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Mangala Vallis

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Mangala Vallis The Book of Dreams album cover
3.61 | 73 ratings | 12 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ouverture (1:40)
2. Is the End the Beginning? (9:30)
3. The Book of Dreams (7:07)
4. The Journey (12:14)
5. Days of Light (9:06)
6. Under the Sea (3:36)
7. Asha (Coming Back Home)(8:24)
8. A New Century (10:22)

Total Time: 61:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Gigi Cavalli Cocchi / drums, percussions (Remo, Paiste, Vic Firth)
- Enzo Cattini / Hammond C-3 w/Leslie, Minimoog-D, Mellotron M-400, Akai S-2000, E-MU Vintage Keys, Gem S-3
- Mirco Consolini / guitars & bass

- Matteo Setti / vocals (2, 3)
- Stefano Menato / saxophone (5)
- Vic Fraja / vocals (4 - 5, 7)
- Elisa Giordanella / viola (2, 6)
- Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM) / vocals (8)
- Kimberly Duke / narrator

Releases information

CD-Tamburo Avapore-TAVR 012001-Ita-2002

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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MANGALA VALLIS The Book of Dreams ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANGALA VALLIS The Book of Dreams reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Well personally I know these guys, because they share the same sound engineer with me...the first release is too much derivative, but you can start getting an inkling of their talent here! Nevertheless the original mix and the definition of their sound is not too sharp. Our sound Engineer,Mr P.Siconolfi, involved also with this recent ensemble, has already re-edited and re-mixed the whole debut album (within this latter, the presence of Bernardo Lanzetti, ex lead singer from Acqua Fragile and PFM, is interesting but not fundamental);instead their second album , whose issue is almost finished, will be much better from a lot of point of views. Except on such usual references to some Tony Bank's vintage synthezisers, there's also a certain personal imprinting, expecially in the melodic lines, reminding me of the best Pomp rock in the eighties....well it's not so original nor a masterpiece, but it's a strong album!!Anyway I'm waiting for their second one...

Make your own choice!!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars MANGALA VALIS are a three piece band from Italy who took their name from a place in a Jules Verne novel. Actually this record is a concept album that is dedicated to the great French writer Jules Verne.There are 6 guest musicians taking part on this record including 3 singers.

Things start with "Overture" a short, spacey and haunting instrumental. "Is The End The Beginning ?" features the vocals of Matteo Setti who sounds so much like Neal Morse that you would think your listening to a SPOCK'S BEARD tune. This is an uptempo song with organ, drums and guitar leading the way, with some good bass lines as well. 3 1/2 minutes in the melody stops except for the waves of mellotron and then back to the original melody. Again he sounds so much like Mr.Morse. Matteo sings again on the second song "The Book Of Dreams" that opens with drums and mellotron as the keyboards come in.There is more of a GENESIS sound to this one and some vocal arrangments that bring to mind GENTLE GIANT. "The Journey" is the longest song and features Vic Fraja on vocals. I like his vocals the best of the three, he reminds me of the singer for MARYGOLD. The song opens with acoustic guitar, vocals and a keyboard melody.Things change 4 minutes in with some nice guitar melodies and drums as the keys swirl about. About 5 minutes go by before we hear Vic sing again as the soundscape becomes quite dreamy the rest of the way.

"Days Of Light" is such a good song. With Vic again on vocals this one has GENESIS written all over it, right from the first notes. This is a slower paced song that is so uplifting at times and features two sax solos. "Under The Sea" is an instrumental with some good ripping guitar, mellotron and drums as again the keyboard swirls about. Organ comes in later. "Asha (coming back home)" is next, and it almost sounds like Phil Collins singing, but it's Vic again.This song is another highlight on the album, so uplifting and yes it's GENESIS sounding. "A New Century" features Bernardo Lanzetti from PFM on vocals.This sounds so much like GENESIS with the acoustic guitar and mellotron.Things change 4 minutes in as it gets dark and serious but that doesn't last for too long before we have some beautiful, uplifting guitar.

I really like this record, I know for some it probably sounds too much like GENESIS but if that does't bother you then it's worth checking out. 3.5 stars.

