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


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another great collection of songs as compiled through the amazing efforts of Colossus Magazine and Musea Records, this time following hot on the heels of last year's Part I of the music inspired by and representing the telling of the story of Dante Alligheri's The Divine Comedy. Again, not my favorite Colossus/Musea production; that label belongs to 2005's Odyssey: The Greatest Tale, with 2003's Kalevala: A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic being second. Still, an awesome collection for an awesome undertaking. Thank you so much, Colossus and Musea! My favorites here include the contributions of: FLAMBOROUGH HEAD, GROOVECTOR, MIST SEASON, NUOVA ERA, and WILLOWGLASS. An excellent addition to any prog lovers music collection! Really!
Report this review (#309018)
Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Reviewing a compilation longer than 4 hours means trying to be as synthetic as possible. Following the original structure of Dante's Comedy the whole opera consists in three different compilations, one for each after-death realm. It's a pity that the number of songs doesn't reflect the number of chapter as it happened for Inferno. This Purgatorio contains 36 tracks over 33 chapters (Canto).

Let's look at each of them very quickly:


SIMON SAYS - "Intro" : Soft and acoustic for the first minute, turns into spacey and chaotic in the second half. Purgatory is a place of atonement, so even if not dark as Inferno is not a good place for a holiday.

NEMO "Canto I": Interesting synth-guitar at the start. A French band that sounds RPI. A song with many instrumental interludes and a lot of organ on odd signatures. KEYBRIDGE "Canto II": Acoustic guitar in Ant Phillips style then organ. Strongly inspired to Genesis.

OZONE PLAYER "Canto III": Somebody stole a keyboard to Rick Wakeman. A dark instrumental like the seventh wife of Henry VIII. RAIMUNDO RODULFO "Canto IV": A very interesting one. Little YES influences with more than a touch of jazz. I think I'll check other things of him.

TEN MIDNIGHT "Canto V": A chaotic start then a very melodic song. Genesis influences also on this track.

SOULENGINE "Canto VI": 12-strings guitar and organ, odd signature. Then it's between Genesis and Yes. Nice instrumental.

WILLOWGLASS "Canto VII": A prog-folk tune. Very interesting. There's a touch of CAMEL. ATLANTIS 1001 "Canto VIII": A heavy prog song with some psychedelic moments. One of the best things of disc 1.


CONTRAPPUNTO PROJECT "Canto IX": Good piano solo with classical feelings.

SOPHIA BACCINI "Canto X": Electronic as usual, Sophia is an eclectic artist that I'd see best fitting into RIO/Avant than to RPI. This is more melodic than usual.

NEXUS "Canto XI": An ELP clone but well written and performed. The vocalist gives a touch of King Crimson and the guitar has some of Peter Banks. Not bad. NUOVA ERA "Canto XII": I'm not an RPI fan but this is one of the RPI bands that I like more. This is one of the highlights, specially the piano part.

SURVIVAL "Canto XIII": An organ-based instrumental. More with Wakeman than with Emerson. Jon Anderson's voice would have fitted well on this instrumental.

LITTLE TRAGEDIES "Canto XIV": Interesting track, mainly because I can't relate it to any dynosaur, even if the keyboard sounds very neo-prog. Another good moment of this disc.

ARMALITE "Canto XV": An RPI song wit hgood instrumental moments.

PHIDEAUX "Canto XVI": A great song. Excellent keyboards and guitar. I'm not into Phideaux but it's another band that I need to explore better.

TOMMY ERIKSSON "Canto XVII": Steve Hackett has been here....


ENTRANCE "Canto XVIII" Dark keyboards and odd signatures in a Genesis style. The vocalist is powerful and sings with a personal style. Check it out.

MAXWELL'S DEMON "Canto XIX": The darkest moment of the whole compilation maybe. A challenging track almost experimental. RAK "Canto XX": As counterpart to the previous, this is opened by a choir. A symphonic prog song. The singer has a very particular voice.

COLOSSUS PROJECT "Canto XXI": Subtle keyboards grow from silence. Dark neo-prog ? Another band to check out.

MATTHIJS HERDER "Canto XXII" It doesn't sound original but I can't identify a specific remind. Probably there's a bit of "everything" and all from the 70s. From ELP to Tangerine Dream. MAD CRAYON "Canto XXIII": I hear similarity with Soft Macine's Land of Cockayne. The violin arrangement is very interesting. A very good track.

TABULA SMARAGDINA": Canto XXIV": A great band from the Eastern Europe. As most of the bands from the east they are influenced by ELP and YES but also by classical and folk. The singer is a low-pitched version of Annie Haslam. (effectively a passage reminded me to Carpet of the Sun). BLANK MANUSKRIPT "Canto XXV": This is a very interesting track. YES and KING CRIMSON the bands I think to. The sax gives it a jazzy mood. The voices add a touch of crazyness and maybe of WISHBONE ASH. I really like this song.

