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IN CASE OF LOSS..

Areknamés

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars This album is a brilliant follow up to their 2006 double album 'Love Hate Round Trip' that I have been listening to non stop since I discovered it a year and half ago, Where 'Round Trip' was sprawling, epic and more conceptual this is a far more succinct effort..

Stylistically they have evolved the dark VdGGesque tone that dominated the past two albums, now incorporating a far wdier sound; including saxaphones, strings and flutes. Each track here is very individual and, unlike their other albums, they all compliment and fit together perfectly. The album opens with 'Beached' which immediately showcases the new energy and sound that binds this album. 'Dont Move' is definitely the standout track. It is a haunting ballard with a fantastic string backing that superbly counterpoints the ghostly vocals and electric piano.

The centrepeice of the album is of course the last track 'The Very Last Number' which is a true classic and their first truly epic track, clocking at 21 minutes. It has a much slower and forboding pace than anything else they have done and really proves what they are capable of.

Areknamés are a band that draw from all kinds of prog and the sound that they have created on this album should appeal to a very wide audience of Proggers. I was not sure what could follow their amazing past efforts but 'In Case of Loss' has surpassed all my hopes. A definite masterpiece.

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Send comments to schoosh (BETA) | Report this review (#286614)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Italian band AREKNAMES brings in his r third studio albun an ecletic prog whose main iinfluence comes from Canterbury Scene and of the jazz, with some pinches of" KING CRIMSOM" AND "PINK FLOYD", and although it recognizes that the disk presents some instrumental arrangements of very good taste and with some variations in their themes (besides with some passages with heavy harmonys", with with an outstanding presence of the guitar,) that try to interrupt a certain monotony presented along the compositions, his work didn't get me to provide great moments of enthusiasm.. In spite of the musicians' great quality and also the vocals I don't get to enumerate great highligts, maybe the track 3 - "Dateless Diary" (with algun weight) and the Track 5 - TO New song" (with some duels guitarra/teclado), be the best moments of the disk. My rate is 3 stars .

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Send comments to maryes (BETA) | Report this review (#288369)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars More good news from Italy's progressive rock field: Areknamés is back on the road and in very good shape. 4 years after the excellent demonstration of epic and somber retro-prog delivered in "Love Hate Round Trip", Michele Epifani & co. manage to offer yet another enjoyable exhibition of art-rock with "In Case Of Loss?", the third album that confirms these guys as serious business. The VDGG and Hammill references remain a solid source of inspiration in the band's input, but in comparison to the aforementioned sophomore album, "In Case Of Loss?" exhibits more luminous textures and a lighter dynamics in places. In fact, the guitar parts are less intense in general terms, although the use of powerful riffs and creative harmonies remains a strong asset in the band's framework: in short, there is more Hackett and less Iommi in the guitar inputs. All in all, Epifani (call him the "Italian Matthew Parmenter" if you like) provides less tense singing and more colorful keyboard inputs in the overall repertoire. Well, now we are going to the repertoire itself, and so we find that the opener 'Beached' provides almost 7 minutes of agile space-rock moods set on an appealing rhythmic swing: picture pre-"Absentia" PT and the artsier side of Radiohead meeting halfway in the realms of the softer side of Ozric Tentacles and you will have a reasonable idea about what is cooking here. This somewhat up-tempo beginning prepares our spirit to face the nihilistic approach incarnated in the next two pieces, 'Alone' and 'Dateless Diary', which indeed keep a closer relation with the angry somberness of the "Love Hate" album. 'Alone' starts with a brief musical box sequence, then shifts toward a vandegraffian framework wisely elaborated with uncommon signatures and augmented with jazz-oriented schemes (very "Godbluff"-like); 'Dateless Diary' states eerier ambiences that serves as a valid counterpoint to the caustic moods predominant in the previous track? and why does the fade-out have to arrive so soon?... At this point, we can easily notice the musical substance that makes this album such a rich contribution to the 2010's prog rock scene, but there's more to enjoy. 'Don't Move' brings what is perhaps the warmer atmosphere in the album: a progressive ballad that gives Epifani enough room to celebrate (one more time) the Hammill legacy (something like "Over"-meets-"Silent Corner"). Its ethereal mood is defining of the whole composition despite the presence of some intense passages in its main body's elaboration. Apparently, 'A New Song' inherited some of the previous track's contemplative aura for its first half, but then the second half shifts toward a robust expression of psychedelic developments, very retro, a well accomplished amalgam of early VDGG, Gnidrolog, Greenslade, and even some classic Deep Purple too! The resulting climax is forceful and brilliant. 'Where' slows down thing a bit (just a bit) by installing a middle term between track 1 and 3. So far, this is how it goes with the album's "shorter" tracks. Now, let's go for the suite entitled 'The Last Number'. This piece shows the sort of disciplined progressive rock students the Areknamés musicians are: this suite bears the epic attitude and melodic ambition that prog rock suites are famous (and infamous) for. All in all, let us remember that this is "In Case", not "Love Hate", so this suite in question gives ample room to constrained sonorities and sober melodic developments in preference over the darker passages (which also exist). Introspection and melancholy are the dominant atmospheres in 'The Last Number'. There are also some sax solos that emphasize the occasional jazzy textures, while the cello arrangements display an extra dose of stylish beauty to some symphonic-centered passages. Right at the 12 minute mark, a motif installed on a 5/4 tempo capitalizes the controlled intensity for a while until it fluidly gives way to a softer passage - here is an example of the consistent brilliancy in this suite's arrangements. For the last 4 minutes, a lovely organ solo and a powerful section announce the majestic finale that brings back memories of 70-71 VDGG and "Trespass"-era Genesis. This is not the real end: after a minute of silence or so, Epifani plays a spinet sonata that mixes Baroque and modern dissonance (very much a Balletto thing, isn't it?). The listening experience of this album is just awesome: Areknamés reassures its status as one of the biggest items in the current European retro-prog area.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#288371)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An album in the running for the best of 2010

