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Ingranaggi Della Valle

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Ingranaggi Della Valle In Hoc Signo album cover
4.02 | 280 ratings | 23 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introduzione (0:14)
2. Cavalcata (5:49)
3. Mare in Tempesta (3:17)
4. Via Egnatia (5:41)
5. L'Assedio di Antiochia (8:11)
6. Fuga da Amman (5:56)
7. Kairuv'an (6:08)
8. Masqat (5:15)
9. Jangala Mem (6:46)
10. Il Vento del Tempo (7:00)
11. Finale (9:33)

Total Time 63:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Igor Leone / vocals
- Flavio Gonnellini / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals, composer
- Mattia Liberati / Hammond B3, Mellotron M400, Fender Rhodes Mark II, Minimoog, Minimoog Voyager, Korg MS-20, Elka Synthex, Jen SX1000, Clavia Nord Stage Revision B, composer
- Marco Gennarini / violin, backing vocals
- Shanti Colucci / drums & percussion, nagara, gatham, Tibetan bells, vocalese (konnakol)

- Fabrizio Proietti / classical guitar (4)
- Simone Massimi / fretted & fretless bass & upright electric basses
- Marco Bruno / bass (2)
- Edoardo Arrigo / bass (3,5)
- Luciano Colucci / Indian mystic speech (9)
- Mattias Olsson / drums & percussion (9), synth & noises (10)
- David Jackson / saxophone & flute (11)
- Angelica Saupret Scutti / backing vocals (11)
- Beatrice Miglietta / backing vocals (11)
- Paolo Pierelli / Fx, mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Marcello Toma

LP Black Widow Records ‎- BWR 155 (2013, Italy)

CD Black Widow Records ‎- BWRCD 155-2 (2013, Italy)

Thanks to Todd for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE In Hoc Signo ratings distribution

(280 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Todd
5 stars Even in the standout year of 2013, the debut of Roman band Ingranaggi della Valle, "In Hoc Signo", is a landmark album, one that only comes around every decade or so.

The band started as a fusion/jazz rock outfit, and they retain a distinct fusion sound. However, they are much more symphonic in their approach than a typical JRF band--in fact, they remind me of what Arti e Mestieri might have been like had they gone more symphonic instead of the fusion route in the late 70s. Probably the strongest link in this regard is the incredible frenetic drumming of Shanti Colucci, who sounds like the second coming of legendary Furio Chirico. Also there is the beautiful melodic violin of Marco Gennarini, quite reminiscent of Giovanni Vigliar's prominent role in Arti e Mestieri. Finally, the keyboard work of Mattia Liberati evokes the best days of Beppe Crovella, as Venegoni is recalled by Flavio Gonnellini.

One of the strongest elements of the band is the incredible vocalist Igor Leone, one of the most talented vocalists to arrive on the RPI scene for a long time, and the list of outstanding RPI vocalists is quite long. In many ways Leone reminds me of Gianfranco Gaza, amazing vocalist of Procession and later Arti e Mestieri (though grossly underutilized by the latter band). But Leone's sound is his own, his tone is clear and his range is remarkable.

The songwriting is handled by outstanding keyboardist Mattia Liberati and understated but excellent guitarist Flavio Gonnellini, the founders of the band. Together they have crafted a symphonic masterpiece which combines strong melodies, rich textures, and fusion-level musicianship, pulled together in an incredible way by a strong concept. They have decided to continue in the Medieval concept vein that many RPI bands have recently explored, notably Le Orme, Il Baccio della Medusa, Latte e Miele, and labelmates Il Cerchio d'Oro. Like Il Baccio della Medusa, the idea is centered around the Crusades, but viewed through modern sensibilities. The packaging is luxurious, despite being housed in a jewel case, and complements the ambitious concept.

As for the music itself... wow! This album has it all--strong melodic hooks, great multilayered vocals, dramatic flair, sensitive violin, fiery sax (courtesy of David Jackson, who also contributes some excellent flute), virtuosic displays, compositional variety, even funky sound treatments (thanks to Mattias Olsson). I have been enthralled with this one from the very first listen, and I am not overstating when I say that this just may be my favorite RPI release since the 70s! That's quite a claim, I know, but it's that good. You really need to try this one, even if you haven't been a fan of the current RPI trends. Five stars (Gnosis 14/15).

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars These are some of the things I find myself thinking over and over during my dozens of listens to this amazing album:

1. Is this album introducing us to the "new" Bill Bruford--young drummer extraordinaire, Shanti Colucci? (Answer: We shall see!)

2. What if the lineup(s) of mid-1970s JEAN-LUC PONTY (Aurora, Imaginary Voyage, Enigmatic Ocean, and Cosmic Messenger) and that of late 1970s BRUFORD (Feels Good To Me, One of A Kind) merged? (Answer: It would sound like a lot of this album!)

3. What if George Duke or Jan Hammer had played with Jean Luc Ponty, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Berlin, Dave Stewart and Bill Bruford? (Answer: It would sound like much of this!)

4. What would a progressive rock album trying to seriously and intelligently convey the concept of Christian Europe's mediæval Crusades sound like? (Answer: This!)

5. Isn't it great and wonderful that intelligent, talented, young musicians of today are getting into playing/performing prog?! (Answer: YES! It's awesome!)

6. What is in the air/water/food of Italy that so many great prog albums are being released there in the past couple years? (Answer: Unknown/Yet to be determined.)

Perhaps later I will go through a detailed, song-by-song, moment-by-moment account of my experience while listening to this incredibly rich and diverse album, but for now just suffice to say that I consider this not only a masterpiece of progressive rock composition but also a masterful rendering of a very challenging historical concept and a breathtaking and refreshing introduction to a brilliant and virtuosic group of young musicians. There is certainly room for these guys to grow (i.e. better transitions within songs, better vocal layers/harmonies, let those amazing end-of-song jams play out instead of fading them out on the mixing board) but then, what "classic" prog "masterpiece" from the 70s is without its flaws. (I know that I have yet to meet a flawless album.) Mega kudos to Igor, Mattia, Flavio, Marco, Shanti, and others. I hope you will consider staying together to do some more prog?you are so talented!

