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LOOK OUT

Phoenix Again

Neo-Prog


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Phoenix Again Look Out album cover
4.02 | 18 ratings | 4 reviews | 28% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Adso da Melk (11:50)
2. Oigres (6:19)
3. Look Out (10:36)
4. Summer (6:54)
5. The Endless Battle (5:37)
6. Invisible Shame (8:23)
7. Winter (8:45)
8. Dance of Three Clowns (3:23)

Total Time 61:47


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Antonio Lorandi / bass
- Sergio Lorandi / guitars
- Marco Lorandi / guitars
- Giorgio Lorandi / percussion
- Silvano Silva / drums, percussion
- Andrea Piccinelli / keyboards, cello

with:
- Claudio Lorandi (R.I.P.) / vocals (6)

Releases information

Label: self-released
CD, February 28, 2014

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to aapatsos for the last updates
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PHOENIX AGAIN Look Out ratings distribution


4.02
(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
28%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(61%)
61%
Good, but non-essential (6%)
6%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

PHOENIX AGAIN Look Out reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Second delightful studio offering from this obscure Italian band. As in "ThreeFour", here we have music that was composed in the 80's by the band but only now saw the light. Compared to that album, the group has grown with the addition of more members from the Lorandi family (Marco on guitars and Giorgio on percussion) and Andrea Piccinelli on keyboards/cello. The result is a more dynamic, varied and somewhat heavier sound.

The voice of Claudio Lorandi (R.I.P.) appears on the only sung track (Invisible Shame), which, although pleasant, is arguably the weakest moment, balancing between a pop-Marillionesque and Phil Collins style, but closes with an impressive neo-prog keyboard solo and strong vocal melodies. Although the average track length approaches the 8 minute mark, the instrumental compositions of Phoenix Down flow freely.

The moods vary from pure Neo-prog passages to heavy fusion and symphonic prog coming straight from the 70's. "Summer" and "Dance of the Tree Clowns" shows the mellower side of the band, with the former reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's soundscapes and organ-like dreamy keyboards and the latter a short baroque, chamber prog, ethereal piece with cellos, flutes etc., which will bring a smile to fans of (mellower) Anglagard. On the contrary, the up-tempo "Endless Battle" reminded me of Maiden's "Transylvania" with a hefty dose of fusion, which shows the band's heavier side. "Look Out" builds up to similar riffology but coming from a funk/jazz intro with lush Neo-prog keyboards that see it out to the end. "Oigres" is a mix of King Crimson and accordion on low tempos! "Asdo da Melk", inspired by the "Name of the Rose" is the highlight of the release and grasps the listener's attention with the "romantic" opening acoustic guitars that swiftly change to early Marillion styles, progress to jazz/fusion dancing rhythms and uplifting bass lines and peak towards the end with cello accompaniment - breathtaking.

A multitude of rhythms and styles, a background of Neo-prog but with space to elaborate on jazz/fusion and classic progressive rock, "Look Out" is an album with a distinct character, even though we can only hear snippets of the band's Italian heritage. Emotion, skill and character: this has to be in the top-10 for 2014. 4+ stars.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#1173899) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars The Italian avalanche of stunning 2014 releases continues unabated with the Neo-flavored Phoenix Again up for evaluation, a different appreciation is needed as their sound requires a little adjusting, mostly instrumental and on the raunchier side , veering into hard-jazz- fusion, space-rock and symphonic splurges when and where it is warranted. My first audition was underwhelming but it came after multiple trysts with Logos' recent jubilating masterpiece 'L'Enigma della Vita', a love affair that continues on my vehicle dashboard. Phoenix Again could easily have been called the Lorandi Famiglia +guests but it really comes through as a much focused (sic) affair, with occasional winks at classic Focus, among a few other influences. This took a few spins to really imbibe myself into the rather explorative nature of this mostly instrumental album. But once I did, 'I could scarcely believe all the pleasures inside'.

The voluptuous resonance of 'Adso da Melk' will instantly get the prog juices flowing, as this master 12 minute piece introduces some Gregorian chants, followed by an acoustic guitar surge that will warm your tired bones by the fire, the lead guitar paralleling the main theme with a little more bluster. It's a gorgeous melody that spawns a real cool, jazzy, free wheelin' and breezy guitar solo that is utterly awe-inspiring. The piece is then led by a resolute bass motif which signals a lengthy jam where guitar and synths exchange musical vows as well as some carnal intercourse, as keyboardist Andrea Picinelli adds a mellotron flurry for good measure. With such a sterling opener, how can one go wrong? That main theme is further enhanced by a bombastic arrangement that throws dense symphonics onto the already shimmering bonfire. What a track this is!

'Oigres' is a torrid little monster track, clocking 6 minutes and 19 seconds of pure proggy bliss, grumbling voice effects (monsters?) and an insistent guitar riff that spirals wildly, swerving with devilish bass undertow and a keyboard swarm of synthesizers and topped off with that classic Italian sound , the accordion. The picking style is deeply expressive, the riffs punchy and vivacious and the keyboard bombast there to elicit even more drama and depth.

