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Il Cerchio d'Oro - Il Viaggio Di Colombo CD (album) cover

IL VIAGGIO DI COLOMBO

Il Cerchio d'Oro

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars From the old world to the new

Born in Savona in 1974, Il Cerchio d'Oro were never able to release an album in the '70s but did manage some singles. Over the years there would be two compilation releases which featured these singles, unreleased album tracks, and cover songs. Some of the band members participated in other groups and projects. But it was not until the band reformed in 2006 (with original members) that this group finally were able to create a proper album. "The Voyage of Columbus" is a conceptual album that proves it was worth the wait. This music is a celebration of everything many fans of progressive rock seek and only occasionally find. It is heartfelt and clearly the product of lives spent in pursuit of a certain "vision." The band's members include keyboardist Franco Piccolini, drummer Gino Terribile, bassist Giuseppe Terribile, and guitarists Piuccio Pradal and Roberto Giordana, with vocals handled by everyone it appears.

As you can decipher from the album title and gorgeous cover art this album uses the story of Columbus as a starting point for the various themes. Voyage is yet another example of Italy's continued dominance in the field of romantic and earthy symphonic progressive rock with some influence of neo-prog. Here the sound is a mixture of retro guitar and both retro/modern keyboard-based symph with easy-going Italian vocals and not a ton of extra frills. The sound and production are modernized of course but the sound here is more sympathetic to the classic sound than other new Italian band shoot for. They are also less sharp-edged heavy than the new Pandora or Senza Nome albums I recently reviewed which contained some clear metal influence in the riffing-here the electric guitar sound is a bit softer and dreamier, though still able to rock for sure. This album also has a very homespun feel to me that reminds me a lot of the French band Emeraude and their album "Geoffroy." A certain warmth and relaxed feeling is present in the proceedings which in some part may come from the years the band have known each other and their desire to make this a more personal, intimate statement. To this end even the backing vocals are provided by the "family and friends choir" which is exactly what it says it is-and they're great! At first the vocals and percussion reminded me a bit of Corte dei Miracoli but there is more guitar here. The tracks represent the "sailing" theme well with creaking boat sound effects and certain guitar/keyboard parts that actually "sound" like waves, choppy waters, mixed with whistled shanties and the sounds of the sea. The more I listen to this album the more impressed I become with the persistent song construction, melodies, and storytelling feel. It moves from dreaming to leave the old world, to the stories of the sailors and their anxieties about being away from home, to the desperation of never knowing if you'll walk on land again, to the finish line where Columbus is questioned: "Columbus, whatever have you done? A discovery which you will never know.the whole world now will soon change." One of the drawings appears to show the sailors looking with disdain at the natives who offer gifts of welcome, while other sailors plant a cross in the soil behind them. Back to the music: It opens so well with "Ouverture" majestically laying down synth and piano, the melody having feelings of anticipation as leaving home surely would. The centerpiece of the album is the trio of longer songs called "3 Sailors/Yesterday, Today/Noisy Silence of the Sea." The first two are multi-part suites with carefully built sections. Naturally "3 Sailors" tells the stories and thoughts of three different sailors and there is some impressive guitar work. "Yesterday" gets into the mind games that endless waiting at sea can have on the men, set to nice dual leads and strong bass, then to some soft and pastoral moments. "Noisy Silence of the Sea" is working horse symphonic with the band constantly working every run, strong keyboard sections with both electric and acoustic guitars coming and going, and tireless grooving rhythms. The lead guitar sound during the many solos is somewhere in the Gilmour universe but on the rock side, with the addition of synths and good vocals with harmonies. There are also some nice folkish touches like "Preghiera al Vento" with acoustic and piano. There are beautiful strings (or synth strings) in "Cercando" leading to a wonderfully emotional "sunset" kind of guitar solo, slow and dreamy. It is all so tremendously satisfying taken in as a whole and it is difficult to relay the moods of the music in these words. I can only say that fans of classic oriented prog with a bent towards historic themes should be thrilled with the results.

