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La Maschera Di Cera - Le Porte Del Domani CD (album) cover

LE PORTE DEL DOMANI

La Maschera Di Cera

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars La Maschera di Cera are back with a new album , available both with original Italian or English vocals and lyrics, a trick of the tail done in the past with PFM, Banco and Le Orme (The artwork here is somewhat reminiscent of 'Felona e Sorona', no?) . Their previous release "Petali di Fuoco" was a slight deviation from their usual somber mellotron and bass driven sympho-prog. Wasn't a bad album at all, just different most probably due to PFM guru Franz di Cioccio's clean production and Matteo Nahum's occasional guitar.

"Le Porte del Domani" is a heady return to the bombast with the sensational Agostino Macor's arsenal of vintage keyboards back to the forefront, band leader Fabio Zuffanti still leading the charge with his amazing trebly bass onslaught, drummer extraordinaire Maurizio di Tollo bashing monstrously (the two are still one of the finest rhythm sections in prog) and Andrea Monetti's lovely flute decorating nicely, adding sultry sax to the mix as well. All that was needed was to see if lead singer Alessandro Corviglia could continue to hold on to the microphone stand as Italy's leading progressive voice, which I am happy to say, is the absolute case. He is in fine voice (in both English and his native tongue), elegantly gravelly and overpowering at the same time. The material is perhaps some of the strongest LMdC yet, their sabbatical has given the members time to reboot their creative juices while involving themselves with other projects (DiTollo solo album, Höstsonaten, L'Ombre della Sera etc?). Guitarist Laura Marsano stays somewhat in the background, stepping in the spotlight only rarely and when required, leaving the road clear for Macor's baffling talent (I have already anointed him as the next Emerson/Wakeman) to explode all over this sensational release.

The ragazzi waste little time with the whopping "Ritorno dal Nulla" (Back From the Void), reviving the classic LMdC formula of colossal keyboard wooshes, buzzing bass and pounding drums, creating a doom-laden dirge that would make a volcano erupt on cue. The sublime lead synth scours the airwaves amid torrents of repetitive mellotron, piano sprinkles, shriveling flute and guitar adornments finish the deal. Zuffanti's bass is front and center, plowing away like a deranged madman, to the listener's delight. The ambient mid- section introduces Alessandro's temporarily fragile voice, elevating the main theme to glorious heights, deeply fervent and exalted when needed, confirming the depth of the music displayed. Definitely one of the bands greatest compositions.

"La Guerra Dei Mille Anni" (Thousand Year War) begins acoustically inclined, jangly guitar and sweet flute at the head, with a spacious raspy vocal typical of the Italian tradition, strong Jethro Tull hint in many ways, a savvy little ditty that playfully dances with the medieval rhythm and the backing mellotron. Airy, flavorful, considerate and highly enjoyable.

"Ritratto di Lui" (Chant of Him) as the title implies is squarely axed on the voice of Alex Corviglia , easily one of prog's most original voices, fragile and hoarse, overpowering yet delicate and loaded with incredible presence. The mood is exhilarating, at times delirious and hectic, while at others almost imbued with some serious heavy jazz intonations giving it a Canterbury gleam as witnessed on "L'Enorme Abisso"(The Deepest Chasm). Whirling dervish synths, colossal mellotron waves and booming rhythmic structures keep this firmly anchored with a Marsano solo that crystallizes their passion. When the delirious sax settles in to the brewing fray, the atmosphere becomes intense and desperate, witnessed by the one-two drum punch and the grainy guitar fills sounding almost like You-era Gong, obscure, dissonant and hectic. The arching vocal kills this one off beautifully, an 'enormous' highlight track once again!

"Ritratto di Lei"(Chant of Her), the feminine version of the male chant previously played shows some vocal daring by infusing some spectral choir work in a most subtle manner, a somber and melancholic slow burner that seizes the listener by the jugular and does not let go. A tremendous track that shows Corviglia's wider vocal range and tone control! The man can actually sing! Macor's fluid piano is another spectacular highlight.

