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La Bocca Della Verità - Avenoth CD (album) cover

AVENOTH

La Bocca Della Verità

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Taking their name from an ancient stone mask that depicts the face of the sea god Oceanus from Greek mythology, La Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth) are a Roman band formed in 2001, who spent many of their early years performing cover songs of works by well-known progressive rock acts, both Italian and international. Eventually switching to their own compositions was the right choice, however, as the band have delivered a truly exceptional and lengthy concept-work debut with `Avenoth', and it's turned to be one of the true standout releases in Italian progressive music in 2016. With superior group vocal arrangements and frequent long instrumental stretches, it's also probably the best sounding keyboard dominated album of 2016, and right from the opening minutes, it's clear we're dealing with a confident and inspired group setting out to impress.

After an ambient synth and sound-bite collage with grand classical piano and electric guitar introduction, the dreamy `Contro Luna E Luce' properly launches the album and alternates between acoustic/electric passages with a mellow dignity. Fabrizio Marziani's voice holds a commanding, gravelly quality, and once the warm humming Hammond organ (both Jimmy Bax and Massimo Di Paola are credited to keyboards throughout) and Roberto Bucci's majestic guitar themes enter it all reminds of Logos' recent`L'Enigma della Vita'. The band then confidently launches right into `La Suite dei Tre Pianeti', an ambitious four-part epic near-eighteen minutes in length. It moves through everything from Marillion-esque spoken word passages, powerful Genesis-like regal pomp, heavier bursts powered by Guglielmo Mariotti's muscular upfront bass (some of the best to appear on an Italian disc in 2016) and steadily-paced guitar strums over washes of Hammond organ that are deeply indebted to Pink Floyd. The group don't skimp on lovely group harmonies, weary sax, heavy wailing grooves and no shortage of majestic symphonic themes full of whirring keyboards too, but best of all are several frantic Banco del Mutuo Soccorso-like instrumental bursts full of variety and exceptional playing, the first big `wow' moment of the disc, especially during the breathless and twisting/turning final minutes.

Other highlights include the comforting group voices and sublime acoustic guitars of the title track `Avenoth', book-ended with an infectious P.F.M/Genesis-like prance. `La Festa' is a fanciful and uplifting instrumental full of joy, `Antico' a sweet acoustic interlude, and `La Deportazione Degli Avenothiani' is dominated by soaring guitar lines. The heavy grooving guitars, Ivan Marziani's pounding drums and punchy Hammond blasts of `La Rivolta/Il Massacro Dei Terrestri' remind a little of Kansas and Deep Purple, the piece culminating in a soaring electric guitar solo drenched in Mellotron that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an I.Q album. The swooning orchestration and choir voices grafted to introspective prog-rock movements of further instrumental `Perduto Avenoth' remind of the New Trolls and their seminal `Concerto Grosso' works (killer guitar solo from Roberto in the climax too!), and the ten-minute finale `Reprise - (Speranze Distorte)' closes on everything from chiming acoustic prettiness, a battery of keyboard intensity and piano reflection, powerhouse drumming and a final raspy dignified vocal.

Whilst there's not a bad bit of music on the entire disc, there was probably no need to pad the album out for almost 78 minutes, but the confidence of the group is deeply admirable, and admittedly the band show that they have the abilities to achieve their lofty musical ambitions here. Every aspect of the disc - charismatic lead and winning group vocals, skilled melodic compositions and dynamic instrumental prowess (especially the latter!) - are present every step of the way throughout `Avenoth', and La Bocca della Verità should be immensely proud that they have delivered one of the very best Italian progressive works of 2016, made even more impressive considering it's a debut album. Were the group to already fall now to the old Italian Prog curse and only release one album, they could be proud knowing they delivered a defining musical statement to the very best of their skills with `Avenoth', but let's hope this is just the start of a great career for these talented musicians!

Five stars.

