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Catafalchi Del Cyber - Il Bis CD (album) cover

IL BIS

Catafalchi Del Cyber

Neo-Prog


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4 stars These men are crazy but undoubtedly brilliant and original in many ways. "Il Bis" is the second studio album by this "Anti-Prog, Prog Band" (as they love to descrive themselves) and the The first thing that caught my attention immediately is the quality of writings, performance and production taken to a new level! They grew, free from any Prog Rock constraints and cliches' and IMHO, this is very good cos every songs in this album shows a constant and serious research in what we call "Neo-Prog". Don't be afraid!!!! You still have the chance to listen many beautiful instrumental changes and passages inspired by your RP favourites as GENESIS, YES, UK and KING CRIMSON but (against your likely skepticism) be prepared to be absolutely amazed (or hard tested) by Hardcore Punk, Avant-Jazz, Post-Rock, Hip Hop, Funk and Ambient stuff! The key to enjoy this recording (and the crazy artwork too) is to be absolutely open minded, there's no other way out.

The main core of the band is a trio of skilled musicians, probably you know some... CRISTIANO ROVERSI (Moongarden, Mangala Vallis, Bernardo Lanzetti, Submarine Silence and many others..) on Keys and Production , MATTEO BERTOLINI Basses, Guitars, Theremin and MIRCO RAVENOLDI On Vocals, Lead Guitar and Keys (Both appear in the second SUBMARINE SILENCE studio Release). They play everything, changing their roles and musical instruments song by song helped by a bunch of Special Guests here and there Also it seems that the original drummer ERSIKER ANAMAN is gone cos he appear as Special Huest only in one track. Anyway the new Drummer MATTIA SCOLFARO (Moongarden) performs very well in this absolutely not easy task

1. Violenza Gratuita

The album start with a cinematic intro, a collage of dialogues seemingly without any sense....

2. Il Buon Caffe

This is the first RP Fan Hard test i think, Imagine GORILLA BISQUITS or BLACK FLAG (Historic HC PUNK Bands from the states) playing a Punk Rock song with Mellotron and some techno drums in the end section....

3. Heavy Love

One Of the best number: This beautiful song reminds me of JEFF BUCKLEY's music that very rapidly chance in something very different between ALLAN HOLDSWORTH and GENESIS. The closing section is a Post Rock killer anthem with a bombastic bass sound. Both "Il Buon Caffè" and "Heavy Love" official videos are on YOU TUBE!

4. Ti Vengo a Prendere

They sing in English but the song titles are in italian language.....crazy men as i sayd. This is a beautiful ballad. The atmosphere could be recall some MARILLION HOGHART stuff. There's something of MICK KARN in the Fretless bass approach and the final section will take you in places that you surely will love with the beautiful guitar solo berween HOLDSWORTH and STEVE ROTHERY. RAVENOLDI's vocal range is truly remarkable.

5. Il Cavaliere Odia

An instrumental that remind me something of JOHN ZORN's NAKED CITY with plenty of Jazz and Fusion inserts. Here, the former drummer ERSIKER ANAMAN plays some really complex scores in a very "BRUFORDIAN" style. The MARCO REMONDINI (ECM Label) Sax Solo is something special!

6. 112

The band carry us in a more best known territories starting with a classic and rich symphonic prog to end up woth a YES oriented madrigal guided by beautiful 12 Strings guitars and a female Mellotron register.

7. Happiness

Space Rock and Post Rock united, a very powerfull triplet rythm ride with the usual tastefull guit Solo in it.

8. Gladio

A soft Interlude that reminds me PAT METHENY GROUP of geffen era with some preatty synth and guit solos, ethnic percussions and the singer in PEDRO AZNAR mode ON :)

9. Fakoya LTD.

Well, How can I explain you this one? It's an Hip Hop Old School track with a Rock Progressive odd-rhythm Refrain and Vocals Improvvisation close to DEMETRIO STRATOS (AREA) unique style. It's Enough?

10. A Tailor's Sale

If you're familiar with their first album, this is a classic "CdC" track with plenty of changes and moods, fusion drumming and a classic new prog crescendo that lead in a marvellous guitar acoustic and mellotron duo finale.

11. Prima Repubblica

in case you haven't yet enough of contaminations and musical genres, Ladies and gents, here's ROBERT FRIPP's Soundscapes time!

