/PFM with glowing acoustic guitars, beautiful whispered harmonies, warm bass lines and soft percussions. Heaven. After this will come extended saxophone and electric guitar solos of great feeling and drama. The final tracks close this show with great pizazz. There is a section of spacey keys and affects laden guitar followed by a long melancholy piano/violin section with female chorus vocals that are beautiful. And finally they close with mournful piano and violin.

If you love hard '70s rock and/or classic period Italian progressive this album is an absolute sure thing. Fantastic. My only worry is that I can't imagine how they're going to top themselves next time. This is music without cynicism-birthed purely with sincere motivations of pleasing the music lover. When I recognize that certain authenticity in a band it always makes it special to me. And now I undertake the mission of spreading the word about this deserving band. I'll be picking up more copies of this CD as gifts for rock loving friends. 10/10

Bravo to these lads and fair lady.

Report this review (#169883)
Posted Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante" is the second album of the Italian band Il Bacio Della Medusa. The line up features a new member, Daniele Rinchi (viola, violin) who joined the band in 2005 giving his contribute to the evolution of the band's sound and song-writing, now more balanced, rich and "classical" oriented. Then, the deal with the independent label Black Widow Records gave the band the chance to work in tranquillity and the result is an excellent mix of classical influences and rock that perfectly fits the dark and poetical lyrics. Beautiful also the art cover painted by one of the members of the band, Federico Caprai, that tries to describe with images and colours the mood of the album...

"Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante" is a concept album and the music flows away in a long suite for almost an hour without breaks with sudden changes of rhythm and atmosphere... It was inspired by the story of Paolo and Francesca, two clandestine lovers that were caught red handed and stabbed to death by Francesca's husband (and Paolo's brother) Gianciotto. The two characters were portrayed by the poet Dante Alighieri in his "Divina Commedia" but Dante's poetry is only the starting point from where the band develop a very original musical and poetical journey...

The opener "Preludio: il trapasso" describes in music and words the moment when Paolo's soul leaves his mortal body and begins the journey towards hell... "Look at my body / It lies bloodless on the ground... Heavy boats sail towards hell / The air is burning upon me / In the silence I'm looking for you...". Delicate and expressive piano, flute and violin passages are the ideal background for Simone Cecchini's passionate vocals evoking a love stronger than death and that sound even more dramatic in the following "Confessione d'un amante" (Confession of a lover)... "Into the crowd we're looking for each other / But the dark is between us.... Francesca I love you for this eternity / At length the light will come even into this dark caves / Let the trumpets blare / The beast is snarling upon us"...

The instrumental "La bestia ed il delirio" (The beast and the delirium) marks a change of mood, the rhythm goes up and there is room for fiery organ solos, heavy guitar riffs and "infernal dances" led by violin and flute... Then a marching beat introduces "Recitativo: č nel buio che risplendono le stelle" where the voice of Simone Cecchini describes an infernal landscape with bent trees dripping blood... "The scream of the man by now lies defeated on the ground / All I can do is gather my shadow / Like an old worn and stinking coat fallen down behind me... Oblivion is the cancer of knowledge... It's in the dark that lies the magic of every light / It's in the dark that the stars shine..."

In "Ricordi del supplizio" (Souvenirs of the torment) a flute "ŕ la Jethro Tull" and a mellow rock sound underline the expression of rage against the murderer... "I remember the violence of my death / His breath upon my neck...". Then "Nostalgia, pentimento e rabbia" (Nostalgia, repentance and rage) lead to the instrumental "Sudorazione a freddo sotto il chiaro di luna", where "the blood runs cold under the moonlight"...

In Melencolia (Melancholy) a soaring feeling of nostalgia comes on the wings of beautiful notes of flute veined of exotic echoes... "Once I caught a prohibited apple / A bit couldn't stop my hunger / I drank from a springing wine source / A sip couldn't stop my thirst... Why on earth when I thought to love / A day like another the blade of a dagger / Led me back into the ground..."

The last tracks are almost completely instrumental and, in a crescendo of emotions, lead to an amazing and dramatic finale for this journey towards hell of a young lover, carried away by the hot wind that benumbs his limbs... "E fu allora che dalle fiamme mi sorprese una calda brezza celeste", "Nosce te ipsum: la bestia ringhia in noi", "Corale per messa da requiem" and "Epilogo: conclusione della discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante" are the perfect conclusion for a flawless album.

Essential for every Italianprog lover!

Report this review (#172789)
Posted Sunday, June 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars il Bacio Della Medusa's second album, very very nice. After I 've listened their first album which same title album, I was very pleased to hear a very good music. In this second album you have a little bit same feeling in some sense, but more sophisticated and tendered I guess. I only have listened 2 times their second album in this spot so not exactly express what it is but I do like this album. and have nearly same feeling of their first album. I give it 4.5 stars which is the same thing as first album. and this time I choose 5 star rating which not same thing as first album's rating that's 4 stars. anyway very good conditions I have.
Report this review (#174033)
Posted Monday, June 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What an wonderful surprise! Il Bacio della Medusa' second record has been just issued and it's already a classic, a superb example of melodic heavy prog with lots of interesting (and unespected) variations.

As other fellow reviewers have pointed out, the concept is about the tale of lovers Paolo e Francesca (from Dante Alighieri's Commedia). Naturally it has been personally developed as a musical journey through the so called other side. There's a wise use and balance of infernal scenes, sad feelings, overwelming sorrows and infinite (sincere) love in the lyrics' themes. The imaginary used is not too original, though, 'cause it's on a similar vein to what La Maschera di Cera have already done with LuxAde (2006) which is, basically, the descent of Orpheus to Hades searching for his dead wife Euridix.

Musically it's another story. Il Bacio della Medusa deliver elaborate arrengements since the first part of the record. The first two sections, in particular, are lead by evocative violin and classic piano with exciting melody and vocals by Simone Cecchini. There's an uplifting crescendo the introduces the listener deep in the infernal themes untile time comes to show Lucifer's land in all its unespected colours and whipping anguish. From La Bestia e il Delirio flute and hammond organ starts suddenly to duet with immense pleasure for the listener (there's no brake between the tracks). So drums (slightly and unfortunately subdued) draw pleasant changing moods helped in the middle part by serious and hard electric guitar soloing. The second half of the tune is a sort of folk rythm thanks to violin, acoustic guitar, flute (which is used massively during the whole running time of the album) and clapping. My favourite track for sure. A gem. Excellent also the saxophone playing and the mix between heavy, classical, folk and bluesy rock souls.

