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Ad Maiora

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Ad Maiora Ad Maiora ! album cover
3.72 | 48 ratings | 7 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Diatriba (5:25)
2. Sugo Dance (6:50)
3. Dream (5:03)
4. Eclissi Orientale (6:36)
5. Nulla Intenso (6:15)
6. Strange (6:55)
7. Menate (10:50)
8. Summertime (5:06)
9. Corolla (8:07)
10. No More War (7:19)

Total Time 68:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Paolo Callioni / vocals
- Flavio Carnovali / electric guitar
- Sergio Caleca / keyboards
- Moreno Piva / bass, Classical guitar
- Enzo Giardina / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Sergio Caleca

CDr Oltre La Musica ‎- 0148276738 (2014, Italy)

Digital album

Thanks to aussie-byrd-brother for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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AD MAIORA Ad Maiora ! ratings distribution

(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AD MAIORA Ad Maiora ! reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ad Maiora proves that the ever progressing Italian scene keeps on giving, perhaps even going through a boom stage as recent releases have undoubtedly proven, acts like Il Giardino Onirico, Aurora Lunare, Laviantica, Progenesi, Unreal City, Nodo Gordiano, Fabio Zuffanti, Mad Fellaz and many others. The Italian scene always seems to produce copious amounts in spurts that are then followed by quiet spells where nothing much happens until the next eruption! Hey between Etna and Vesuvius, the ragazzi know their volcanoes! These older Milanese gentlemen like to lather up a thick mousse of delectable sounds , showcasing genre bending styles , going from Neo, to Symphonic and then RPI with little hesitation , making the PA pigeonholing experience another game of pinging the pong from one group of collabs to another and then back! The players are all exceptional craftsmen, guitarist Flavio Carnovali carves a mean trail, as well as providing wicked solos, while keyboardist Sergio Caleca unleashes an arsenal of classic keyboards including some delightful clavinet and electric piano, amid the slippery synth work and the occasional brilliant piano and organ. The tight rhythm section bruises nicely, keeping the beat propulsive and purposeful, as both Moreno Piva and drummer Enzo Giardina show off some stellar chops.

"Diatriba" is a 5 minute+ rocking appetizer, a curtain rising instrumental antipasto full of perky sounds and rousing melodies, yet really has that 'opening statement 'feel to it, a perfect overture. Booming bass, roaming organ messaging and swirling synths permit the raging guitar to stamp its brooding grace over the main theme.

But "Sugo Dance" really shines brightly, a romping slab of shimmering masculine prog, no hint of vocals anywhere, only blasting notes, hard and well, thank you! Little Beethoven influence is elevated with some solid propulsion, as well a playful predilection for mood and atmosphere. Caleca spreads a wide variety of layers, hint of glittering harpsichord one moment, a fluttering of e-piano and explosive synth warbling the next. The fret board also provides serious input, shrieking nicely along, toying with his synth partner when needed. A wholly satisfying and highlight track.

The moody "Dream" envisions a slightly more experimental elegance, lots of technical paralleling notes between the organ, the axe and the bass, as the drums slams hard, inviting a clean guitar solo from the guitar man. Five minutes of adventure and technical prowess that will inspire the musicians out there, looking for a stormy fix.

Things veer into a more symphonic realm, with little dabs of electronica (the bubbling synth syndrome) a voracious bass and the introduction of vocalist Paolo Callioni, who has an accent that is entirely palatable. Thus, "Eclissi Orientale" has a Saharan feel, with axe man Carnevali giving a splendid account for himself on the extended solo spot, a mirage of sinuous themes reflect from the gleaming sunny arrangement.

The intense "Nulla Intenso" has some jazz-rock leanings, seasoned with some devilish piano motifs and some slight dissonance in the guitar playing, very cool and highly addictive stylings that do not hesitate to explore beyond the mundane and strive to create new adventures in progland. A double tracked guitar solo hints at a Wishbone Ash-styled dual attack that elicits immediate mental applause.

Mellower fields of interest appear on the bluesier "Strange", which has a delectable classic groove, as if a combination of Traffic, Wishbone Ash and Trion decided to invite Callioni to sing as an invited guest. Upon repeated spins, this song really took on a life of its own, a successful modern blues tune that has charm and a superb guitar solo that searches out and screams for attention. Nothing overtly technical, just very, very well done.

The nearly 11 minute RPI epic "Menate" again seeks to torture the formulaic mind into submission by constructing a mesmerizing epic that is both dark and technically aggressive a la Goblin, the snarly bass front, center, obsessive and deranged as the other instruments jump on board and hammer away at the opportunity, a glittering organ rampage escorts weird synth screeches, while the wide guitar crashes into darkness and the most somber reflections. This is the creative zenith of this debut album, a colossal slice of well-performed prog, with stratospheric imagery and volatile, risk-taking interplay. The final 3 minutes in particular have this 'wow' stamp all over it, powerful, intrepid and chivalrous.

A reworking of the classic George Gershwin "Summertime" throws the listener for a loop, such a well-known lullaby , redone with Italian bravado and a race car mentality, as Carnovali scours that fretboard with tremendous appeal , Piva bopping like some mad jazz bassist and Callioni adding the voice to the famed lyrics.