LADY LAKE "Canto XXVI": An excellent dialog between two guitars and bass, then piano. A little reminding of Jethro Tull and one of the best things of the whole compilation.


GROOVECTOR "Canto XXVII": This Finnish band is taking the inheritance of Wigwam and mainly of Pekka Pohjola. The sound is very similar, Good song with a remarkabňe spacey part in the middle. MIST SEASON "Canto XVIII": Pekka seem to have influenced the way the Finnish play bass. However this is a prog-folk song with an excellent female vocalist and some jazzy accents. FLAMBOROUGH HEAD "Canto XXIX": Piano and flute then acoustic guitar for another prog- folk instrumental piece with reminds to CAMEL and KAYAK. Very good also this. YESTERDAYS "Canto XXX" This is the band of the best song of INFERNO. This is as good as that. Unfortunately they are still the only two songs that I know from them. NOTE: They are from Romania, not Hungary) B612 "Canto XXXI" A bit too melodic. Apparently inspired by the Collins' era of Genesis. The girl who sings is remarkable. EQUILIBRIO VITAL "Canto XXXII": An epic keyboard without connection with Emerson or Wakeman. This is the good thing. This is a very intense piece of music and quite original even if could be dated in the 70s. The first thing that I hear from this eclectic band. (At least this song is eclectic). JINETES NEGROS "Canto XXXIII": Dark and heavy symphonic. Not bad. SIMON SAYS (Swe) "Outro" A short symphonic to close the album. More or leass the same as Intro. PASINI & RAGOZZA "Purgatorio": A rocky RPI summary so to have 9 tracks on each disc.

This is an excellent addition, not a masterpiece as Inferno, but if you have that one you cant miss the second part of the comedy.

Report this review (#402581)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here's the second part of the Dante story The Divine Comedy entitled Dante's Purgatorio, this is the place (in fact a mountain) where the souls of those who have died repenting of their sins are 'purified' in order to be allowed to access Paradise. In the huge booklet (80 pages) you can read the story in 36 'Canto's', embellished with wonderful paintings. The second part of the booklet contains information about the 35 bands and compositions, the (mainly 'vintage') instrumentation and many websites. Listening to this 4-CD I am pleasantly surprised about the quality of the 36 tracks, since the late Sixties there is still so much quality and dedication in progressive rock!

CD 1 starts with the highly acclaimed Swedish band Simon Says, on this track only featuring keyboard player Stefan Renstrom, he delivers a first part with beautiful Grand piano and flute-Mellotron, then a kind of 'sound collage' in the second part, pretty experimental and not really similar to his work in Simon Says. Then Nemo, I watched this French band on the annual Progfarm Festival in Holland in late 2008, high expectations but their contribution evokes mixed feelings: exciting guitar with sitar sound and keyboards with Fender electric piano sound, in the end great part with rock guitar and psychedelic organ but the 'lalala' vocals doesn't please me at all. Next my highlight on this CD, Italian formation KBridge with a 15 minutes epic. We can enjoy lots of flowing shifting moods, a breathtaking sound of the Minimoog synthesizer, Hammond organ and Mellotron and very moving electric guitar. Only the English vocals sound a bit mediocre but not disturbing, next time Italian vocals please! The other bands are Ozone Player from Finland (alternating with majestic choir-Mellotron and a flashy Minimoog solo in the end), Raimundo Rodulfo from the USA (impressive guitar work with hints of Steve Howe, concluded with a sensational Minimoog solo), Ten Midnight from Italy (strong build up, from dreamy to bombastic with propulsive guitar riffs and Emersonian Moog flights and wonderful choir-Mellotron), Soulengine from Italy (a kind of 'Rush meets neo-prog' with strong work on keyboards and guitar, it sounds very powerful and exciting), Willowglass (this time not a duo but only prime mover Andrew Marshall) from the UK (very beautiful blend of 12-string acoustic guitar and vintage keyboards, halfway culminating into a bombastic part with sensitive electric guitar runs and splendid Mellotron waves) and finally Atlantis1001, again a band from Italy, another highlight on this CD: a very compelling and powerful sound with strong English vocals, I love the contrast between the Grand piano and the sumptuous vintage keyboards and heavy guitar sound and you can enjoy sensational breaks and solos on guitar, wow!