Hammond is the favourite key of the band but moog also can ben found in some short episode. Passion is really the unknown ingredient of the band. You can only rest breathless after such a pure tour de force.

Report this review (#174220)
Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars At first, I thought it like a good album. But in the end I was rather boring. It will be that in reality the sound is too obvious or perhaps the lyrics are too redundant for me. They put theyr music on the wire that divide the line between total masterpiece and grotesque work.
Report this review (#175986)
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars

Four years after their promising eponymous debut album the six piece band Il Bacio Della Medusa has released their second album entitled Discesa Agl'Inferi D'Un Giovane Amante in 2008. Meanwhile the saxophone player has been replaced by a violinist and the drummer/keyboardplayer has extended his array of keyboards, especially the distinctive Hammond organ is omnipresent on this new album.

The 12 tracks on this concept story album sound more elaborate and refined than on the promising debut CD, what a tension, dynamics, captivating breaks and changing climates, strong solos on guitar and keyboards and what an inspired Italian vocals! A very strong element in Il Bacio Della Medusa her sound is the 'Holy Trinity' of fiery guitar, swirling flute and powerful Hammond organ, especially in Ricordi Del Supplizio it sounds like a hot Heavy Prog jam session featuring Jon Lord and Ian Anderson, splendid! Another strong point is the tension between the mellow parts with flute, acoustic guitar, Grand piano, violin and warm vocals and the heavy interludes with bombastic keyboards, harder-edged guitar and raw vocals like in Nostalgia, Pentimento E Rabbia and Nosce Te Ipsum: La Bestia Ringhia In Noi. From a musical point of view the music delivers lots of variety, from Grand piano with violin and pleasant vocals in Confessione D'Un Amante and a duet with saxophone and fiery guitar in E Fu Allora Che Dalle Fiamme Mi Sorprese Una Calda Brezza Celeste to wonderful interplay between Grand piano, violin and choir in very the moving Corale Per Messa Da Requiem (I had almost tears in my eyes, what an emotion this song evokes) and warm work on flute and Grand piano in the final track Epilogo.

To me this album sounds as one of the best Italian progrock CD's I have heard in the last ten years and I can tell you, I have heard tons so highly recommended!

Report this review (#176228)
Posted Sunday, July 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars First I have to thank Finnforest for bringing this band and in particular this album to my attention. The first time I listened to it I stopped what I was doing and just gave it my full attention, almost surprised to hear the first two songs sounding very much like vintage seventies Italian music. The singing is in Italian and quite powerful and emotional, while the music is led by flute, violin and piano. The result is beautiful and inspiring. By the third track things start to change as we get some organ runs and an ANGLAGARD vibe. The guitar after 1 1/2 minutes lights it up as organ continues. A calm follows as we get some clapping, flute and violin. The powerful organ and guitar return before this one is over. The fourth track opens with marching style drums as spoken words come in around 1 1/2 minutes. The vocals start to yell a minute later as flute becomes more prominant. It ends with sax.

The fifth track is a return to some great guitar and organ as flute plays over top. Love the organ a minute in followed by passionate vocals. Ripping guitar 3 minutes in. Nice. The sixth track builds as flute, acoustic guitar, vibes, electric guitar, organ and vocals are all added. It sounds incredible 2 1/2 minutes in. The seventh track features some amazing guitar and organ. It calms right down after a minute. Flute comes in and then 3 minutes in we get some tasteful guitar. Great sound.Samples 4 minutes in as the music has stopped. It kicks back in quickly. Love the drumming that follows. The eighth track is a beautiful song with acoustic guitar, drums, flute and reserved vocals. The ninth track features some excellent relaxed guitar melodies in the intro before sax joins in. The guitar 1 1/2 minutes in is more aggressive. Amazing ! Sax returns 2 1/2 minutes in. The tenth track opens with vocals. Violin, drums and organ take over quickly. It picks up a minute in with some accordion. Organ then leads the way. Great sound after 4 minutes. The eleventh track has a piano / violin intro. This is mournful as vocal melodies arrive. Female vocal melodies 2 1/2 minutes in. The sound gets fuller 3 minutes in. The final track continues with the same melody but the flute leads the way instead of the violin, even though the violin continues.

If your a fan of that classic Italian sound but also like a little heaviness once and a while then this is a must have.

Report this review (#179488)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album stuns me so much that I decided to devote my first review to it!

The album is as fresh as Änglagĺrd's Hybris and in many ways they can be compared. Both are written by a symphonic prog band with tight & skillful musicanship and very good compositional skills and sense of melody. Both have a flute added to a classic prog quartet. Both have a nearly-plagiated-track (Jordrök sounds like Schicke, Fuhrs & Frohling - Pictures at times, and 11-th track of reviewed album sounds too familiar to be original and seems to be used by New trolls somewhere in their 70's output). In spite of that both are masterpieces.

Musically, however, thay're very different. Here the flute is used pretty often. It's mostly played in a melodic way with longing sounds, but jethrotullish faltering way of playing is also used. The flute is used both as a solo instrument (with all others backing it) and in wonderful interplay sections with acoustic guitar, or electric guitar, or violin, or keyboards, or even sax. Flute addicts will run on ceilings, I can bet! Its use here is very diverse.

However, the flute is NOT omnipresent here - and this is what makes this album so exceptional! It doesn't bore you with omnipresent or monotonous use of any instrument - even keyboards (which handle soloing, backing and filling jobs in different ways), it doesn't selfrepeat in any expect, it's not pompous, it's not overly technical... doesn't have monotonous background for solos, as most jazz-rock albums have. Well, soloing here - and, with more generality, - sectioning, is done very professionally. The band doesn't just jump from section to section as some modern bands - they make smooth (though still unpredictable) melodic transitions. This helps a lot with integrity of compositions.

