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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Inferno - The Divine Comedy, Part 1 CD (album) cover


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5 stars Hi..Again.

Its good to feel that artists of prog rock make their best effort to be represented in this kind of compilations with their best music.

An this is the case.

Remarkable are the apparitions of artists such as:Nexus,XII Alfonso,Nathan Mahl,Simon Says,Flamborough Head,Nuova Era and Sinkadus.

Those where my more likely passages.

Any of those artist if continue the development of songs as the ones in this album should be catalogued as a 4 or 5 stars album.

Maybe because of my symph. prog rock tendencies.

Of course not every presentation is for 5 stars but many of them for 4 or for 4.5 .

Is this one a masterpiece or and excellent addition. I think is nearer to be a masterpiece .

Maybe 4,5 stars

Report this review (#228937)
Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars FACTS Rating this album is a problem. It's almost too vast to listen it at once and understand it as one big (4CD) album. Therefore, any try to rate/review it is quite difficult. So we'll enter into world of feelings and thoughts, instead of facts. Before we take this journey, let me state few things. This is great source of new RPI/RPI like/other interesting new bands. I also read Inferno (in Czech of course) and have to say that it was hard, but really great. MYTHS And this album really reminds me it. It's really truthful capture of these (in modern time, we would say almost LSD-like) imaginations, souls being tortured for sometimes bad things, sometimes just anti-religious (or simply not religious enough) deeds. Vices are here in great numbers, there's also devil (on drawing that was in book, he looked very ridicolous). These tracks are mostly psychedelic (well, let me explain. This isn't psychedelic = space rock, or genre from 60's, it's style of for example keyboards, where they sounds really crazy - even "folky symphonic" Yesterdays here managed to sounds like it. Most of bands/tracks here does sound like that and it's good, as it describes atmosphere of hell very well.). With few exceptions making beacons of hope in all this madness.

5(-), I suppose that this rating would be appropriate. There are few worse songs, but hell, it's more than 4 hours of themed progressive rock, I wasn't expecting everything to be polished and perfect. And feeling I have about it is good. Journey that is really worth.

Report this review (#236414)
Posted Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars My pc crashed during my first attempt to write a review of this box. Maybe a sign....

It's probably one of the most ambitious projects in the modern history of music. Of course Wagner alone wrote operas longer than this, but 34 tracks composed and played by 34 different groups/artists for more than 4 hours of music are a big effort, also for the listener. In addition the concept they are about is one of the biggest masterpieces of world's literature.

It makes impossible going track by track, so let's first say something about the poem:

In 13th Century Dante imagined the world after death divided into 3 divine realms: Inferno (we all know about it), Purgatorio halfway, where redeemable sins are cleared up, and Paradiso (Heaven). Each of them is composed of 33 chapters, plus one introductive at the beginning for a total of 100.

Without going in depth, he used the realms to put inside the main characters of History and of his current times to write an allegoric poem which speaks of politics other than theology.

From a progressive point of view the Inferno is made of 4 CDs for more than 4 hours of music.

Of course not all the 34 tracks are of the same level, but the complexity and the dramaticity of the concept gave the artists the possibility to interpret their respective chapters.

On the first CD I've been particularly impressed by the Romanian YESTERDAYS (great voice) and the Italian GREENWALL. They have kept the original text, and let me say that the result (for Italian speaking people) is excellent as their chapter is one of the most movig and famous of the whole poem.

On CD2 I can mention WILLOWGLASS, WICKED MINDS and IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE. CD3 features excellent contributions of SINKADUS, OZONE LAYER and ADVENT (I would have expected something more by NOTABENE.

CD4 is darker, but we are in the deepest parts of hell... The string arrangement of the Spanish RAIMUNDO RODULFO is fantastic. DE ROSSI e BORDINI are typical RPI and SIMON SAYS make a great closure to this first "cantica".

What to say...4 hours of progressive music about one of the biggest concepts that can be imagined. It can't have less than 5 stars.

Report this review (#286425)
Posted Monday, June 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another great Colossus-Musea Records production of multiple artists contributing songs to a common theme, this time Part One of Dante Aligheri's The Divine Comedy. While I do not like this album as well as either Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic, or my favorite (and one of my favorite albums of all-time), Odyssey: The Greatest Tale, there is a lot of great music here. My favorites include the contributions of FLAMBOROUGH HEAD, IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE, and NEXUS. I also quite enjoy the songs by BRITGHTEYE BISON, GARAMOND, VIIMA, and WILLOWGLASS. The remaining 27 songs are, IMHO, just average?nothing to write home about.
Report this review (#309017)
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This monster of an album has taken quite a while to absorb, and even now I'm not sure I could recall the sound of each track. Once again, however, Colossus has managed to put out a fine concept album, this time reverting to the Kalevala format (more or less) using 34 different bands who each composed and recorded a piece of roughly 7 minutes duration, spread across 4 CD's. The concept is a great one for prog rock, being Dante's Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy (and the other two parts will also be given this same treatment, with part 2 already released as I write this). As on previous albums, the actual song lengths vary, from around 5 minutes to around 10 minutes in length in the case of this one. This has the largest booklet yet, with lots of detail about the project concept and bands recording details with full lyrics (for the songs that have them).

