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IL VOLTO VERDE

Il Segno del Comando

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Il Segno del Comando Il Volto Verde album cover
3.78 | 20 ratings | 5 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Echi dall'Ignoto
2. La Bottega delle Meraviglie
3. Chidher il Verde
4. Trenodia delle Dolci Parole
5. Il Rituale
6. La Congrega dello Zee Dyk
7. Il Manoscritto
8. L'Evocazione di Eva
9. Retrospettiva di un Amore
10. Usibepu
11. L'Apocalisse
12. Epilogo

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Diego Banchero / electric bass, fretless bass, keyboards, theremin
- Fernando Cherchi / drums, percussions
- Roberto Lucanato / guitars
- Davide Bruzzi / guitars
- Maethelyiah / lead and backing vocals

With:
- Maurizio Pustianaz, Giorgio Cesare Neri, Claudio Simonetti, Gianni Leone, Freddy Delirio, Martin Grice, Paul Nash, Sophya Baccini, Vinz Aquarian, David Krieg, Alessio Panni

Releases information

Label: Black Widow Records
Novembre 20, 2013

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Il Volto Verde ratings distribution


3.78
(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
25%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO Il Volto Verde reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Il Segno del Comando began life in Genoa in 1995 as a studio project with the aim of reproducing the sound and the atmospheres of bands from the seventies such as Goblin, Il Balletto di Bronzo or Jacula. In 1996 an eponymous album was released on the independent label Black Widow Records, inspired by the novel of the same name by Italian writer Giuseppe D'Agata. In 2001 the band released e second album, Der Golem, inspired by a novel by Austrian writer Gustav Meyrink. In 2013, after a long hiatus and with a renewed line up featuring founder member and main composer Diego Banchero (bass, keyboards, Theremin) along with Giorgio Cesare Neri (guitars), Maethelyiah (lead and backing vocals), Fernando Cherchi (drums, percussions), Maurizio Pustianaz (keyboards, piano, organ), Roberto Lucanato (guitars) and Davide Bruzzi (giutars), the band released another concept album inspired by a novel by Gustav Meyrink, Il volto verde (The Green Face). Many prestigious guests contributed to enrich the sound, among others Claudio Simonetti from Goblin, Gianni Leone from Il Balletto di Bronzo, Martin Grice from Delirium, Vinz Aquarian from Il Ballo delle Castagne or Sophya Baccini. The result is excellent and the music and lyrics perfectly fit the concept although I fear that is almost impossible to completely appreciate this complex work without having read the book that inspired it.

The Green Face was written in 1916 and is set in a surreal Amsterdam post World War I. It is is pervaded by a strong sense of mysticism and spirituality... "I want to see a fresh, unknown world, I want a new sense of wonder such as must strike an infant if he were to become a grown man overnight... I want to be a full-stop rather than eternally a comma in the punctuation of time... ".

The opener "Echi dall'ignoto" (Echoes from the Unknown) is a short instrumental, provided by the guest Federico Pedichini a.k.a. Freddy Delirio from Death SS, that sets the atmosphere. It leads to the nervous, hypnotic "La bottega delle meraviglie" (The Hall of Riddles) that describes a visit to a very strange shop where the borders between reality and dream are blurred. Here the protagonist of the novel, Fortunatus Hauberrisser meets for the first time the strange, haunting character with the green face portrayed in the beautiful art work by Danilo Capua... "It was smooth, with a black strip of cloth tied over its forehead, and yet it was deeply furrowed, like the sea, that can have waves but not wrinkle on its surface. The eyes were like chasms and yet they were the eyes of a human being and not empty sockets. The skin was a greenish olive colour and looked as if it were made of bronze, such as the races of ancient times may have had of whom it is said they were like dark-green gold..."

The dark, Gothic "Chidher il Verde" (Chidher the Green) focuses on the peculiar character with the green face, vaguely based upon the legendary figure of The Wandering Jew. He's been on earth ever since the moon has been circling the heavens and is the one who can show you the way leading to a hidden spirituality... "Prophecy or circularity, claustrophobia, psychic undertow / You are just one step from the gallows / It's the turn of madness to rule over men...".