This is another very strong album that is going to appeal to fans of classic Italian prog, it's a very serious effort with almost no weakness. Even the artwork and packaging was well-executed, with lovely themed images and Italian lyrics also provided in a translated form for English readers. Another plus is that the two bonus tracks (from 1977) are really quite good, in fact I love their sentimental, sweet, slow piano. They might be too sweet for some, but compared to what often passes for "bonus tracks" these are awesome. Black Widow Records is on a roll of late and I can't thank them enough for making the effort to bring Il Cerchio to the growing legions of Italian prog fanatics.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#203838)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars It's not very common in my reviews, but I'll start at the end. The album Il Viaggio Di Colombo (2008) marks the return of the Italian Il Cerchio d'Oro and this release have included as a bonus the single released by the band in 1977. Are:

- Quattro Mura

Interesting and quiet melancholy ballad, led by the piano. An interessant track, but nothing more.

- Future Prossimo

The second track from the single shows the band introduced by the guitar and is also a ballad. I know that the Italian Progressive Rock has always been known to be melancholy, but these two tracks there is nothing special. Worth just for the historical record of the band.

Let the album itself begins, which is conceptual and tells the story of Columbus and his greatest discovery, America. According to Wikipedia - Christopher Columbus (Genoa 1437/1448 - Valladolid, May 20, 1506) was a navigator and explorer Europe, responsible for leading the fleet reached America on 12 October 1492, under the orders of the Catholic Kings Spain. Embarked on its journey across the Atlantic Ocean with the aim of reaching India, and in fact discovered the Caribbean islands (Antilles) and, later, the Gulf of Mexico in Central America.

01. Ouverture

Symphonic, as expected. The key command the open of the album. Columbus will finally go after new lands.

02. Sognando La Meta

The band has a young air and the guitar of Roberto Giordana and Giuseppe Terrible bass are good highlights. At the moment the voice appears as a accompany to the guitar and you cannot say for sure who is the voice as Gino Terrible (drums), Giuseppe Terrible (bass) and Piuccio Sparrow (guitar) are credited in the booklet as singers, however, I believe that the voice's come from Piuccio, but all sing, which makes vocals very interesting.

03. Colombo

The first part of the voyage of Columbus begins. Nice introduction with the Giuseppe bass, he uses a good tone by the way, I am not surprised when I see a picture of he with a Rickenbacker in the CD booklet, which by the way, is beautiful, the Black Widow is to be congratulated, their digipacks are beautiful. I would enjoy and thank you for the partnership with my website (www.progshine.com). Enjoy and visit the Italian label (www.blackwidow.it).

04. I Tre Marinai

In a moment of rest the boat port and on board, comes 3 sailors and an acoustic guitar. Interesting way to put a point of view within a story, the 3 sailors tell their life stories. But I must admit that the sound of drums from Gino bothers me. The central riff of the song is great, weather and gloomy. I liked the final whistle too.

05. Ieri, Ogni, Ancora Niente

After a month of travel, illness and disappointment began to corrupt the crew. The introduction in authentic style of Gentle Giant, it's only vocal, and it is fantastic! Long time didn't hear something in that style, since the great Spock's Beard. After the 1st verse of the song a bass line full of rithym invades the speakers and it is the basis for the keyboard and guitar solos. And the Italian language still beautiful in the prog.

06. Il Silenzio Del Mare Rumoroso

A broken rhythm is the basis for Colombo whines. His verses are sad, as if there is no more hope in their journey. In the second half of the song everything stops and only the atmosphere of loneliness is heard, the band knew how to capture very well the history in this section. Then come back the original melody, but this time in choir, very good.

07. Preghiera Al Vento

Colombo, exhausted, recourse to God, praying to the wind so that it fills the sails of the boat and he could fly over the sea. A acoustic ballad. I thought the guitars, though well placed, were deleted 'in the final mix of the song.

08. Tre Giorni (L'Ammutinamento)

Not having found anything yet on your trip, the sailors come to the limit and the riot is about to happen. Columbus then asks for 3 days and then the crew would return home if nothing happened, Columbus then wins those 3 days.