For those who wonder if I exaggerate the talents of di Tollo, Zuffanti, Monetti and Macor, check out the ominous "Viaggio Metafisico" (Metaphysical Journey), a groove infested bulldozer that rambles brightly, menacing and yet stealthy, sounding almost like classic Hawkwind. Corviglia then decides to stamp this with an ardent vocal finale.

To challenge the expectations, the next track "Albe nel Tempo" (Dawn in the Temple) starts off in ambient dreamland, Monetti's subtle flute fluttering over synthesized waves of unruffled splendor, Corviglia slow delivery showing restraint and immense profundity, blooming into a huge Laura Marsano guitar solo that just exudes shimmer and lace. A Mellotron outro that is both luminous and grandiose shines on brightly even after the music as stopped.

Change of pace once again, "Luce Sui Due Mondi" (A Word for Two Worlds) a slight countrified breeze with relaxed pastoral pastels and a powerful vocal, a never silenced flute in the air that slowly evolves into this mammoth chorus, acoustic guitar carrying the weight, followed by a massive and unrelenting keyboard onslaught. Another tremendous piece of authentic Italian prog!

The all-instrumental title track finishes off this marvel quite nicely; a relentless metronome beat keeps things panting and lascivious, whistling keyboard passages that combine vintage sounds and modern creativity. Screeching guitar phrasings, piano droplets and odd effects only elevate the exaltation, easily their most exploratory track here, showing off their considerable chops within a dense psychedelic/space fog.

I really enjoyed this brilliant return to form, a rather natural prospect when you have such technically stellar musicians at the helm. Fabio Zuffanti and company have brought the wax mask back to the gilded forefront of modern RPI. Fans of the glorious mellotron will reel from the joy exhibited on this album, as it is used and abused all over the arrangements. The overall atmosphere is weighty, bruising and demanding, very little down-time and no pedant saccharine filler at all. Maniacs of heavy prog will just plain LOVE this!

Their best yet! 5 Future passages

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#900980)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars La Maschera di Cera's latest release, Le Porte del Domani (also available in an English version, though I went for the Italian one since generally I find people sound a lot more natural and flow better when they sing in their native language) sports a cover which is more than a little reminiscent of Le Orme's famed Felona e Sorona, though the band do not offer up a mere Le Orme clone here. Instead, they establish a foundation of folky acoustic guitar and flute, embellish it with a range of unusual percussion instruments, and then go to town on it with a veritable museum of keyboards and synthesisers.

Fans of eclectic prog instrumentation will find it a treat, but even if you set aside that aspect of the album the musical approach - wavering at points between extremely proggy passages and very folky sections - is a cut above the sort of nostalgia-dependent 70s throwback retro-prog material which the cover art may make you think of. So, let's forgive La Maschera their borrowings from Le Orme, because in this case they've more than earned the right to compare themselves to RPI giants of the past.

EDIT: I've been told I need to add a correction here - apparently, had I read La Maschera's press release surrounding the album, I'd have known that the album was in fact deliberately conceived as a sequel to Felona e Sorona - hence the cover art. On the one hand, that resolves the cover issue, on the other hand I do wonder whether this won't spark a little controversy - I'm sure some would say La Maschera are being rather presumptuous in trying to craft a sequel to another band's work. I'd actually say the two albums are roughly on a par, though, so I'm not too fussed.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#917606)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Éxito!

Giving a little brother to (maybe) the pinnacle of Italian Prog could be a suicide if not done well. But if it succeeds, you definitely have a major gold star on your resumé. I mean, who would like to risk something like this? Ian Anderson did it last year (Brick 2) with great honor I might add, but Eloy (Ocean 2) and Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells sequels) failed big time. Did the Mask of Wax delivered a sequel to Felona E Sorona?

Well I'll be damned, they nailed it!