As a free bonus to exceptional music we also receive the vocals here. Passionate as usual for Italians, they seem to be of slightly other nature than ones in the classic albums. In Museo Rosenbach - Zarathustra or in Metamorfosi - Inferno the vocal harmonies add a lot to the keyboards sound, but here IMO the vocals are of guitar nature. Less theatrical, more rocky - get it as you wish.

Well, I wish this album would gain historical value and influencial impact at least as much as Änglagĺrd's Hybris. IMO best 2008 album (yes, I've heard 7 of such, prog giants' ones included).

Report this review (#179604)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the more pleasant surprises of 2008 so far is this new album from Il Bacio Della Medusa. Although this Italian band are relatively new on the scene; their first album was released in 2004, they sound very much a product of the seventies, both in their use of instrumentation and the very natural sounding production. This six piece band as well as the usual array of instruments we expect most Progressive rock bands to have augment their sound with flute, violin and sax, the flute being particularly prominent.

Sung in their native Italian of which I don't speak a word, it's still apparent that Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante is a concept album, the tracks flowing seamlessly into one another. The vocals are sung very passionately and musically it's a very diverse sound. Classical influences collide with more bombastic heavy passages and more restrained acoustic moments. There's much influence here from seventies symphonic prog, not least their fellow countrymen Premiata Forneria Marconi and I'm sure they've also got a few Jethro Tull cd's in their collection.

As the album is best digested as a whole and the seamless nature of the piece it's difficult to pick out favourite tracks, but I found myself particularly enjoying the dynamic instrumental interplay which occurs at regular intervals throughout, each musician given the opportunity to make their mark. I especially enjoyed some of the blistering guitar work by Simone Brozzetti and the Keyboard sound - very seventies with strong use of organ and some excellent piano. Daniele Rinchi supplies some beautiful and moving Violin playing too.

I'm certainly glad to have discovered this excellent Italian band and the album is currently receiving well deserved heavy playing on my cd player and almost certain to make my top ten of 2008. One to lay back, turn out the lights and get lost in.

Report this review (#180992)
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oh oh, got to be very careful with this review, as it has garnered rave reviews from all the PA glitterati and I have no stomach to be viewed as a party pooper! I have not heard the previous album, so this is a totally virginal adventure, judging solely on what my trusted and storied prog sensors will pick up going through this sophomore recording by "the kiss of the medusa". My knees are trembling in anticipation, my ears firmly cleaned with cotton swabs and properly oiled and lubricated, phone is on mute, TV as well. From the opening kick-off and aptly named "Preludio", the much discussed prime BDM characteristics come to the fore: the radiant almost operatic vocals courtesy of the genial Simone Cecchini are stupendous (what a voice,!), the keyboard work from drummer Diego Petrini is heart stoppingly intricate and ornate, first on piano and then on the effusive Hammond organ, some spectacular violin forays, wailing voices in full support. I am overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the arrangements, seasoned to titillate and inspire, as evidenced by the magnificence of the poignant "Confessione d'un Amante", that suddenly dives into the fiery, searing "La Bestia ed il Delirio", again perfectly describes as a deliriously beastly workout, Hammond whirring unabated, giving guitarist Simone Brozetti the opportunity to rip through a few frets and blaze incandescent. Out of the blue in typical Italian prog style, the piece evolves into an almost folkish, violin-led mid-section and mercifully capped off with a bluesy organ solo. And they even find time for a laugh, wow! Disturbingly tasty, BDM segue into the next track dreamily, ready to explode at anytime (and it will soon), gently stretching out the theme until the narrative kicks in (the Italians proggers seem to love this, tossing in some spoken words into their music!). The raging "Riccordi del Supplizio" dives into the dark core of the album, buzzing guitars fighting off the rippling flutes, the beat heavy with Tullian exuberance and Cecchini's powerful voice urging the beast along. A series of succulent "classic" guitar solos bridge nicely and make this a highlight reel track that is sure to please, a true ISP nugget that will set well with fans of all colors and stripes. The longest piece here at nearly 7 minutes , "Nostalgia Pentimento e Rabbia" offers up a pastoral contrast to the previous eruptions, with more effusive flute and raw wah guitars slowly churning into a bubbling frenzy, proving without a doubt that these musicians have it together. Cecchini sings again with utter conviction and frenzied control, drawing easy comparisons with Ange's revered Christian Décamps. The flow into the next track is seamless, giving the instrumentalists more than enough stage to let their chops fly while keeping the theme tight to the vest, as organ, violin and guitar provide all the ingredients with outright bluesy aplomb. The famed contrasting pastoral and fiery recipe is at its acme here, clearly showcasing this band's ability to turn anything into something spectacular, throwing in gloomy effects at unexpected moments and keeping the listener on permanent edge. The supremely intoxicating "Melencholia" fulfills the need to chill, with spectral flute gently parading through the mist, soft vocals pleading for some understanding, dripping in angst laden beauty (I am such a sucker for heart stopping melodies, I tell you!). This piece remains imprinted as a scintillating jewel, full of impressive feeling and atmosphere, especially vocally. The next track reinitiates the mood by judiciously exhibiting an unexpected sax solo (a woefully underused instrument in prog, unfortunately), giving the guitarist another opportunity to show off some bluesy, bruised licks that exude pain and power , dueling with the serene optimism of the saxophone, another kick ass piece on this marvelous disc. "Nosce Te Ipsum" proposes a violin directed instrumental that shoots for the stars, the organ also returning to the front stage, the entire band cooking up a storm, even daring a few Crimsonesque oblique stunts, with a dash of Canterbury tossed into the mix (You wear them well). The "Corale" is a piano/violin showcase that evokes strong classical leanings that blend so well with the otherwise heavily blues influences. The final "Epilogo" puts this masterpiece to rest and I am converted! No wonder finnforest was so gaga for this recording , I suspect he is still under the spell of "the kiss of the medusa". What a revelation and totally deserving of its glorified reputation! 5 sultry smooches.
Report this review (#192064)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just finished listening to Il Bacio Della Medusa's "Discesa Agli Inferi Di Un Giovane Amante".

Fresh prog, the ispirations (and luckily the keyboards too) are firmly 70's-like, but the result is modern, actual, even original... romantic (in the wider sense of the word).