CD 2 opens with a virtuosic solo piece on the Grand piano by Andrea Cavallo of the Contrappunto Project (Italy). Then again from Italy lady Sophy Baccini, she delivers an unique blend of wonderful vintage keyboards (lots of fat modular Moog sounds along Hammond, piano and strings) and good, pretty theatrical vocals, to me it sounds intricate although the vocals are a bit too extravagant for me. Next is Argentine top notch formation Nexus with the usual bombastic Hammond and synthesizer layers and strong guitar (fiery solo and delicate slide guitar) but this time the vocals are in Gibberish, it sounds a bit weird but thumbs up for this daring experiment. The following artists are the 'veterans' of acclaimed Italian band Nuova Era with a varied track that is loaded with excellent vintage keyboards, Moog Taurus bass pedals, the final part is mindblowing featuring a compelling, a bit psychedelic atmosphere with a raw guitar solo, goose bumps! The other bands are Survival from Holland (church- organ intro, then a tight rhythm section with lots of Hammond and Emersonian ' Works era - synthesizer flights), Little Tragedies from Russia (ultra bombastic with splendid interplay between heavy guitar and dazzling keyboards, supported by a very powerful rhythm-section), Marmalite from Italy (very pleasant and melodic neo-prog with strong Italian vocals, lots of musical ideas and wonderful work on guitar and keyboards, especially the unsurpassed Mellotron), Phideaux from the USA (very warm and compelling composition with wah-wah guitar and subtle contributions of the Hammond, Moog and Mellotron) and finally Tommy Eriksson from Finland with a sound that alternates between symphonic rock (Genesis and Camel) and neo-prog (early Marillion and IQ), the instrumentation is varied and beautiful, from fiery electric guitar and majestic choir-Mellotron to soaring flute and powerful Hammond organ waves, in the end a strong synthesizer solo.

On CD 3 the first band is Chilean Heavy Prog formation Entrance, we can enjoy a swinging rhythm with powerful Spanish vocals, spectacular synthesizer work and harder-edged guitar. Then the USA band Maxwell's Demon (with a varied and adventurous track, from a spacey intro and twanging acoustic guitar to lush choir-Mellotron and Hammond organ) and RAK from Switzerland (omnipresent Hammond organ sound along moving guitar, beautiful Grand piano and a choir). Next one of the highlights on this CD, Colossus Project from Italy: first mellow with warm vocals and soaring flute- Mellotron, then bombastic with strong Damian Wilson-like vocals and mighty Mellotron eruptions, followed by a splendid break with powerful guitar and Hammond and in the end dreamy with acoustic guitar, pleasant vocals and Mellotron, wow! The other bands are Matthijs Herder from Holland (delicate interplay between guitar, keyboards and rhythm- section with the focus on the Mellotron, including the choir -, violin ' and flute section, awesome!), Mad Crayon from Italy (warm sound with native vocals, violin and a classical ' and electric guitar duet), Tabula Smaragdina from Hungary/Romania (excellent and dynamic song with strong work on guitar and keyboards and in the end a wah wah guitar and choir-Mellotron duet, how exciting), Blank Manuskript from Austria (fluent rhythm, wide range of instruments and lots of variety) and finally from Holland the trio Lady Lake with their very pleasant and melodic interplay between guitar, keyboards and rhythm-section evoking Camel (guitar) and Focus (Hammond) and in the end beautiful Mellotron waves.

CD 4 starts with two bands from Finland, both in mellow climates: first Groovector (very atmospheric with native vocals) and then Mist Seaon (soaring female vocals, a jazzy Fender piano solo and in the end a sensitive electric guitar solo). The next band is Flamborough Head from Holland: a strong build-up from dreamy with flute and piano to a slow rhythm with moving guitar and Mellotron and finally a bombastic climate featuring a fine synthesizer solo and a powerful solo on the electric guitar, a big hand for these fellow Dutchmen. The other bands are Yesterdays from Hungary/Romania (a tight beat with native vocals, sensational keyboard work and strong guitar play that range from Howe inspired to Fripperian), B612 from Venezuela (from a warm classical guitar intro to fiery guitar leads, embellished with duo Spanish vocals), my highlight Equilibrio Vital from Venezuela (choir-Mellotron drenched, guitar with an Andean undertone, a part with native dialect and strong Hammond and electric guitar solos), Jinetes Negros from Argentina (exciting Heavy Prog with classical orchestrations, heavy work on guitar, powerful Spanish vocals and a swirling Hammond solo), a second appearance by Simon Says from Sweden (dreamy with majestic choir-Mellotron and Wakeman-like synthesizer flights and finally Pasini & Ragozza from again Italy, their track sounds a bit experimental in the beginning, halfway a slow rhythm with a very Classic Italian Prog climate.

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

Report this review (#1890102)
Posted Thursday, March 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

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