And they did not butchered anything from Le Orme's legendary album by recycling melodies or textures, they simply continued the story adding their personnal touch, not too far from what Le Orme gave us almost 40 years ago. The spacey theme of Felona E Sorona is still very present, with even more intensity though. Oh yeah, this is one intense record with grasping vocals and a keyboard palette to die for. I give a special round of applause to Agostino Macor with his impressive arsenal of vintage sounds that kickstarts the album and rides with you until the bombastic finale that resonnates like a space battle. The mellotron has been VERY present in the prog world, many times used for nothing. The mellotron is a dream machine, and the purpose of it's use is to create symphonic grandeur and majesty. I frankly cannot recall when it's been as wisely used as in this record. The mellotron here gives real dimension to the whole thing, creating a true choir of majestic images. Perfect.

My big favorite in this early year and a spectacular show of what La Maschera can do. These guys just passed the test: they are now one of the Greats.

Maravilloso disco! Grazi Mille!

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#917793)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Le Porte Del Domani is the fifth album from Italian symphonic proggers La Maschera Di Cera and it's one that sure to raise an eyebrow or two amongst the RPI loving community. Not on a musical level but because they've took the brave or foolhardy step, depending on your point of view, of writing a follow up to Le Orme's classic Felona E Sorona. The band have made the point that Le Orme never finished the story and so presumably with Le Orme's blessing have decided to do so themselves. Like Le Orme they've chosen to release it in Italian and English vocal version's and I believe there's one or two minor musical differences between the two though I haven't compared them, this review being based on the Italian version. Some may feel it's a bit of cheek to do the follow up to such a classic but I have to say they've pulled it off with considerable aplomb.

On a musical level despite a solid 21st century production they've clearly gone for a sound that's in keeping with the original and made it keyboard heavy, the electric guitar that became more prevalent in their sound on 2010's Petali Di Fuoco taking a back seat for the most part. They've even nicked little segment's here and there from the original Felona E Sorona with key changes to fit them into their own composition's and some tracks though not a copy have clearly been influenced by it with nods to Le Orme. There's enough of their own identity to not make it plagiaristic - it's clear any similarities are deliberate and this is clearly La Maschera Di Cera we're listening to. Anyone familiar with any of Fabio Zuffanti's projects will know exactly what to expect here - Sophisticated and lush symphonic prog that while not groudbreaking or particularly adventurous, makes up for with strong melodies and powerful instrumental work. I know there are those out there who feel that Zuffanti's album's are a bit too slick for their own good, lacking the wilder element's shared by many of the classic seventies RPI bands. Il Balletto Di Bronzo this is clearly not. However on this occasion it perhaps works in their favour, Le Orme being one of the safer exports of Italian prog.

Overall then a nice album, expertly played and executed. If you're already a fan of any of Zuffanti's projects then you'll almost certainly like this too, but if you're not Le Porte Del Domani is unlikely to change your mind.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#918673)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a decade, four successful albums and concerts played all around the globe, La Maschera di Cera close the circle proposing an album that is the sum of all the Italian Prog homage matter. The band has in fact decided to write the continuation of the "Felona and Sorona" concept (Le Orme, 1973), a record that is unanimously considered a masterpiece, as well as a milestone in the world progressive rock scene.

What pushed the group to dive into an adventure that offers great satisfaction on one hand, but can also be rugged and full of unexpected surprises and criticism on the other, is simply the desire to get involved, to try to do what no one has never done before, to actualize a discourse that began forty years ago and still offers artistic ideas to think about. The original concept is in fact a universal story of diversity and inequality that stays ? perhaps on purpose? - unresolved at the end of the LP, thus leaving space for an inspired continuation and conclusion, clearly filtered through MDC's point of view.

Musically, the band deepen their relationship with vintage sounds, but bring everything to a more actualized dimension, while lyrically the concept addresses the struggle between the two planets, one light and one dark; a fight that will only be resolved by two lovers from the two different worlds and by the otherworldly intervention of the deity that protects them.

