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SONGS FROM THE CRACKLING ATANOR

Yleclipse

Neo-Prog


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b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Songs From the Crackling Atanor released in december 2012 is another very worthy album from this unfairly underrated band from Italy named Yleclipse. I have a soft spot for this band since they released Opus in 2006. This album from the excellent art work made by Alessandra Murgia (who done all the art works of previous albums) to the music this album is no less then an excellent journey into neo prog realm where everything is well balanced and performed. Again like on previous albums, here are long elaborated neo-prog pieces with exception opening instrumental track Convivium Mithrae. Keeping the flag high in this field Yleclipse manage to come with another excellent sincere reelease as an example of how must sound a neo prog album these days. I like a lot this new album, both instrumental passages as the voice aswell. Alessio Guerriero has an unique voice and fits perfectly into this type of music, and aswell here I can trace some Peter Hammill influences in some of his vocal lines, of course not a bad thing at all. Opening track Convivium Mithrae - stands as one of the highlights , is an 6 min instrumental piece, a combination of neo prog passages with a medieval, celtic atmosphere, very nice and original. Another very worthy tune is Gentle breeze and Dreams are foam, excellent song writting, top notch vocal lines and elegant guitar works, love it. The rest of the tracxks are also worthy for sure. Simply said this is another great work by the band, who still continue with perseverence to belive in their goal, to produce solid progressive rock for the eager listners ears. For me Yleaclipse is one of the best bands I've ever heared and the most unique aswell, and with thier fifth album - Songs from the Crackling Atanor they still are on the bariccades producing quality music. 4 stars easy, beside music the art work is magic , as one every Yleclipse album.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#934344)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's basically impossible to track down this band's recordings in the US but I was finally able to get ahold of Songs from the Crackling Atanor which was therefore my first experience with this fine Italian band. Subsequently I've also been able to purchase Trails of Ambergris from Mellow Records so have a bit more perspective for this review. That said, this is one fantastic neo-prog CD and band! This is what neo-prog is all about, with soaring keyboard textures and fills, bombastic guitar simply everywhere, highly competent vocal delivery and lyrics (in quite good English), all in an extremely melodic package. As good as this CD is, I didn't expect Trails of Ambergris to be as good but....it IS! In fact any neo-prog fan should consider both of these recordings as essential (sadly I can't get ahold of any their earlier stuff). The guitar work in particular is just gobsmacking. I would like Alessio Guerriero to play me guitar lullabies every night...his playing is prominent throughout the CD and never disappoints, in fact he outdoes himself on every song (there are no 'duds' to be found on either CD). The fifth star for me on this one is due to the mixing quality. Trails of Ambergris is decidedly lacking in low frequency punch, giving it a bit of a harsh sound overall but this one is mixed FAR better and sounds absolutely excellent, something quite essential for a neo-prog band with this much talent. If you're a fan of neo-prog you will rejoice over this one.

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Send comments to rickdeckard (BETA) | Report this review (#1005174)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Another example that not every prog band to emerge from Italy follows the RPI template, Cagliari's Yleclipse follow the Neo Prog silver brick road, fashioning a style more in common with the likes of 80's Marillion and early Pendragon with pinch of Van der Graaf Generator and Pink Floyd thrown into the cauldron for good measure. With richly detailed fantasy lyrics, theatrical vocal delivery and a sound that seamlessly moves through delicate medieval acoustic subtlety to hard-rocking modern passages then back around again, the band perform and compose the music on their fifth album `Songs From the Cracking Atanor' with all the sophistication and technicality expected of Italian bands.

Although this was the first Yleclipse album I purchased, I was certainly well aware of them - you don't have exquisite fantasy art like Alessandra Murgia's work here adorning all your albums as a defining characteristic and not have it spoken about in Prog circles! Even the CD booklet is beautifully presented, like a lavish tome of fantasy poetry. If only this band would release their music on vinyl! Anyway, I learned very quickly that the band is considered something very special to its small but devoted fanbase, so I was excited to hear if the music matched the wonderful presentation. For the most part, with one small initial gripe aside that I soon got over, I've found them to be a very worthy and interesting band!

