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Il Rovescio Della Medaglia - Microstorie CD (album) cover


Il Rovescio Della Medaglia

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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2 stars I have to admit that before listening to this album, I've already been familiar with only one previous effort of the band, highly impressive and well known symphonic prog gem - "Contaminazione". Unfortunately "Microstorie" has nothing to do with that album's style. The new material presented by re-united Il Rovescio Della Medaglia is much more mainstream oriented hard rock/pop-rock with only few heavy prog influences and even less symphonic parts. But is it completely bad? Not really. So let's look to my brief description of songs included on "Microstorie":

1. "Quale Film" - album begins with standard AOR song full of dazzling guitars and brass section. Nothing impressive but not too offensive either. Surprisingly keyboards are usually inaudible here. Overall very "modern" sounding. However I like last few seconds when we can enjoy symphonic orchestral finale.

2. "Se Non Hai" - much harder song with crunching guitar riffs. If not the Italian language I'd easily mistaken them with some Southern hard rock band from Texas! Anyway vocals are quite strange here, mainly half-whispering, low-sounding "talking" instead of real singing, but we also have "normal" refrains here. Not so bad, because I kinda like this repetitive guitar riff here.

3. "Microstorie" - slightly more symphonic sounding piece with acoustic guitar, piano & soft vocals. Saxophone is a nice addition too. Similar to some more pop-oriented ballads recorded in 70s by Le Orme.

4. "Luca's Bar" - one of my favorite tracks on the album but still with no connections to this band's glory past. It's mainly very groovy instrumental blues-rock driven by heavy electric guitar leads & solos, but quirky synthesizers (unfortunately very digital sounding), pianos & some brass sections make it more heavy prog-like.

5. "Cattivi Pensieri" - mainly pop-rock with radio-friendly refrain, string & brass sections & usual harder edged guitar delivery. Unimpressive, however Moog (?) solo in the end reminds about good old 70s symphonic prog in the vain o Rick Wakeman's solo output.

6. "Dimmi Ancora di Si" - another rather typical Italian-style pop-ballad. Nothing to write about.

7. "Tapis Roulant" - only a little more interesting attempt on recording pop-rock hit. String & brass sections starts to be annoying...

8. "Grida, Urli & Strilli" - finally keyboardist's Hammond organ & piano playing became more audible here. However "Grida, Urli & Strilli" is still only straightforward rock'n'roller without any real prog/art factor. Overusing of orchestra kills the sheer rock energy for me here. Too much "cabaret" feeling IMO. But I have to admit that I enjoyed organ/guitar interlude soloing near the end of the track.

9. "Ci Sono Giorni" - slightly more proggy mid-tempo track with some good guitar solo & organ background. Thankfully no orchestra here so we can enjoy band-only performance.

10. "Souvenir" - quite entertaining hard rock song with rather catchy rhythm & melody. Very guitar-led, without any orchestra. Quite recommended compared with previous couple of turkeys.

11. "Hai Mai Tentato" - entertaining hard rock with good organ work and not too offensive brass section parts. Not impressive (like all the other songs here...) but still OK.

12. "Part Time" - melodic hard rock song with the most memorable refrain. Overall nothing special but if you like catchy/poppy rock with harder guitars you might like it.

How to judge this effort? It's fairly typical AOR/pop-hard-rock album without any surprises and if would be recorded with some debuting artist I could give them these 3 stars. But it's Il Rovescio Della Medaglia, famous symphonic prog act from 70s!! So I can't help to not compare "Microstorie" with 70s material of this formation. And this comparison makes album from 2010 look very pale. That's why I can recommend this album only to collectors of Italian hard rock with slight proggy feel and die-hard fans of 70s prog dinosaurs who want to check how their idols play in XXI century.

Best track: "Luca's Bar"

Only 2,5 stars from ozzy_tom

Report this review (#415000)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Il Rovescio della Medaglia began life in 1971 in Rome on the initiative of guitarist Enzo Vita. After two albums in hard rock style, 'La bibbia' and 'Io come io', in 1973 they collaborated with composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov and lyricist Sergio Bardotti for a third album in symphonic style with the interaction of a real orchestra, 'Contaminazione' that is usually considered their best one. The band was famous for its live performances but the members had to give up for economical reasons and the experience came to an end in the mid seventies. Enzo Vita tried to start again in the nineties with a new line up and a new musical direction but the results were very disappointing and another long pause followed.

In 2011 Il Rovescio della Medaglia came back with a new album, 'Microstorie'. Well, in fact there's no reunion. Today Il Rovescio della Medaglia is mainly the brainchild of Enzo Vita who set up a brand new project under the old name gathering around him some experienced musicians such as vocalist Roberto Tiranti (from Labyrinth), bassists Gianni Colajacomo (former member of BMS) and Pippo Matino and drummers Cristiano Micalizzi, Daniele Pomo (from RanestRane) and Luca Trolli. On winds we find Sandro Deidda, Roberto Ciminelli, Roberto Schiano and Claudio Corvini while on strings there are Marcello Sirignano, Prisca Amori, Adriana Ester Gallo and Giuseppe Tortora. The result of the recording sessions is an album that most of the old the fans will find difficult to appreciate I fear. The approach is more direct than in the past, there are no long suites or complex tracks but twelve songs featuring an interesting pop rock sound that every now and again could recall Santana's recent works.

Well, the overall sound is lighter than in the past works of Il Rovescio della Medaglia but it's never banal. All the tracks are well crafted and the guitar playing of the leader is always brilliant. According to an interview with Enzo Vita, every track here represents a meeting. Some are meetings with feelings others with books, politics, religion, friendship and music. The lyrics describe the way he got involved in these meetings and Roberto Tiranti's heartfelt vocals interpret them in a convincing way. A man who wants to see what's behind his mask, a star dancing over the chaos, old lovers and troubled dreams, frenzied people who go nowhere as if they were on a treadmill, pieces of history sold as souvenirs... Just twelve simple micro-stories where feelings and emotions are in the forefront and are expressed through funky rhythms, hard rock riffs, Latin atmospheres, short prog reminiscences or melodic ballads. 'Have you ever tried to imitate your heart? / Your heart with its beating and you with your words...'.

Well, on the whole I have to say that I like this album, even if I don't think it's an essential one for a progressive-rock lover...

Report this review (#615593)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 | Review Permalink

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