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Send comments to mbzr48 (BETA) | Report this review (#943340)
Posted Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Fabio Zuffanti is truly a modern Italian progressive icon. His prolific output has included this project La Maschera Di Cera (five albums in and counting), the atmospheric Hostsonaten, Finisterre, the Goblin/horror influenced L'Ombra Della Sera, his solo rock operas, as well as overseeing numerous acts such as heavy psych rockers Oxhuitzan and the sublime solo album from his drummer Maurizio Di Tollo amongst many others. This year, together they are responsible for one of the most high profile and controversial Italian releases, `Le Porte Del Domani', a lavish and stylish production available across a number of formats and variations.

For those unaware, this album is a follow-up or continuation of the classic Le Orme album `Felona E Serona'. Whether this has come about through a true affection and respect for that beloved 70's release, or using it as a notorious way to draw extra attention I'm unsure - possibly both! It shares the same cover artist, alternate English and Italian language versions of the album, 8 tracks ending on an epic instrumental, and occasional moments that borrow particular themes or musical passages from the original album. I don't know if this album was made with Le Orme's blessing, or why for that matter they never got around to making a proper sequel themselves!

There is a case for the point that not only is Fabio blatantly taking advantage of another band and albums' status, but he's shamelessly putting out product that lazily provides every Italian RPI cliche - a `paint by numbers' approach without much in the way of originality, if you will. Some will definitely see it that way. There are other exciting bands emerging or currently establishing themselves in the modern RPI genre that deserve just as much praise, attention and status as this one, who are offering more daring and truly progressive work. However, there is no denying the sheer quality of the production and the playing of the outstanding musicians involved here (keyboardist Agostino Macor and flautist Martin Grice really shine), and they should be proud of what they achieved. Repeated plays thankfully reveal an album that very much stands on it's own identity, and it certainly isn't just a tedious rehash or lazy remake of the Le Orme original.

The darkly psychedelic `Ritorno Dal Nulla' opens Side A of the Italian vinyl copy, Fabio's slinking bass murmurs around Agostino Macor's eerie phasing and shimmering keyboards, gentle percussion gradually growing in tension and tempo before a bombastic Mellotron and flute explosion! This is one of the few sections that features an exact reprise of the opening track on Le Orme's `Felona'. Vocalist Alessandro Corvaglia soon comes in singing accompanied only by a quavering Mellotron, his gruff voice standing out with conviction and power. After the marching drum and chime introduction, the driving acoustic `La Guerra Dei Mille Ani' has all the right RPI ingredients - fiery guitar strumming, passionate vocals, classical grandeur and magical flute, with a real chest-beating and stirring chorus. It's a lovely affectionate track that shows a lot of heart. The interlude `Ritratto Di Lui' is all mystical ambient mystery, before the driving and angry `L'Enorme Abisso' attacks the listener with swirling Wakeman-influenced blaring Minimoog and intimidating Mellotron choirs, pouncing bass, bashing drums from Maurizio and wailing guitar soloing from guest Laura Marsano amongst a whirlwind of hazy sax, flute and electronics. During the grand finale, Allesandro's gravelly tone even takes on Marillion's Fish-like spitting qualities! This piece reminds me so much of that first unpredictable Banco album, and what a way to wrap the first side!

Side B opens with the sedate mystery and beauty of `Ritratto Di Lei', with gothic Mellotron veils, tiptoeing electric piano footsteps and Allessandro's hoarse and passionate voice, with a booming church organ and spiraling piano middle that's so full of RPI classical bombast - again reminding me in particular of Banco. It's soon obliterated by the smashing and sinister `Viaggio Metafisico', Fabio's relentless bass grooving and punching away in the background like he's just stepped in from a Krautrock album, Agostino's keyboards a dreamy blur. `Alba Nel Tempio' slows things back down for a more reflective and placid number, a lush romantic piece with Allesandro's voice full of longing and a majestic and heartfelt guitar solo again from Laura that soars to the heavens. The reflective mood continues initially with the very personal acoustic guitar sounds and introspective flute of `Luce Sui Due Mondi', a real positive vibe dancing all around! We soon get a dynamic reprise of the powerful chorus of the opening track with a bursting imperial keyboard outro. It's then full throttle to the album finish, a dazzling senses-shredding disorientating instrumental. Fuzzy bubbling electronics, crashing 70's Nick Mason-styled percussion, glistening electric piano, shimmering synths, imposing Mellotron walls, all played at varying tempos back and forth with a finale brief salute to the mighty Le Orme at the tail end. An absolute winner.