It has everything: the flute has the freshness of painting, the keyboards have the complexity of architecture and the guitar riffs have the monumentality of sculpture.

Evil-like atmospheres, medieval chants... all distructed by wild guitars and fiery organ solos. Poetic lyrics about the misadventures of two lovers, Paolo and Francesca (of Dantesque inspiration).

The colour inspired by this album is purple.

Five stars.

Report this review (#223854)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I have listened to this album I felt I knew it, because it observes the way of making music exactly as some of the old famous italian progressive rock band. I think there are very much positive reviews about this album, because of that. It's time now for a little negative review, again, because of that reason. I believe some italian albums cannot fulfil there real potential (or just cannot attract my attention), because of some typical italian vehicles of expression. Regretfully, we can feel them here again. For example, this hard emotional weight all around the album, full of sounds and melancholy in psychedelic manner. I don't want to say I don't like this manner of making music, but here (I mean not only in Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante, but in some other italian albums, too) it's totally exceeded and combined strangely with hard rock. The other moment is this circus atmosphere. This highy emotional moments full of stoic strain and all these nervous parts are the other flaws here. All these flaws are obstacles for realization of the full potential of the album. Highly recommended for fans of Dedicato a Frazz by Semiramis, Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach and other italian albums like them. For me - very good non-essential album (3.5 stars) like the above albums.
Report this review (#226088)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The debut album from this Italian band was rather on the heavy prog side. And to my surprise, this follow-up is quite different and much more diverse hence more interesting.

Passionate vocals, crafted piano play, subtle violin, sweet flute. We're almost in for a vintage Italian symphonic prog album! This is especially true during the first two moving and great songs from this work. But the whole will convey this great impression.

The story is based on some of Dante's work, and I quite prefer the interpretation made here than during the TD trilogy to be honest; but that's another topic. Some more classical (or medieval) soundscapes are also available ("La Bestia Ed Il Delirio") and only confirm the new musical approach of the band.

Some fine Hammond organ are also illuminating this album (same track, second part); just as a confirmation of BDM's first love: heavy prog music. Which is pretty much fine with me.

Some darker and heavier atmosphere are available as well, which adds another pleasant layer to this "Discesa?". Don't forget that the album was issued by the "Black Widow" label. The intriguing "Recitativo" just confirms this feeling.

For those of you who were expecting a heavier approach: don't worry. You'll still get these! The great "Ricordi Del Supplisio" should fill all your needs. Great fluting (remember than Ian Anderson once said: "Flute is a heavy, metal instrument"). This is a devastating track: full of wild keyboards ŕ la "Atomic Rooster" and superb drumming experience. This song is also pretty close to the very good "Black Widow" band. The same heavy tendency (but with less flavour) can be noticed during "Nostalgia?".

When I listen to this album, I am automatically brought back in the seventies (my teenage days). Brilliant instrumentation, beautiful melodies, harder passages combined to some spacey ones, skilled musicians ("Sudorazione"). I quite like this actually. But who wouldn't???

Almost Trespass-esque and exquisite feel is filling your body while listening to the wonderful "Melencolia". A pure jewel, crystal beauty from start to finish. Shivers all around the body. A highlight of Italian symph. A highlight of prog music. Such a piece brings me in heaven (spiritually I mean?). It is a fantastic moment of indeed the greatest melancholy. But I'm a melancholy man, that's what I am...

The whole band is at l'unisson for the remarkable "E Fu Allora?". A short instrumental which shows all the talent of the band. Simply excellent.

It is amazing to see the evolution of the band. This album is really flirting with the nirvana, and almost reaches perfection. Just listen to the sublime "Nosce Te Ipsum". Another gorgeous instrumental: sometimes scary (some Crimson feel), sometimes melodic yet complex and dark.

By now, I have totally succumbed. Can't help. These violin sounds, the dramatic rendition, the passionate play are overwhelming to the bones. Have a listen to this masterpiece. One of the best album in 2008, for sure.

Five stars. Superb.

Report this review (#245080)
Posted Saturday, October 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A personal way in Dante's 'Paolo & Francesca' Love Drama of 'Divina Commedia'. And in truth a great 70's RPI album!!!

And for this motive that 'Discesa Agl'inferi d'un giovane amante' (eng: 'Descent Into Hell Of A Young Lover') is a masterpiece of RPI. In fact this album remember me some moments of Metamorfosi, Biglietto Per L'Inferno, Le Orme,New Trolls, NT Atomic System, Ibis or Rovescio Della Medaglia but filtred with Fabrizio De André or other 70's italian songwriters for melodic parts. But at the end this album is not a Hard album. Certainly it is good that this album is not easy. only after 4 plays I began to understand this album. That is extreme difficult. But not for this impossible. In my humble opinion only a good conoisseur of Prog captures the many (too many?) nuances that 'Discesa...' presents. And also if you are a good Prog conoisseur it is difficult that you are able to understand everything about this album. In poor words if a 70's album is easy to understand due recording and mix process... This album is difficult proper for this fact (strange, no?).

Song for song 'Discesa...' is not easy to describe in 2 words. Certainly if you heard in attentive manner this album you see hard and melodic parts, Renaissance music and heavy Prog. But all with Symphonic threatments (also if not always in sunlight). The vocal parts are good as the instrumental parts. The excitement that 'Discesa...' provokes in me is like an musical orgasm, as when listening to an album as Le Orme's 'Collage'! In fact Bacio Della Medusa are extreme similar to Le Orme but without psychedelic part, but only because too close to Power Metal side of Italian Rock (but without to be Power Metal).

In definitive 'Discesa...' is a great traditional RPI album and Bacio Della Medusa may already be cataloged in the top 10 RPI bands!

Report this review (#254894)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Isn't this music just beautiful ? Symphonic RPI (RaPanuI) arrangements, floating through the world of flutes heaven and moderately wild electric guitar, which won't let anything here to harm you. I read Dante and this doesn't remind me much of horrors which I saw in the book. However, Dante's Inferno/Purgatorio (this 4CD collection) doesn't remind me it too, so it's not problem. The question isn't whether this is 1, or 2 star album. Because it's far from being one. The question is that 4-5, what's more appropriate. I'm almost convinced (because it took some time to write this review, something like few months) and I have to say that I really don't know. Honestly, I'm confused.