The following "Trenodia delle dolci parole" (Threnody of the sweet words) features the beautiful vocals of the guest Sophya Baccini and draws a strong sense of loss and impending tragedy. It leads to the short, disquieting instrumental "Il rituale" (The ritual) and to the esoteric, threatening "La congrega delle Zee Dyk" (The Zee Dyk club) where the spectral vocals of another guest, David Krieg, contribute to draw a mystical delirium where the dangerous ritual of a cathartic, spiritual rebirth is consumed with deathly consequences.

"Il manoscritto" (The manuscript) is another track full of dark mysticism and visionary strength. There are some strong classical influences that could recall the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and a constant flowing of raw energy waves. The protagonist discovers an ancient manuscript that helps him to go through some esoteric experiences... "The weapons of Death are: dream, daze and sleep / From one awakening to another, I live to find a new beginning...".

The excellent instrumental "L'evocazione di Eva" (Eva's evocation) features the guests Claudio Simonetti (organ, Moog and Mellotron) and Martin Grice (flute sax). Along with the following "Retrospettiva di un amore" (Retrospective of a love) it depicts a love where spirituality prevails upon materialism. A strange magic binds the protagonist and his sweetheart, the strange prophecy of a perfect love that is stronger than Death...

"Usibepu" was inspired by the character of the powerful necromancer and shaman of the same name, a violent and merciless Zulu warrior who wanted to possess Eva, the protagonist's fiancée... "Serving under the banner of greediness / I attend to the resurrection / I think again of the caste determination that prevented me from having you / Making even mockery of my magic...".

The dazzling instrumental "L'apocalisse" (The Apocalypse) features the guest Gianni Leone (keyboards, organ, vocals) and describes with sudden vortexes of notes a storm so violent to conjure up the imagine of the end of the world. It leads to the final curtain of "Epilogo" (Epilogue), featuring narrative vocals and an obscure omen... "The walls of Jericho have crumbled / He's back from the Kingdom of Dead...".

On the whole, an excellent, challenging work but beware! It takes many spins to be completely appreciated and, of course, you have to read the book!

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#1126459) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 02, 2014

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Il Volto Verde' (`The Green Face'), the 2013 release from Il Segno del Comando, again proves that this intelligent Italian band take their time between releases, carefully researching, composing and performing darker styled Italian progressive music, with the results more than worth the wait. An adaption of another book written by Gustav Meyrink in 1916, `The Green Face', like the other works the band has adapted, is full of cryptic mysticism and dark spiritual elements, making it the perfect source for main composer Diego Banchero and this new line-up to interpret. The two previous releases had quite a different sound to each-other, the debut mixed gloomy atmospheres with classic Italian prog, the follow-up `Der Golem' focused on more a modern mix of Gothic rock. However, this latest one, arriving 11 years after the previous work, mixes in everything from dirty funk grooves, 80's electro-pop, classical grandiosity and avant garde experimentation into their usual sombre take on creeping and suspenseful gothic Italian prog.

One thing that particularly separates this work from the previous releases is the prominent role of a female vocalist for the first time. Maethelyiah is a revelation, effortlessly conveying haunted, sorrowful and imposing femininity, yet also frequently bringing an edgy eroticism and sensuality. Her participation with the Comando project now places the band alongside other unsettling Italian bands with female participants such as Lydia e gli Hellua Xenium, Jacula/Antonius Rex and the Universal Totem Orchestra, with traces of their sound filtered through this work as well.

The opening instrumental introduction is all twinkling, crystalline imperial synth orchestration before the listener is blasted with the wickedly sexy `La Bottegga delle Meraviglie', full of snarling (and surprising!) funky wah-wah guitar and punchy bass that slinks it's way throughout the background of the piece like a serpent. Maethelyiah's intimidating presence arrives immediately, and Diego's bandmate, Vinz Aquarian, from their band Il Ballo delle Castagne, provides some tasty Moog soloing, truly making it the soundtrack to some secret gothic club. Fernando Cherchi's whiplash snapping drumming dominates `Chidher il Verde', Maethelyiah bellowing like a banshee unleashed, an infernal priestess leading haunting female choirs over wavering ghostly synths. `Trenodia delle Dolci Parole' is a sombre acoustic ballad with a tense symphonic instrumental break in the middle. The piece is sung with perfect sorrow and dread by Sophya Baccini, and it's surely one of the most exquisite pieces ever to appear on a Comando album.

