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Il Segno Del Comando

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Il Segno Del Comando Il Segno Del Comando album cover
3.42 | 19 ratings | 3 reviews | 16% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tenebrose Presenze (1:15)
2. Il Segno Del Comando (10:05)
3. Salmo XVII Di Baldassarre Vitali O "Della Doppia Morte" (1:47)
4. Messagero Di Pietra (9:04)
5. Ritratto Di Donna Velata (Lord Byron's Night Promenade) (3:55)
6. Missa Nigra (7:30)
7. La Taverna Dell'Angelo (10:07)
8. Ghost Lovers In Villa Piuma (4:17)

Total Time: 48:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Renato Carpaneto "Mercy" / vocals
- Gabriele Grixoni / guitar
- Matteo Ricci / guitar
- Agostino Tavella / keyboards
- Diego Banchero / bass
- Carlo Opisso / drums

- Elena Menichini / vocals (6)
- Patrizia Baldacci / vocals (5)
- Osvaldo Giordano / Mellotron (2)
- Andrea Romeo / sax (7)
- Doriana Barbč / programming

Releases information

LP Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 017 (1997, Italy)

CD Black Widow Records ‎- BWRCD 017-2 (1997, Italy)

Thanks to aussie-byrd-brother for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Il Segno Del Comando ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Il Segno Del Comando reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Genova's `Il Segno del Comando' (The Sign of Command) take their name from a 1970's novel by Giussepe D'Agata and Italian TV series of the same title that dealt with occult matters, reincarnation and the supernatural, and their debut album is a concept album based on the above sources. Bass player Diego Banchero recalls `Remembering our childhood, reading the book and viewing images in black and white of the series was like stepping back in time to be immersed in our worst childhood anxieties...the ghosts of our childhood.' It should then come as no surprise that the music is frequently highlighted by long extended dark instrumental passages built around hypnotic grand church organ majesty, searing electric guitar playing and plenty of analogue synths and Mellotron. There's a love and respect for the defining Italian 70's albums evident, and you can hear a number of influences from other darker Italian bands worked in - the longer lead guitar soloing reminds of Abiogenesi, the thick church organ overload of Goblin and the mysterious sinister drama of the Antonio Bartoccetti projects such as Jacula and Antonius Rex.

The opening soundscape piece sets the scene with a tolling tower bell ringing over disorientating effects and swirling fragments of voices, until intimidating church organ majestically enters, grinding guitars join in alongside Carlo Opisso's fiery drums crashing all over the place, very manic and fiery! Vocalist Mercy soon arrives, crooning wildly one moment, then spitting and feral the next. Diego Banchero's thick and grooving bass murmurs away in the background, always able to be heard perfectly in the mix. About three minutes in the track picks up in tempo and the band takes off with wilding wailing electric guitar soloing. They sound like they're in a swirling vacuum, with the same kind of reckless danger that Biglietto Per L'Inferno' did so well.

`Salma XVII' is a short organ interlude similar to the music on the early Jacula albums. The darkly romantic opening and close of `Messagero di Pietra' has whirling Moog, lovely thick melodic bass playing nice and upfront and grand imperial Mellotron, but before long that reckless vintage RPI spirit kicks in and the band shoots for the skies again, with maniacal guitar soloing similar to the first piece. There's a heavy dirty energy and groove to the piece, with a lovely jazzy electric piano run in the middle. `Ritratto Di Donna Velata' is a lovely instrumental with sighing ethereal female vocals over mysterious Moog melodies, dancing bass and subtle wah-wah guitar. There is just a trace of unease here, but mostly it's quite a pleasing and oddly comforting way to close the first side.

What a showcase for Diego Banchero his relentless foot tapping punchy bass on `Missa Nigra' is! It dominates and holds together the entire track, lurking around glistening organ and a combination of whispering, chanted voices and Mercy's weary drone to give this mid-tempo piece a real catchy kick! It's very repetitive and creates an overwhelming trance-like spell over the listener, and soon settles into more hypnotic dark grooves and murky guitar stabs.

One more longer epic to go, the edgy jazz rocker `La Taverna Dell'Angelo' offers unpredictable Banco-like schizophrenic snaps, Rex inspired synth ambience and kitsch strutting funk, especially with the deep gulping bass as the piece constantly rises and falls in tempo. Just listen out for the murky and dirty sax blowing, played with that same unbridled energy that bands like Delirium and Rocky's Filj used. Absolutely stunning stuff, and lovers of 70's Italian prog will lose their minds over this one!

The final track is a stirring instrumental of whirring Moog, haunted-house lurking piano and howling winds sounding like tortured souls. It has a sad quality that's also strangely reflective, and ends the album in a thoughtful way.

