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Finisterre - La Meccanica Naturale  CD (album) cover

LA MECCANICA NATURALE

Finisterre

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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4 stars The latest album from one of the best contemporary Italian groups. I hate to say this but I find this to be a drawback after the fantastic "In Ogni Luogo" album. Nevertheless, it's still great and some of the best prog that comes from Italy nowadays. What I like about Finisterre is that they have the ability to make albums that sound completely different from each other (at least to me). You can hear that the band members have very different musical influences and they are able to interpret these influences in different albums and different songs very successfully. They also fulfil these musical needs in various Finisterre related side projects. When compared to the perhaps most popular Finisterre offshoot, La Maschera di Cera, I have to say that I prefer the 'mother' band Finisterre. Though I think La Maschera di Cera is very good their problem is that their two studio albums so far sound very similar to me.

This new Finisterre album, again, is very different from its predecessors. Their previous album "In Ogni Luogo" was a modern prog masterpiece and this new album is maybe a bit more in the vein of "In Limine" (70's progressive style) but with a much richer sound world and without the flute. The compositions are much more varied.

The highlight tracks for me are "La Perfezione", "La mia Identita" and "Ode al Mare". Worth noticing is that for the first time they have dual-keyboards (Agostino Macor has joined the group since the previous album).

Conclusion: It's great. Some of the best value for your money if buying new progressive.

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Send comments to geezer (BETA) | Report this review (#33438)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Shame on me, I must have overlooked an Italian gem because I only knew this band by name! I just got this (eight!) Finisterre album from a friend and it blew me away, it sounds so captivating and alternating and the 10 compositions are very tasteful and elaborate. Some songs remind me of the famous Seventies Italians progrock legend PFM, Banco en Museo Rosenbach but Finisterre manages to surprise me again and again with musical twists and turns, great! Other tracks has very different climates, from classical piano and trombone (?) to jazzy piano with wah-wah guitar and Mellotron. The final three songs delivers great build-ups, compelling climates and splendid grand finales featuring fiery electric guitar, lush keyboards and inspired vocals. The music on this album is not always accessible but it has so many wonderful moments, A MUSt FOR EVERY ITALIAN PROGROCK AFICIONADO!!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#36796)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Finnistere is my favorite modern Italian band and I was excited when I found this album and it's cool mini LP sleeve. It starts out in classic Finnistere style, 70's Italian prog with a slightly modern touch. But there's something different going on towards the end. Track two clinches the change, there's a Porcupine Tree vibe! Track three, "Il Volo" sounds very Flower Kings! A bizarre jazzy piano middle section appears then some tasty psych/Ronnie Stolt-like guitar work. Then track four, "La Maleducazione" hits and we're definately in Porcupine Tree territory. There's even some English lyrics! Track five, "Ode Al Mare" harkens back to their "In Oqni Luogo" album, an instrumental track with spoken words. Then for the rest of the album, the Porcupine Tree vibe returns. They don't wear the PT sound on their sleeves and copy, they just use the sound for their own good. So, in conclusion, the boys have dropped the PFM, Banco, Area sound for a more modern, hard edge (not metal) sound. They've progressed, tried something new and have succeeded very well. A solid 4 star effort!

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#39977)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars I was glad to have an opportunity to get a closer taste of this Italian band, which seemed very interesting (judged by a track on V.A. epic Kalevala and the band info) but I'm afraid the album itself doesn't represent Finisterre the way I would prefer them. Sad to note that there are no flutes this time. The music is to me too uneven, meaning that a song which starts sounding good includes ugly, distorted, noisy vocals or it gets stuck somehow or other nasty things. I like the overall sound - many different keyboards, a good deal of Mellotron too, and acoustic guitars - but quite a few tracks work completely for me, or at least the worse moments of the album ruin my enjoyment. I also feel I'm missing an important part by not understanding the Italian lyrics; the album seems to have a thought-provoking concept on nature... well, that's my guess only.

As a Finn my closest association is the (at times semi-progressive) band called CMX, who similarily moves between softness and edginess and whose singer sounds a bit similar as Finisterre's. It's relatively little what I've heard from Italian prog, but I suppose Finisterre continues and updates Italian prog tradition gracefully. I liked the two instrumentals the best. Probably a fairly recommendable album for fans of Italian prog who are not turned off by contrast-seeking 'ugly' details in an otherwise fine and delicate soundscape.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#126160)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I really feel ashamed that NONE of the Italian prog genre specialists have posted a review for this album. Maybe that this very good band does not deserve their attention...