4(+) and we'll see later on. It's exceptional album where you can take a role of expectional listener. You want beauty and you'll get it. Wild, (almost) untamed beauty it is indeed, but still it's rollercoaster ride. You're safe, nobody's gonna harm you. Captain Beefheart won't appear here with purpose to cut your throat.

And everyone lived happily ever-after, this was a story of masterpiece album with 4-star rating.

Report this review (#255311)
Posted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Discesa Agl'inferi D'un Giovane Amante is the title of the second album by Italian band Il Bacio Della Medusa. Although it was released as recently as 2008 it is highly typical of the classic RPI of the 1970s. It has been described as a concept album, the subject of which is the descent into Hell of a young lover. However it might also be appropriate to think of it as a rock opera, and one of the tracks is even titled Recitativo. For those of you who may not know, recitative in opera is sung narration. On this occasion more than any other I wish I understood the Italian lyrics, as the highly dramatic nature of this music has severely piqued my interest. Fortunately, PA Reviewer Andrea's review of the album incorporates a detailed synopsis of the plot.

The album opens and closes with some acoustic pieces that have a quasi-chamber music quality. Sandwiched between these is the meat of the album, a mixture of mostly heavy songs and instrumentals. In addition to the classical influence alluded to above, there are also elements of jazz and folk music on Discesa. All the tracks flow into one another, which enhances the feeling of grand scale on the album.

An approaching wind effect heralds Preludio: Il Trapasso, which features a beautiful yet doleful melody. Piano, flute and violin are joined by Simone Cecchini's grieving vocals. Confessione D'un Amante continues in a similar vein and employs the same texture as the opener. Piano arpeggios support the bittersweet violin melody, and on this song Cecchini's voice has a slightly harsher quality as he sings those gorgeous sounding words. Divine.

La Bestia E Il Delirio is the first instrumental track and features two main musical ideas. The first is a heavy, jazz-inflected theme with swirling organ, raucous electric guitar and staccato flute-play. The second theme is a sprightly bucolic dance featuring flute, pizzicato and bowed violin, and handclaps. It includes an accelerando that really gets the foot tapping, followed by some stops and starts before the first theme is reprised. The manic closing section features an organ and Moog joust that is only interrupted by a psychotic laugh. Thunder claps and a peeling bell introduce the ominous Recitativo: E Nel Buio Che Risplendono Le Stelle. A marching drumbeat accompanies the malevolent spoken word vocal, with evil laughs, whispers and gasps in the background. Creepy stuff. Some tormented screams introduce a heavy guitar and sax riff, with flute joining in toward the end.

Ricordi Del Supplizio continues in heavy mode with fuzzed organ and Eva Morelli's superb flute-play. Cecchini's singing is gruffer here and the torrid guitar and drums make this one heck of a rocker. There are a few moments of respite with the medieval-sounding intro of Nostalgia, Pentimento E Rabbia, featuring flute, acoustic guitar, vibes and sonorous drum rolls. The mood changes with a loose, swing-time rhythm and Simone Brozzetti's wah wah guitar. Cecchini's venomous vocals alternate with Morelli's flute in an anguished antiphon. A blistering guitar solo and a galloping rhythm on the bass and drums lead to a brief recapitulation of the swing riff.

Sudorazione A Freddo Sotto Il Chiaro Di Luna is the second instrumental track on the album. It also has a swing feel at its start with sax and organ to the fore. A heavy guitar and organ riff follows, before the track settles down with acoustic guitar, vibes and misty flute. Electric piano and jazzy guitar join in along with the rhythm section, producing a pleasantly laid-back groove. Some weird sounds lead to another heavy section where the organ mimics a storm, and the entire track is rounded off with a beautiful organ melody. The acoustic guitars and legato flute of Melencolia give it something of a Genesis air, although with distinct Italian vocals of course. Electric piano and whispered backing vocals further enhance the downcast mood of the song. Exquisite.

E Fu Allora... is a rather nondescript instrumental that mainly features jangling guitar and sax, although Brozzetti does impress with a sobbing fuzzed guitar solo. After its subdued intro, the tempo of Nosce Te Ipsum picks up with some lovely interplay between violin, organ, wah wah guitar and a hint of sax. Another stop-start section leads into some heavy riffing, then a heavily syncopated part.

Corale Per Messa Da Requiem witnesses a return to the chamber atmosphere from the beginning of the album. This is an elegiac choral piece that reflects the sorrowful mood of the subject. Epilogo then closes the album as it had started, the final notes being a beautiful ritardando that fades in the wind.

If you are a fan of RPI but don't have this in your collection I would urge you to buy a copy of this incredible album at the earliest opportunity. For those who only have a passing interest in Italian prog I would still recommend it highly.

Report this review (#261917)
Posted Thursday, January 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Whether it's strictly prog or simply just great music, sometimes you hear something the very first time and know immediately that you'll want to hear it again many, many times, and that you'll be able to appreciate it probably for the rest of your life. These are not acquired tastes or "growers"--though of course you're appreciation can increase over time!--but instead great pieces that you can sit back and enjoy on many levels from the first spin.

This is one of those albums.

The key factor here is how great the production is: you can hear the subtle vibrato of each string and guitar note, and the vocal harmonies ring so clear that in terms of production it seems that Discesa can hardly be considered the same genre as its predecessors. Musically and compositionally, on the other hand, Il Bacio are clearly on par with the best that Italian prog has to offer. What the band may lack in pure creativity is more than made up for by a wonderful, often achingly beautiful, sound.

What sets this band apart most are the non-rock parts, which prominently open and close the album, in which the band channels the best of Italian music (and not just prog). Light percussion, some violin and flute countermelodies, some nice piano to keep the tempo brisk, and sparse but effective vocals: it doesn't seem that complicated, but I've rarely heard it sound more beautiful than it does here. Other highlights for me include the pensive (and again beautiful, particularly with the haunting 12 string) Meloncholia, and the playful Nosce te Ipsum.