The main issue with the album for me personally are the somewhat inconsistent English vocals. Alessio Guerriero sometimes runs the very wordy lyrics together with a kind of mumbled slur, so a lot of the time I have terrible trouble understanding what he's saying (thank goodness for the lyrics provided!). There's occasional strained notes, and some harmonies go a bit astray with slightly cringe-worthy results. But when he slows down, and doesn't try to cram so much into a short space, things work a lot better, especially on the spoken word-type passages where he takes on an interesting Peter Hammill-type phrasing. Every now and then, like at the beginning of the fourth track, Alesso adopts a Fish-like snarl that also delivers, and the following track throws a little David Bowie into the mix too.

Listeners are pretty spoiled with the tasty instrumental that opens with album, `Convivium Mithrae'. A whimsical and impossibly pretty classical acoustic piece that blends soothing flute, Mellotron and gentle synths, this one comes closest to the warmth and classical flavour of the defining 70's Italian bands. I do think it sets the bar high right at the start, and it's probably why I was a bit disappointed once the vocals entered on the next track. But over the next few numbers, you'll find some supremely tasteful Neo Prog pieces all with several thrilling musical passages. While the opening vocal melody of `Dreams Are Foam' drifts a little close to Van der Graaf Generator's `A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers' (even more noticeable due to the Hammill influenced vocals mannerisms), listen out instead for the varied piano, loopy synths, and the perfectly drowsy slide guitar-like solo over organ worthy of Pink Floyd during the finale. `A Jinnee Be Freed' has a strong Marillion connection, not only do the vocals go for a angry spitting Fish-type approach, the guitars have the same harsh electric edge which the production reinforces with similarly cold 80's production.

Album highlight `Springtime Fiery Delirium' opens with a frantic and tense drive of joyous melodic guitar soloing and peppy synths over an uptempo drum-beat courtesy of Federico Bacco. This is the track where the vocals flow the best and flow perfectly with the music, sounding less awkward and much more confident. The extended guitar solo from Allessio that runs through the majority of the piece is beautifully executed, reaching for the skies yet also holding back to let the mysterious floating synths weave through as well. The upbeat and playful `Growling Warty Beast' offers plenty of dazzling synth showcase moments for player Andrea Picciau, oppressive and thick one second, reassuring the next. Despite album Closer `Nadir Voices' opening with a foot tapping beat, grooving bass from Andrea Iddas and oceans of warm Hammond organ, the majority of the piece is more emotional and introspective with a thoughtful and guitar solo, enveloping synths and heartfelt vocals. I have to say, one or two brief moments where Allessio's voice turns slightly twisted reminded me of Michael Schubert's warped vocals on the murky 1976 Kyrie Eleison album `Fountain Beyond The Sunrise'! I wouldn't be surprised if the band knows that Genesis-influenced album well. I love the final lyrics too - "I part, I must ascend in never ending light...so long, I wave goodbye."

The album greatly improves over repeated plays, and I urge listeners to persist with it and become more familiarized with the dense arrangements. I was initially very let down and quite vocal in my disappointment, but I'm glad I stuck with it. For me personally, the album especially soars more in the extended instrumental passages, although I did eventually come to enjoy Alessio's vocals more after persevering with the disc. If you also take that time, you'll discover an album that's lyrically vivid, instrumentally diverse and not merely lazily remaking the past vintage bands, even if they are something of a vague influence. Yleclipse bring their own unique ideas to their particular take of Neo Prog, and I look forward to hearing more of their work! Any suggestions on which album of theirs to go for next are very welcome!

Three and a half stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1099741)
Posted Thursday, December 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Some purveyors of Genesis-esque neo-prog get the hump if you insinuate that there's a whiff of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy about their music - Marillion even in the early phases of the Fish era took great umbrage at being dismissed as music about goblins solely on the basis of Grendel, for instance. Somehow, however, I don't think Yleclipse mind those perceptions so much - not when there's such a medieval atmosphere permeating their music, or when the cover art prominently shows a party of adventurers led by a wizard riding on the back of a dragon.

Proving adept at adapting the Genesis style, Yleclipse to my ears seem to tackle a "what if" - what if, after the medievalism of Trespass and the Victorian whimsy of Nursery Cryme, Genesis had gone back and made some sort of fusion of the two, leaning on Victorian-era romanticisation of the medieval period in order to attain an atmosphere with one foot in nostalgia and one foot in fantasy? They'd sound like this, they would.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1142017)
Posted Wednesday, March 05, 2014 | Review Permalink

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