Report this review (#1672847)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2016 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars This album came as a surprise for me from that Italian band that has been influenced as much by the British sound than the Italian old bands. The Italian vocals are not dominating this symphonic Prog Rock style with long instrumental sections. The instrumental Ouverture set the tone for the journey of 78 minutes concept in the world of La Bocca Della Verità. "Contro Luna e Luce" is bringing the acoustic guitar and the vocals with a song that show also a more electric side of the music. And then we have a 17 minutes suite where you can hear the big production with some clear bass and drums that bring together all other instruments into a multi-movement song that goes through different moods and showing influences from the acoustic side of Genesis and Pink Floyd and the electric style of Spock's Beard. The keyboards and the electric guitar have a lot of space to shine in those instrumental sections. "Avenoth" continue where we left off with some beautiful guitar duel and showing a band that can play some heavier music. "La Festa" is an exotic instrumental track with some exotic drums/guitars parts giving a joyful atmosphere to the song. The 2 minutes "Antico" is the perfect acoustic guitar song! "La Deportazione degli Avenothiani" starts with a lot of energy, a guitar high in the mix and some impressive keyboards parts that is not without influences from the first Marillion period. "Perduto Avenoth" is a melancholic song inspired by a popular classical song with a gentle guitar ending "Focus" style. This 78 minutes album has no weak moment, the songwriting is of high caliber as the playing. No Prog Rock fans should pass this one.
Report this review (#1673986)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2016 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Though we do live in a fast paced world, sometimes shipments take time to arrive, first from artists and then suppliers which makes top album listings for one specific year difficult as the release date can be November or December. "C'est la Vie" as the departed Greg Lake used to sing. I was really pining to include Universal Totem Orchestra's "Mathematical Mother" in but I just received it yesterday. Along with this glorified release that has found itself a hero among many prog reviewers out there. La Bocca della Verita is a fabulous former cover band from Rome, the Eternal City, that finally took the plunge and released this 77 minute and 39 second masterstroke, a riveting package that will keep me enthralled for many years to come. My esteemed friend Aussie-Byrd-Brother is never wrong in my book and his elaborate description should be salivating enough for any fan of RPI to hunt down and possess. I know, I did! As he correctly states, not since Logos' tremendous "L'Enigma della Vita" (a 2014 album of the year for me) has Italy dropped such a masterful RPI/Symphonic jewel and we should all be in awe, as the Boot keeps on giving all the time (In my package, I also received Promenade, Il Rumore Bianco and the UTO album, they are all Italian bands). Another reason I craved for this release was the presence of master bassist Guglielmo Mariotti and his trademark Rickenbacker bass whose style impressed me with stints in Tapobran, Daal, Nuova Era, the Watch and Fufluns). Add to that a dual keyboard line-up of Jimmy Bax and Massimo Di Paola, rekindling fond memories of double ivories attacks perpetrated in the past by groups like Banco, Goblin and the afore mentioned Logos. Then a tremendous prog drummer (Italy has no shortage of that either) in Ivan Marziani, a strident and volcanic guitarist in Roberto Bucci and finally, a token gravel-voiced vocalist: Fabrizio Marziani (Ivan's bro?). Yes, this is a colosseum-sized release containing 5 massive epics and 6 complimentary pieces that are dense, chaotic, soothing and thrilling. Some prefer their RPI short and sweet, in the 40 minute range, so perhaps it would be wiser for them to accept this as a double vinyl album then. The influences range from the obvious Italian ones (PFM & Banco) to the classic ones (Genesis, Floyd, KC and ELP) but LBdV are a symbiosis of progressive rock in its most universal forms, delivering inspiring slabs of genius, though it must be said that such a huge banquet (il Banchetto) will take a long time to digest as its quite an intimidating album.