So is `Le Porte Di Cera' one of the most exciting and must-buy recent Italian progressive releases? Maybe not. Is it well written, beautifully performed and impeccably produced? Absolutely. This album has caught a lot of attention from either curious, lapsed or half-hearted fans, as well as new listeners, so if it serves as an opening to look further around for what's currently going on in the modern RPi genre, that can only be a very good thing. Fabio Zuffanti and his cohorts should be immensely proud of what they've achieved here, and they've definitely set the bar high for the next La Macchera Di era release as well as rasing their own status in the genre.

Four stars - and treat yourself, buy one of stunning vinyl copies!

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#952327)
Posted Wednesday, May 01, 2013 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team
3 stars Fabio Zuffanti has always been bold in his projects. But this time he went very high! The new La Maschera Di Cera album, Le Porte Del Domani (2013) is not just big by having an English version too (The Gates Of Tomorrow) but also by shooting really high in the Prog World.

I can't review Le Porte Del Domani (2013) without going into the original story. Exactly forty years ago one of the biggest Italian bands, Le Orme, released their masterpiece called Felona E Sorona (1973). That album is still named as one of the finest Prog Rock albums, not only from Italy, but worldwide. Felona E Sornoa (1973) is a conceptual album with a story of two planets which revolve one around the other, without ever coming in contact. One planet's called Felona and it is shiny and flourishing, the other planet is called Sorona and it is dark and home to all kinds of bad things. Then on the second part of the album/concept the fate of the two planets is inverted. The original concept was left unresolved at the end of the album so, forty years later Fabio Zuffanti (bass & writer), Alessandro Corvaglia (vocals and 12 string acoustic guitars), Maurizio Di Tollo (drums and percussions), Agostino Macor (keyboards) and Andrea Monetti (flutes) decided to continue that story.

I did play both albums back to back and I have to say that this is quite an experience. Not that Le Porte Del Domani (2013) is an exact continuation in terms of sound, cause it is not. After forty years, of course, things change, especially in the 'kitchen'. To me the drums sound in Le Porte Del Domani (2013) is a bit poor and the bass sound is absolutely out of place, especially after listening to Aldo Tagliapietra's bass in the original Felona E Sorona (1973). For the listener's luck Fabio Zuffanti is a great composer and he keeps the same line of the original album with memorable melodies. Two names must be mentioned here, Agostino Macor and Andrea Monetti. Agostino plays some awesome synths and keyboards while Andrea makes La Maschera Di Cera have a unique sound with his flutes.

Le Porte Del Domani (2013) couldn't start better. 'Ritorno Dal Nulla' makes you remember Felona E Sorona (1973) immediately. 'La Guerra Dei Mille Anni' brings the acoustic sound of both bands and then we have a new album and a new band, not just a Le Orme's copy. Smart move! 'Ritrato Di Lui' is more like a big intro for 'L'Enorme Abisso', and then things turn out to be better and better. 'L'Enorme Abisso' has the kind of synths that make every Prog lover jump and even shake their head. Again, the drums are the flaw in terms of sound. Cause Maurizion Di Tollo can drum, that's for sure. But the recording doesn't help. A pity cause this is a fabulous track!

'Ritratto Di Lei' opens the second part of Le Porte Del Domani (2013) as a mini intro and is followed by 'Viaggio Metafisico' and it's not quite what I expected. Drums once again on a lower level of sound. 'Alba Nel Tempio' follows the same path but 'Luce Sui Due Mondi' returns to the Folk sound with a high symphonic edge. 'Alle Porte Del Domani' closes the album with a hard rock feeling. But a weird one, full of flutes. A completely Space Rock journey as the story asks for.