Maybe in 10 years I'll see this as a masterpiece, but for now I view it as a very solid excellent addition to any music collection. Things are just a bit too inconsistent toward the middle, and quality of the rockier sections just a bit too inconsistent, for me to call it a masterpiece, but it sure it close. I very much look forward to investing in future work by the band.

Report this review (#286208)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4-1/2 stars. I really look forward to this band's next release. I don't consider this album to be quite a masterpiece, but I think this band is capable of reaching even higher heights, and the highs here are pretty impressive. If there's a weakness, it's that the metal-ish moments on this album don't really mesh well with the more classic prog rock feel. This album reminds me a lot of what an Italian Camel might sound like; or perhaps more accurately, an Italian Asia Minor.

I love the first 2 tracks, and my favorite has to be "Melencolia" and the instrumental passages that follow (tracks 8 to 12).

Bring on the next album, I can hardly wait!

Report this review (#346560)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Review originally posted at The

Progressive rock from Italy is alive and as good as ever!

One of my favorite (if not my favorite) countries regarding progressive rock has to be Italy, I love their style, their language, their theatrical music, that unique sound they produce, well, a lot of things, and I really love how their scene is alive and kicking asses with old and new bands, creating a fantastic combo. One of the bands that lately has come to the air, and caught lot of attention is Il Bacio della Medusa, and especially this album entitled "Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante".

Released on 2008, the album has been praised by the prog rock fans, and when you listen to it, you understand why. It is so refreshing that newer bands offer such great, complex, challenging albums utilizing elements of the old RPI school with the addition of newer sounds, an extraordinary combination. This album consists on twelve tracks which together make 55 minutes of excellent music.

It kicks off with "Preludio: Il Trapasso" a track that starts slowly with some wind noises which then lead to the entrance of piano, flute, voice, violin and other instruments. The sound is pretty charm and gentle, beautiful since the beginning. Next to it is "Confessione d'un amante" which continues with that gentle sound of piano and strings. When the vocals enter the music makes a slight change, so one can be aware that this is a different track. The voice is also beautiful, and accompanied by those instruments, believe me, a wonderful atmosphere is created. There is some nostalgia in this track and moments where you can lie down in your bed and let the music do the rest.

But surprise, you are still in that gentle mood when all of a sudden the music changes, so you are now in the third track entitled "La bestia e il delirio", a rockier piece with great keyboard work on it, a constant and excellent drumming and then some nice guitar solos. I imagine some kind of pursuit while listening to this song (to the rockier part of it), because after a couple of minutes it changes again, creating a pastoral mood with flute and some slaps that start slow but gradually turns faster. This is a fascinating and adventurous instrumental track.

"Recitativo" is a nice piece. If I follow the story I create on my mind, in this track seems that things have calm down a little bit, and the main character of the story is walking carefully and seeing what is around him. The music keeps that tension while a voice is narrating something (shame on me I can't fully understand Italian). This track leads to "Ricordi del Supplizio" that truly reminds me to some 70s bands that surely inspired this group. The guitars are rockier again, the keyboard sound stronger and the vocals raw but great, there is also a cool flute adding its grain of sand all over the track.

After that heavier track, once again that pastoral and charming sound returns at the beginning of "Nostalgia, pentimento e rabbia". This very interesting song gradually progresses; while the seconds pass you will identify new musical elements on it. The flute is pretty important again, it is easy to recognize what it is playing and difficult to take it off your head. At the final part, that repetitive rhythm is also made by guitars, not only by the flute, which is great.

Now attention, because when you listen to a saxophone then you'll realize it is a new track called "Sudorazione a freddo sotto il chiaro di luna". It is full of cadence first and then a sensation of leadership and power appears for a minute, before it calms down. A new passage appears with acoustic guitar and soft dreamy music. However, the song changes again and again, which is pretty interesting due to the richness of sounds, colors and textures it shares.

"Melencolia" as the name suggests, it has to be a calm song with a gentle sound. The song is beautiful, though I have to recognize it is not one of my favorite pieces. However, you can feel relaxed and thoughtful while listening to it. That flute sound at the end is simply hypnotic. When that flute stops, you are now on "E fu allora". The sax returns here and creates that charismatic (even sensual) sound. Later it is alternate with guitar solos, and together take the leadership of the song.

So, that was an instrumental track, when vocals appear it is a new one, entitled "Nosce te ipsum". This track has hypnotic keyboard sound, while a disarming violin is playing. It also has great time and tempo changes that help building different structures gathered into only one, I hope you understand what I mean. This track brings again to my memory to some older bands, if you don't know you are listening to Il Bacio, then you might believe a 70s band is playing.

"Corale per messa da requiem" sounds actually as a requiem, as the name suggests. The violin is very delicate and creates a beautiful atmosphere accompanied by the piano and some choral voices. What an extraordinary piece, the end is near, I can feel it, and that, along with the music moves me a lot, that it even brought me to tears. Now we are in the final track, "Epilogo della discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante", a short instrumental piece that follows the same path as the previous track. A beautiful end for this beautiful album!

This album is highly recommendable for any progressive rock fan, and especially for those who love the scene from Italy. My grade, five stars!