It's difficult to favour one Comando album over another. Both are equally immersive, complex works for lovers of dark progressive music and Italian sophistication. While the follow-up `Der Golem' frequently sees the band advancing the attack, really going for the throat of the listener in a more violent manner, this self titled debut has more of a crawling creeping subtle tension, plus I love that it's firmly rooted in the style of the defining 70's Italian progressive works. It's overload of vintage synths, classical gothic drama, darkly affectionate melodies and funk/jazz excursions would make it the one to start with, especially for RPI aficionados only wanting to gently sample the darker corner of the Italian prog scene for the first time. A tremendous work that I can't get enough of.

Four and a half stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Il Segno del Comando started around mid-90's as a side project by singer Mercy and bassist Diego Banchero, both members of the Gothic Rock act Malombra.The group was named after the eponymous novel of writer Giuseppe D'Agata, which was transformed in a TV drama by RAI in early-90's by director Daniele D'Anza.The rest of the crew were guitarists Gabriele Grixoni and Matteo Ricci, drummer Carlo Opisso and keyboardist Agostino Tavella.Il Segno del Comando's self-titled debut was the perfect product for the nearby Genoa-based Black Widow Records, that released it in 1997.Among the guest stars the album features a surprising Mellotron performance by Osvaldo Giordano, sound engineer of many contemporary Italian Prog albums.

The Italian's style draws evident comparisons with old Italian Dark Prog groups such as PHOLAS DACTYLUS, GOBLIN or IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO and even stronger connections with more recent acts such as AKRON and LA MASCHERA DI CERA.The music is bombastic and very sinister all the way with huge waves of Church organs and powerful, heavy guitars, characterized by massive riffs and dominant grooves.Some carefully used synths and a charismatic singer with a crying, expressive voice are the other main elements of Il Segno del Comando's style, not to mention the very solid rhythm section.Among the excellent rhythmic parts of the album there are lots of dynamic breaks and more complex yet intelligent workouts, while there is a strong essence of Classical and Gothic music throughout this first effort.The longer tracks offer different variations with the most varied keyboard work, full of organs and Mellotron, definitely with a symphonic flavor.The shorter ones are mainly instrumental with a very cinematic feeling, close to Horror movies soundtracks, with nice vocal parts in a choir-type and a very dark mood with emphatic organ and synth passages.

Very good debut, influenced halfway between Classic Italian Prog of the heavier edge and Soundtrack Music.Powerful, passionate and well-executed.Great and strongly recommended stuff, especially if you love trully atmospheric still rich Progressive Rock...3.5 stars.

Review by Matti
3 stars The debut album of Genova's IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO, 'The Sign of Command', was recently reissued by Black Widow. The album's conceptual inspiration -- as well as the band name -- derives from Giuseppe D'Agata's novel, and the Italian TV series (1971), that deals with occult matters, reincarnation and supernatural. The author himself called the album a perfect soundtrack to his novel. Before coming to my own reception of the music, I wish to cite the informative band page that describes the music so well. The band aimed at "music that evokes sadness, anxiety and fear", and is full of "classical gothic atmosphere, spooky overwhelming arrangements, cinematic drama and eerie nightmare soundscapes. The music is very organ driven, with plenty of Mellotron and analogue synths for an authentic vintage sound. (...) Folky acoustic guitar passages are reflective and thoughtful."

A couple of remarks concerning the lay-out of the re-release. A brief plot summary of the story is placed under the transparent disc holder, so that words under the glued corners are actually unreadable. Also, I wish there was a track list WITH track numbers and lengths. One bonus track is included: 'Magia Postuma' which didn't appear in the original release.

The brief, haunting opener without lyrics effectively sets the dark atmosphere, and is followed by a 10-minute title track. The vocals of Mercy are very shouty in it, but what really strikes me is the low sonic quality. The album was recorded on a shoestring budget in two weeks, and it really sounds so. The frantic electric guitar solo is painfully ear-attacking. The short third track is a majestic church organ solo. Indeed, the music couldn't much get more Gothic and darker!

'Ritratto di Donna Velata (Lord Byron's Night Promenade)' featuring eerie female chorals is a highlight. It is relatively melodic but still full of haunting mood. 'Missa Negra' is another piece that in my opinion notably suffers from the low recording quality, concerning mostly the messy vocals, the electric guitar and the rhythm section. Instrumental 'Ghost Lovers in Villa Piuma' is originally a traditional tune, the arrangement starring an accordeon-reminding keys and piano. Now, the mentioned bonus track: it's an organ-centred jazz instrumental with a 60's-like sound and a nice groove.

This very vintage-sounding album is worth checking out for those who enjoy the dark and Gothic end of RPI, bands such as ABIOGENESI, JACULA, ANTONIUS REX and BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, and who are not put off by a low sonic quality -- which in a way finishes the gloomy atmosphere if you like. However, I prefer the band's later albums with a better production.

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