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Despite all living in different locations, the sound of the Prog Archives RPI team members jaws dropping could be heard echoing around the world when this little beauty came to our attention! The debut release `In Hoc Signo' from Ingranaggi Della Valle had us thinking `Hmmm, this is promising', moving through to `Wow, this is really good' to more or less `what a bloody classic!'. Those who bemoan the fact that too many modern Italian progressive releases are a little too `pretty', polished and safe need look no further for their next purchase to put their minds at ease. This one is positively schizophrenic and reckless with a hint of danger, with a nice restrained production that doesn't smooth over some rougher surfaces, instead making that just part of it's charm. It's overloaded with expert playing, winning arrangements with a charismatic vocalist, and the talent and confidence on display is even more shocking, coming from a debut release.

I was initially very intimidated attempting to review this album. Where to begin discussing an album that bridges the classic vintage defining releases from Italy with a modern sound so perfectly? This album kind of reminded me of Marsupilami's deranged `Arena' album, and although they were not an Italian band, that one headed in every direction at once with a spastic `take no prisoners, grab them by the throat' approach yet somehow still managed to hold together as a strong cohesive work. Maybe this opinion of mine is also swayed as I look at the battle scene depicted here on the front cover like that one too! Anyway, there's a focused confidence and a keen ear for sublime melodies weaving through the reckless, thrashing and fiery instrumental passages. Take the triumphant fanfares of P.F.M, the jazz/fusion precision of Arti e Mestieri in a more symphonic style (they get several mentions in this review!) and the traces of darkness and edge of Biglietto Per L'Inferno and you might get an idea where to begin.

The boisterous and confident opener `Cavalcata' instantly kicks listeners from behind with Marco Gennarini's searing manic violin, the dazzling pomp and stomp organ of 70's Genesis, somber Radiohead-like group vocals and manic twisty electric guitar soloing. `Mare In Tempesta' is jazzy and light-footed to begin with but soon offers just a brief glimpse of 70's fusion that will really take off later in the album. You also start to quickly realise what an accomplished vocalist Igor Leone is, crooning and romantic one second, wild the next! `Via Egnatia' moves through the lethargic drowsy guitar atmosphere of early Pink Floyd, majestic and violent Mellotron bursts, Biglietto Per L'Inferno- like snarling darkness and unpredictable danger. Guitarist Flavio Gonnellini really gets to show off in this one too with his maddening rapid-fire electric runs, while guest performer Fabrizio Proietti provides some stirring acoustic guitar atmosphere in the second half. Igor really unleashes on this one too, totally unhinged and rabid like the most memorable Italian 70's vocalists.

Now the album really starts to hit it's stride, `L'Assedio Di Antiochia' being a total stunner from beginning to end, heading in so many unexpected directions with endless tempo changes back and forth - There's a plodding heaviness and snarling anger to the guitars and drummer Shanti Colucci works up a ferocious pounding storm. You get jazzy funk diversions, terrific and varied use of group vocals (some of them becoming very horrific and ranting), nimble Arti e Mestieri-like violin fusion and Hammond/electric piano keyboard goodness. The quality carries on into wondrous slow- burning instrumental `Fuga Da Amman', where the jazz/rock-fusion talents of the band really shine. The violin has that edgy roughness of the first Quella Vecchia Locanda album, insanely busy drumming and Santana-like burning electric guitar soloing. Keyboard player Mattia Liberati gets to show off his talent with his army of classic prog keyboard equipment, whether it's the sprightly jazzy electric piano or colourful synth soloing in the finale. Again, Arti e Mestieri lovers and fusion fans will really dig this one!

Listen to the combination of Mattia's Le Orme-styled organ and spiraling jazzy piano over Simone Massimi's gorgeous murmuring bass taking flight in the opening minutes of `Kairuvan'. We even get a brief acoustic passage with Igor purring over the top, and it's nice to hear the band ease up for some low-key passages like this, even if only briefly, before a Genesis-like triumphant fanfare finale and reprise of the opening. `Masqat' and `Jangala Mem' are mostly instrumental AeM- flavoured jams. The first has very quick-fire time changes, dirty strutting guitar funk, punchy bass, hot Hammond runs, and a brief ethereal floating treated vocal passage. The latter has an unnerving electronic menace, bashing percussion and improvised violent violin/electric guitar interplay, truly suffocating in its clawing intensity.

Droning middle eastern chanting ambience, loopy scat vocals and break-neck speed snapping violin/guitar/drum violence cuts through `Il Vento Del Tempo', but it's the almost ten minute `Finale' that will get a lot of attention due to the involvement of Van der Graaf Generator's David Jackson on sax and flute. Just like in that band, he brings a dark, sinister and unnerving tension, here it even reminds of fellow Italian band Delirium. Rounded out with icy Mellotron blasts, groovy uptempo pumping bass and rattling drums, mind-shattering ranted group vocals that spit at the listener and a frantic maniacal and noisy final run, the piece closes the album in a hypnotic, sophisticated and stirring manner.

2013 has been a banner year for outstanding progressive music emerging from Italy, whether it's the classical instrumental professionalism of Progenesi, the youthful merging of the old vintage sounds with the new contemporary appeal of Unreal City, or the return of darker tinged RPI sounds such as L'Albero del Veleno and Il Babau e i Maledetti Cretini. But it's Ingranaggi Della Valle's perfect debut album that successfully takes exactly what made the classic 70's Italian works so defining, and delivers them to a modern audience with exactly the same unpredictable wild abandon, produced with talent, sophistication and a real understanding of the genre while standing perfectly on their own merits. `In Hoc Signo' may just be one of the best RPI albums since the 70's period, and is simply an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the genre.