Listen for Deigo's unbelievably fluid rapid-fire fretless bass soloing throughout `Il Rituale', a shimmering electro experiment full of disorientating effects and skittering percussion behind his playing. Then we reach another absolute album highlight, `La Congrega dello Zee Dyk', where it's quirky 80's programmed melody could almost be mistaken for a Goblin outtake! However, this complex piece is much more intense, an overwhelming and senses-shattering hypnotic drone, with solemn male choir vocals increasingly wearing the listener down, guest David Krieg's almost hostile, sinister croon purring and croaking recited passages that weigh heavily on your sanity. Some church organ, a little Rick Wakeman-like classical pomp and mangled electric guitar soloing feature to nice effect too. Resistance is useless to this trance-inducing piece.

The monolithic `Il Manusscritto' is full of pounding slab-like intimidation contrasted with dizzying up-tempo energy constantly blasted by Maethelyiah's shrieking multi-tracked choir harmonies, and a constant back-and-forth dirty grooving strut with some lusty electric guitar throughout. The Hammond-cooked almost psychedelic instrumental `L'Evocazione di Eva' is full of stirring sax and flute soloing from Delirium's Martin Grice and blowout Moog/Mellotron/organ work from Claudio Simoenetti.`Retrospettiva...' is a more emotional and reflective piece that perfectly compliments earlier track `Trenodia?', with Maethelyiah's longing voice just as heart-breaking and torn as Sophya's. There's some scorching electric guitar winding around the entire piece and some supremely dank fretless bass lurking in the background too.

`Usibepu' opens with an almost groaning Magma-like tone, especially due to Diego's hypnotic repetitive bass, before becoming a feral stomp with metallic King Crimson aggression and hissing serpentine vocals over slinky electronic lusty grooves. The electric guitar solo from psych/space-rocker Giorgio Cesare Neri over the finale recalls Antonio Bartoccetti's playing over electronic atmospheres from the comeback Antonius Rex works! A very sexy track indeed. He also plays on the delirious `L'Apocallise', the closest the band come to a metal sound here, with a thrashing up-tempo energy of ballistic keyboard freakouts and manic wailing vocals from Giani Leone of RPI legends Il Balletto di Bronzo. `Epilogo' is a doomy nightmare synth soundscape with a breathless, suffocating narration from David Krieg that closes this book in a very unnerving manner.

With evocative cover artwork that unnervingly captures the work it's based on, `Il Volto Verde' provides a daunting musical interpretation of various passages and characters found in the old novel, with a maddening sense of claustrophobia and poisonous insanity clawing it's way through the compositions. Often more accessible than their previous albums, but still as frequently diverse and experimental, it's a dense work that proves exceptionally rewarding with repeated plays. In no way a standard gothic metal clichéd work, Diego and his bandmates are more challenging and truly progressive than that. They constantly display great respect to the original innovators of the Italian progressive scene of the 70's while remaining modern, contemporary and relevant.

Diego recently commented that a stable line-up of this current version of the band is in place, so perhaps we won't have to wait as long for our next eerie journey from Il Segno del Comando. But for now, along with Sophya Baccini's Arcadia's `Big Red Dragon', Antonius Rex's `Hystero Demonopathy` and Three Monks' `The Legend of the Holy Circle', the dark corner of Italian progressive music has never been more vibrant and focused.

Four and a half stars - and be sure to check out Andrea's definitive review with plenty of wonderful lyric translations!

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1128791) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, February 09, 2014

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian band IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO has been around in one form or another since 1995, as a studio based project with more or less fluid personnel as far as permanent members go. They released their self-titled debut album in 1997, which was followed by "Der Golem" in 2002. A spell of inactivity followed this production, but in 2010 the project became active again, and towards the end of 2013 their third full length album "Il Volto Verde" was released, and as with all their albums so far through the Italian label Black Widow Records.