A couple of short introductions , firstly sound effects and voice snippets (MLK, John Paul II, Armstrong, among many others) which then flows into the "Ouverture", which serves to announce all the instrumentalists , finally blending into "Contro Luna e Luce" in order to present Fabrizio's naturally eloquent voice. The Hammond is front and center, bullied along by the Rickenbacker growl and Ivan's massive beat. The anesthesia is done and time to get to the first and biggest bad boy "La Suite dei Tre Planeti", an admiring homage to Le Orme's Felona e Sorona? I guess they just added one planet! This nearly 18 minute whopper has all the trimmings, beginning with a gentle and soft spoken entrance that gradually grows into a majestic whirlwind, reverts to a Floydian ambiance with a languorous sax thrown in for good measure and really hits overdrive when Mariotti starts scolding his 4 strings, while Marziani bangs his skins without any pity. Guitarist Bucci enjoys using his pedals, including wah-wah, as he boldly challenges the two ivory ticklers to go beyond the threshold. The tsunami-like pace is bruising, ruthless, dogged and frankly, quite intimidating, with tons of emotion and power intertwined. And mostly, it just keeps on giving with a monstrous mellotron outro and a light Beethoven memento.

The 8 minute title track is a rollicking and enjoyable event, a clear melodic foundation is established before dipping into a pastoral setting that vintage Genesis would be proud of: a bouquet of flute, acoustic guitar and a classic Rutherford-ish bass surge (he had a Rickenbacker too, ya know!) that escorts Fabrizio's lalala voice, it's all lovingly rustic, effortless and delicate. In classic "Trespass" mode, a Banks-like organ enters the fray, aided by the booming bass rumble, manic drumming and bluesy guitar that paints a lyrical romance, more Ant Phillips than Hackett for sure. It gets hot and heavy in a hurry. Wow!

The brief "La Festa" (no, not the PFM or Logos tune) is a vigorous affair, phosphorescent sonic illuminations that are playfully intricate, synths looping crazily in the night sky and complex polyrhythmic insanity. Contrast that with its companion piece, more like alter ego, "Antico" a shorter acoustic guitar piece that slows down the racing heartbeat and brings surreal calmness to the fore. What this does is nothing more than prepping the listener for arguably the finest moments on this stunning release. The final four tracks just kill it ?

1- The classic "La Deportazione" is a shocker, a brooding, muscular onslaught that has the fires raging, everything seemingly running on all cylinders, the howling mellotron burning up the sky, expertly motored by the grim bass guitar that carves hard and fast. The effect-laden guitar certainly winks at classic Hackett, caressing, cajoling, urging and comforting, as the Hammond churns in the background. A fast and furious piece of chugging prog.

2- The heart is pounding ? "La Rivolta" just keeps the sonic orgy going into harder realms, pulsating bass, binary drum cannonades and a raging organ that certainly winks at Deep Purple, a fireball roller coaster that sears and scorches like no other, alternating very soft and very hard on the turn of a dime, displaying a musical prowess that is quite eye opening. Fabrizio sings as if possessed by some demon and the band thrashes on merrily, finishing off the 13 minute allotted slot, aided by a doomsday piano treatment, a sweltering synth flutter, a smoldering organ charge and capped by a long, slithering and spectral electric guitar solo, blanketed in pillows of mellotron. Absolutely spellbinding. I need to breathe.

3- My favorite track here, "Perduto Avenoth" keeps the urgency unbroken, a majestic, ultra-symphonic lullaby, sailing on luxuriant orchestrations, a sublime saxophone and a romantic disposition that would fit on any soundtrack, then turning lovingly into a Moody Blues-inspired prog arrangement, bass, drums and orchestra. The angelic choir mixed in with the violins is enough to draw tears but it's the bluesy and painful guitar solo that slays the unrepentant into submission. Crystalline and pure, this is utter and complete bliss.

4- Not too far behind is "Reprise", a 10 minute 'arrivederci' that reflects like a mirrored, sun-lit lake, combining aural prettiness, gentle guitar phrasings, then a rolling organ corralling the band into bombastic expanses, drums hammering carefree, huge squalls of choir mellotron (my weakness) and an acrobatic guitar intervention. The dual keyboard connection alternates organ, piano and synth with incredible flair and emotional gusto. Sheer perfection and constant bated breath at what may happen next. Bravo.

This is a debut album, I rarely give top marks for such a burgeoning future (we hope) project but like my Ozman said so succinctly, if this must be the one and only, well, what an achievement! Gorgeous artwork, sound, production, compositional ability, inspiration and technical effort. More please.