Five stars.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I can just imagine the conversation, can't you? It probably went something like "I know it's a debut, so let's base it on the First Crusade, okay? Let's approach the Italian progressive form from the fusion end, ensure we include plenty of KBB-style violin work, and we'll get in loads of guests to add dramatic bits and pieces including VDGG's David Jackson. They won't know what's hit them!" Albums and groups tend not to come out of left field like this very often these days, so it is always a very pleasant surprise when they do, as there is no way that a band recording their debut after only being together for a few years should sound as polished and convincing as this. Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), were already members of the funk/jazz-rock trio The Big Chill when they decided to do something different, but they have brought their jazz influences with them (Mattia also brought loads of keyboards and I think he used all of them somewhere, listing Hammond B3, Mellotron M400, Fender Rhodes Mk II, MiniMoog, MiniMoog Voyager, Korg MS20, Elka Synthex, Jen SX1000, Clavia Nord Stage Revision B).

I have always been a fan of Italian Progressive Rock, and these guys have certainly brought together influences such as PFM, with the incredible violin jazz prog of KBB to create something that has multiple layers and incredible depth. Igor Leone has a wonderful voice, and breaks through when he needs to, lifting above everything with clear diction and great control. But what really makes this album work so well is the blending together of some many different ideas and instruments into something that is incredibly complex, yet is always extremely easy to listen to. This is not being clever just for its' own sake, but is all about making music that is easy to understand and leaves the listener with a smile on their face. Prog doesn't get much better than this.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tempestuous, lusty, odorous, exalted, earthy, sophisticated and brash. You have to hand it to the Italians, they are a special breed, seemingly highly adept at pushing boundaries and doing it with a sense of perpetual style. Whether food, fashion, style, automobiles and music, they seem to forever reach for the stars. In terms of progressive music, the Italians have a long and bright tradition that easily rivals the Brits but where the big difference lies is that young Italian musicians are still flocking to master the RPI School, showcasing another generation of players who keep the flame alive. We all know the main classic players as they have a whole section to themselves on PA (the only country to do so BTW!) but recent years have produced a plethora of amazing new talents such as La Coscienza di Zeno, Il Labirinto di Specchi , Il Bacio della Medusa, Gran Turismo Veloce, Unreal City, The Former Life, Il Giardino Onirico, L'Estate di San Martino, The Redzen, Soulengine and countless others.

This new addition is called Ingranaggi della Valle (Gears of the Valley!?) from the Eternal City of Rome, and as befits this incomprehensibly busy megapolis, the music here offers everything under the sun, from jazz-rock with organ flurries, brooding labyrinthine prog-rock with theatrical vocals, a front and center slithering violin that gives it a powerful classical feel, all conspiring to make a difficult call when coming to review this musical recipe book. It's quite hard to describe really, sounding like nothing else, though one reviewer here stated that this was 'nostalgia' and 'everything is too dully old-fashioned, too been there, seen that". Kind of startling assumption in view of the fact that nothing is really new anymore but this is not radio-friendly pop music by any stretch of one's flowery imagination. The music is typical full-force progressive-rock with some strong jazz, RPI, space, medieval and psychedelic tendencies, presented in a no holds barred, 'shaddap youface, if younolike, va fa....'' attitude. You have to remind yourself the lads are from Rome and well'.... They are a cocky lot! They also have the bravery to invite VdGG's David Jackson and Anglagard's Mattias Olsson as guest soloists.

The style is highly Mediterranean, with a plethora of Arab and Middle Eastern influences as befits the subject matter, the Christian crusades against the occupation of Jerusalem by the Saracen infidels. Therefore the music interprets cleverly the battles, the intrigues and the hypocrisy of war for war's sake while infusing a strong sense of musical history (would that be the violin, do you think?). Typical prog album, right? With a story and a theme! What a shocker!

The highlights include the ballsy 'Cavalcata', a brash musical cavalcade where the violin reigns supreme, tight assistance from the rhythmic frenzy played by the guitars, bass and drums, moody lead vocals that span the gamut from gentle church singing to expressive operatics from the supremely talented Igor Leone and finished off by a devilish axe solo from Flavio Gonnellini.

'L'Assedio di Antiochia' is truly epic, going in a variety of directions, at first featuring marshalling drums, Emerson-like organ dexterity and that nasty fixated violin. The mood quickly turns funky a la Booker T & the MGs , classy rhythm guitar riffs colliding with whooshing organ ramblings , all glued together by some tight bass and drums. This track is probably the gentle outsider, taking the arrangement into more spooky areas, especially obvious when the 'harder' section kicks in around the 4.30 mark and then Leone does his best Russell Mael imitation (he of the Sparks), while the slick wah-wah pedal strolls along and blooms into a shrieking solo. Yes, the whole is quite eccentric and lunatic but that is what makes this album so out of the ordinary.

The album's core (four amazing tracks in a row) starts with 'Fugga di Amman', giving the arrangement a sweltering Bedouin feel, referring to the hot capital of Jordan. Guitarist Gonnellini shows off considerable skills with a strong penchant for the more mind-bending styles of Holdsworth, Beck, McGill and company, while keyboardist Mattia Liberati unleashes his muse on a barrage of ivories (the list shown in the booklet is analog heaven). Comparisons to legends Arti+ Mestieri are rife and correct as both Shanti Collucci on drums (he thinks he's Furio Chirico's reincarnation) and the buzzing bass guitar from guest Simone Massimi are re-mindful of the 70's greats. . Then comes the exhilarating 'Kairu'van', where the bass leaps over the sweaty sax, swerves by the piano and the madcap percussives to finally graze in a jazz-infested field of endless inspiration. Leone proudly emotes in his own imitable way, as the organ, violin and guitar stroll together, hand in hand. Seriously brainy jazz music with lots of spunk, where obvious technique finds itself enthralled by passion. The acoustic guitar fadeout is just sensational. 'Musqat' steers further into a more Crimsonian territory, a tropical oasis where raspy guitar, bubbly bass , Brufordian-drum stick work, a violin that smells like David Cross (what a name for a crusader, wot?) and some drop dead stunning soloing from Flavio . Terrific jazz- rock with immense creativity. 'Jangala Mem' is where they decide that it's time to goof it up a notch and insert some wobbly bass rumblings, some 'stop and start' rhythms courtesy of Mattias Olsson , as the obsessive violin dances in the Calcutta night. The guitar wails are poignant, deranged and mystical. There is a quasi Mahavisnu Orchestra vibe here which is perhaps a bit obvious.