Anyway, this last studio album to date for "Finisterre" opens on a brilliant song. The very well titled "La Perfezione" ("Perfection). Because we are getting close here. Beautifull ambient music for half of it and so magnificent during the instrumental second half. Such a marvelous guitar solo. Just to fall apart. It is a marvel of a prog song. Not only Italian, which would be too reductive. One of the many highlight.

Even a short song as "La Mia Identita" is so magical, so strong (even hard at times). Another great song. It seems that the band opted for a harder approach, without neglecting their prog roots of course. Same applies for "Il Volo". Improv style, hard attack, delicate vocals : a rather strange but effective combination. Three great tracks so far.

Straight from the start of "Ode Al Mare" ones knows that another good moment is next door. Maybe a bit too tranquil. The mood is so pleasant, really communicative. A delicate piece of symphonic Italian music. Discrete but so efficient keyboards and such a brilliant guitar solo puts a final and great touch to it . Another wonderful song.

Some spacey and improv style for "Rifrazioni". Some magnificent instrumental parts, fully symphonic will be mixed with spacey and improv style ones. But at the end of the day, this song sounds as good as the other ones. So far it is really a good surprise because the band has never demonstrated such a maestria in their previous releases. And a song as "Lo Specchio" only confirms this feeling. Emotioned vocals, and so subtle music...

This album is truely an exeptional one.When you listen to "La Ricostruzione del Futuro", all the ingredients of a pure italian prog song are included here : great vocals, strange atmosphere, Crimsonesque mood, crescendo sructure. In one word : great.

The closing number "Incipit" is a nice way to say goodbye even if it is fully repetitive. But, again the cresendo style is very efficient and pleases me a lot.

Four stars for this very good album. The best "Finisterre" one IMO.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#141219)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beautiful yes, but I need a bit more spark.

Conventional wisdom is that Finisterre is supposed to appeal to fans of 1970s progressive rock but I have a slightly different take. While clearly those old bands are an influence on Finisterre I think this band would appeal more to fans of their own time, both symphonic fans and neo-prog fans. Their style of play is hugely accessible and their sound gratifies instantly which seems to be a requirement these days. This album is a good example of why the older bands are more satisfying and fun to me. Call it spark. Call it edge. The hard to define unpredictability present in so many of those old titles. I'm not saying they were better because they are old, I'm saying there is an edge to the classics which is missing in many current bands. A certain disrespectful, devious playfulness which could allow anything to happen. A wild, perhaps slightly crazed glimmer in the eye of those bands who would take the risk of putting the unconventional before the prudent. It is that which separates an otherwise fine album like this from the experience of Cervello, Area, or QVL. I can't be sure what the reason for this difference is but I suspect it may be social and economic, in that these days bands in this style must be "professional" and conform to releasing material that both sells and doesn't offend. There is less freedom than Stratos and Co had during the height of Area, when it seemed he could do whatever the hell he wanted and it was tolerated if not outright encouraged. In today's musical marketplace other considerations sometimes seem to trump artistic flamboyance to the point where something like Palepoli could no longer happen. And don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting they copy the past. I'm just lamenting the decline of one very valuable trait of progressive rock, one that I hold very dear. And that would be the element of true surprise. When did "true surprise" give way to polished professionalism as the element the progressive rock buyer expects? I know you can still find a little chaos and rule breaking in the more eclectic genres but it used to be more prevalent.

"La Meccanica Naturale" is a fine modern progressive album from immensely talented people. It is packed with tasteful and reserved playing, abundant and pleasing melody, and a very professional overall execution. I have no complaints with quality and I acknowledge this is good music I can enjoy when I hear it. The vocals are warm, the keyboards, guitars, and flutes all add up to a sublime and relaxing listen. There is some really nice guitar work that pops up here and there throughout. The songwriting is mostly pretty successful at taking some ideas from the masters but presenting things without a dated feel. But while I like it and I praise the band's effort, it does have a certain polite and "by the rules" quality about it which detracts from the excitement level. Like too many of today's films as well, I know where things are going, I can practically hear the entire album in my head from the first notes. I realize this all sounds like a thumbs-down review but it really is not. If you don't care about the point of my first paragraph then I do recommend this album to you. I simply wanted to raise that issue because I know there are a few listeners who care about that side of the equation as well. One last note, I am unable to describe the songs in detail because for whatever reason this CD will not play on my home computer, one of the very few that will not. I have had to do all of my listenings in the car or locations where I cannot write, so I'm not able to listen while writing a track by track as I might have wished. The mini-lp sleeve edition is a lovely gatefold with a good lyric booklet (in Italian only.) 3 stars and quite good despite my constructive (hopefully) criticism.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#155109)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. I hate to sound corny but there are certain albums that really move me, they have the ability to draw emotions out of me. I have a hard time explaining why, it's not like I can turn these feelings on at will. Anyway these records all have a special place in my collection, and "La Meccanica Naturale" is now part of that group. I have been listening to PFM's first and third albums a lot lately, and I have to admit I will reach for this one over any of their first three classic records. Yes this is modern sounding, bringing to mind PORCUPINE TREE, RADIOHEAD, NO-MAN and others, but of course with that beautiful Italian flavour. Actually Franz Di Cioccio the drummer for PFM wrote a nice paragraph about the band's music in the liner notes, and also plays drums on one song the amazing "Ode Al Mare".