09. Tierra! Tierra!

In the last day of the journey of Columbus, they found new lands. The second part of the music is interesting, but the guitar is weak, despite the good end of the riff the sound lack of personality.

10. Surrounding l'Approdo

Good keyboard work, Piccolini Franco did a great job in this song, and this time the guitar of Roberto sounds nice.

11. Conclusione (Il Ritorno)

Columbus got what he wanted. However, at the time of return the questions stay on his head, what will happen in the future? Good closing track where the short lyric is repeated to infinity. And so ends Il Viaggio Di Colombo.

This is the 'first' album of Italian Il Cerchio d'Oro since his return and is welcome, the compositions are great and the album is cohesive, but one thing bothered me, the sounds of the instruments. Except for the low all other instruments had weak moments as well, some sounds were erroneously selected by the musicians. But it can be easily improved live and also the next record. But one thing should be strengthened, the digipack is beautiful, congratulations to the Black Widow and the band.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#213243)
Posted Saturday, May 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Given the band's (and their record label's) Ligurian origins, it should not come as a surprise that Il Cerchio d'Oro's debut album is centred around the figure of Cristoforo Colombo, the Genoese adventurer (whose expedition was financed by the Spanish Crown) that discovered the New World while looking for 'the Indies'. Interestingly, though, the album is not concerned with the actual discovery, but rather with the hopes and fears of the main characters during the journey, seen as a metaphor for human life. This makes "Il Viaggio di Colombo" a rather different beast than the typical fantasy- or sci-fi-based concept albums that prog bands seem to churn out with alarming regularity.

The release of "Il Viaggio di Colombo" was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2008 for lovers of Italian progressive rock, an unexpected gift from a band who seemed to have been one of the many casualties of the late Seventies' decline of interest in prog. The lavish package, illustrated with original woodcuts and endearingly naďve sketches, features a synopsis of the whole story, as well as English translations of the lyrics - a real bonus to non-Italian speakers, allowing them to connect with the story. Indeed, the album is meant to be enjoyed as a complete experience: the narrative (mostly told from Colombo's point of view) is every bit as important as the music, which blends the lush sounds of vintage prog with folksy overtones, as well as the pervasive influence of the Italian canzone. Even if none of the band members are more than adequate singers, their skilful, expressive use of vocal harmonies contributes to engaging the listener in the development of the story.

As in the best concept albums, the songs show a strong connection, parts of a bigger whole rather than separate entities. Opening with the romantic, wistful piano melody of "Ouverture", the album quickly gains momentum as the story develops. The largely mellow, Pink Floyd-inspired "Sognando la Meta" is followed by Colombo, a slice of hard-rocking, guitar- and organ-driven heavy prog very much in the Deep Purple mould. The core of the album, however, lies in a remarkably gripping sequence of three songs, moving from the hopeful mood of "I Tre Marinai" - a melodic, piano- and guitar-led piece in which three members of the crew illustrate their own reasons for embarking on the voyage - to the slowly mounting tension of the jazzy "Ieri, Oggi, Ancora Niente", with its lush tapestry of keyboards conjuring the endless, unchanging expanse of the sea, and finally "Il Silenzio Rumoroso del Mare" (possibly the real highlight of the album), led by a haunting piano riff and featuring some compelling synth and guitar parts. After the short respite provided by the poignant "Preghiera al Vento", the tense, ominous atmosphere of Tre Giorni (L'Ammutinamento) is aptly conveyed by some powerful guitar riffing and dynamic piano - until the almost explosive release of the anthemic "Tierra! Tierra!". The tale ends with the gentle instrumental "Cercando l'Approdo", and then the catchy "Conclusione (Il Ritorno)", in which the band members are joined by a choir of friends and family members, celebrating the historic discovery with suitable (though somewhat naďve) enthusiasm.