Review by silvertree
3 stars Funny how a band can sound neo-progressive and be highly influenced by the Gabriel- Genesis era ! Anyway, although Mangala Vallis is close to Marillion first period, the musicians are very good and the music is very well produced... with plenty of Mellotron. One of the tracks is close to being a different version of I Know What I Like ! I'd like to point out the importance of harmony in this album. Something that other Italian bands lack with endless solos and a thousand ideas a second. All in all, this album is very good but cannot be considered as a classic. 3 stars and a half !
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I find rather strange that "Mangala Vallis" is ranked into the Italian Symphonic" category. Of course they are Italian. But they don't sing in Italian (and for me this is an absolute prerequisite to belong to this genre). And secondly, they are fully Genesis oriented. As much as "The Watch" is concerned for instance.

Almost each song is cloning a "Genesis" one (but when it is done with such brio, I don't complain). So, let's have a close look to those similarities.

"Supper's Ready" is at times present during "Is the End the Beginning" (mainly after the first half of the song). I guess that everybody will admit that the intro for "The Book of Dreams" is fully "Watcher" oriented. If you pay some attention, there is also a serious "I Know What I Like" influence a little later in the song. Vocals being a bit "Neuschanstein" like (but less Gabriel oriented. It's maybe difficult to understand, but that's how I feel). Because, unlike Simone Rossetti, the vocals won't remind you of Peter. Of course, the fact that no less than three different singers are featured on this album won't help in reaching consistency on that level.

"The Journey" features the "Watcher" riff again. And Tony's keys as well (just listen to these wonderful synthesizers). The last part of the song is fantastic. Full of melody and emotional. Beautiful. A highlight. Maybe the most "personal" song of the album.

"Days Of Light" sounds more like a Gabriel early solo work. Good sax work is to be noticed as well. Just as the very pleasant background keys. The short instrumental track "Under The Sea" is of course reminiscent of "Dance On A Vulcano" (another instrumental of course).

If you feel like listening to "Afterglow", I can only advise you to do so with "Asha". Same melancholic mood to start, it will evolve to a more poppish style (hi Phil).

What about some "Cinema Show" ? Not on the vocals side of the song since the ex-PFM singer has the lead here. Just the music in the intro. "A New Century" will finally get more symphonic. A real good song to close this very good album.

As you have read, this album is not really a personal one. Still, I like it very much. A good option when you would like to listen to a "Genesis"-oriented album without playing for the six hundredth times "Foxtrot", "Selling", Nursery", "Trespass" or "The Lamb". Did you get the idea ?

If this album has anything to do with Italian symphonic music, I may be damned. Let's be serious, this one is fully neo-prog. And a very good one.

