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Akron Il Tempio di Ferro album cover
3.23 | 9 ratings | 5 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Il giuramento (8:37)
2. A Gerusalemme (9:48)
3. Il tempio di ferro (5:02)
4. Gadio a te (3:27)
5. Deus Vult (3:12)
6. Verso Notre Dame (5:22)
7. Il giudizio (5:53)
8. Le catere di Chinon (8:35)
9. Condanna (2:22)

Line-up / Musicians

- Enio "Akron" Nicolini / Bass, synthesizer
- Fabio Barraco / Keyboards, Piano
- Eugenio Mucci/ Vocals and Choirs
- Gabriella Saia / Choirs
- Lea Palmieri / Drums

- Antonio De Angelis / Hammond Organ
- Gabriele Di Monte/ Hammond Organ

Releases information

CD Black Widow Records BWR067 - 2003

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AKRON Il Tempio di Ferro ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (67%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AKRON Il Tempio di Ferro reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Todd
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano!
3 stars Dramatic RPI in a Jacula vein

AKRON is the name of the musical project of Elio "Akron" Nicolini, bassist for Italian heavy doom band The Black. AKRON produced two albums, "La Signora del Buio" in 1999 and "Il Tempio di Ferro" in 2003, a concept album dealing with the Knights Templar. The albums are heavily based in keyboards, particularly church organ, leading to the sometimes applied label of Cathedral Art Rock. The music is generally slow, deliberate, and always dramatic. The central keyboards are completed by the unique, wonderful operatic vocals of Eugenio Mucci, with the rhythm section of Nicolini and drummer Lea Palmieri. There is no guitar.

Here is the description of the album from the Black Widow site: "The Sound is a really dark doomy progressive with great Hammond Organ and symphonic arrangements, epic-theatrical male and female vocals, deep bass lines and a ritual-hypnotic drumming?a really dramatic opera with an original tragedy's feeling."

The reference band that comes immediately to mind when listening to AKRON is JACULA, although AKRON'S music is not as dark. Some have compared the music of AKRON to that of METAMORFOSI, although the similarities are primarily based on the operatic vocals, the predominant organ, and the dramatic style; AKRON'S compositions are not nearly as varied or interesting as those of METAMORFOSI. AKRON produces interesting music, often compelling, and is recommended to those who like dramatic, theatrical or operatic style and are willing to tolerate some artistic indulgence at the expense of complex compositions or instrumental virtuosity. The album tends to drag a bit toward the end, but there are enough good moments and uniqueness to merit three stars.

Review by ozzy_tom
3 stars 2nd and - as far as I'm concerned - last album of untypical band Akron, shows signs of quite big improvement compared to their first album "La Signora del Buio"(look to my review of that album to also find out more info about this band). Songs became longer, varied and more melodic. They also seem to really "rock" instead of only create dark, gloomy atmosphere (like in debut), which is a good "innovation". Also vocalist Eugenio Mucci clearly improved his vocal skills and prefers to sing than "recite" in sleepy tone. Addition of two guest Hammond players (Antonio De Angelis & Gabriele Di Monte) and female vocalist (Gabriella Saia who - as I suppose - joined the band after the debut recording 'cos I rather didn't hear her in "La Signora del Buio") is also welcome of course. However I still can't recommend "Il Tempio Di Ferro" as prog masterpiece for casual prog-rock listener. Why? Read my detailed reviews of the songs to find out:

1. "Il giuramento" - album starts with 1 minute intro which include thrilling church organ passage. It sounds really creepy and I'm almost sure that real pipe organ instrument was used for this fragment. One of few moments where Jacula influences are so evident. After this part mid-tempo drum join in and Mucci present as more accessible - compared to previous album - style of singing. Instead of screaming or recitating he really sings and it's big plus. His voice is slightly operatic here and together with floating synthesizers create not so bad song. However 8 minutes is too long for this material and after several minutes starts to drag. It's good that "Il giuramento" finishes with short pipe organ passage just like it began.