The two bonus tracks tacked at the end of the CD version, while offering some insight on Il Cerchio d'Oro's activity prior to their disbanding, are definitely not as interesting as the main body of the album. Rather similar to each other, they are both melodic, mid-paced efforts that at times sound a little bit too close to prog-influenced, melodic pop bands such as I Pooh. On the whole, I feel that their absence would not have been really detrimental to the album.

Even if not exactly innovative, "Il Viaggio di Colombo" comes across as a mature, well-crafted album that manages to capture the listener's attention through its skilful use of melody and painstaking build-up of emotions. This is essential listening for all lovers of vintage Italian prog, in the hope that the band will stay together to produce more quality music.

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Send comments to Raff (BETA) | Report this review (#258956)
Posted Saturday, January 02, 2010 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Il Cerchio d'Oro are an Italian prog band from Savona, formed during the seventies, when they could release some singles but had not the chance to release a full length album. The band reunited in 2006 with a line up featuring veterans Franco Piccolini (piano, organ, keyboards, backing vocals), Gino Terribile (drums, percussion, vocals), Giuseppe Terribile (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), Piuccio Pradal (acoustic guitar, vocals) and Roberto Giordana (electric guitar, backing vocals). In 2008 they released what should be considered their real debut album for the independent label Black Widow. It's a concept album inspired by the character of Christopher Columbus, where the aim of music and lyrics is to tell the story of a difficult journey full of hopes, deceptions, disappointments and fears that is also a metaphor of life where often the goal is a just new starting point for another journey. The overall sound of Il Cerchio d'Oro is clearly inspired by bands like Le Orme, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and New Trolls (especially in the vocal parts), but the result is very good and the song-writing is not too derivative.

The dreamy instrumental opener "Ouverture" set the musical atmosphere and leads to the beautiful and melancholic "Sognando la meta" (Dreaming the goal). The contrast between electric guitar and organ underline doubts and fears in front of an uncertain impending future. After many efforts Columbus is going to set off and dreams of his goal... "Now I know, I'll make it / I must believe in the dream / I'm alone in the night, a thought startles me / I already see only an image in my mind / And the goal is nearer...".

On "Colombo" (Columbus) the rhythm takes off. In Italian Colombo means pigeon and it's ironic that a sailor has the same name of a bird. Columbus reflects on this fact and would like to be able of flying... "What an envy for the wings of the seagulls / That can exploit every wind... Sometimes during the night I dream my ships / With great wings instead of cannons / Sailing over unknown lands like kites...".

"I tre marinai" (The three sailors) begins with the sound of the waves and of an acoustic guitar, then vocals soar. It's a reflexive and melancholic ballad. Three sailors talk about the reasons who pushed them to embark in this dangerous journey. The first one was without money and without women and now has nothing to lose, the second one lost his wife and children and now tries to forget his troubles while for the third one the most important thing in life is drinking wine in good company... "Let's keep on imagining that life can change / But let's not get our hopes up / The viceroy will make no gifts...".

"Ieri, oggi, ancora niente" (Yesterday, tomorrow, nothing yet) is a complex track featuring an intro with vocals a cappella and many changes of rhythm and mood. After one moth of sailing no land to the horizon yet. Hopes, disappointments, illusions and disillusions turn the mood up and down...

"Il silenzio rumoroso del mare" (The noisy silence of the sea) is tense and haunting. It's a complex track where music storms and suddenly calm down, broken by short and delicate melodic passages before take off again... "I spend all my nights looking through the stars / Listening to the creaking of my ships... I'm losing my excitement and I'm beginning to despair... I feel that there's nobody on board that I can trust / It's more and more difficult to hope in the noisy silence of the sea...".

"Preghiera al vento" (Prayer to the wind) is a short and simple acoustic track that reminds of Lucio Battisti, especially the vocals. It's a kind of pagan invocation to the wind... "Oh wind! At lest you, stay by my side...".

"Tre giorni (L'ammutinamento)" (Three days ? The mutiny) starts in an aggressive way, with electric guitar and rhythm section in the forefront, then the fury stops giving way to a more reflexive part... The rage of the crew grows but the captain manages to restore the calm promising that if they will not find the land in three days they will turn back... "I have promised them three days and they have agreed / Now it's my time, time of bets...".