Four stars.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mangala Vallis' debut is quite a well-rounded story as the lush and rather breathtaking artwork of "Book of Dreams "will attest, serving up another hefty dose of spirited symphonic Prog "a l' Italiana" and inspired by that well known giant literary progger , Jules Verne! This is really primo stuff as the band is spearheaded by the ravaging Hammond C-3 with Leslie, a heralded monster of legendary proportions and reputation, deftly played by Enzo Cattini. He is aided and abeted by Gigi Cavalli Cocchi on drums and the guitar/bass magic of Mirco Consolini. Added guests fill out the lead mike role (Vic Fraja, Matteo Setti and the future lead singer -on the next album- ex-PFM & Acqua Fragile vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti), as well as a saxophonist and violist. After the brief fanfare of "Ouverture", the story line gets fully developed with some rather effervescent and grandiose arrangements (hello Mellotron M-400 and Mini-Moog D), "Is the End the Beginning" offering up some dizzying electric licks, all washed in cascading torrents of choir 'Tron and energetic vocals by Setti. The title track really sets the speakers ablaze with a whirlwind romp that has Genesis' signature all over it, from the zipping synth lead, the jangling 12 string guitars, the Rutherfordian bass pumping jovially along , all held by sprightly drums to the uncanny "Jacob wake up and tidy your room now " feel , some nifty harmonies to boot. Yes, it's a well-performed take on a classic and we are so much blessed for it. Fun! Hey, I Know What I Like! "The Journey" is a massive 12 minute piece that combines dashes of Genesis, close cousin Marillion and Pink "The Wall" Floyd. Vic's English vocals are quite impressive, conveying the right amount of emotion without sounding like a Napolitan tourist guide (Madonna mia!). The organ typically devastates, the marshalling rhythm powers forward, giving the guitar the opportunity to stretch out and roam among the vaporous synth clouds. An excellent slice of first rate prog that sizzles all the way through, a cool synthesizer solo whistles by unforeseen and the crescendo "outro" is where the Floyd influence screams through the nebulae. Slide guitar squeals adorn appropriately and the insistent bliss is terrific. "Days of Light" is probably the most Gabrielesque , something the sadly departed Shaun Guerin would have come up with, mainly due to the passionate vocal delivery , the gorgeous mellotron fueling the internal fire, with a duo of sultry sax solos (goodness, what a beautiful and warm sound, so un-Genesis and so desperately needed in prog). A definite winner that deserves lofty praise! "Under the Sea" menaces darkly at first, with glowing intensity and moody shifts, where barracuda-swift guitar torpedoes and synthesized dolphin solos mingle amid the chaotic water, organ swells cresting over the horizon. "Asha" is another Genesis inspired gem, full of delicate instrumental ornamentations that recall Collins' work on Afterglow, highly romantic and even slightly commercial but Cattini's energetic mellotron keeps things interesting throughout, a slim country style pickin in the midsection. A totally unexpected narration puts this one to rest. "The New Century" is another extended piece, featuring Signore Lanzetti and has heavy symphonic trappings. He has a trembling tremolo that needs getting used to, not everyone's cup of tea and certainly not mine, but he does an admirable job nevertheless. Halfway across, the viola makes its gracious entrance while the axes churn gracefully in the foreground, a sedate solo accentuating the voyage. The final seconds rely on the now famous dialogue between Houston and The Eagle when landing on the Moon. Yes, this is certainly a worthwhile trip that deserves place in a prog collection. 4 Nautiluses
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the greatest entries of the new millenium,MANGALA VALLIS are an Italian symph prog rock band,formed in 1998 in Reggio Emilia.They begun as a trio,featuring experienced musicians like Gigi Cavalli Cocchi on drums/percussion,Enzo Cattini on keyboards and Mirco Consolini on guitars/basses.No less than three singers helped with the recordings of their first album,among them we meet ex-''Acqua Fragile'' and ''P.F.M.'' vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti.The debut ''The book of dreams'' came out in 2002,based on the novels of the famous French writer Jules Verne.

The admiration of MANGALA VALLIS for 70's progressive rock becomes clear from the very first note of the album,especially GENESIS' influences are constantly in the repertoire.Eight memorable compositions are what MANGALA VALLIS have to offer,delivering amazing keyboard work,sensitive guitars and excellent vocal arrangements.SPOCK'S BEARD also come to mind with these nice grooves, multi-vocal parts, moog soloing and alternating acoustic/electric guitars,while Matteo Setti sounds a lot like NEAL MORSE.The second vocalist in the line,Vic Fraja,sounds a lot like PETER GABRIEL at his best,while his voice backed up by the shining mellotron parts and Hammond organ are on of the most enjoyable and inpiring parts of the album and exactly when GENESIS stick in your mind.Lanzetti needs no introduction,his magnificent voice in the beautiful ''A new century'' is a highlight of progressive rock.A very balanced album filled with beauty,sensitivity and positive energy,''The book of dreams'' is a work straight coming out of the 70's ,that will please every prog fan out there.Simply awesome and absolutely essential!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Very impressive debut album by this italian band. A friend was visiting my hometwon and told me about them, saying Iīd like them, based on my personal taste. And he was right. First of all I must say they donīt sound too much like other prog bands from Italy. the first track after the short introduction surprised me a lot for the heavy sounds and american styled harmony vocals. Itīs a good track but hardly their best on this CD and clearly a wrong tune for its opening.