2. "A Gerusalemme" - the longest track (almost 10 minutes) starts rather unpromising with simple keyboard plumping, string synthesizer landscape and some bass guitar which try to imitate acoustic guitar notes. Fortunately in 2:30 minute Lea Palmieri starts uptempo drum beat and one of the keyboardist (Antonio De Angelis? Gabriele Di Monte? or maybe Fabio Barraco by himself?) plays very catchy Hammond motif. Dynamic and very 70s sounding part. After that softer part with vocals and first arriving of Gabriella's choirs. Her vocal really adds melodic component to the music. After that quite good organ solo, at first very melancholic and later transforms to more dynamic one. It's followed by another nice-sounding vocal part and another Hammond soloing which suddenly stops to leave place for beautifully haunting acoustic piano passages. In typical prog-rock tradition the longest song is the best one. Opus Magnum of the record.

3. "Il tempio di ferro" - titled song is full of fast analog sounding, fast synthesizer flights, string ensemble backings and angry vocal section. I also enjoy harpsichord-like synthesizer which often takes leads here. Good, Antonius Rex alike composition.

4. "Gadio a te" - this track kicks in with another pipe organ section, however after few seconds Mucci joins with his operatic singing and Barraco move from organ to harpsichord-like keyboard and "choir" synthesizer. Nothing extraordinary but surely good one.

5. "Deus Vult" - rather slow, jazzy sounding Hammond (I'm sure it's a real thing. Such warm sound can be only made by analog gear) and "metronomic" drums. Quite surprising track, a bit like Brian Auger in his softest numbers. Really like.

6. "Verso Notre Dame" - so-so composition with mostly not interesting keyboards parts and some screams of vocalist. Fortunately in the middle Fabio Barraco changes keys for some repetitive, but surely atmospheric piano. Also Mucci start to sing using quite good, very dramatic voice. Passable.

7. "Il giudizio" - I really like this one. Very slow track with mostly "loud whispering" or "crying shout" style vocal and extremely infectious 2-notes piano motif. Very passionate song which always brings goose bumps on my neck. After 3rd minute "Il giudizio" changes mood thanks to more frantic percussion rhythm and synths runs. Near the end we can hear to some recitation which brings memories of their first album. However this fragment is much better thanks to usage of normal style voice. In general very good track.

8. "Le catere di Chinon" - I was almost eager to give 4 stars for this effort...until I remind myself about this horrible, 8+ minutes piece of junk. No drums, only "dark", monotonous synthesizer floating in the air and unbearable screams of vocalist. These awful voices he spit out of himself are truly ridiculous. And this dull ending which sounds like some black mass prayer finished with asthmatic chuffing. Brrr... Skip before you totally lose faith in this band.

9. "Condanna" - after disaster of previous track everything is good. Funeral drum stomping, very Antonius Rex-like synthesizer and "AAAA" choir of cigarettes addict. In the end few seconds of church-like singing and some digital piano. Could be worst I can say so I don't complain.

To summarize "Il tempio di ferro" is surely better than its predecessor. And except "Le catere di Chinon" doesn't have too many stinkers. This time music much more brings resemblances to Jacula and Antonius Rex music however it still keeps its own special favor. Relying on Hammond organ, pipe organ and pianos was surely a good idea. But it doesn't change a thing that it isn't album I can easily recommend. It's still too not very outstanding and some parts drag too much. No doubt that Akron made big step forward with this release and it's a pity that from 7 years they didn't record anything new. I suppose they disbanded and if it's true it's a pity. Their next album could be a real treat I think. In general 3,5 stars is a fair rating for this one.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Superb Italian D&D Doom

One of the branches of the RPI tree would be bands of the Italian "doom" sound, dark prog and variations of dark gothic music. This school, if you like that term, is helped along in Italy by the love and support of Black Widow Records, purveyors of the "dark" music from Genoa. Bands under this moniker would be legends like Jacula, Antonius Rex, along with modern days bands like Areknames. Quite a few other bands have been influenced by and dabbled in dark rock without being fully identified that way. Akron is a project which fully and lovingly embraces the style to great effect and they've delivered a very good 2nd album with "Il Tempio Di Ferro", which thematically deals with the Knights of Templar. Progressor online magazine refers to the band as "Cathedral Symphonic Art-Rock" and does not believe "doom" is a factor here, but to my ears it certainly is. They capture the spirit of Jacula and Antonius Rex without being as dark and disturbing as some people find those groups. They mix elements of these groups with their own accessible and wonderful composition. I was delighted with what I found to be memorable and interesting tracks that stuck with me without having to be overly complex.