'Il Vento del Tempo' veers back into outright blitzkrieg jazz-rock, tight as a scrooge and yet generous with the pleasure playing. Leone sings again like a man possessed, slightly dissonant and a bit fractured as the manic bass underpins his vocal folly. Less groove, more insanity, per favore! The bizarre vocal noises emit a Zappa feel (Frank was Italian after all) that only furthers the craziness. 'Finale' puts this masterpiece to rest with a glorious violin-led melody, sheer unadulterated beauty within a snug beat, jazz-rocking with feeling and occasionally sung with gusto. It's also the longest piece here, clocking in at 9 minutes and 33 secs. Chanted manic voices, mellotron and criss-crossing violin keep the pace thrilling and expansive. This where David Jackson unleashes one of his typical sax solos, bordering on insanity and utter delirium. Fans will be beside themselves with joy.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother, Todd and Kev all were bowled over by this landmark RPI monument. Funny how Italy never stops producing sensational progressive rock. They never fail to disappoint, for even if there are occasional lulls, the scene just seems to gear up for another splurge. This album will take quite a few revisits to sink in, there is just so much going on through its grooves. A perennial future favorite for the RPI boys, with superb artwork to boot.

4.5 Godfrey of Bouillons

Review by Warthur
5 stars There's been some absolutely amazing prog albums coming out in 2013, but this has to be one of the absolute best. Ingranaggi Della Valle hail from Rome and play a style of prog influenced by the likes of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and PFM whilst at the same time having modern instrumentation and production and evoking sounds that remain distinct and original to them, as well as drawing in influences from classic fusion. This is a brand new band whose members, so far as I'm aware, don't have an extensive history in the prog scene, but prog fans should take careful note: these guys blow more or less everyone else on the scene out of the water here.
Review by Matti
3 stars I've got some good news and bad news: Rock Progressivo Italiano is alive and kicking. And it sounds almost exactly the same as it did 40 years ago. This was my ambivalent reaction for this Roman debut. At least it has a running time of 64 minutes whereas the genre's classics were usually only about a half of that. Even the cover art is very retro style, and it's understandable that the reviews here are extremely positive. I personally am not as charmed. Basically, it's a bit too intensive and heavy for my taste. The quintet continues the long tradition and features a keyboardist with a massive list of used instruments and a violin player. There are also many guests, e.g. David Jackson (VdGG) who plays sax and flute on the long 'Finale'.

The music is highly strung, clearly inspired by its historical and socio-critical concept about the fates of Norman knights. All the way it operates in the hard core of progressive rock without ever staying long in more serene paths. There are a lot of tempo changes, and a constant variation in the power relations between the instruments. The closest comparisons I can think of are some short-time RPI classics such as Il Balletto di Bronzo (Ys), Quella Vecchia Locanda, Alphataurus or Semiramis. Guitars and violin are played quite heavily, and Hammond organ is a central keyboard. Also Igor Leone's vocals are rather attacking. For a debut this is a very notable work and would pass perfectly as a lost 70's gem of RPI. If you like the harder end of the classic RPI, you probably enjoy this album enormously. Sadly it left me cold, and I prefer rating albums subjectively, otherwise four stars would be appropriate.

(Recycled from a review in Colossus magazine.)

Review by andrea
5 stars Gli Ingranaggi della Valle are a young prog band that was formed in Rome in 2010 on the initiative of Mattia Liberati and Fabio Gonnellini with the aim of reviving the atmospheres of Italian seventies prog. After some line up changes and a first demo recorded in 2011, in 2013 the band released their first full length album, In hoc signo, on the independent label Black Widow Records with a line up featuring Igor Leone (vocals), Mattia Liberati (keyboards, vocals), Flavio Gonnellini (guitars, vocals), Marco Gennarini (violin, vocals) and Shanti Colucci (drums, percussion) plus some guests such as Marco Bruno (bass), Edoardo Arrigo (bass, backing vocals), Simone Massimi (bass), Fabrizio Proietti (classical guitar), Beatrice Miglietta (backing vocals), Angelica Sauprel Scutti (backing vocals), Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion) and David Jackson (from Van Der Graaf Generator, sax and flute). In my opinion, the result of the hard work of all the musicians involved in this project is excellent. In hoc signo is a concept album inspired by the First Crusade but despite the vintage sounds and the subject matter this work appears always fresh and 'authentic'...

'What is authentic? Anything that is not devised and structured to make a profit. Anything that is not controlled by corporations. Anything that exists for its own sake, that assumes its own shape. But of course, nothing in the modern world is allowed to assume its own shape. The modern world is the equivalent of a formal garden, where everything is planted and arranged for effect. Where nothing is untouched, where nothing is authentic. Where, then, will people turn for the rare and desirable experience of authenticity? They will turn to the past. The past is unarguably authentic. The past is a world that already existed before Disney and Murdoch and Nissan and Sony and IBM and all the other shapers of the present day. The past was here before they were. The past rose and fell without their intrusion and moulding and selling. The past is real. It's authentic...'. Well, these words are taken from Michael Crichton's novel Timeline and in some way I think they could help to understand the spirit of this album, very rich in ideas although respectful of the tradition. But maybe the beautiful art cover by Marcello Toma describes the content of this work better than all my words...