Areknames is one of Italy's premier modern-day progressive rock bands. Look no further than their triumphant 3rd album "In Case of Loss" released by Black Widow Records. Areknames are led by composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michele Epifani, who handles the Hammond organ, piano, mellotron, synths, harpsichord, acoustic and electric guitars as well as the recorder. Their second album "Love Hate Round Trip" was a dark and often agitated album which won the band both awards and a dedicated fanbase. Here they have upped the ante considerably with an album that should become known as their "breakthrough" work, as I have to believe any modern prog fan who hears this is going to be convinced and very pleased.

While I've not heard their debut, the sound on the second album was pretty rough and aggressive with abrasive sax and a heavier VDGG vibe (and I mean all of that in a good way.) Here the sound has evolved with the injection of a strain of spacey serenity. There is still plenty of doomy mood and heaviness to be enjoyed, but there is a new sense of melodic confidence which has established itself. Right from the first track I noticed that there was something more refined going on and was reminded instantly of Anekdoten's "A Time of Day" sound more than the VDGG one I was expecting. This music soars on a melancholic breeze rather than being knocked around by turbulent gusts. "beached" is not unlike modern Porcupine Tree in some ways, with infectious groove and building pressures in rhythm and numerous spacey keyboard textures, though the comparison stops there. (The Areknames sound remains in-tact and far less commercial than the Steven Wilson sound.) Somewhat dreary but pleasing vocal melodies ride on top before it closes with e-piano over mellotron and light guitar notes.

The album's vast mid section covers a swell of compositional ideas, one right after the other, which at any given moment could remind the listener of Cryme/Foxtrot era Genesis, a raging Deep Purple jam ("a new song"), or the brooding, crashing-waves heaviness of Giant Squid's Metridium Fields, the latter courtesy of the violin/cello presence atop thick, murky prog rock. By the time we get to the 21 minute long epic closer "the very last number," it may be wise to take a breather and listen with fresh ears. This is one of those albums that is so compositionally dense I really recommend listening in sections at first, so that each section is able to be absorbed by fresh ears. The 8-part mammoth Areknames closing suite begins with the sound of child's voices and eerily sparse keys before a tentative, peeking-around-corners bass guitar sneaks up on us. After a cool sax solo the piece builds into an epic jam best described as stormy waters, as a clash between powerful saxophone, guitar, and keyboards. These battles have plenty of time to expand and contract over 20 minutes so this is truly a joy for listeners who enjoy the lengthy instrumental piece. The ending is a delightful bit of harpsichord.

