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Ancient Veil - Rings of Earthly... Live CD (album) cover


Ancient Veil

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars - First review of this release - In my opinion, Italy was one of the best prog countries in the seventies, and it's a marvelous prog country today. The variety of styles is wide, and especially for those preferring the golden era of [symphonic] prog there are lots of superb bands who carry that spirit in their music. ANCIENT VEIL is a new acquaintance for me, and I was immediately charmed. A little background information: the key members Alessandro Serri (vocals, guitars, flute) and Edmondo Romano (wind instruments) departed from ERIS PLUVIA after the band's debut album Rings of Earthly Light (1991). The self-titled debut of Ancient Veil was released in 1995, but the next album I Am Changing came no sooner than in 2017; in the interim the members had other projects. This live album circulates the aforementioned Eris Pluvia title, thus indicating that the 73-minute set - recorded in Teatro della Tosse in Genoa, May and November 2017 - contains music from that album as well. All music is composed by Serri and Romano.

8-minute 'Ancient Veil' is a gorgeous opener. It has changing time signatures and fine soaring melodies, with recorder bringing some folk flavour. It's instrumental except for the final part. 'Dancing Around My Slow Time' is more vocal-oriented. The group's "light chamber-prog" sound is pleasant and nuanced. 'The Dance of the Elves' is a short folk-prog instrumental placing recorder in a lead role. If that one brings Jethro Tull in mind, 'Creature of the Lake' reminds me of the ethereal, Old Music flavoured side of Gentle Giant, perhaps also because the vocals in it sound a bit like Kerry Minnear's. Tracks 1-6 originate from the Ancient veil debut album.

The comes the 17-minute title suite of the Eris Pluvia debut. Here the symphonic tendencies of the band are blooming. The dynamic and suitably complex - and yet harmonic - music is partly instrumental, partly sung, and it always flows in an elegant manner. Edmondo Romano keeps changing between soprano sax, clarinet and recorders. The suite features some female vocals too. I wish I had come across this wonderful music already in the early 90's! Two shorter songs follow from that same album, and the rest, ie. tracks 10-12, originate from the recent I Am Changing.

All music here is extremely pleasant for the listener enjoying acoustically oriented "chamber prog" with lots of reeds (the softer ones) and jazzy, folky or art music flavours. The sonic quality is excellent too. One can imagine being there in the theatre, close to the band. I understand that for many progheads this set - I guess we can talk about the style of the band(s) in general - may appear slightly too safe, pretty and without many huge highlights, as it's so good all the way. But I'm sure this will be among my favourite recent discoveries.

Report this review (#1941817)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars The roots of this release are in the early Nineties when Italian prog formation Eris Pluvia released its debut album entitled Rings Of Earthly Light, 1991 to be more specific. Two band members decided to leave Eris Pluvia after this release: Alessandro Serri (vocals, guitars and flute) and Edmondo Romano (wind instruments), soon they formed a new band named Ancient Veil. In 1995 this band released their eponymous debut album, then it took more than two decades before Anceit Veil produced the successor entitled I Am Changing, in 2017. And one year later the live CD Rings Of Earthly Live, recorded in Teatro della Tosse in Genoa (between May and November 2017), it contains music from the Eris Pluvia and Ancient Veil albums.

The 12 tastefully arranged compositions on this live album sound very melodic and harmonic with a pleasant colouring by a wide range of instruments (especially saxophones and clarinet). The atmospheres shift flowing from dreamy to slow rhythms and bombastic eruptions. The one moment dreamy with tender piano, folky flutes or twanging acoustic guitar (like in the wonderful In The Rising Mist). The other moment a cheerful climate or a catchy beat with harder-edged electric guitar work and bombastic organ. The male vocals sound decent, often with a warm undertone.

My highlight is the epic Rings Of Earthly Light (17 minutes suite in 5 parts): lots of changing climates, breaks and accellarations and strong soli, from swinging piano to fiery electric guitar and screamy saxophone. The guest musician Valeria Caucino does a splendid job, what a beautiful voice!

For those who are into the more 'pastoral prog' (mellow folky atmospheres, with hints from Celeste and early PFM), blended with more dynamic and bombastic parts, this is a wonderful album to discover.

My rating: 3,5 star.

This review was recently published on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

Report this review (#2084149)
Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 | Review Permalink

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