But from then on things run pretty smoothly: great progressive music with outstanding playing, tasteful and creative arrangements, plus some fine vocals (all done by 3 guest singers, including Bernardo Lanzetti, once a member of PFM). It was good fun to see that the band does not even try to show how much they adore early Genesis: the title trackīs rhythm section is based unshamely on I Know What I Like. Fortunatly Mangala Vallis is way too good to let it be a hindrance or anything like that. Their songwriting habilities let them do tricks like that without risking to fall into plagiriarism. The song becomes more of a homage to Genesis since, like Magenta or Marillion, they have a very own strong personality .

Certainly The Book Of Dreams is not a perfect CD in any way, but as a first efford itīs an excellent start: fine melodic guitar solos (yes, there is some Hackett-like lines), fantastic analog keyboards (yes! lots of moogs and vmellotron waves included!) and a solid rhythm section. Oh, by the way, no, the singers donīt sound like Gabriel or Collins (except for Lanzetti, but he is only featured on the last track) Most of all those guys know how to write great, catchy tunes. Very addictive Iīd say. Ok, nothing too original, but certainly they have the potential to go very far soon.

A four stars affair, at least. Another fine prog gem from Italy. Donīt miss it!

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Neat Neo. Ropey RPI.

Mangala Vallis are a modern Italian band whose 2002 debut album was inspired by the father of modern science fiction, Jules Verne. The French author's novels have influenced other progressive artists of course, such as Rick Wakeman and Genesis; the Charterhouse alumni themselves provide the main musical inspiration for ''The Book Of Dreams''. Analogue keyboards and 12-string guitar are very much the order of the day with bassist Mirco Consolini doubling-up on guitar and keyboardist Enzo Cattini deploying a variety of analogue instruments, namely Hammond organ, Mellotron and Mini-Moog. The album is in fact a real Mellotron fest, with the machine's strings and choirs dominating all but the brief opening instrumental track ''Ouverture''.

Mangala Vallis don't have a regular singer and instead rely on several guest vocalists, with varying degrees of success. All the vocals are in English and here is the disquisition. While English-language vocals in themselves aren't an issue, when they are combined with the style of music here then Mangala Vallis' RPI credentials might be on a bit of a shoogly peg.

''The Book Of Dreams'' is certainly a highly polished, albeit highly derivative, slice of seventies flavoured prog. Take for example the middle section of ''Is The End The Beginning?'' which sounds like Genesis' ''Apocalypse in 9/8''. Then there are the Yes- inspired vocal harmonies of the title-track, while ''The Journey'' features slide guitar that has me thinking of Pink Floyd. Returning to the vocals, Bernardo Lanzetti's accented singing doesn't fit with the other guest vocals although fortunately he only sings on one track. Matteo Setti and Vic Fraja, who sounds a bit like Fish without the East Coast of Scotland accent, seem more suited to the style of music. Actually, I have to keep reminding myself that these guys are Italian.

If you are looking for an alternative to your usual Genesis or Marillion fix then this just might be right up your alley, whereas those expecting the typical Italian shenanigans will probably be disappointed. Mangala Vallis undoubtedly have promise but the bottom line is that there's barely a ha'porth of originality on this album.

Latest members reviews

3 stars The label says Italy and Rock Progressivo Italiano. My taste buds says Symphonic Prog and USA. The debut album from Mangala Vallis is one of the notable albums from the recent Rock Progressivo Italiano revival. It is also one of the more untraditional albums too. Untraditional because of it's s ... (read more)

Report this review (#450845) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, May 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very very close to being a perfect masterpiece. I gave it only 4 stars instead of 5 just because they sound a bit derivative to me, but in general this album is excellent. For me, huge fan of Italian vintage prog (PFM, Banco, Le Orme etc etc etc...), this album turned out to be extremely pleas ... (read more)

Report this review (#36863) | Posted by eugene | Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A Blast from the Past. Sounds nice, but nothing too original here. Still, it's a guilty pleasure and fun to listen to. Well played but highly derivative of Genesis in particular. Lyrics are well done. Looking forward to the next one. ... (read more)

Report this review (#18168) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hey you progheads out there...this is another real GEM that you skouldnt be.. without!!! This is exactly a good point to why you should NEVER ignore an ItaLian progband,cause these guys are the "[&*!#]" as a new American phrase, would have it!! Hey! they play and they have a story to tell...and t ... (read more)

Report this review (#18164) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Monday, December 29, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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