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Clepsydra - The Gap CD (album) cover

THE GAP

Clepsydra

Neo-Prog


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kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Swiss-Italian neo prog collective CLEPSYDRA boasted a formidable run of 4 acclaimed albums between 1991 and 2001, albums that together constituted an intensive course in how to do neo prog the "right way". With emotive and skilled vocals, keening guitar leads, atmospheric keyboards and a flair for composition and arrangement, they left their sweet scent on the scene and then...nothing. The last 5 years have seen a flurry of updates and, finally, with a lineup 80% identical to that of their last and best studio recording "Alone" some 18 years ago, they have emerged anew with "The Gap".

Well, it's like no time has passed at all; all the pieces are in place and functioning in synch. Aluisio Maggini's voice is as distinct as ever, and continues to be an anchor of the group's integrity. New guitarist Luigi Biamino caught the baton passed by his predecessors, with expressive languid leads. Keyboardist Philip Hubert continues to aerate the arrangements and might be slightly more prominent than in prior releases, while the rhythm section is capable as ever, muscular when called upon.

While CLEPSYDRA generally espouses a temperate style with a preponderance of dreamy passages over raucous interludes, they earned my ardent attention in the first 30 seconds of "When the Bells Started Ringing". A plodding, metallic riff, perhaps the most assertive in their history, kicks off a dynamite 11 minutes, which are punctuated by more typical melodic passages, solos, and even ambient interludes. Unfortunately, their attempts at other epics meet with more mixed success as they did on the weakest of the earlier releases, "Fears". The strategy of blending moderate length tracks into a continuous epic reached peak fruition on "Alone" and the excellent "More Grains of Sand" mined a similar vein. The band's strong suit is in the low to moderate complexity numbers, but they appear to be conflicted by the belief that, among prog fans, more is more. I have seen this in the more recent releases by other groups that are more or less of this ilk. I do hasten to add that every track here has much to redeem it, with the best of the rest being "The Spell" and "Millenium", even if the latter could have been pruned by 1/3 to its benefit.

While CLEPSYDRA tends to be judged as an "imitator" rather than innovator in neo prog circles, it remains that they are one of the more recognizable bands in this sub genre, due mostly but not only to Aluisio Maggini's voice. Therefore a new CLEPSYDRA album is well worth celebrating, especially after a gap of almost 2 decades. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#2263626)
Posted Thursday, September 26, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars 18 ... yes 18 years we expect the new album CLEPSYDRA, well here it is "The Gap". There was a silence of 14 years from the last album in 2001 "Alone" and their performance at Rosfest in 2014 and out of the box "3654 Days" which included the first 4 albums remastered with bonus Galileo Records in 2014. Even if there was talk of a new album at that time ... it will wait another 4 years before you see it happen! I am the group since "More Grains Of Sand" by 94 and it fell in the same year of the beginning of the program profile. So just imagine ... for me it was a heart stroke and the opening track of the album 'The First Grain' was the theme of our program for a year and during their visit to Quebec in 1997 to Progest bar D'Auteuil. I had the pleasure of receiving CERULLI Marco & Andy THOMMEN to my record shop 'ProgFusion "for an interview that aired on the show Profile (Crossing Jordan photo). Great memories, then you will understand the interest I have for this group and the release of the new album "The Gap"!

In 2014, during their visit to RosFest CERULLI Marco (Guitar) & Andy THOMMEN (Bass) was present. Marco left and replaced by Luigi Biamino & Andy left for other projects and replaced (or return) by Nicola De Vita who was there for the album "Alone" in 2001. Since the beginning Clepsydra changed 3 times with guitarists from the excellent Lele HOFMANN (Shakary) who played on the first two albums (91 & 94), Marco CERULLI the following 2 (97 & 2001). And now Luigi Biamino and as we know the importance of the guitar in the band's music, we ask all the time when there are changes ... how it will sound! Be reassure that Luigi did a masterful job with a slightly different sound, rhythm a little heavier with tasty guitar solo time. You're going to realize from the first song 'When The Bells Ringing Started' when the guitar embarks on a heavier sound, we are surprised and excited at the same time! One of the most beautiful compositions that Clepsydra has written to date, and that says it all because they have a lot! The other important point in the music of the band is singing well and do not fear because ailliez Aluisio MAGGINI has not lost its charm ... his voice is still beautiful, powerful and melodic. We must listen to 'You' between another to realize that he has not lost his voice and tell yourself that this is how the whole disc. Keyboards plies are both at their volatile or planing and rhythmic accompanied it all very nicely. Another piece to note is 'Millenium'. Magnificent ! One of the most beautiful compositions that Clepsydra has written to date, and that says it all because they have a lot! The other important point in the music of the band is singing well and do not fear because ailliez Aluisio MAGGINI has not lost its charm ... his voice is still beautiful, powerful and melodic. We must listen to 'You' between another to realize that he has not lost his voice and tell yourself that this is how the whole disc. Keyboards plies are both at their volatile or planing and rhythmic accompanied it all very nicely. Another piece to note is 'Millenium'. Magnificent ! One of the most beautiful compositions that Clepsydra has written to date, and that says it all because they have a lot! The other important point in the music of the band is singing well and do not fear because ailliez Aluisio MAGGINI has not lost its charm ... his voice is still beautiful, powerful and melodic. We must listen to 'You' between another to realize that he has not lost his voice and tell yourself that this is how the whole disc. Keyboards plies are both at their volatile or planing and rhythmic accompanied it all very nicely. Another piece to note is 'Millenium'. Magnificent ! powerful and melodic. We must listen to 'You' between another to realize that he has not lost his voice and tell yourself that this is how the whole disc. Keyboards plies are both at their volatile or planing and rhythmic accompanied it all very nicely. Another piece to note is 'Millenium'. Magnificent ! powerful and melodic. We must listen to 'You' between another to realize that he has not lost his voice and tell yourself that this is how the whole disc. Keyboards plies are both at their volatile or planing and rhythmic accompanied it all very nicely. Another piece to note is 'Millenium'. Magnificent !

Without a detailed each title to, after 4 consecutive plays, I must admit that no parts are disappointed me, because after 18 years of waiting, it often sets the bar high as auditor and sometimes we is disappointed. And this is not the case here. It runs alone and 62 min. that takes the album goes to a torrid pace. Plus, excellent production! The wait has not been luck, it's hard-CLEPSYDRA, quality Neo-Prog, always with a style of their own. Yes I admit, I was sold in advance, and my expectations were high. The new album "The Gap" handily pass and will be considered in my end of year tops! Fans of CLEPYDRA ... immerse eyes closed!

Report this review (#2310069)
Posted Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | Review Permalink

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