The short opener 'Introduzione' (Introduction) sets a dreamy atmosphere and leads to 'Cavalcata' (Ride), a wonderful track that depicts a group of Norman knights riding through Italy directed to the port of Otranto. Their banners are waving like sails in the wind and you can hear prayers in Latin and toasts. There are many changes in rhythm and mood, there's a feeling of pride and hope but also a poignant sense of impending tragedy.

'Mare in tempesta' (Stormy sea) describes the departure of the ships carrying the Christian knights across the Adriatic Sea. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy. The crusaders look back at the Italian coastline, they think of their families and lands but they're ready to fight in the name of the Sacred Truth. Then the rhythm rises, the wind begins to blow stronger and stronger and the ships are battered by the waves.

'Via Egnatia' greets the landing of the Christian army on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. It's the calm after the storm, but other obstacles are waiting for the crusaders along their march to Byzantium such as a very cold winter and heretic cities to siege. The title refers to a road constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC running through territory that is now part of modern Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, and European Turkey.

The magnificent epic 'L'assedio di Antiochia' (The siege of Antioch) is in some way the keystone of the album. It tells about the Siege of Antioch but this work is not a celebration of the Crusades and while listening to this album you've always to keep in mind that, as explained in the liner notes, this is the story of a few Norman knights that faced the development of a modern social conscience in a period dominated by a savage and intolerant individualism... a time that's not so far away. As the battle rages on, the lyrics swing from Italian to Latin to describe the slaughter of innocent women and children in the name of God... 'Damnatio aeterna nobis! / Miserere nostras spathas! / Murky images envelop you, crusader / You loosen your grip on the hilt / Your hands drenched with tears can't hide your face from the judgement of God...'. Some knights are fed up, they realize that they have betrayed Christ in His name, in hoc signo, wearing the symbol of the sacred cross. So, they desert from the Christian army and run away from the Western world.

The instrumental 'Fuga da Amman' (Escape from Amman) describes a desperate journey through sunny deserts and mysterious countries. There are many changes in rhythm and atmosphere, oriental flavours are mixed with frenzied jazz rock passages. It leads to 'Kairuv'an' where a melancholic feeling of nostalgia for land and family is mixed with the colours and charms of the kingdom of Sheba... 'Forgive me my love / I can't come back to you...'.

'Masqat' describes the next leg of this desperate journey through unknown countries. Our heroes get lost in the narrow alleys of an Arabic seaport city where they can smell exotic spices blending with the sea. On the following 'Jangala Mem' the atmosphere becomes darker, almost mystical. The knights have come to India where they meet a wise old man in a temple who is sleeping upon the wind. He wakes up and smiling speaks to them...

Next comes the complex, ethereal 'Il vento del tempo' (Wind of Time) where dream and reality blur and the future mirrors in the past. The lyrics describe strange visions, there are mystic temples facing the sea, ancient towers from where you can observe the flight of mysterious spaceships... 'Let the future speak ' tells the hermit / In his hands the wind of Time bends... Manticore! Proud, but not in the soul / The forest of tomorrow is its realm / Its throne has been built by servile monkeys / It lies on the cranes of rebel tigers / In its mocking laughter it hides the wish for power without honour nor justice...'.

The epic 'Finale' tells about the end of the cathartic dream. The altars of sand of an era without reason crumble and the brave crusaders finally find their redemption. Now the evil belongs to their past and their long journey comes to an end. Finally they can come back to their families and land, they can love again and ride back to their sweethearts with a new hope... 'Now I consecrate my sword to a better future / I must come back!...'.

On the whole, I think that this is an almost perfect album where music and lyrics perfectly fit the storyline. An authentic must for every prog lover!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I've listened to this album a huge number of times before writing this review. Its a good album showing excellent musicianship, it has a good concept and shows an excellent knowledge of history by the lyricists, it has all the ingredients to be a masterpiece but there's something wrong.

Several times I've tried to understand what I don't like in it, why I'm unable to get it.

After repeated listens I think I have found the reason. There are bands which have repeated almost the same song for ages: in the pop world I think to R.E.M or Dire Straits. I can enjoy one or two of their songs, but at the third I'm bored, it's always the same song.

For Ingranaggi Della Valle it's different: they don't repeat the same song, their compositions are very well arranged and orchestrated, I really like the vocalist, but what doesn't change it's the mood. "Cavalcata" and "L'Assedio Di Antiochia" are excellent songs, but I can rarely resist to listen to the whole album in one shot.

It's very likely my issue, not theirs. I'm sure that I'm failing to enter into this album, it's not the album failing to catch my interest.

Anyway, the band deserves attention and I'll be happy to hear their future outputs. This "In Hoc Signo" has some very good moments, a keyboardist whose skill is somewhere between Emerson and Wakeman, they have the vintage sounds that I usually like, they have violin, flute, ethnic instruments... well, it's possible that sooner or later I'll completely rewrite this review. This album has everything it needs to be called progressive, all the required ingredients...why it doesn't make for me it's still a mistery.

But it's good. I can not like it, but from an overall and detached point of view I must say that it's a good album and most of the prog, and in particular, RPI fans will love it.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE's debut "In Hoc Signo" certainly caused a stir among RPI fans last year, in fact it was on many people's top ten for 2013. They are a five piece band out of Italy and have nine guests helping out so we get a wide variety of instruments here on this expansive recording. I was surprised after listening to this many times last week to find out yesterday after reading the liner notes that David Jackson(VDGG) and Mattias Olsson(ANGLAGARD) are two of the nine guests. Interesting because two of my favourite sections involve these two men not so surprisingly. There is a lot to like here but I must admit the violin and lead vocals both of which are very prominant on this album don't do a lot for me, hence my 3 star rating(ducks). Still as I just mentioned there are some spine tingling moments regardless of my musical tastes.