Much like Kalevala, there are some great pieces on here, and there are some not so great pieces on here. The first CD has several good one, with Nuova Era returning to the prog scene with a fine ELP-like trio format piece that kicks off the album in style. Yesterdays impresses with fine symphonic playing, while Little Tragedies brings us back to ELP territory with an impressive instrumental display that features very heavy guitar as well. The quality continues on the first CD, with only the Nemo piece seeming a bit disappointing to me (though I generally love the band).

The second CD retains fairly high quality, with Bright Eye Brison and Il Castello di Allante having the best compositions on the disc. Though Matthijs Herder and Willowglass present some beautiful early Genesis style symphonic instrumentals as well.

The third CD sees the quality start to dip a bit, with looser performances from a couple bands. Notabene's piece, while fairly enjoyable, doesn't come close to their studio output and seems mostly improvised, while the final two pieces are sparse and not that interesting (the final being just solo piano). Though I do enjoy Sinkadus' contribution, even more so CAP and Entrance.

The forth CD is much like the third, leaving a bit to be desired in a few pieces, like Tempano's largely improvised piece and Armalite's uninteresting contribution. However, Raimondo Rodulfo contributes an exciting RPI number, Nathan Mahl a lovely instrumental piece, and Simon Says concludes the set with a fine symphonic number in their usual style, that concludes with a lovely vocal melody accompanied with simple acoustic guitar.

On the whole, a difficult album to listen to all in one go, something which I have not managed to do (I simply don't have the time!). All in all though, I would say this is far more consistent than Kalevala was, and the sound production is of a much higher standard overall than that album. If you can afford it, and like the other Colossus releases, this is well worth picking up. I give it a 3.5 star rating overall, because it's a good addition to any prog rock collection and a good way to hear a variety of bands for not a lot of money relatively speaking. I'll round up to 4 stars for the archives.

Report this review (#420379)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ambition will only get you so far. This is an incredibly ambitious, well produced and intricate record that gives more than four hours of solid progressive rock. Despite this however the music isn't of a consistent quality and, after a while it all begins to blend together leading to a frustrating experience when trying to dissect and really follow the album which is frustrating because when this is what's needed when trying to follow the story itself.

On the whole I am impressed with the bands portrayal of Inferno and am happy that in many cases they sing the Canto's as depicted within the books. I am also pleased with the overall style and atmosphere of the album as it seems that there is a genuine attempt to fit it into the mood of the books (the music becoming darker as they descend further into hell for example).

I'm not going to pay any mind to individual songs because it is the general story that is meant to be experienced here and what section of the book the band is given or what role in the album a certain band is meant to play has just as much to do with an artists performance and may not adequately reflect the actual ability of the band themselves, just do know that there are some very evident high points on this album and some, that don't quite reach as high.

Nevertheless, for the production, the ambition and the genuine high points that this album gives it deserves still a good rating. I just wish I could rate it higher but on the whole it is inconsistent and far far far too difficult to take in given the similar style throughout.

3.5 / 5 stars.

Report this review (#1172705)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a delight are these progrock projects by Finnish progrock magazine Colossus and French progrock label Musea. First it's a boost for lesser known and unknown new progressive rocks bands. And second it's an unique chance for progheads to check out these bands. So a big hand for Colossus and Musea,

The box set Dante's Inferno - The Divine Comedy - Part 1 delivers 34 (!) progrock bands from all over the world on 4 CD's and a 80 page booklet with information about the line-ups, the vintage instruments and websites, embellished with lots of pictures and paintings.

CD-1 : What a pleasure this CD starts with Nuova Era, in my opinion their instrumental contribution is the best this acclaimed Nineties rooted Italian formation ever made: a melodic and dynamic sound between ELP and Ars Nova featuring wonderful keyboard work (Hammond, church-organ, synthesizers and Mellotron) and in the final part powerful saxophone play. By the way, it was a prelude for more beautiful things to come (in 2010 and 2016).