Generally I don't comment on lyrics or lyrical themes as I'm mostly interested in music, and second, I'm rarely bright enough to figure out what poetic verse is really about. Here however I must mention the successful marriage of the musical, lyrical, and visual/presentation elements of the release. The tri-fold digipak's artwork features two sprawling 3-panel historic photographs of a beached whale carcass that washed upon a Florida shore in 1896. The front shows the mysterious "sea monster" while the inner photo shows the large group of actual gawkers who made their way to the shore to see the monster. Epifani ties together the imagery of a lost, dying animal alone on the beach surrounded by the curious. Reading the lyrics you sense the angst, searching, the writer's message being one of confusion but also a defiant will to act, to not become paralyzed by fear. The final glue is then the music which could not be more appropriate to the verbal and visual cues, projecting equal parts loneliness, confusion, but also tempered hope and defiance.

"in the river of regrets, the more you move the more you sink!"

"In Case of Loss" is one of 2010's finest prog-rock albums and a must-have for those who love a dark/heavy sound that somehow sounds both modern and retro. It moves Areknames to a new level in my book as one of the bands I will be most excited to follow, to see what else they have in their bag of tricks. I do hope there is more! Bravo to the eight musicians who brought this work to life. It is a minimum of 4 stars and if it holds up for me over time, I may add that elusive 5th star.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#291776)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A slight change of direction......

The previous two Areknames studio albums made me appreciate how good Van Der Graaf Generator was and how good Areknames had copied the best from them and then added a lot of their own identity. In short; I love those two albums. For some reason, it may be called natural development, Areknames has moved away from the overtly VDGG influences and moved more in the direction of RPWL, Gazpacho and Porcupine Tree. In my view; Areknames has lost a lot of their identity by changing their sound. But there is still a lot of VDGG in Areknames. But it is more subtle this time around.

The music is based on a sometimes heavy, chugging electric guitars, vintage tangents, some really good vocals, drums and bass. A saxophone like sound is also present on some songs. All of this potently played. The sound and the songs are mostly dark and gloomy.

The quality of the music is the same though and leaves no doubts that Areknames is one of the best Italian bands around. The songs are still great. The tangents on a song like Dateless Diary is heart warming. This song is the best one on this album. The rest of the songs are in the same class and thereabouts. In short; Areknames has done it again and released another great album.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#401497)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow! 1. "Beached" (8/10) Am I listening to CAMEL, KING CRIMSON, THE DOORS, or CAMEO? 2. "Alone" (8/10) is so Canterbury PETE HAMMILL/VDGG! 3. "Dateless Diary" ( 7/10) 4. "Don't Move" (7/10) has another awesome DOORS/ANEKDOTEN-like groove--of course, with PETE H singing over the top. "A New Song" (6/10) is where I start getting bored. The electric piano, cymbol play, standard slow 4/4 beat and other 70s instruments and sounds are growing old. "Where" (7/10) is a little more space-psychedelia with its organ wash and floating background synth leads. "The Very Last Number" is almost smokey lounge late night blues/jazz, its so VDGG. NIce piece that does seal the fact that these guys are into replicating--though interestingly and in ways that combine groups and genres--music from the 1970s. Very well crafted though instrumental virtuosity is not yet there. 3.5 stars rated up for clever synthesis of the VDGG sound with others.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#417992)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Areknames are an Italian progressive rock band with 3 studio albums and one live album to their record, with the first s/t one having been released in 2003. In Case Of Loss? was released in 2010 by Black Widow Records. I was aware of the band but have never heard any of their albums so far and so this is my first exposure to their music. I can say that if this is indicative of their previous albums, I should go and check them as well.

While the overall sound has spacey and somewhat dreamy characteristics, the band spices things up with other ingredients and introduces vigor in the form of some aggressiveness and lightness in the form of jazziness. With this varied approach, they craft appealing melodies and top it off with moving textures. A good example of this is the songs 'Where' in which all of these come into play.

They seem to have a knack for balancing these two approaches in one song, never veering too much in any direction, remaining solidly in their middle ground. The music is for the most part mid- to slow paced and the slightly gloomy mood seems to reign on most of the album, save a few parts of songs. This is what gives the different songs a sense of unity and continuity, despite them being stand-alone songs.