I didn't really listen carefully to The Gates Of Tomorrow (2013) (the English version), cause I think Italian is a beautiful language to listen to so I cannot say a thing about that album. What I can say is that Le Porte Del Domani (2013) is a bold attempt of a hard working guy (Fabio Zuffanti), the bar was settled very high and La Maschera Di Cera almost did it! It's just a pity that the album drums sound is not that good, that would make Le Porte Del Domani (2013) go really high in my chart.

3.5 really.

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Send comments to ProgShine (BETA) | Report this review (#952600)
Posted Thursday, May 02, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I first heard (and continue to hear) the opening song of this album ("Ritorno dal nulla" [8:40] [9/10]) I am wowed into thinking, "This is going to be an amazing album!" But, unfortunately, this is not the case. The rest of the album lags, drags, and fails to go anywhere new or extraordinary. Even if I new more Italian, the lyrics would not be enough to sustain my interest. (My understanding is that this is an attempt at a "sequel" to LE ORME's 1973 'classic,' Felona e Serona--an album that has never won my heart or appreciation despite many attempts.)

A solid three star album despite the wonderful opener.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#966139)
Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars La Maschera di Cera's effort Le Porte del Domani is a very good record from 2013 by this Italian band. The album cover to this record is red and shows two thin ghost like creatures. It was also released in an English version and this is the band's fifth record. When I had heard the first song I loved this totally, the rest is also good if not as good as "Ritorna dal Nulla". The people who made this was Alessandro Corvaglia (lead vocals, acoustic, 12-string and electric guitars), Mau Di Tollo(drums, mellotron), Agostino Macor( piano, organ, mellotron, synthesizer, mandolin, bells), Andrea Monetti(flute) and Fabio Zuffanti(bass, bells).

As I told you "Ritorna dal Nulla" is fantastic and a piece you really should listen to, it is very clever built up and gains power while the minutes go. The voices are powerful. The rest of the record is alse very good. "Alba nel tempio" is a slow, vocal strong piece that becomes powerful in the end. "Luce sui due mondi" is also very powerful and we meet the theme from the first song again like a final and the comes the calmer "Alle porte del domani" the title track that is amazing in its way. "La guerra dei mille anni" is fast and powerful, very interesting track.

The whola album contains very muchs great musicality. All tracks are worth listen to and it gives the listener a marvelous and exciting time of space. The vocals and every other instruments are genuine and new and this is really sounds from one band. Perhaps the rating should be higher because this is avery good record, but now I give it four strong stars like I gave PFM's Chocolate Kings.

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Send comments to DrömmarenAdrian (BETA) | Report this review (#969515)
Posted Sunday, June 02, 2013 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars The perfect complement for Felona e Sorona

When I saw the cover of Le Porte del Domani, thought immediately in Felona e Sorona first I believed it was a coincidence or the product of a non-versatile artist, but when I read the tracks, It was obvious we were before a sequel of LE ORME'S masterpiece and believed this guys were taking a huge risk, either they climbed to the level of RPI icons, or ruined their career, because destroying the legacy of a beloved masterpiece is something nobody would forgive.

The first achievement of LA MASCHERA DI CERA was the approach, because even when the album has common places and even short reminiscences of Felona e Sorona, the atmosphere is completely different, they sacrifice some mystery and obscurity for a more fluid and folksy sound with keyboard performances that make want to jump and clap. It's important to mention that the voice of Alessandro Corvaglia is absolutely reminiscent of Aldo Tagliapietra's, so the listener immediately connects both albums with no problem.

The story of Felona e Sorona is about two twin planets located at the two sides of "Colui Che Promette il Mondo" (He who Promises the World), a god who's existence both planet inhabitants ignore, so when the divinity looked towards a planet took the light towards it and became a paradise, while the other fell into darkness turning it into hell, and the album ends when the divinity is looking towards the middle of both planets so both were in balance.