A tremendous follow-up that is further heightened by the nuclear-powered boogie of the title track, 'Look Out' being another 10 and a half space rock jam fest, where both Lorandi guitarists (Marco and Sergio) really get to showcase their rock personality with little hints of Robin Trower, Jan Akkerman and Andy Powell. The massive Mellotron onslaught is slightly reminiscent of KC'S 'Sailor's Tale' with that that tempestuous barrage of white noise violins amid the frenzied drumming, booming bass and screeching guitar solos. Relentless like some deranged Rottweiler, the music packs a thunderous punch with drummer Silvano Silva slamming hard on his kit, in order to keep pace with the brothers. Picinelli seasons the sonic cauldron with strange cubist synthesized doodles (a la early Eno), giving the listener both a sense of chaotic order and linear dissonance.

The glittering warmth of 'Summer' brings much appreciated light to the surroundings, a classic piece of progressive rock, nothing too fancy, just very 'finesse', led by a sweet synthesizer melody that elevates the elegant piano insertion, something Chopin would be proud of, orchestrations in the background only serving to enhance the grandiose mood. No doubt that a PFM/Banco feel permeates the track, a lovely mellotronic breeze adding to the mystery. The silky finale guitar part is like George Benson meets Jan Akkerman.

Speaking of whom, 'The Endless Battle' has a raucous riff that screams out 'Hocus Pocus', comically so very obvious, one can only smile in abject respect. The guitar shrieks loudly amid the Hammond organ stop and starts, whist drummer Silva does his best Pierre Van der Linden imitation, pushing hard and fast. The solo is like a Ferrari on turbo mode on a tortuous highway of ripping notes, quick accelerations and sudden bursts of supercharged power. This attention to being fun and entertaining was what finally convinced me that this album is a total keeper.

The only vocal track 'Invisible Shame' was recorded when older brother Claudio Lorandi was still alive and strangely differs greatly from the previous instrumental-driven material. The song is strongly infected with various Marillion-isms, 'You Know You Know', Trewavas- like bass, Kelly-styled keys and Rothery schooled guitar parts. The vocals are acceptable but certainly not up there with Fish or Hoggarth. The musical parts are stellar but the piece does represent the only weak track on the menu.

After summer's warm embrace, the frigid reality comes back every year to remind us that snow and ice are a natural phenomenon (except in the tropical areas of course) and 'Winter' certainly adheres to that kind of glacial imagery. The Manfred Mann 'styled synth solo, the flowery bass attack as well as the brash riffing will provide all the bliss, rolling organ and raunchy guitar blasts go back and forth, like some crazed tennis match. Serene medieval bliss is guaranteed on the intoxicating 'Dance of Three Clowns' , where acoustic guitar, flute, violins, cello and light percussives all get to play in the garden of aural delights. Very Italian, very romantic and utterly elegant, this piece puts a fine stamp of playfulness on the recording. Bravo!

This is another fine 2014 addition to the recent and thankfully ongoing Italian prog invasion currently titillating the RPI lads as well as other prog fans looking for their fix. Well, their soccer team currently sucks but Italian bands surely are riding very high in progland lately. The artwork and cover are both sublime and inspiring. I plan to keep this one playing a lot more than I originally thought.

4.5 watchtowers

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#1199748) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Let's start off by giving a round of applause for one of the most surprising Italian prog revelations of 2014! But first, we backtrack a little...2011 saw the debut from Italian band Phoenix Again that had been around since the start of the 80's, yet, like other bands from the vintage 70's era in a similar situation such as Il Cerchio D'Oro and Sezione Franante, they had never released a proper studio album until now. Back in 2007, the band were recording their debut when one of their own, guitar player and vocalist Claudio Lorandi passed away. The final product, `ThreeFour' was a fitting tribute to him, and his playing and brief vocals were the highlight of a very decent, dignified album. It was mostly full of lush Camel styled instrumental pieces, and the band were able to proudly hold their heads high from the results. Some listeners probably wondered if that was to be the sole release from the band, perhaps as if completing the album was a way to offer a final tribute and closure to their former friend. But, after a live album a year later, 2014 brings a very unexpected - and welcome - surprise in this follow-up release entitled `Look Out', and the album couldn't be more appropriately titled, as I don't think even fans of the band would have expected something this impressive!

`Look Out' sees Phoenix Again take all the promise and potential they showed on their pleasing debut and aim straight for the stars, and the result in one of the most varied, dynamic and powerful instrumental albums of the year. The band draw on all their musical ability, playing with such focus, determination and real purpose here. I wonder if it was the need to show that they can carry on without Claudio and still offer effective music, or perhaps they were setting the bar high for themselves to make it as worthy of his legacy as possible. Likely it was a combination of both these things, but the results are right there on disc for the whole world to enjoy. The debut was already a family affair, with the late Claudio's recordings supported by brothers Antonio (bass) and Sergio (guitars), and this time a further two relatives are added in the form of Marco (guitars) and Giorgio (percussion)! The four Lorandi fellas, with carry-over drummer Silvano Silva and keyboard player Andrea Piccinelli deliver sublime instrumental thrills.