"La Perfezione" opens with piano as guitar and light drums quickly join in. Vocals and mellotron a minute in. A full sound comes out of nowhere after 3 minutes including piano, mellotron and guitar that are just heartbreaking. "La Mia Identita" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. Drums and piano join in. A full sound a minute in with mellotron and passionate vocals. The contrast continues. Some nice synth work as well. "Il Volo" opens with acoustic guitar and sleepy vocals. Mellotron and then piano comes in before the song kicks into gear 2 minutes in with guitar, organ and aggressive vocals. Almost dissonant sounds with mellotron floods before the mood changes again. Soaring guitar after 4 1/2 minutes. Nice. "La Maleducazione" is a catchy tune with lots of tempo changes. There is a great beat that comes and goes. Some nice contrasts in this one.

"Ode Al Mare" along with "Lo Specchio" are my two favourite tracks. This one opens with deep reserved vocals and piano. Beautiful. Mellotron and drums are followed by a gorgeous guitar melody. Great sound ! The guitar stops and the mellotron sweeps majestically across the soundscape. Gulp. Guitar comes back but it's softer, but no less moving as drums beat slowly. "Rifrazioni" is an instrumental with some tasty flugelhorn, piano and mellotron leading the way. Faint voices can be heard but they are breif. This song reminds me of NO-MAN. "Lo Specchio" reminds me very much of CHROMA KEY, and the vocal style of Kevin Moore. I love this song. The lyrics are heart rending for me yet so uplifting. Lots of mellotron as usual. Synths sound great later in the song. "La Ricostruzione Del Futuro" opens with keys, vocals and percussion. This is a relaxing tune with mellotron coming in next. A good passionate vocal section after 3 1/2 minutes is joined by pounding drums and a full sound including hammond organ. A powerful ending to this tune. "La Fine" has RADIOHEAD all over it from the vocal style to the dreamy soundscape. Check out the piano after 2 1/2 minutes. Awesome tune. "Incipit" is another instrumental. Piano notes to open as mellotron comes in before a minute. Drums 1 1/2 minutes in as it's building to a full sound after 3 minutes. This one is different and interesting.

Lots of variety on this disc and I debated long and hard about giving this 5 stars or not.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#157211)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Finally, after five years of silence regarding some new material, Zuffanti would get Finisterre back in the studio for the fourth chapter in the life of this interesting group.The band found a new home on Franz Di Cioccio's Immaginifica label and the work started in September 2003, lasting a bit less than six months.The core of Zuffanti/Valle/Marelli is joined by Zaal's and future La Maschera di Cera's keyboardist Agostino Macor and Marco Cavani on drums, another piece of La Maschera di Cera's upcoming future.The band is also helped by Franz Di Cioccio himself on drums on one track, Höstsonaten's Fausto Sidri on percussion, Luca Guercio on flugehorn and Carlo Carnevali on voices.

This effort by Finisterre shows a switch towards the earlier style of atmospheric Italian Prog with strong references to the 70's with less evident Folk and jazzy vibes and a style heavily relying on symphonic synths, odd Mellotron showering and extremely dramatic guitar moves.A couple of tracks will only escape for the basic rule and show glimpses of a more modern group with heavier guitar moves and very expressive vocals, sometimes offered with a light distortion, I can even detect a slight Post Rock brushstroke in these pieces.The rest of the album though is certainly among the classic lines of the genre with emphatic keyboard waves, even with dual washes of synths and Mellotron, and a tendency towards a singer/songwriter type of music in the acoustic passages.Gears are constantly down but this won't prevent the band from producing rich, instrumental textures, crying electric movements and haunting full-blown orchestral-like pomposity.Excellent arrangements with intense soundscapes, slightly complex themes and heavy doses of instrumental symphonicism.A more downtempo and smoother version of LA MASCHERA DI CERA would be the most accurate description for ''La meccanica naturale''.

Again this is another solid and consistent piece of music art created by Finisterre.Atmospheric, first-class Italian Prog with both vintage and contemporary leanings, performed by a company of talented guys.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1091924)
Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | Review Permalink

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