The band's skills at creating beautiful melancholic soundscapes are well demonstrated in a song like 'Don't Move', where melody and atmosphere join forces achieving a synergistic effect. Their music can be lush and at the same time rough on the edges; the tension between the two is what gives them their sound. On the other hand, the band is capable of letting things "get out of hand" in a controlled manner. They burst into sped up and louder excursions in some songs ('A New Song' for instance). Their ambitious and exploratory side shows itself in the closing epic piece, 'The Very Last Number'. Here they don't shy away from unleashing all their artillery and musical prowess. They do not do this in an unorganized fashion, but with a well constructed development from a simple tune into a fancy full and rich multi-section piece.

Michele Epifani's vocals, of a mid to high pitch variety are pleasant and inviting, oozing softness; but they don't change much and remain in the safe zone where his strength lies. I'd have loved to hear a deeper voice every now and then to counteract with his. With that said, his voice fits the music well, enhancing the moody and mostly somber feel of the music.

In Case Of Loss turned out to be "in case of a find", since I feel I've found a new band to like. While it took some 6-7 spins of the cd to get into the music, when it crept in eventually, it was rewarding.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#443902)
Posted Saturday, May 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars in personnel mistake !!! by this time of Stefano Colombi/guitars and Piero Ranalli/bass already left group and their place borrowed- - Antonio Catalano - guitars Simone Paseli - bass and Carmine Lanieri - sax (tracks 2 & 7) Sara Gentile - celo (tracks 4,6 & 7) Pierluigi Mancattin - violin (tracks 4 ) Cristiano Pomante - vibraphone ((tracks 1,4 & 7)

with arrival to Antonio Catalano group - guitars and as other musicians of Areknames considerably added. without doubts of In Case Of Loss,,. Ball an interesting album in the musical plan... a combination of a guitar and.Alone violin passing to.Dateless Diary... sax brings in an album jazz motives in a combination to melodious violin. The Very Last Number. this album doesn't leave you indifferent.

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Send comments to ledzep4 (BETA) | Report this review (#762935)
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After a live album in 2007 and some personnel changes, in 2010 Areknamés released "In Case Of Loss...", their third studio album on Black Widow Records, with a line up featuring Michele Epifani (keyboards, vocals), Antonio Catalano (guitars), Simone Pacelli (bass) and Luca Falsetti (drums). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guest musicians as Carmine Ianieri (sax), Sara Gentile (cello), Pierluigi Mencattini (violin) and Cristiano Pomante (vibraphone) who provided more colours to the musical fabric. The result is excellent, the overall sound is richer and even more personal than in the past, less indebted to Van Der Graaf Generator and in some way jazzier.

The art work features two pictures shot on a beach near St. Agustine, Florida in 1896. They testify the finding of a mysterious whale carcass that was initially supposed to be a giant octopus and that was called the St. Augustine Monster. The opener "Beached" is linked to the art cover, pulsing bass lines and light keyboards waves set a surreal atmosphere. You feel like a giant octopus, a strange creature carried ashore by the tide, lost, dying. People are staring at you in awe on the beach, under a grey, wintry sky... "Why am I dreaming of you? / Scanning through my memories / I can't see anything but that blue vastness...". The instrumental coda features a nice mix of jazz and psychedelia.

"Alone" features a nice middle section with a good interaction between sax and organ. It's a melancholic piece oscillating between joy and anguish like a "hanged man". The music drives you to the edge of time and then let you fall down in the blackest sea. Then comes "Dateless Diary", a calm, reflective track about the need to face reality since painful changes can have positive effects. "Don't Move" begins softly, the atmosphere is dark and dreamy, the music is characterized by some strings passages... If you're of getting lost, don't move!

"A New Song" is one of my favourite tracks on this album. It's about a difficult creative process. At the beginning you're almost lost, trapped by a lack of inspiration, you think that a new song deserves much more... "Energy, thoughts and dreams have to reach someone / Before they fade away amongst white dwarves, stellar remnants and black holes...". Then tension and rhythm rise with a sudden burst of energy and some fiery organ whirls... "Yesterday I received a new song / Guess who the sender was... Look right here...". The ethereal "Where" is about the sense of loss that you can experience when you can't find your own way. The truth lies in dark, tangled streets under the moonlight and a sort of grey veil covers your eyes... "I can't figure exactly where I am / If ahead or behind the beat of the Earth...".