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#409885)
Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars An incredibly impressive second album from Il Bacio Della Medusa which sounds like a lost gem from the 1970s - except the way it mashes up different styles from then in a way they weren't ever quite mashed up before also makes it feel reasonably new. At points steeped in the prog tradition of Jethro Tull, PFM and Banco, at other points rocking the hell out with some pure hard rock riffs, at other points getting scary and martial, the album's songs blend together into a compelling suite which keeps me gripped from beginning to end. Definitely one to watch, this band - I'll certainly be looking to hear their other material.
Report this review (#772467)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The second album of this wonderful Italian progressive rock group holds yet stronger theme album architecture, and develops the elements from their debut album to more sophisticated directions. A fusion of European classical music, psychedelic heavy rock music of 60's/70's, traditional acoustic folk music and passionate singing in Italian tradition unite as outstanding recording. When comparing to their first album, most notably this album is directed for meditative listening session from its beginning to end in one stance, as like the previous record allowed some highlight cuts as separate listening based on the moods of the listener. Orientation towards the philosophies of classical music and arts have certainly been more emphasized here than earlier. The operatic mellow moments reach unbelievable celestial heights, and more sinister rock spheres are inhibited by analogue synths and authentic vintage bluesy rhythm rollers. The symphonic rock details are arranged with exceptional taste and proving the academic quality in musicianship. The music flowing without much song transition gaps forced me to sit through the album for several nights of listening, and though I have not listened much to symphonic music currently, the kiss of this medusa is certainly very addictive. From the sequences of this symphony, "Ricordi del supplizio" shimmering with hazy hippie guitar grooves and alluring flute lines is maybe my own favorite among the whole set. Really warmly recommended for anybody interested of thoughtful and catchy rock operas.
Report this review (#788785)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Il Bacio della Medusa is one of the most popular italian bands from prog rock realm with 3 albums released so far. Discesa agl'inferi d'un giovane amante is their second offer from 2008. This album got a lot of big aplauses world wide, is considered one of the masterpieces of our days, but really to me was an only fair good album, nothing more, nothing less. When I first listen to this release I said what the heck, this sound like it was released in 1973 or around that period not in 2008. Vintage symphonic prog is all about here, ok is well played , typical for italian school with romantic passages with a folkish atmosphere combined with more edgy ones, but all sounds very familiar to my ears. No ground breaking arrangements, only ok . So, no particular pieces is in front, all has same value, all are good but far from masterpiece status as many saw in this release, I know many italian symphonic prog bands that are far more intresting. 3 stars.
Report this review (#941078)
Posted Monday, April 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wonderful RPI! This is one of the best symphonic prog rock albums that I have heard in years. The progression is on the right place, they know how to change the mood of their music, and how! Discesa Agl'inferi D'un Giovane Amante is the second album from Il Bacio Della Medusa, released in 2008. The first time I saw the album, it captivates me by the cover art. The dark environment is really great. The concept of the album is about a man with his women in hell and his feelings. The album includes macabre laughter and overlapping whispers sometimes, but don't be afraid, the darkness of the music is very well balanced with the beautiful classical and folk songwriting.

The 3:44' minutes Preludio has a beautiful symphony by piano, violin, flute and vocals. The symphony reaches the second track, Confessione D'un Amante, the vocal and piano melodies are pretty good. The progression goes on falling into La Bestia Ed Il Delirio, where the drummer awakes. The flute at the beggining of the track reminds me of Tull dark passages, like A Passion Play. The organ solo with the background clean rhythm guitars is awesome. At the middle of the track, you will find a song in the italian typical folk way, and for real, it reminds me of a greek old song. The second half of the track features another organ and keys solo, with funky groovin guitar bases. And a short guitar solo after an evil laughter. The fourth track has infernal narrations. And the symphonic instrumental behind carries a heavy atmosphere, slowly turning into a prog folk. The Tullish prog becomes definitive at Ricordi Del Supplisio, very funny flute work, and the organ is beautiful. Well, any hammond organ or keys solo is fanservice made exactly for me, since I drown into prog in itself after some keith emerson video tapes. At Nostalgia, Pentimento e Rabbia, Cecchini really sings with his soul. Some evil riffs here. A good guitar solo too, I like when the guitar riff fuses with the flute. Sudorazione A Freddo Sotto Il Chiaro Di Luna starts as a stylish jazzy blues, where the first highlights are the excellent drums and bass. So the organ strikes again until the song slow down beautifully. The calm flute and clean guitar solo is deep and cool. The ending of this track seems to be a shapeshifter, between slow and fast rock. But the slow rock wins, starting Melancolia, an acoustic mellow, brilliant and atmospheric track. I like the ending of this one, with that keys and percursion. The following track, E Fu Allora Che Dalle Fiamme Mi Sorprese Una Calda Brezza Celeste (wow, that's a huge track title), it's calm and features some fine sax playing. The grand finale, the peak, is Nosce Te Ipsum: La Bestia Ringhia In Noi, the most progressive track of the album, and my favorite one! After te calm intro, some tribal drums advertises the musical changes. The keys, guitar and sax, and all the rest, are all working together here. The cool tempo changes and the organ leading an apocalypse seems the best passage of the album. The freak ending riff of the track rules. So we have two closing tracks, Corale Per Messa Da Requiem and Epilogo: Conclusione Della Discesa Agl'inferi D'un Giovane Amante. Both track are working like the first twin symphonic tracks.

Reccomended to everyone into symphonic, folk prog or RPI.

Report this review (#1005699)
Posted Friday, July 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars A man and a woman go to hell and they are reflecting about their deeds, the reasons of why they as a couple are there. This is what I understood from the album, I don't speak italian but a little bit got this idea, if it's not, pardon me, this what the titles of the track and the music made me figure out. A perfect album from beginning to end, with excellent changes of mood from one song to the other, wonderful instrumentation all the way through, and of course maintaining all the classic elements of italian progressive music: the use of flute, keyboards, violins, acoustic guitars and a powerful bass guitar. This album is worthy to be considered among the best albums in progressive rock in history!
Report this review (#1034809)
Posted Saturday, September 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This may not be Il Bacio della Medusa's latest release, but nevertheless it remains their best yet as far as I'm concerned. Granted, "Discesa Agl'Inferi D'Un Giovane Amante" isn't the RPI album I've been playing extensively lately (that privilege being awarded for now to Faveravola, Unreal City, Logos and Il Cerchio d'Oro albums), but that doesn't undermine in no way its qualities. On this particular album, IBDM is S. Cecchini (vocals & choirs, 6 & 12 strings acoustic guitars, classical guitar, tenor sax), S. Brozzetti (electric guitar), F. Caprai (bass), D. Petrini (drums, organ, keys, piano, vibraphone, percussion), E. Morelli (flute, piccolo) and D. Rinchi (violin, viola). My understanding of Italian being quite limited to say the least, I can only suggest that the title of the album could be translated as "A Young Lover's Descent Into Hell" (but then, I wouldn't bet that this translation is foolproof). That said, as the liner notes and the booklet are written solely in Italian, it would be most risky on my part to even hint at the translation of the lyrics and titles of the pieces. And I regret not being able to read Italian, since the centerfold of the booklet presents a long article penned by a certain M. Sannella, in which some famous names pop out, such as Keith Tippett, David Sinclair, Caravan, Egg, Soft Machine, (Robert) Wyatt and (Daevid) Allen, (Ian) Anderson and Bill MacCormick ; I presume it was written to deliver a (favorable and extensive) description from the outside of the musical influences and works of Il Bacio della Medusa.