The album begins with fantastic church organ in most sinister sounding mode, as if Charles Tiring himself were back from the beyond. Much of it moves at a slow and brooding pace with a deep, ritualistic drumming and heavy bass holding down the low end. There is almost no guitar in the Akron sound palette and it is not missed. I think a big part of what makes this music so unique is the lack of guitars. Modern sounding synths provide a foggy, weighted atmosphere generally described as doomy or a bit spooky. Frankly though I often find some joy and rather uplifting moments coming through even given the overall dark symphonic atmosphere. Vintage organ and piano are used beautifully to give the tracks a somber elegance and somewhat "lost time" feel. The vocals are a combination of male and female teamwork, mostly male, with the female vocals beautifully backing them and providing nice layering. The vocals are very dramatic, perhaps too much so for some, but I don't think so----remember that this music is by its nature bold and dramatic. It is supposed to be larger-than-life storytelling and to some of you this might seem "cheesy." Not to me. The centerpiece track, and perhaps the Akron masterpiece is the amazing "A Gerusalemme." This 10-minute piece features beautiful melodic vocal arrangements and outstanding keyboard parts throughout, then at the end delivers a wonderful solo piano. This album adds more choir vocals and string arrangements to the mix, and in fact improves in sound and production over the debut. Taking another page from the Rex playbook we are even treated to the full sound presentation of a torture session in the castle. In "Le Catene di Chinon" you will listen to the screams of a very unfortunate man as he is presumably being removed from the living world. Last I would say this: if you buy the Akron titles, do give them many plays before making a judgement. Their unusual style and deliberate playing manner do take a little getting used to, but eventually this band gets into your blood.

While the album is a technical improvement over the first, and while the compositions are more ambitious and elegant, for whatever reason I tend to prefer the debut to this one. It's a little rougher around the edges, which I love, but probably most people would say this is the better of the two. Both Akron titles work well as a two part set to give fans of dark symphonic rock one of the finest rides of the 90s/00s. I love them both (caveat, I am an Italian doom fanboy) and recommend them to any Jac/Rex fan. The lyric booklet is quite nice, with pictures of the band members dressed in period chainmail and brandishing their swords. Maybe that's what you could call Akron: Dungeons and Dragons prog. Whatever you want to call this stuff, I like it. I hope the band will reunite one day and give us a third album.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An Akron's track from ''La Signora Del Buio'' was included in the 2000 Black Widow's compilation '' Children of Black Widow'' and two years later Nicolini gathered his badmates for a second album.Next to him, Fabio Barraco, Insider's singer Eugenio Mucci and Lea Palmieri we find female singer Gabriella Saia and two organ players, Antonio De Angelis and Gabriele Di Monte.''Il tempio di ferro'' was a concept album around the Templar's knights, released by Black Widow in CD and supported by a limited vinyl edition.

Akron's sound hasn't change a bit compared to the previous album and remains a haunting, dark and sinister organ-driven experience of theatrical Progressive Rock.Comparisons with JACULA, DEVIL DOLL and GOBLIN are more than obvious with Akron delivering a very doomy music, filled with Gothic and Opera elements, based on long Hammond organ passages and solos with total absence of guitar leads but a very stable and solid rhythm section.However compared to their debut some of the inspiration seems to have faded, lacking the great measure of the previous compositions, as ''Il tempio di ferro'' contains longer and somewhat overstretched pieces.The overall performance by the band though is still consistent throughout the album with some nice organ themes, symphonic/Classical tendencies and hypnotic piano themes and a singer, who has a melodramatic and mysterious voice.The careful use of synthesizers and the interesting doomy grooves make the album even more atmospheric and Akron managed to produce another work with strong vintage references.

''Il tempio di ferro'' was Akron's last contribution to the Progressive Rock scene and this is another unique experience of dark Progressive Rock with massive keyboard work performed not in a virtuosic but in a very atmospheric way.Although I prefer their debut, this one comes also recommended, especially if you love a dose of sinister mood in your music.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Darkened RPI is what my ears is being exposed to here. This is indeed doom prog rock. Funeral doom like in places. But there is still no doubt that this is a thoroughbred Rock Progressivo Italiano album. The vocals is very dark and almost like an opera. Some of the material is delivered like ... (read more)

Report this review (#293336) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, August 4, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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