"Tierra! Tierra!" (Land! Land!) is a desperate ride on the wings of hope while time is running short. After a fiery beginning rhythm slows down, time stands still... Suddenly enthusiastic shouts rise and the land appears on the horizon... "Land! Land! Treasure lightened by the stars / A thrill passes through my skin / The same thrill that makes the sailors shout / Land! Land! My God, forgive me if I doubted / Thanks for this joy you gave me / I know you are right and you never deceive me...".

"Cercando l'approdo" (Looking for the landing) is a beautiful instrumental. Tension melts and a calm melody veils the horizon leading to an happy end... On "Conclusione (Il ritorno)" (Conclusion ? The return) joyful acoustic guitar chords and relaxed melodic vocals greet the come back and the end of the journey. But Columbus is not aware of the importance of his discovery and of its consequences... "The whole world is going to change now / New horizons for the humankind...".

The album features also two nice bonus tracks, the two sides of a 1977 single, "Quattro mura" (Four walls) and "Futuro prossimo" (Next future). It's strange but these song do not sound old at all and they perfectly fit the mood and the atmosphere of this work... "It's beautiful your colour / It recalls the sea of lost times / I don't care if you don't like me / I can't die hoping to come to life again and be better than now...".

On the whole "Il viaggio di Colombo" is a very good album and I'm sure that it could be an excellent addition to the collection of every Italianprog lover.

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#276752)
Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars Italian band Il Cerchio d'Oro originally formed in 1974 but subsequently disbanded in 1980 due to the general loss of interest in prog around that time. They had been unable to get a recording deal and therefore never released an album, although they did finally manage to put out a few singles during the closing years of the decade. The band reformed with original members in 2006 and two years later released their first full-length recording, the concept album Il Viaggio di Colombo. Here the story of Columbus' famed voyage of discovery is used as an analogy to illustrate one's journey of self-discovery.

The music here is very much in the style and spirit of the classic bands of the 1970s. There are many fine guitar and keyboard exchanges and all five members of the band sing, which makes for some nice variety in the vocals department. Il Cerchio d'Oro originally got together as a trio and fellow Italians Le Orme are an obvious influence, probably most evident on songs like the keyboards-led IL SILENZIO RUMOROSO DEL MARE and PREGHIERA AL VENTO.

They also admit to having been influenced by Pink Floyd and you can hear this in the spacey guitar and sustained organ of SOGNANDO LA META and CERCANDO L'APPRODO. These guys can rock as well though, and on LERI, OGGI, ANCORA NIENTE they sound a bit like Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep thanks to the gravel-toned organ and wah wah guitar. In fact one other track, COLOMBO, sounds remarkably akin to the latter's ''Gypsy''. Having said all that, they really do have their own sound so they shouldn't be thought of as clones.

This is another excellent album that seems to have slipped under the radar as it only has a tiny handful of reviews on the site. It gets better with every spin and it's rounded off with a couple of bonus tracks from 1977 that, although a bit commercial, aren't at all bad. One final word on the excellent packaging... not only does the digipack contain some lovely period artwork and full lyrics, it goes the extra mile and provides English translations of the lyrics. Thoughtful.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#291229)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars There is not much I can and want to add to the other reviews, made by the RPI experts here in ProgArchives. But as a non-expert on RPI, I will just write some words about this album.

This is the ultimate album (so far) from a band who started up in the 1970s, but who did not unleash their full potential before the release of this album. Although this album was released two years ago, the sound is very much 1970s RPI. File this album under RPI's 1970s albums.

The sound is vintage with moog, hammonds and guitars. Osanna and Biglietto is two good reference points. The vocals is excellent too. My gripes is the lack of some really great songs here. The album is ticking along nicely and the material is good throughout. But it never rises above "nice listening". I like this album for it's vintage sound, but less for the songs. Still, it is worth considering for those of us into RPI.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#295577)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars There's a pretty cool story behind this Italian band as they've been around since 1974 but they just weren't able to release an album until this one in 2008.They did release a couple of singles in 1977 which are included here as bonus tracks.The surprising thing when you listen to these two singles is that they pretty much sound the same as the album recorded 30 years later. Once again a thankyou to Finnforest who's review moved me to purchase this record. I'm in love with the sound of this band I really am.The vocals are romantic and in Italian and the whole album has that vintage vibe that just draws me in.