The album is divided into 12 pieces (about 56 min total time), half of them being instrumental and amounting to almost 25 min. I'm pointing that out to emphasize the fact that even if there are six songs on the album, some with extensive lyrics, the music always takes the lion's share. So, whatever the story or whether you understand Italian or not, this album focuses mainly on the music. Which is good news by any standards. Also, since every piece is meshed seamlessly into the next one (if there's a gap, it's so minute that it's hardly noticeable), the album sounds more like a unique 56 min long track. Now, the funny thing about some tracks, especially the instrumental ones, is that their titles are about has long as their respective length, the ex ćquo winners being "E fu allora che aalle Fiamme mi sorprese una calda Brezza Celeste" and "Epilogo : Conclusione della Discesa agl'Inferi d'un Giovane Amante", with three runner-ups following close behind. In the late '60s and early '70s, some bands did the same thing, among them Banco, Caravan, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Yes, etc. Influences work their way through in quite mysterious fashions !

"Preludio : Il Trapasso" (3:44) is an almost pastoral or medieval evocation of death, with a certain lushness underlined by emotional vocals given depth and grandeur, when a brief choir- like stint kicks in. One might wish (or fancy) that death was as serene a thing as this track seems to suggest it is...

"Confessione d'un Amante" (3:04) creates a very classical chamber music-like atmosphere at first, then the singer comes in, sounding quite dramatic or pathetic, while again choir-like synths rise in the background.

"La Bestia ed il Delirio" (5:09) is faster-paced than the preceding tracks, but don't expect it to propoel you to the moon. It kicks in, but mildly, the organ beginning its swirling while drums follow staccato. Then, as is often the case in RPI, comes the unmistakable « circus-like » phase (it will be back a bit later on) mixing traditional melody and rythm with a Fellini-esque trait that is quite appealing, complete with sardonic laughter, always on the keys, before the tempo picks up speed. But the accelerating impression is somewhat muffled by the organ lead. Which is something that will come up in other pieces, as if IBDM couldn't let go for once and reach for the stars (why would descending into hell preclude aiming for the highest achievable goal, whatever that goal may be ?...).

"Recitativo : Č nel buio che risplendono le stelle" (3:59) Martial intro with marching drums, but also sinuous keys as if some Dark Lord was making its entry. The narration is a bit nasal, but without much theatrics, or declamatory tones, except towards the end. Heavy pounding beat, but still with that martial tone, bringing forward a sense of menace, if not inescapable doom.

"Ricordi del Supplizio" (6:27) rocks from the start : Camel mixed-up with some Jethro Tull from the "Benefit"-era. The singer is much more high-pitched on this one (he will be harsher, raspier later on). There is a duet/duel between flute and keys, which is quite a feat/feast. This track really sounds like some rock piece of the '70s. There are even some jazz-rock tones reminiscent of Brian Auger's Oblivion Express days.

"Nostalgia pentimento e Rabbia" (6:58) Very medieval sounding start, then the band moves in with flute as leader. But there's no frenzy here, it's rather mid-tempo (accelerating in the latter part of the song) with a light touch of drama before vocals pitch in. Again, there's a definite Tull-like atmosphere prevailing throughout.

"Sudorazione a Fredda sotto il Chiaro di Luna" (6:03) starts like a rocking piece with swirling keys, fuzzy guitars, coming suddenly to a stop for a complete serene soundscape, that evolves into a melody driven by keys and bass and guitar. Then there's another lull with spacey sound and sound samplings ŕ la Pink Floyd, until the bass and guitar fire all things up again. Keys pick up and lead the way, but the climax seems out of reach and we're back to a slower and heavier tempo.

"Melencolia" (5:40) starts slowly, in very evocative way, with a delicate Mid-Eastern touch, before the voice gets in, which is joined later on by a choir-like background. The singer is at his best here. There is an overall mood, nurtured by a slow but articulate folk beat, that brings to mind Magna Carta's "Lord Of The Ages".

"E fu allora che dalle Fiamme mi sorprese una calda Brezza Celeste" (3:21) starts with guitar and sax over a slow drum beat, before the keys move in. It's a slow crescendo that takes its time to build up, the sax providing the incentive to go on, but to no avail, because the tempo decreases before having reached the end of the ramp.

"Nosce Te Ipsum : la Bestia ringhia in noi" (5:28) Violin and piano at first, before speeding up with keys leading the way. Most up-beat track of the album. Powerful, yet reined in somewhat. It's as if IBDM were not confident they could pull it out anyways if they were to loosen a bit their (too ?) tight grip on the musical structure. Lots of different time signatures in this one.

"Corale per 'Messa da Requiem" (3:54) More like a suave nostalgic gypsy waltz of sort, with strings and keys, and choir. The crescendo at the end is quite dramatic, offering an Italian finale that's quite post-Romantic in flavor.

"Epilogo : Conclusione della Discesa agl'Inferi d'un Giovane Amante" (1:48) is a concise mix of medieval, folk, gypsy and traditional ballad, with violin and piano? ending with a sort of spacey whisper.

All in all, "Discesa Agl'Inferi D'Un Giovane Amante" is pure RPI. But, in this particulat case, purity isn't synonymous with excellence. To be a masterpiece, the vocals would have needed someone with a better voice throughout ; and the production would have gotten rid of some muffled tones ; and the music would have benefited from a more rigorous structure that would have led the tracks to a definite "breaking point", instead of backtracking without reaching any significant musical "level" within most of the pieces, whether songs or instrumentals. In other words, this is no masterpiece (and not even close to being one). Now, don't let me be misunderstood, as the song goes, this album is good and worthy of any Prog collection, but its merits do not excede that of a good RPI album. Period.

3.5 kisses? rounded down to 3, in view of what it is vs what it could have been (easily or not).

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Posted Sunday, March 15, 2015 | Review Permalink

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