Funny though that after one listen I knew this wasn't quite for me and many spins later I still feel the same way. After a very brief intro track of mellow guitar and melancholic violin it blends into "Cavalcata" where it kicks into a full sound with violin playing over top and leading the way. Piano then vocals lead a minute in then it kicks in again with violin. It's fairly heavy here until a calm arrives before 2 1/2 minutes. It's full again before 5 minutes to the end. An okay tune. "Mare In Tempesta" has lots of synths and drums to start as vocals join in. Violin and guitar take over when the vocals stop. "Via Egnatia" sounds good early with the atmosphere and soaring guitar. Violin and vocals take over before 2 minutes then it picks up but the mood and tempo continues to shift. Vocal melodies and violin end it. Not bad. "L'assedio Di Antiochia" has some great sounding organ early on as the violin joins in and leads. It becomes fuller then the vocals join in as well. I like the instrumental sections on this one, especially 4 1/2 minutes in. Not a fan of the vocals that follow though. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in then it slowly builds until we get this great sound that starts before 7 minutes.

"Fuga Da Amman" is probably my favourite tune and it's an instrumental. Best part is the guitar that comes in around 3 minutes. "Kairuv'an" reminds me of DFA early on and yes it's really good. Vocals come in then it settles before picking back up. "Masqat" is led by drums and violin until it settles down well before a minute. Piano before 2 minutes as it starts to pick back up, nice bass too. A heavy sound after 4 1/2 minutes. "Jangala Mem" is the track Mattias plays drums on and he's outstanding as usual. There's this eerie vibe after 1 1/2 minutes. I like it ! That mood changes as we get some impressive instrumental workouts. "Il Vento Del Tempo" has this intro that is quite dark and Mattias is credited with adding "weird noises" on this song. It kicks in before settling back quickly with reserved vocals, mellotron follows. I really like how themes are repeated on this one. "Finale" is the longest song at around 9 1/2 minutes. Violin leads early then it becomes fuller. Nice. Not a fan of the vocals before 4 minutes but I like the mellotron. Sax(David Jackson) before 6 minutes then the piano leads. Adventerous sounding sax follows before it turns mellow with relaxed vocals. Violin takes over 8 minutes in followed by flute.

Man talk about an epic debut, these guys really impressed me with such an ambitious work here, I just wished I liked it more.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 2013 was an astonishing year for Italian Progressive Rock. The year gave us some superb albums like Sensitività (La Coscienza Di Zeno), AlieNatura (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre), You Have A Chance (Camelias Garden), PFM In Classic (Premiata Forneria Marconi), Barbarica (Museo Rosenbach), just to name a few. All of those albums were qualified to a Top10 list. Unfortunately, I got the album I'm reviewing right in 2014, but as they say, better late than never.

In Hocno Signo (2013) is the debut album of Ingranaggi Della Valle and here we have all the ingredients that Italian Prog Rock lovers could want but without sounding dated and old. In Hoc Signo (2013) is the contemporary answer to the great classics!

Ingranaggi Della Valle is a quintet formed in Roma by the young musicians Igor Leoni (vocals), Mattia Liberati (keyboards), Flavio Gonnellini (guitars), Marco Gennarini (violin and vocals) and Shanti Colucci (drums and percussion). And I can honestly say that the band recorded a modern classic when it comes to In Hocno Signo (2013)!

Let's begin with Igor Leoni vocals which are absolutely fantastic and shine strongly in 'Cavalcata'. The fact that the band use the violin in its line-up and loads of vintage keyboards makes tracks like 'Mare In Tempesta' and 'Via Egnatia' become so strong and powerful that it is impossible to just stand still. In 'L'Assedio Di Antiochia' the band unite all their elements in a single and powerful track full of vocals and killer riffs. This power continues shining mercilessly in the instrumental 'Fuga Da Amman' and it keeps going on in the jazzy tracks 'Kairuv'An' and 'Masqat', in this last one Flavio's guitar speaks loud and well. Then in 'Jangala Mem' we have a bit of psychedelia in a more experimental sound with varied and different parts.

The previous experimentation continues , initially in 'Il Vento Del Tempo', but next to first minute of the song we come back to the signature sound of the band. To finish the great album that In Hoc Signo (2013) is we have 'Finale' and its 9'33. We have a special touch on this track, the participation of David Jackson from Osanna playing saxophones and flutes with a frantic musical background to them.

Resuming, In Hoc Sogno (2013) is simply essential. You're a fan of Progressive Rock, right? So make a favor to yourself and buy this album asap!

I would like to give a huge thank you to Black Widow Records for releasing this album and for Ingranaggi Della Valle for existing!

(Originally posted on

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ingranaggi della Valle were formed in Rome at the end of 2010, when Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), both playing in the Jazz Rock act The Big Chill, joined forces with drummer Shanti Colucci and bassist Edoardo Arrigo.In June Marco Gennarini enters the band on violin and with the help of their friend and singer Leonardo Pandolfo they recorded a demo EP in November of the same year.Enough of a good work to be approached by Black Widow, so the searching for a full-time singer begun, resulting to the hiring of Igor Leone in 2012.By the time of their debut ''In hoc signo'' Arrigo appears only as a guest with Simone Massimi playing most of the bass parts.Several guests appear on the album, but the names of Van der Graaf Generator David Jackson and Änglagård's Mattias Olsson shine through.This one came out in 2013 both in vinyl and CD format.

The name of the game here is very dense Italian Prog with a Fusion aura and enough vintage echoes to get goosebumps to lovers of the Classic Prog era, just do not expect the strong Classical tastes of the old groups, although there are plenty of them, cause Ingranaggi della Valle are more of a Prog Fusion band, the mass of quirky, schizophenic interplays, the display of strong jazzy components and the tireless soloing on various instruments are certain proofs of their direction.Considering that, they are much closer to ARTI E MESTIERI or AREA, while the jazzier period of PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI still springs to mind.Now, the music is perhaps on the jazzier side of Prog Rock, but the vocals have this flawless expression, warmth and romanticism of Italian Prog singers, excellent work by Igor Leone.The performance of the group comes at a professional level with a full-time violin player and a wide array of vintage keys like Mellotron, Hammond B3, Moog synthesizer and a Rhodes electric piano.Closer look from the recent bands could be DEUS EX MACHINA, heavy instrumental music with power and passion all over the place, rhythmic lines and odd time signatures, surprising breaks into varied tempos and a fascinating palette of different protagonists with each minute passing by.At times the music gets a bit chaotic and too complex with constantly changing rhythms and everpopping solos, but the general taste is more than positive, material with an unmet virtuosity and even some flavor from the theatrical side of Prog Rock.