"Ouverture" opens with piano and synths, just a beautiful sound here. Drums before 1 1/2 minutes and bass follows. "Sognando La Meta" again features piano and synths early as drums join in.Guitar too. Great sound here. Chunky bass follows. Some gorgeous guitar here as well. Piano and synths are back before 2 minutes and spacey organ follows. Nice. Vocals before 3 minutes.This is so good.Emotional stuff. It picks back up late. "Colombo" has a good heavy sound to it with vocals and a variety of keyboards. A guitar solo after 3 minutes.The guitar is back and more aggressive a minute later. "I tre Marinai" opens with the sound of a creaking ship and waves as someone on deck whistles. Acoustic guitar joins in then reserved vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. Bass too. It kicks in a minute later with drums and guitar. Back to the mellow section again as contrasts continue. It ends with the creaking ship, waves and whistling.

"Ieri, Oggi, Ancora Niente" opens with accapella vocals which i'm not a fan of but the drums and keyboards take over before a minute. Great sound before 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar and bass join in. It settles back with vocals 4 minutes in until before 5 1/2 minutes when it kicks back in. "Il Silenzio Rumoroso Del Mare" is jazzy with piano, drums and bass to start. The guitar comes in over top and vocals follow. A calm after 3 minutes then it kicks back in after 5 minutes with lots of synths this time. "Preghiera Al Vento" is a short tune with vocals, floating organ, piano and acoustic guitar. It reminds me of early FLOYD. "Tre Giorni (L'Ammutinamento)" hits the ground running with drums, guitar, piano and organ. Vocals around a minute as it settles. It kicks back in with synths this time after 1 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue. "Tierra ! Tierra !" is a mid paced tune until it settles back to a cool soundscape of chunky bass, synths and drums. Guitar too actually. Vocals are back. "Crecando L'Approdo" is a beautiful song with acoustic guitar, floating organ and more. "Conclusione (Il Ritorno)" is the short final track with piano, drums and vocals standing out.

As I mentioned earlier the two bonus tracks fit in here beautifully and only add to this excellent recording. A solid 4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#305986)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars The discreet smell of an Il Cerchio d'Oro reunion finally became reality in 2006, when the band was re-established with all original members taking part in this fresh new start.The Classic Italian Prog group suprisingly was signed by the Black Widow label, known for its releases in the Heavy Prog/Rock field, and released the first official full-length album in 2008, some 35 years after the original formation, based on Cristoforo Colombo's legendary journey during the 15th century and entitled ''Il viaggio di Colombo''.

Musically grown, Il Cerchio d'Oro's style belongs to the romantic Italian Symphonic Rock territory, akin to IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE or SITHONIA, with light Classical references and a keyboard-driven sound full of emotional textures as well as complicated themes.Piccolini and Pagnacco offer strong dual keyboard passages with synthesizers and Hammond organ in the forefront in delicate and elaborate arrangements with a very Italian-oriented sound, like coming straight from the 70's.Acoustic guitars and soft piano interludes belong also among the band's priorities, while the vocals of Giuseppe Terribile are excellent with a warm and moving color.BLOCCO MENTALE and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI are propably the best vintage comparisons due to the extremely elegant still quite adventurous approach of the group, often characterized by nice polyphonic lines.The album flows nice and easy with fine and careful structures and good guitar hooks, when needed, always based on a melodic, symphonic attitude.

Il Cerchio d'Oro's comeback was more than welcome.While suffering from its own identity, the group prooved that it could offer another enjoyable release along the lines of the Classic Italian Prog tradition.Warmly recommended, especially to all fans of the style.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#974487)
Posted Sunday, June 09, 2013 | Review Permalink

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