The 8 minute "Corolla" seeks out more traditional RPI design, a possessed bass searing the road ahead, synths bubbling like some volcanic lava, playful soloing from the entire crew, dabs of violin and flute (all from the keys) simply adds to the fascination.

The exhilarating finale is no shabby filler, "No More War" proposes a rebelling rhythm, scathing lyrics about the futility of man-made conflict, a musical platform for bassist Piva to really sparkle here, hints of Tony Reeves in keeping it darn simple and texturally fluid, thus giving the free reins for Caleca and Carnovali to let their hair down (err.. they are balding 50 year olds, Thomas!). This is not technical math prog, just damn effective prog of the highest caliber, devastating and notable. I can't help of thinking of Manfred Mann's "Father of Day, Father of Night", sharing a common intense bass theme that pummels the mind. Spectacular !

This is a dazzling debut album, full of master craftsmanship, thematic creativity, totally memorable melodies and backing rhythms that once again prove vividly that Italian prog is fine and healthy, unlike their plodding economy, piss-poor politics and neurotic soccer team. The art work is so-so, could have been a tad more appropriately design conscious but hey, the music reigns supreme!

4.5 Banchettos

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Italian prog scene never stoping to amaze me for long long time, each year bursting new and new bands each one better then other. One of the most intresting new acts from this field is Ad Maiora , formed in Milan in 2009 with the debut released this year 2014 self titled.

Well I must confess I was hooked from first spin, this is the type of prog I can listen every day, complicated arrangements, flowing keyboards, intresting guitar chops and an awesome warm pleasent vocal parts makes from Ad Maiora e definetly worth checking out band. Primerly the album is instrumetal but has aswell 3 pieces as far as I remeber with vocals, the most great one is for sure Eclissi Orientale where Paolo Callioni simply shines, strong as can get instrumental parts aswell. The instrumental tunes display a very solid musicianship, all musicians are playing with a clear pleasure and dynamism, lots of breaks and up tempo parts, but aswell melted very well with more calmer ones. Pieces like opening Diatriba or Menante showing big potential in this band, the music is generous with a lot to offer, no boring moments here, the listner is conected full time to the music. All in all a fairly great debut that worth checking out, fans of Trion, even Goblin or ELP, Camel, etc must give a try. For me for sure one of the better albums of this year and a good candidate for top 5 at the end of 2014. 4 stars easy and recommended.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Formed back in 2009, Ad Maiora, a five piece band from Milan, have delivered a knockout debut self-titled album - just with an added `!' on the end! A bunch of seasoned gentlemen, these musicians play with a precision and skill that shows the years they've all spent honing their craft, and they've delivered one of the most varied and unpredictable progressive albums to emerge from Italy in quite some time. In some ways, they can be compared to another Italian band, Phoenix Again, who choose to play in a number of various progressive styles to keep the listener guessing! Ad Maiora work in everything from symphonic prog, jazz, heavy rock, blues, the romantic prog styling of Camel, and even some of the classical sophistication of the proper RPI/Italian prog bands. All are revealed through a mix of tasteful instrumentals, with a few superior English vocal pieces as well.

`Diatriba' is a furious and confident opener, all spiraling vintage keyboards, Moreno Piva's thick upfront plucking bass and Flavio Carnovali's driving electric guitar soloing worked into an E.L.P- styled grand urgency, especially during the particularly frantic final minute. Enzo Giardina's stomping drums push the skipping Genesis-like Moog runs of the jaunty `Sugo Dance' along nicely, quite a joyous repeated instrumental melody before dueling warping synths and fiery lead guitars race through to an unexpected heavy finish. The aggressive `Dream' is overloaded with burning Bolero rhythms powered by hypnotic relentless bass. Slow-burner `Ecclissi Orientale' is the first vocal piece on the album, singer Paolo Callioni's stirring voice weaves around droning eastern mysticism and scorching hot extended electric guitar runs. After an introduction of sedate electric piano and laid-back guitars complimenting each-other perfectly, instrumental `Nulla Intenso' kicks up in tempo with a grandly symphonic build thanks to emotional pulsing synths and electric guitar solos filled with purpose. `Strange' is a sadly romantic piano driven ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on any of the modern Steve Hackett solo discs, or perhaps the late 80's onwards Camel albums, with Paolo's voice almost echoing Andy Latimar in a few spots as well. It climaxes in a heart-wrenching electric guitar solo over the warmest of humming Hammond organ courtesy of Sergio Caleca.

Then we finally reach some proper vintage Italian prog with the almost 11-minute instrumental `Menate'. Here the band deliver a manic extended piece in the manner of a band like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, even little traces that remind of P.F.M and very briefly Triade. Searing Mellotron, classical piano drama, twisting guitars and deranged synths tear through a range of tempo changes and surprising moods, everything perfectly intertwining. Next is a surprise reworking of George Gershwin's `Summertime' that sees the band offering some tasty rapid-fire guitar licks, aggressive bass and jazzy piano. `Corolla' offers even more classical RPI beauty, the flute dancing majestically throughout a romantic piece that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the classic Locanda Della Fate debut. There's unease bubbling under on album closer, the vocal track `No More War', which mixes intimidating bluesy guitar wailing and biting vocals with moody symphonic synths, plus a soaring mellotron build to end on.