5 Gates of veracity

Report this review (#1697639)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although, my first impressiom about LA BOCCA DELLA VERITÀ "Avenoth", after hear the track 2 "Overture" and track 3 "Contro Luna e Luce" which in fact starts the album, was a strong influence of LOCCANDA DELLE FATE and his anthological album "Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Più" (1977), this impression don't remaining in the rest . Starting from this moment the band reveal some other influences, as for instance GENESIS, E L & PALMER and his compatriots BANCO , LE ORME.... but , besides they shows some heavy prog moments , like in track 4 "La Suite dei Tre Pianeti" ( starting about 8 min 54 sec until 13 min 50 sec) and follow soon another Banco inspired passage.Track 5 "Avenoth" is full of different styles: the main theme is very "festive" , the following part reminds PFM and the vocals recalls to me certain HAPPY THE MAN breaf passage. After a classical guitar theme GENESIS ( very simillar to "The Battle Of Epping Forest" passage) retake the scene. The more different moment in the whole album be in track 9 "La Rivolta - Il Massacro dei Terrestri" a very havy theme where the keyboards mix DEEP PURPLE, URIAH HEEP, E L & PALMER and at the final a solo guitar in Hackett "vein". In sume the album is quite pleasant . My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#1768931)
Posted Sunday, August 6, 2017 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian band LA BOCCA DELLA VERITA was formed back in 2001, originally intended as a strict covers badn performing classic from Italian and British prog, but from a few years into the band's existence the desire to create something themselves appeared strongly as well. Developed over more than a decade, their debut album "Avenoth" was released by Italian label Altrock Productions in 2016, through their Fading Records imprint.

"Avenoth" is an album that took a decade to be properly developed, and that is easy to understand when you listen to this album. Almost 80 minutes filled to the brim with challenging, complex symphonic progressive rock, and for those who know Italian there's a concept story to be enjoyed as well. If you are among the ones that feel progressive rock should be of the symphonic variety and that they never made it better than in the 1970's, this is a band and an album that merits a good few listens.

Report this review (#1918302)
Posted Sunday, April 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A group of Italian prog veterans release their first (and only) album. Avenoth shows a band that has worked long and hard to practice and perfect some very-refined compositions.

1. "Intro 2161" (2:06) A space-textured interlude with all kinds of tape loops of historic statements strung along over the top. (4.25/5)

2. "Ouverture" (2:03) a nice instrumental Neo Prog intro/interlude. (4.5/5)

3. "Contro Luna e Luce" (4:11) a slowly developing 1970s GENESIS-like tune with Italian lyrics sung in a fairly typical RPI bombast over the top. (8.5/10)

4. "La Suite dei Tre Pianeti" (17:43) opens with a soft steady three minutes with calm, steady singing. This is followed by a transition into a section with a full URIAH HEEP-like sound palette. At 3:30 this shifts into something speedy but then quickly dies down at 4:00 to a quiet Hammond organ church sound with Roye Albrighton lead guitar picking over the top. AT 5:00 another shift into a kind of PINK FLOYD mode. More nice slowly developing sustained lead guitar work before another bridge at 6:12 which is followed by an extended "Hey, You"-like sequence of 12-string guitar chord arpeggi with other things happening over and above. At 8:45 we segue into a section supported by some aggressive music with very (over?)active drums. This is a very strong, repetitive guitar riff over which singer and several keyboard instruments and even the drums get to solo for over three minutes. At 12:00 things stop and a similar Hammond riff sets up the next, still aggressive theme. This time the electric guitar once again gets to explore a long solo with his sustain and volume pedal before the keys take it back over. At 13:45 things empty out and slow down again--this time plodding along with bass in the lead riff, added by Hammond and MiniMoog before jazzy piano takes over the fast paced baseline riff at 14:45. This is all too much like EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER (perhaps a bit heavier), just endless show for the instrumentalists with very little making sense or reason to me. Very accomplished musicianship and composition just not sustaining its interest or meaning. (30.5/35) - a) Il Pianeta Vuoto - soft (4/5) - b) Due Gambe Come Noi - mercurial (9/10) - c) Il Pianeta Ostile - heavy/aggressive (8.75/10) - d) Voyager 1977 - still heavy & aggressive (8.75/10)