The long, complex suite "The Very Last Number" concludes the album. It describes a momentary escape from reality, a long inner journey through dreams and past memories. The lyrics invite to join the dream but beware!Maybe you could see more than you want to see while clinging ship bells evoke the past... "I was trapped in the ruins of my dreams... In the river of regrets the more you move the more you sink...". The music features some very interesting passages with a jazz rock touch while in other moments you can perceive strong classical inspirations. Some parts remind me of Arti e Mestieri but it would be unfair compare this excellent track with anything else: all you have to do is close your eyes and listen to it!

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#863048)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably every Prog Lover has heard, at least one time in lifetime, a Van Der Graaf Generator album, Certainly one of the most important Prog Rock bands which plays a key role also in the history of Rock Music. Following the echoes of this band was born in Italy, around 1997 (with several changes of members and of band's names) a brilliant band, which in 2003 they present themselves as "Areknames" (the same name of their first album), like a first album song of Franco Battiato. They had immediately success both by the public and critics so they left for a tour around Europe in 2005, and in 2006 they released their second album "Love Hate Round Trip".

At the beginning they was three member. Later the guitar, that previously was "ornamental", became (fortunately) structuring part of the band with Antonio Catalano, giving it a greater musical power. Without doubts the organic of the band is truly remarkable, but the real "Workhorse" is the multifaceted Michele Epifani. His musical curriculum is incredible: he's got a Master's degree in Musicology, two Diplomas in Composition, a specialization in Composition, also is keyboardist, songwriter, singer, compositor, arrangements maker. Maybe I forget somethings.

In 2010 they release their third album named "In Case Of Loss...", personally their masterpiece. In this album the sound is more complete than both previous albums, more elaborated and original. There aren't too many VDGG reaches as two previous works, each piece shines its light, so is possible to appreciate their high quality band.

The seven tracks album starts with "Beached". The usual sound of the band now appear more fluid, more musical. It's as if it was a production apart. I love so much that musical passage in the middle of the track, which introduces the guitar riff playing with keyboard and after that sufferer voice with the use of the echo! Another example more belonging to the band is "Dateless Diary", which contains in addition to the band's characteristics, the guitar. The icing on the cake! The same goes for the song "Where".

With the participation of some guest musicians, "In Case Of Loss..." plays with new elements, as in the second track "Alone", Carmine Lanieri Saxophone plays. The violin of Pierluigi Mancattin gives more sweet grains to the album, as is possible to listen it in "Don't Move". Sara Gentile cello in "Don't Move", "Where" and "The Very Last Number", and Cristiano Pomante vibraphone in "Beached" "Alone" and in the suite "The Very Last Number"

The most powerful song (my favorite) is "A New Song". After a "fairly sedate intro" followed by a slow guitar accompaniment, starts the battle! An increasing organ plays the two "same notes", and as the explosion of a supernova starts the guitar riff disrupted and magnetic. In a psychedelic atmosphere a gloomy bass line punctuates, together with drum, the rhythm to a beautiful solo. With some "Goldbuff" passages (and in general of VDGG) come back the voice which finds the inspiration to "A New Song". Fantastic reprise! In the final an Epifani keyboard solo (which reminds me another keyboard solo, but that unfortunately my mind can't never or doesn't want to remember) concludes the song.

The album ends with a suite. "The Very Last Number" is a surprise for me. A 21 minutes song with a dip in the past. Back to old memories introduced by a fluffy saxophone, and then after the listener is awakened by a galloping rhythm. Sometimes a violin plays recalling passed memories. It's like being cradled by something during the song. A very curious experience. I think it is a very valid song with many interesting passages and change of times, as they have accustomed us since the beginning.

This album represent their breakthrough, their maturity gained during their activity. An album which sounds like the best prog tradition, but in our days. All thanks to Michele Epifani, an artist with a thousand facets, always ready to accepts new challenges (as SUBTILIOR project).

5 Stars - "The Other Side Of The Italian Prog Style"

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Send comments to Utnapishtim (BETA) | Report this review (#1109016)
Posted Monday, January 06, 2014 | Review Permalink

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