Extremely talented band.Great instrumental work and marvelous vocals all the way.I think that consistency is the matter of discussion for the future of this group.Still a pretty amazing debut by this bunch of Italian youngsters, one of those groups deserving a really close look.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Progfan97402
5 stars Unreal! Right up there with La Maschera di Cera's Le Porte del Domani, new Italian prog that can hold its own with the very best out of the 1970s, and I can't believe I'm actually saying this! I think a lot of bands in recent years have learned from past mistakes (mistakes too many bands did in the past was nasty digital contemporary production, which many didn't have the knack, and often ended up sterile, and most of all the habit of cramming as much music on one CD as possible so quality control has gone astray and often made for a tedious listen). Ingranaggi della Valle is an incredible band of fusion and prog, in fact this band could have easily fit the Jazz Rock/Fusion category as Rock Progressive Italiano. Incredible energetic prog and fusion, with keyboards, violin, guitar, bass, and drums, and Italian vocals. They combine the high energy fusion of the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Arti & Mestieri and Area (but with more normal vocals and less avant guard inclinations) and give elements of symphonic prog. There are some Allan Holdsworth type guitar fusion moments, with keyboards including piano, organ, Mellotron (or sampled Mellotron), and synths. They have a number of guests, including none other than David Jackson from Van der Graaf Generator (and even Osanna's Prog Family) and Mattias Olsson from Änglagård. I've been waiting for prog like this! It's hard to believe that Black Widow Records is leading the new Italian prog renaissance, and I'm ever thankful for that (it's strange, because Black Widow originally specialized in heavy metal), and it's Black Widow responsible for the release of In Hoc Signo. Totally essential prog that 's truly five star worthy!
Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars Exceptional piece of art

Every time I put In Hoc Signo on I feel a kind of a magic around me. The debut album of Ingranaggi della Valle is an exceptional piece of art with an inimitable style. Each composition has its own handwriting, but as a whole piece of art all of them are connected in elegant style. This album carries the spirit of far- off days. The blend of styles and instruments is balanced and precisely determined. An anthology of so many beautiful things in music and art as whole. The blend of jazz-rock and symphonic rock is executed without any even average moments. The only way to listen to this wonderful album is on one breath, experiencing every single moment and note coming after another precisely and without any compromise with the art. If I just say this is "one in a thousand" album it would not be enough. The musicianship provided by this 20-years old musicians is just incredible in every single aspect. It is easily a top ten album in my all time list and the most favourite outside the 70s. Probably one of the greatest prog albums of all time and I am sure the test of time will prove it over and over again! Extremely highly recommended for profound prog listeners who prefer dynamic fusion style of prog music.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars I probably have more fingers than I have Italian prog rock albums. But that doesn't mean I don't like what I have. One reason why I don't have more is simply that I fear that once I tap into RPI, I may well set myself up for yet even further spending of obscene amounts of money on buying albums. The day may yet come, however. Wallet, watch out!

Well, I may not have many albums and so my opinion of Ingranaggi della Valle's "In Hoc Signo" is by no means based on an extensive background of Italian prog. However, I am familiar with some of the most important classics as well as some more modern material, and I can honestly say that this album here really treads solidly in the line of the classic era of Italian prog. This is a very seventies-sounding album, complete with organ solos, rock guitar, violin, jazzy rhythms, and songs of unpredictable turns and time signature twists. Ingranaggi della Valle has taken all the best lessons in the RPI text books and masterfully created their own classic sound album for the year 2013.

One thing that can always win me over is some pretty hard rocking guitar sound in a non-hard rock context. The early seventies was good for that: organ and hard rock guitar doing a pas de deux to jazz influenced rhythms and drumming. This album so wonderfully revives that sound and style of writing and performing. Add violin as a key instrument and thoughts may go to Premiata Forneria Marconi classic works. There may be more lurking among those serpentine guitar solos and rolling organ keys. "Fuga da Amman" brings to mind some Allan Holdsworth and Bill Bruford in places; "Via Egnatia" draws me back to early seventies Pink Floyd; and the intro to "Jangala Mem" reminds me of classic Saga. "Masqat" really encapsulates that seventies jazz fusion instrumental prog jam style. But then again, much of the album does.

I can only say that to my ears, the music of this album is exquisitely written and performed, a very wonderful blend of classic seventies Italian prog and late seventies jazz fusion. It's definitely worth a four-star rating and I'd not hesitate to suggest a five-star rating to anyone who really adores Italian prog.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 556

Ingranaggi Della Valle is an Italian prog band from Rome created with the goal of evoking the sound and atmospheres of the historical prog rock of the 70's, creating their own music open to fusion, ethnic and jazz-rock influences. The project was born in the end of 2010 with Flavio Gonnelllini, Mattia Liberati, Edoardo Arrigo and Shanti Colucci. The band began playing jazz fusion and funk/rock evolving their style moving to a new way of composition who binds vintage prog and jazz with a new and personal style. Marco Gennarini joined the band and, searching for a front man with great voice and theatrical skills, the band found Igor Leone. So, Ingranaggi Della Valle music vein could be created.

Their debut studio album is the representative manifesto of their music and philosophy. The band entered in the studio for the recordings using exclusively vintage instruments as Mellotron M400, Hammond B3 Organ, Mini Moog Voyager, Electric Piano and Elka Synthex. Mattias Olsson from Anglagard gave the band some arrangement suggestions playing also a track as special guest and the great David Jackson heard the demo and was enthusiastic to play flute and sax as guest in the final track of the album. "In Hoc Signo" was analog recorded for a vintage sound with fresh and new ideas.