Il Segno Del Comando has made itself a vital album with "Il Volto Verde". A dramatic album both in terms of instruments, vocals and arrangements in general as well as for the compositions as a whole, with a strong emphasis on dark and unnerving moods. Mix and production have by plan or accident given this album a distinct 70's sounding vibe, and alongside the aforementioned elements a recommendation towards those who enjoy the darker side of progressive rock as it was explored by some Italian bands in the 1970's is merited. A strong, high quality production.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#1181801) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 01, 2014

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
3 stars Well, it has been quite a while since I have had the opportunity to write about Il Segno Di Comando, as their last album was released in 2002 and I reviewed it in August of that year. There followed a long period of activity until Diego Banchero put together a new line-up in 2010, with just himself remaining. Perhaps the most prominent change from the listener's perspective is that there is now a female singer in Maethelyiah, and with the musical approach also changing somewhat it isn't hard to say that in many ways this is a brand new band as opposed to the third album. Anyway, putting such matters to one side, what we have here is an album that is looking back to the classic Seventies progressive movement, especially the mighty Goblin, but also bringing in some lighter and symphonic moments that offset the darkness and drama that one might expect.

For the most part Maethelyiah is a revelation, but there are some places, such as when she is providing vocals behind the guitar on "Tremodia delle dolci parole" that it just doesn't work and she actually detracts from the rest of the band. But, when she is at the forefront and is singing the lead then she is full of confidence and the rest of the guys support her admirably. If this was a debut then I would say that it was showing promise, and to be honest that is probably the best way to look at it, but if we see this as a continuation from 'Der Golem' then I have to say that I much prefer the former. There are some really strong passages here and there and some good songs, but overall it just doesn't contain the same presence and power of their last work. www.blackwidow.it

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#1197732) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars Even though I'm only the fifth reviewer I feel humble since the preceeding ones have such a deep insight. I haven't known this RPI band before - their earlier albums were released in 1997 and 2002 - , but I just read an interview (from the Finnish Colossus prog magazine) of the leader Diego Banchero, who is the only original member in this new line-up and who's written the whole album. It's a concept work inspired by a book by Austrian author Gustav Meyrink (1868-1932). I have no idea what's the story about; at least the music is very dark- toned and dramatic. Actually a bit too dark & heavy for my own taste, but obviously this album is highly recommended to friends of the edgier side of contemporary Rock Progressivo Italiano (bands such as Il Bacio della Medusa and Ingranaggi della Valle). The Black Widow label is a specialist in this field!

The instrumental, keyboards-only opener 'Echi dall'Ignato' by Freddy Delirio is an effective atmosphere builder, followed seamlessly by a tight-rocking song that introduces the main vocalist Maethelyiah. She has a tight, sharp voice common in Heavy Prog/ Prog Metal; in fact I first thought she's a man singing high notes. I can't describe her voice with words like beautiful or sensual. The intensity on tracks 2 and 3 is high, but personally I'm not enjoying them much. 'Trenodia delle Dolci Parole' features Sophya Baccini on vocals. The lyric parts are more delicate and fairly accessible (nice acoustic guitar), but the heavy instrumental section with Sophya's high wailing is perhaps too extended.

The 1½-minute instrumental 'Il Rituale' shows Banchero's skill on bass guitar. The next song is sung by David Krieg, whose angst-filled voice I don't particularily like. The band sound is equally angstic and dark, nor do I find the monotonous composition very interesting. 'Il Manoscritto' sung again by Maethelyiah features dramatic choral elements that give the track a Goth-Metal atmosphere. The tempo is restless, everything is highly strung. I'm really beginning to miss some calmer moments on this album! The following instrumental is full packed with powerful playing by e.g. organ, electric guitar, saxophone and Moog. The drummer beats his set as if his life depended on it. Phew!

The tempo slows down a bit on 'Retrospettiva di un Amore' but not the dramatic intensity. One more instrumental follows: 'L'Apocalisse' is apocalyptically powerful indeed. 'Epilogo' is a sad, slow-tempo closer featuring sinister recitative voice of David Krieg. Well... I feel a bit guilty for not fully "getting" this mighty album. Or to be more honest, I don't enjoy it enough to keep the CD to myself (I know friends who surely appreciate it more). But if you're into dark and heavy RPI, this is your music.

Oh, since I mentioned the magazine interview, why not translate one part of it for your interest: "Q: Who are your most important musical influences? BANCHERO: I've been a musician for over 30 years. Unlike many others, I've never felt a need to commit myself to one particular genre. That's why I find this question hard to answer. In short, speaking of prog I have enjoyed bands such as Goblin, Il Balletto di Bronzo, Antonius Rex and Magma. Those have deeply influenced me on both emotional and compositional level, and still are a source of inspiration for Il Segno del Comando."

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#1267243) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 04, 2014

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