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Raven Sad - The Leaf and the Wing CD (album) cover

THE LEAF AND THE WING

Raven Sad

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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4 stars Calm and dreamy prog rock played at an unhurried pace, where instruments compliment each other in a fantastic way, without unnecessary drastic changes of pace and dramatic twists, with some parts on the verge of progressive psychedelia, all this to create a beautiful atmosphere and bring a feel of tranquility. Just right amount of each instrument is delivered, every tone is in the right place, determined to create its certain feel - own sound landscape, a dreamy and tasteful way of effective sound backgrounds, maximally saturated with positive emotions.

The album "The Leaf And The Wing" consists of six long, about ten-minute songs and, and two shorter pieces. Opening intro "Legend #1" leads us to "The Sadness of the Raven" where at the beginning the guitars and keyboards are in the background creating a nice foundation for a great bass part. Through this composition, excellent calming vocals and guitar work is presented. "City Lights And Desert Dark" is more rock, more complex tune, which highlights the rhythm section, followed by an excellent riff on Fender Rhodes and a fantastic guitar solo. "Colorbox" the most extensive piece of the work and it represents the band's walk through multiple subgenres of prog rock. Great composition with a light beginning that leads to a kind of eclectic sphere, all the way to symphonic parts, dreamy guitar and jazz rock elements, a brilliant and energizing music.

Throughout the rest of the album, the band continues its excursions into various spheres of progressive rock. Although the focus is still on melodic/space compositions, the transitions and individual parts bring magnificent eclectic parts accompanied by excellent heavy riffs, that in combination with psychedelia and the transition to the world of symphonic rock, makes this album a real treat to hear.

Report this review (#2526134)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars Raven Sad started as a solo project by guitarist Samuele Santanna in 2005 but gradually turned in a four piece formation, making the albums Quoth (2008), We Are Not Alone (2009), Layers Of Stratosphere (2011) and recently, after a hiatus of 10 years, the new album The Leaf And The Wing (January 2021), all at the prolific Polish prog label Lizard Records.

This is my first encounter with Raven Sad its music, during the listening sessions I got more and more delighted, what a wonderful tastefully arranged progressive rock, very melodic and accessible, like Eighties Neo-Prog. The 8 mostly mid-long compositions alternate between dreamy parts, slow rhythms and bombastic eruptions. It sounds very flowing with the focus on the excellent, often moving guitar work, with obvious hints from Andy Latimer, Steve Rothery and Nick Barrett. The keyboard play is pleasant with lots of (Hammond) organ, along piano, Fender electric piano, Mellotron and Minimoog synthesizer. The English vocals feature a slight accent but I like the emotional overtones, matching with the often sensitive electric guitar. The rhythm section does a good job, with strong interplay in the more dynamic parts. Despite the long running time (close to 70 minutes) Raven Sad succeeds to keep my attention. My highlights.

City Lights And Desert Dark (9-53) is a very dynamic and varied track, between dreamy and swinging, pretty funky rhythms, blended with inspired vocals and outstanding guitar work, from howling to heavy, wow!

The epic Colorbox (13:00) starts with tender vocals and piano, then an accellaration with fiery guitar and organ and a bombastic part with moving guitar, soaring organ and emotional vocals. Halfway a slow rhythm with again moving guitar, powerful drums and waves of organ. Then a break with Mellotron choir and spoken words. The final part delivers a slow rhythm with organ and emotional vocals, topped with howling guitar, the asset on this new album.

Approaching The Chaos (8:50) begins with a dreamy climate featuring a catchy guitar riff and the distinctive electric piano sound (like Riders On The Storm from The Doors). Then a bombastic eruption, the contrast between the heavy guitar and tender piano and choir sound creates a captivating tension. The music turns into a tight beat with moving guitar runs and sparkling piano work. Now the mighty Hammond joins, blended with fiery guitar, the interplay by the band is awesome. Back to a slow and compelling rhythm with soaring Hammond and moving guitar, this is a Raven Sad trademark, I love it. In this dynamic second part a surprising break with jazzy piano and spoken words, one of the many interesting musical ideas. Finally again those wonderful sensitive guitar runs, Prog Heaven!

The other epic composition is Ride the Tempest (11:55), first dreamy with warm vocals, tender piano, then a slow rhythm, gradually the music becomes more bombastic with fiery guitar and emotional vocals, but returns to the dreamy sound in the first part. Again the music slowly builds, culminating in sumptuous climate, embellished with Hammond, powerful vocals and howling guitar runs, wow. The final part is mellow featuring piano and a melancholical Mellotron violin sound, a beautiful conclusion.

My first encounter with this promising Italian band has turned into a very pleasant musical experience! By the way, this is now Eighties Neo-Prog oriented, not really psychedelic/space rock.

Report this review (#2529418)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very accessible, but absolutely not in a "boring" way. This is the first Raven Sad album I've listened to. I'd assume early albums are slightly more psychedelic than this one, as it only really hints at psychedelia, but the "dreamscape" effect is present in many of the tracks. Certainly towards the end it reminds me of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb in style and pace.

Most tracks alternate between dreamscape and slightly heavier interruptions which blend together really well as the organs and guitar play off each other. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Colorbox, the longest track on the album, is probably a bit love or hate - it has the feel of a systematic walkthrough of several subgenres of prog one by one. For me, its the reason for giving four stars rather than five as its the only time the composition seems a bit artificial. But every other track is excellent.

Report this review (#2530264)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Review Permalink
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4 stars A wonderful new RAVEN SAD statement, this after a pause of round about 10 years. Well, not exactly. That might be the common impression maybe when you're solely considering the release dates, while not really being aware what's happening behind the curtain. Quite earlier actually, it was April 2018 already, when mastermind Samuele Santanna constituted a new five-piece line up in order to prepare for the band's fourth album. This together again with his long time friend Fabrizio Trinci (keyboards). Vocals are now contributed by Gabriele Marconcini. This is a winner. I'd say a very good find and decision, no question. We also see Marco Geri (bass) and drummer Francesco Carnesecchi being new to the fold, both are providing very solid contributions as expected.

This album still showcases the typical RAVEN SAD feel, however definitely not a simple copycat case, when matching with the previous albums. It's a neo and psychedelic prog blend basically, featuring haunting melodies all over. Here and there some Pink Floyd reminiscence is shimmering through. A distinct mellow flow is presented, though diverse heavier and groovy moments are incorporated too by way of variety. Which yet again is leading to the summed up attribute: entertaining. Celestial acoustic and electric guitar playing, pearling piano lines, spheric synths, expressive vocal presence. There's no need to highlight any particular song. Because they are offering a rounded production, appealing from the first to the last minute. 4.5 stars on the PA scale.

Report this review (#2534936)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | Review Permalink

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