There's not much to align Phoenix Again with the proper Italian/RPI styles that many other bands from that country play in, instead they take sounds from almost every genre imaginable to make a colourful, varied and constantly unpredictable album. Bands such as Rousseau, Camel and Sanhedrin still apply, as well as perhaps newer Italian bands such as Progenesi, but despite constant direction and tempo changes, everything works beautifully throughout with seamless transitions. Spacerock, classical drama, hard-rock, electro-pop and symphonic prog all feature and blend perfectly together.

Twelve minute opener `Adso da Melk' effortlessly glides through the warmest acoustic guitar prettiness, foot tapping jazzy licks, fiery electric guitar driven fusion and grand symphonic melodies back and forth, by way of loopy trilling syth soloing, bristling Hammond organ, murmuring bass, punchy drumming, weeping violin and regal Mellotron strains, all alternating between delicate restraint and excitement. An infectious and catchy repeated lead guitar melody and reflective accordion rings out offering lighter comfort over thick menacing bass and uneasy synths during `Oigres'. The band builds up a hypnotic repetition through gutsy bluesy guitar muscle with a sprinkling of electric piano and searing Mellotron veils on the title track, slowly twisting it into a delirious and noisy frantic space- rock trip almost resembling the Oresund Space Collective! Antonio's bass is absolutely relentless on this one, mixed nice and thick as well. Sedate `Summer' is full of lovely drifting Floydian/Alan Parsons Project synths with light orchestral moments. Just wait for the triumphant rocket-sized electric guitar solo as the piece kicks up in tempo in the middle, and the Mellotron crescendo leaves me no doubt this is one of the best instrumentals to appear on an Italian prog album in 2014, alongside Logos' 'N.A.S'. Bonus points for the playful jazzy final 30 seconds too!

`The Endless Battle' blasts the listener with a stomping Iron Maiden-like mule kick, all thrashing drumming and viper-like biting lead electric guitar runs and molten Hammond organ meltdown. The same manic energy here was present on the brilliant Carpe Nota debut album a couple of years back, so fans of that one will dig this as well. The band take a break on the only vocal piece here, `Invisible Shame' a more upbeat straight-ahead rocker, the late Claudio's raspy vocal giving it a slightly melancholic quality. I think this piece may have worked better placed right at the end of the album, as the sudden move to vocals and out again by the next track is a little jarring! But it's a fine tune anyway, so moving on to the dirty electro-pop guitar grooves of `Winter', which has the whole band on fire! Joyous electric guitar soloing, busy drumming, unravelling synth noodling and slinky bass worming its way around the backdrop in a serpent-like manner! After working up a sweat, the band close on a short romantic piece full of classical guitar, flute, violins and cello, and it's the closest the band come to a proper RPI sound, perhaps along the lines of the more whimsical and sweeping instrumental moments from P.F.M. A delightful and exquisite way to close the album.

`Look Out' is simply one of the finest instrumental works to emerge in 2014. The band have seriously stepped up on this follow-up release with power, finesse and so much variety, and they can truly go anywhere from here. The constant direction changes and extra heaviness is a welcome surprise this time around, who knew these pleasant gentleman had this energy inside them?! Damn they kick all sorts of rear-end throughout much of the disc! Once again, its further proof that Italy is producing many wonderful and exciting works throughout 2014, and I have no doubt Claudio Lorandi is looking down on his friends and couldn't be happier with the results they've all delivered here.

Four and a half stars.

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Send comments to Aussie-Byrd-Brother (BETA) | Report this review (#1285287) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Here's some instrumental progressive rock fusion with jazz, space/psychedelic and symphonic influences. The songs display crafty arrangements, extended spacey keyboards parts, mellotron, hammond, cello, flute and accordion to complete the whole painting. Some psychedelics guitars solos emerge from nowhere in this music that offer many rhythm changes, a nice transition between electric and acoustic guitars. The band take you in to some grooves that can hypnotize you not unlike a band like Ozric Tentacles. Every instruments have his place including the bass and the keyboards, the latter are always present in the background with plenty of symphonic passages. The rhythm section is solid and complex. "Invisible shame" is the only song that contains vocals and the weakest track of the cd save by a nice ending with the keyboards. The vocals are not enjoyable and seems out of place. "Summer" is a dreamy mellower track with cello/piano arrangements that gets rocking with a jazz sequence. "Look Out" has that King Crimson influence and a old classic rock sound in the first part. "The endless battle" show some psychedelic guitar tones and some passages that take you back to the song "21st Century Schizoid Man".

Overall the music here is very good if you enjoy bands mentioned earlier including Camel and Focus. While this band is in the Neo-Prog genre, this is not what i have in mind when i listen to this album. Maybe in the way they have absorb all the influences of the progressive rock bands of the past to create their own music. If their first album didn't convince you, "look out" for this second who deserve 4.5 stars.

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Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#1285671) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 29, 2014

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