(PS - Dont forget to check out the hidden 1 minute Moog-tastic `bonus' track `Postscript' at the very end of the CD!)

Before being added to the site, there was already a buzz around the band from different Prog Archives members, keen to be able to post positive reviews and give these talented musicians and their wonderful debut album some high praise. Upon learning of the addition of the band to the site, Paolo even said "I can't believe we're on the Prog Archives, our hobby has actually been worth it!" This is the sort of excitement and passion for the progressive rock genre that should be praised, and it's our pleasure to have this great band on the site now. I'm pretty sure the complimentary reviews will keep coming, and `Ad Maiora!' gets the band off to a great start, already setting the bar very high for their future works. Ad Maiora - a mature, talented band who showcase supreme and refined progressive musical taste.

Bravo, gentlemen, four stars!

Review by andrea
4 stars Ad Maiora began life in Milan in 2009 on the initiative of a bunch of experienced musicians with a different background but with the common goal of playing their own original compositions influenced by bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Yes, Pink Floyd, Premiata Forneria Marconi or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, just to name but a few. After some line up changes and some live experiences on the local scene, in 2014 they self-released an interesting debut album, Ad Maiora!, with a line up featuring Enzo Giardina (drums), Flavio Carnovali (electric guitar), Moreno Piva (bass, classical guitar), Paolo Callioni (vocals) and Sergio Caleca (keyboards). The name of the band comes from a Latin expression that means to greater things and in some way describes the band's attitude and their wish to find a new way by combining vintage and modern sounds. The result of their efforts is very good and their first album is absolutely worth listening to.

The opener "Diatriba" (Argument) is a tantalizing instrumental piece filled with dark energy. Every now and again I'm reminded of Goblin and in my opinion this track might be a perfect score for a thriller movie. Then comes another charming instrumental, "Sugo Dance", a lively track with a strong Mediterranean flavour and a joyful pace.

The darker "Dream" is the third instrumental in a row and features some aggressive electric guitar riffs and sparse exotic touches that take you on a musical journey under the stars for one thousand and one Arabian Nights, along the Silk Road. It leads to "Eclissi Orientale" (Oriental Eclipse) where the music and lyrics depict the atmosphere and the colours of the bazaar in the city of Aqaba, a sunrise by the Red Sea and a sunset in the desert. Then you get lost in your dreams when the moon meets the sun and lies like a bride on him... By the way, despite the Italian title the track is sung in English and it's a real pity that the band didn't exploit more their native language.

Goblin's influence looms large also over the following "Nulla intenso" (Intense naught), another thrilling instrumental track that evokes nightmarish atmospheres and restless nights. It leads to the apparent calm of "Strange", a reflective, melancholic ballad where the music and lyrics depict a man haunted by crazy dreams and ghosts from his past that make difficult, even painful to him decide to change his way of life.

Next comes the long, complex instrumental "Menate" (the title could be approximately translated as little, silly problems), a nice mix of different moods and atmospheres that leads to the jazzy "Summertime", inspired by George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and featuring heartfelt vocals and a good electric guitar solo.

"Corolla" is another excellent instrumental track blending rock and classical influences. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla... Well, in my opinion this piece evokes a joyful, colourful Celebration of springtime and makes me think of light birds with red feathers dancing a playful tarantella in the sky.

The conclusive "No More War" brings back Middle-Eastern atmospheres. Here the music and lyrics depict a sunny winter morning on the Cheekha Dar and a hot sunny afternoon by the Lake Hammar with children playing and nice green parrots flying. Then comes a quiet, starry night on the desert and you can see the children sleeping and forget for a moment the threatening shadows of the never ending war that still ravages the enchanted Iraqi landscapes...

On the whole, I think that this is a very interesting work. Anyway, have a try and judge by yourselves: you can listen in streaming to the complete album on bandcamp!

Latest members reviews

3 stars 3,5 stars !!! In terms of Italian Progressive Rock , this is a slightly unusual album, because the music is different in relation of the main stream style of the genre and I can't perceive a great influence of the masters of the style, such as P F M , Le Orme, etc... Another singular charac ... (read more)

Report this review (#1503690) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, December 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very nice first album from yet another impressive Italian band. The music is derivative of other groups, only in that it is a culmination of years of listening, observing and absorbing the progressive rock genre. Some slight ELP/Genesis influences for sure, but only in that the main stream of Italia ... (read more)

Report this review (#1255433) | Posted by tmay102436 | Friday, August 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Ad Maiola" is a modern Italian prog band from Milano which this year has released its first album with the name "Ad Maiora!". I listened to it because I am interested in to see and hear how this year's music sounds and also becuase I am especially fond of Italian prog. I like the cover pictur ... (read more)

Report this review (#1246892) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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