LA MASCHERA DI CERA retakes the plot in the moment when the divinity (Who once looked towards Felona) starts turning towards Sorona and this world becomes a paradise while the once wonderful Felona starts the decline towards obscurity, so the inhabitants of planet in decline attack the other to retake the light,

But being that the forces are equivalent (Sorona obtains a new power due to the light while Felona keeps the knowledge of the golden years), the battle lasts 1,000 years. The divinity notices that he can do nothing to maintain the balance and enters into a crisis of solitude that could be the end of both planets. In the meanwhile, a soldier of Felona falls in love with a woman of Sorona who discovers the existence of this divinity, so they make a mental travel to the Afterworld Dimension where "He who Promises the World" looks this union between two opposites with pleasure and his loneliness turns into a light of happiness that takes Felona and Sorona towards a new era of mutual brilliance.

As we can see, the story is simpler than the original but still is effective and interesting, and the music?

Well, that's another story, because both albums are almost in the same level, so let's go to the music:

The album istarts with Ritorno Dal Nulla (Return from the Balance), which starts with a breathtaking intro where the band hits us with the heavy artillery from the mysterious intro plethoric of guitar and magnificent keyboards, which lead to the well known tune from the opener of Felona e Sorona (Sospesi Nell'Incredibile), and after that, anything can be expected. Despite the reviews I read, the drumming is outstanding and Agostino Macor attacks the listener with a of Moog, Mellotron, Birotron, Hammond plus every instrument with keys he has. Of concerto course the cherry on the top of the cake is placed by Andrea Monetti and the subtle flute. More than eight minutes of first class Italian Symphonic.

La Guerra Dei Mille Anni (The Thousand Years War) Starts with a martial drum based intro but after that is marked by the excellent vocals in Italian by Alessandro Corvaglia (Please Italians, your language is marvelous, forget the English), brilliantly enhanced by the flute and acoustic guitars, this time with a folksy atmosphere that falls on us as a breeze of fresh air.

Ritratto Di Lui (Portrait of Him): From the beginning the band imprints a mystical atmosphere enhanced by the vocals and flute, but being that is the story of the Felona soldier that falls in love with a Sorona woman, there's a romantic feeling that only Italians can create without falling in cheesiness...........Beautiful song.

L'enorme Abisso (The Enormous Abyss): One of the highlights of the album, because the dissonant and almost chaotic interplay between organ, Mellotron, percussion and saxophone describe perfectly the desperation of the divinity when he notices that no matter what he does, he can't project the light to both planets. Very complex and elaborate track, the dream of a proghead.

Ritratto di Lei (Portrait of Her) is another melodic song with an incredibly beautiful piano performance, where the woman of Sorona discovers the existence of "Colui che promette il Mondo" and proposes her lover a mental travel to meet god.

Viaggio Metafisico (Metaphysical Journey) is probably the best track of the album, the guys of LA MASCHERA DI CERA don´t keep anything for the end, and make a display of virtuosity in all the instruments, almost like a blend between BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, KING CRIMSON and LE ORME. Frantic and breathtaking from start to end, radical changes, and outstanding performances, we can't ask for more.

Alba Nel Tempio (Dawn in the Temple) describes the moment when the lovers reach te palace of the god, and due to the depression of "He who Promises the World" find it decadent with reminiscences of a past glory, and the music represents this perfectly, with echoes of the most brilliant passages of the album, played with a sense of nostalgia that's evident for the listener.

Luce Sui Due Mondi (Light for the two Worlds) is the climax of the concept, because the divinity notices that the two planets complement themselves and in that moment emits a light so strong that turns both worlds into a paradise simultaneously. Paradoxically, this may be the weakest track of the album, being that the softness fails to represent that magical moment, but still is good.

When I believed that the band had given their best comes the closer Alle Porte del Domani (At the Gates of Tomorrow) which really takes the album to a new level of splendor, really the grand finale that will satisfy the most exigent listeners.

Well for what I wrote, the 5 stars rating falls by its own weight, but I must add that we are before a new classic masterpiece that deserves to be listener as the conclusion of the iconic Felona e Sorona, without suffering when compared.

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Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permalink

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