So, "In Hoc Signo" is the debut studio album of Ingranaggi Della Valle and was released in 2013. The line up on the album is Igor Leone (vocals), Flavio Gonnellini (backing vocals and electric and acoustic guitars), Mattia Liberati (Hammond B3, Mellotron M400, Fender Rhodes MK II, Mini Moog, Mini Moog Voyager, Korg MS20, Elka Synthex, Jen SX1000 and Clavia Nord Stage Revision B), Marco Gennarini (backing vocals and violin) and Shanti Colucci (drums, percussion, nagara, Tibetan bells and vocalese. The album had also the participation of Angelica Saupret Scutti and Beatrice Miglieta (backing vocals), Luciano Colucci (Indian speech), Fabrizio Proietti (classical guitar), David Jackson (saxophone and flute), Marco Bruno and Edoardo Arrigo (bass), Simone Massimi (fretted, fretless and upright electric basses) and Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion, synthesizer and noises).

"In Hoc Signo" is a conceptual album set in the First Crusade. Musically, the album is mainly focused in two types of prog music. First we can see the influences of the music of the Italian classic prog rock bands, especially Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi and Area. Second we can see influences of the jazz-rock fusion style of foreign classic prog acts like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever, Weather Report and Allan Holdsworth.

"Introduzione" is a short atmospheric introductory piece. "Cavalcata" has a hard edged fusion sound. It's an energetic and powerful jam piece. As the piece evolves it gets fast, paced and powerful. Keyboards open "Mare In Tempesta". This is an energized piece with an instrumental movement that's got a lot of fusion in the mix. "Via Egnatia" starts with a space rock sound that builds gradually with fast changes. Then it explodes out into a jam that turns out into a retro sounding jazz segment. "L'Assedio Di Antiochia" takes on some Celtic hints. Then it shifts to harder rocking music in the mix. Vocals join over a fast paced progressive rock jam. "Fuga Da Amman" starts mellow and melodic and builds out to a high energy prog rock jam very tasty. There are dramatic shifts towards the music and a powerful instrumental interplay that continues all over it. "Kairuv'an" takes us through several shifts and changes. It's a pure fusion piece. Some hints of rock sound emerge. But, after a time, they work it out into full melodic prog rock. "Masqat" is mostly an instrumental piece. There's a cool bass groove with violin solos over the top, as the other instruments are add to the jamming. Then a melodic prog rock emerges. In "Jangala Mem" the atmosphere becomes darker, almost mystical. It has a melodic fusion jam where drums shine. It has a hard rocking guitar section with violin solos over the top. The piece keeps evolving and shifting. "Il Vento Del Tempo" opens with atmospheric tones. Weird vocals emerge and a bit of weirdness give way to a frantic prog jam. Several changes take over and a vocal section is one of the most effective movements of the whole album. "Finale" works out as a melodic prog jam. It takes us through a number of changes that turns it into a more melodic progressive rock. It has a restatement of some of the main themes to end the piece nicely.

Conclusion: I have always been a huge fan of RPI, and these guys have certainly brought together influences from the Italian classic prog bands with the incredible jazz/fusion style of many classic prog bands, to create something that has multiple layers and an incredible depth. But, especially for a debut effort, what Ingranaggi Della Valle have achieved here is really pretty impressive and it's virtually impossible not to recommend this album to those who revel in the styles in which this band is specialized. For being homogeneously consistent and brilliant, it's not worth highlighting tracks. Unusually deep and rich for a band's first effort, "In Hoc Signo" is simply one of the finest and best debuts for a progressive rock group in the most recent years. For all those who like the above mentioned bands this is a must have.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

3 stars A work that is teeming with brilliant ideas and offers superb vocal parts. The musicians have excellent technique. But that doesn't suit me. I think the concern comes from the compositions themselves. I have the impression of listening to Quella Vecchia Loccanda who wants to play jazz-rock but canno ... (read more)

Report this review (#2481373) | Posted by Muskrat | Tuesday, December 1, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Italian progressive rock has maintained a very high standard in recent years, with a few absolutely stunning albums. In Hoc Signo, at this time the only album released thus far by Ingranaggi Della Valle, is one such piece. It is a restless, intricate, every-changing and yet very cohesive album, h ... (read more)

Report this review (#1572623) | Posted by saboliver | Monday, May 30, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Young band from Rome Ingranaggi Della Valle is part of the New Wave of Italian progressive rockers? although some might dispute labelling them RPI, since their debut album veers quite often to Fusion and flirts with Metal and Funk. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that IDV ignore altogether ... (read more)

Report this review (#1391264) | Posted by MELNIBONÉ | Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've been waiting to write this review, mostly because I wanted to see how much this album would grow on me. After almost 9 months, it still hasn't stopped growing on me, so it's probably about time to get to it. Wow, this is an amazing album! Seriously, if you're a fan of RPI and prog-fusion, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1046862) | Posted by PaulH | Saturday, September 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Believe the hype - In Hoc Signo is among the best RPI albums this year and one of the most solid contemporary prog releases I've heard in ages. Ingranaggi Della Valle are a Roman quintet of ridiculously talented young musicians, whose influences seem to range from Arti e Mestieri and Quella V ... (read more)

Report this review (#1031011) | Posted by coasterzombie | Monday, September 9, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What an extraordinary great record. This must be the best record I have heard from 2013 until this day. The Italians can really make astonishing music. When others make boring neo- stuff(sorry) these folks make frameless music that appeal to my sense all in. This is a highly recommended album! ... (read more)

Report this review (#1027435) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, September 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a really surprise when I knew about this band. I wanted to hear the album just by looking at the cover. I was waiting for something full of classic sound, maybe a lot of orchestration and acoustic guitars. indeed, this album contains a lot of instrumentation, and the sound is perfectly ad ... (read more)

Report this review (#1026956) | Posted by Memo_anathemo | Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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