5. "Avenoth" (8:12) a patchwork of diverse and mercurial themes and dynamics that works very nicely. (13.5/15)

6. "La Festa" (3:59) opens like an attempt at replicating an older musical form with "antique" sounding instruments, but then in the second minute the prog instruments enter and keep up the near-pagan/Celtic feel. (8.5/10)

7. "Antico" (2:29) a classical guitar solo (and later, duet) that feels like something straight off of ANTHONY PHILLIPS' Private Part & Pieces III: Antiques (4.5/5)

8. "La Deportazione degli Avenothiani" (9:55) slow, steady, and firm establishment of a heavy, somewhat aggressive Neo Prog palette, with chunky bass play and great drumming while keys and guitars play around over the top. Vocalist Fabrizio Marziani enters at the three-minute mark singing a very typical RPI vocal. At 4:00 a slow space unfolds held together by sustained Hammond chords, military snare drumming, chunky bass melody and HACKETT- like volume pedal guitar notes soloing over the top. When things ramp back up at 5:15, Roberto Bucci's guitar becomes more prominent and forceful before giving way to the Hammond for a spell. Roberto gets another extended solo in the seventh and eight minutes while the music builds beneath him. Then, at 7:50, a 'tron and rolling Hammond base setup a MiniMoog solo that takes us to the song's finish. So GENESIS/TONY BANKS! A great prog epic. (19/20)

9. "La Rivolta - Il Massacro dei Terrestri" (12:55) one cannot deny the tightness of this band, the dedication to their craft, the number of hours they must have put into the composition, construction, adaptation, arrangement, and performance of these songs--especially one like this with so much going on at breakneck speed and on so many levels and layers. The theme commenced in the sixth minute is a step back--a chance for the band members to "rest" and regroup. By 6:40 we are launched forward again, in full, though not quite as high-geared as the opening five minutes. Keyboard maestri Jimmy Bax and Massimo Di Paola are surely having a field day with their synthesizer and organ dueling. At 8:45 the music cuts out for Jimmy to establish a new, very deliberate theme using his raspy Hammond. Very intricate syncopation ensues for the whole band to ahve to kowtow to before Mellotron and searing electric guitar enter to steer the band through the trouble. Another great prog epic. (25/25) 10. "Perduto Avenoth" (5:48) an very thickly "orchestrated" organ dirge that sets up a bluesy foundation over which lead guitar and some MiniMoog get to show their stuff. Standout guitar soloing. It is amazing that some artists can "orchestrate" a song like this--with computer keyboards--and fool me into thinking that it's actually an orchestra. Well met! (8.75/10)

11. "Reprise (Speranze Distorte)" (10:23) acoustic guitars picking away with a little bass, rising church organ, and DUANE ALLMAN-like guitar. Several different motifs are explored, most of them in a similarly methodical pacing, allowing for slower, more prominent exposure of individual instruments--both background and foreground. This is good stuff! And the themes that are recapitulated are memorable and, thus, recognizable and welcomed-- something that not all symphonic arrangements can say. A slow, spacious section in the seventh minute that is founded in picked and then strummed acoustic guitar, is, for me, quite reminiscent of LE ORME's Felona e Sorona. It's beautiful (and so 1970s feeling). In the ninth minute the Mellotron-drenched prog ensemble returns, albeit slowly, gradually, with piano now taking over and amplifying the acoustic guitar's arpeggi--but the, rather suddenly, at 9:20 a fast arpeggiating Hammond organ takes over and speeds us to the end. A fairly perfect symphonic prog song--now and then! (20/20)

Total time: 77:39

A-/five stars; a masterpiece; an essential album for any prog lover's music collection. This album may present the single best Italian band to ever create prog epics.

Report this review (#2489198)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2020 | Review Permalink

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