12. Mouth Shaped Universes

A melancholy closer song which frankly did not understand the lyrics but the music is something marvellous with rich keys supporting an inspired and passionate guit solo.....and the theremin played by MATTEO as a final precious frame!

What can i say at the end of the day? They are surely PROGRESSIVE

Report this review (#1574782)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars More or less the very definition of an obscure Italian progressive music band, Catafalchi del Cyber delivered an addictive subtly King Crimson-influenced Mellotron-laden debut back in 2011, an eclectic collection that couldn't have sounded more modern and distant from anything resembling the more typically expected vintage-flavoured symphonic rock that many Italian groups offer. Having connections to Moongarden, Submarine Silence, Mangala Vallis and The Watch, they're a trio that seem to enjoy completely subverting their listeners expectations of what constitutes a `prog rock' album (for both better and worse!), and their comeback album, 2016's `Il Bis' is the completely mental, unpredictable, schizophrenic, and even frustrating release that the band were no doubt hoping their listeners and "prog-snobs" would find it to be! But it's also constantly thrilling and one of the most welcome surprises of the year.

After brief twitching cut-up sound-bites, `Il Buon Caffe' launches right into a quick punishing cacophony of crashing punk noise, all pummelling drumming, mud-thick bass and a spat out shrieking vocal. It's quickly replaced by the moody `Heavy Love' (sung in English, as are all the pieces on the album), the first proper tune of the disc that in just under eight minutes moves between being a melancholic indie-rocker, later era Porcupine Tree heavy blasting, subtle electronica and grooving funk! Utilising everything from jangling guitars with occasional Marillion-like tones, tickles of Hammond organ, whirring proudly Neo Prog-flavoured synth noodling and programmed beats, Mirco Ravenoldi's shaky and uncontrolled voice also offers fleeting wisps of sweet falsetto escaping here and there. The dreamy (yet still plenty unhinged) `Ti Vengo a Prendere' mixes introspective late night jazz musings, slinking low-key beats and murmuring ruminative bass with a soaring chorus, and demented instrumental `Il Cavaliere Odia' is all doomy infernal Mellotron choirs, heavy King Crimson jazzy explorations, Gong- like honking sax ruptures and dirty funky bouncing bass spasms.

Initially another harder indie-rocker, `112' reveals a haunting Goblin-like Mellotron choir over chiming guitars finale that is impossibly lovely and oddly uplifting, and the Porcupine Tree-like `Happiness' marries a sorrowful lyric and washes of gentle synths to crushing plodding guitars (again, heavy, yet never exactly `heavy metal') and defiant soaring soloing in the second half. In keeping in line with that UK band, shorter instrumental piece `Gladia' presents soothing Mellotron over warm acoustic guitars and searing electric soloing wouldn't have sounded out of place on the recent Steven Wilson albums.

`A Tailor's Sale' (Ooh, King Crimson fans will get a sly laugh from that title!) is an infectious and quite upbeat melodic indie- rocker with a catchy chorus, but it also doesn't skimp on frequent nimble keyboard/Mellotron runs and reflective acoustic breaks. `Prima Republica' is a serene and ethereal ambient interlude that marries into the ever so slightly-off closer `Mouth Shaped Universes', with some wondrous delicate piano and proudly epic guitar soloing to finish the set.

But special mention must go to the biggest shock of the album, the ninth track `Fakoya Ltd', a full-blown hip-hop piece with two guest rap vocals delivering biting social-commentary lyrics peppered with swearing. It's actually very well crafted with a cool production, but it sounds completely out of place on the album and brings it crashing to a halt. It's likely designed to cause exactly this kind of confused reaction, but perhaps if the band still insisted on including it, the piece might have been better served as a bonus track at the end of the disc away from the main album.

Despite the one or two odd missteps and the occasionally challenging vocals that are sure to be a deal-breaker for some listeners, `Il Bis' is definitely one of the `coolest' prog-related albums of the year, the perfect antidote to `old-man prog', and it might also be one of the best kept secrets of progressive rock of 2016. It's a long-awaited but successful return from a skilled Italian group in desperate need of greater exposure and more well-deserved recognition.

Four stars.

Report this review (#1649110)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2016 | Review Permalink

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