I am also delighted about Little Tragedies (ultra-bombastic progrock with flashy guitar and keyboards and an energetic rhythm-section), Lady Lake (varied sound between Focus and Camel with beautiful Mellotron and Hammond waves and exciting electric violin play), Nemo (from compelling to bombastic outbursts, topped by strong theatrical vocals and tasteful work on Hammond, Mellotron and wah-wah guitar), Nexus (a bit more dubdued with an important role for the emotional vocals and synthesizer flights) and Flamborough Head with Trion (very melodic and varied with wonderful keyboard colouring along tasteful work on guitar and flute). The other bands are also worth listening: pleasant progfolk with warm female vocals, flute, acoustic guitar and halfway a surprising Korg synthesizer solo by Yesterdays, an unique, bit experimental sound with opera-like duo vocals by Greenwall, a strong build-up with emotional vocals and powerful Hammond and electric guitar by Atlantis 1001 and Colossus Project featuring an obvious Seventies sound with lots of Hammond waves and sparkling Minimoog runs.

CD-2 : A blend of known and unknown bands with strong appearances by Count (bombastic neo-symphonic sound with good duo-guitarwork (including a long moving solo), Willowglass (wonderful, from mellow with soaring Hammond, flute and warm 12-string guitar to bombastic with mighty Hammond and Mellotron), Wicked Minds (sensational Uriah Heep inspired sound with lots of breaks delivering swirling Hammond, fiery and biting wah-wah electric guitar and a Minimoog-Hammond duel), Ars Nova (great musical ideas and exciting, bombastic work on keyboards and heavy guitarplay by 3 guitarplayers) and Matthijs Herder (from Holland): between dreamy and compelling with a beautiful Mellotron sound and sensitive electric guitar that reminds me of fellow Dutchman Jan Akkerman. The other tracks are all on a decent level: a sound between The Flower Kings and Gentle Giant with the distinctive clavinet and strong solo on synthesizer and guitar by Brighteye Brison, an experimental sound with a wide range of instruments, including bombastic choir-Mellotron in the end by Garamond, pleasant symphonic rock with violin, piano, church organ, guitar and synthesizers by Il Castello Di Atlante and finally varied progfolk (between dreamy with flute, acoustic guitar and warm vocals and bombastic with Hammond, howling electric guitar and a synthesizer solo) by Groovector.

CD-3 : This disc delivers a lot of variety and a wide range of atmospheres: heavy and bombastic with blistering guitar, spectacular synthesizer flights and emotional Spanish vocals by Entrance, experimental with a flamenco guitar intro and a wide range of instruments by Advent, a sparkling solo on the Grand piano by the Contrappunto Project, between mellow with flute/mandoline and sumptuous with Moog/choir-Mellotron by CAP and ELP-inspired by Ozone Player. My favorite moments are the tracks by Sinkadus (compelling, typical Skandinavian climate with bombastic Hammond and Mellotron, a wonderful part with volume pedal guitar and flute Mellotron and a conclusion featuring howling guitar with lush Hammond and Mellotron), Nota Bene (jazzy undertone because of the Fender Rhodes electric piano and guitar sound and an exciting break delivering swinging piano and moving guitar) and Viima (wonderful duo-keyboards and sensitive electric guitar).

CD-4 : After more than 3 hours listening to this huge box set, I was very curious or this final disc would succeed to keep my attention. Well, it did! The first two bands were unknown but very promising formations from Italy: Armalite alternates between Seventies Genesis and early Marillion with warm native vocals, a lush keyboard sound (lots of Trons) and fiery electric guitar and Corte Aulica delivers a dynamic, alternating and melodic sound with sensitive electric guitar and exciting Minimoog work. Then multi-instrumentalist Raimundo Rudolfo (plus guest musicians), I love his blend of classical (violin, cello, guitar) and bombastic symphonic rock (Mellotron, church-organ, Minimoog and powerful electric guitar), embellished with pleasant Spanish vocals. Next is an interesting duo: keyboardplayer De Rossi (using an array of vintage keyboards) and former Rustichelli/Bordini and PFM member drummer Carlo Bordini, we can enjoy inventive keyboard-driven prog, from swinging clavinet to a great final part with the choir-section of a Memotron and a fat Minimoog sound, goose bumps! Tempano their music is a kind of avant-garde sound collage, very atmospheric with propulsive drum beats and lots of instruments. Nathan Mahl presents a very strongly build-up contribution, from dreamy with tender piano and a slow rhtyhm with Camel-inspired guitar and Mellotron to a bombastic part with Hammond organ and fiery guitar. Finally the acclaimed Swedish band Simon Says, for me their composition turns out to be one of the highlights on this 4-CD box: lots of shifting moods (from tender piano with warm vocals to intense bombastic eruptions with Mellotron and bass pedals), captivating musical ideas (with the vocoder and a sitar), exciting breaks and solos (flashy synthesizer with pitchbend) and a mindblowing final part with a strongly build-up guitar solo and sparkling piano, again goose bumps!

My conclusion: a very pleasant and loaded Pandora's progrock box of surprises (part one)!

Report this review (#1890103)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

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