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Magnolia Con Fuoco album cover
3.78 | 24 ratings | 4 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Con Fuoco (3:56)
2. Rivolta (4:04)
3. La Citta della Notte (6:54)
4. Gea (4:59)
5. Syrma (9:33)
6. Stasi (5:20)
7. Terre di Mezzo (10:09)
8. Luna del Viandante Pt.1 (Stanze) (5:05)
9. Luna del Viandante Pt.2 (Distanze) (3:42)
10. Luna del Viandante Pt. 3 (Assenze) (4:24)

Total Time 58:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Chiara Gironi / vocals
- Donatella Valeri / piano, keyboards
- Simone Papale / bass
- Claudio Carpenelli / drums
- Bruno Tifi / guitar
- Alessandro di Cori / guitar

Releases information

Label: Lizard Records (LZ0130)
Format: CD, Digital
December 1, 2017

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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MAGNOLIA Con Fuoco ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

MAGNOLIA Con Fuoco reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Italian progressive rock band Magnolia have been active since '94 in a number of ways (different name, different line-up, take your pick!), but it wasn't until 2012 that they delivered their official debut album `La zona d'ombra' under their current group branding. A dramatic concept album inspired by the true story of a death row inmate, it was a challenging and uncompromising work a world away from the theatrical and bombastic approach many Italian prog bands work in, and that continues on their latest masterwork, 2017's `Con Fuoco', a title that translates into `With Fire'. Although not exclusively narrative-structured, `Con Fuoco' retains a branching theme of `resistance against oppressive regimes, both past and present' (in the words of the band themselves), meaning it's sure to connect with a wide range of listeners in this particularly volatile political era we find ourselves currently living through.

This female-fronted act sing in Italian (but the CD booklet offers English lyric translations that will open up this work to a much wider audience), and a lazy comparison would be that they most resemble modern groups such as latter-day Anathema, Hogarth-era Marillion, Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree and perhaps even Frequency Drift or Riverside, meaning sleek guitar- driven atmospheric/alternative rock music with a slick polish and constant emotional resonance. Magnolia favour tightly- written tunes over flashy drawn-out soloing, yet one of their greatest skills is delivering compact instrumental passages anchored to the core of the songs with the purpose of prime dramatic effect at just the right moment.

Having said all that, the disc opens with an instrumental, the introductory title-track being a burst of stark piano, crashing drums and weeping Pink Floyd-ian guitar strains all swelling around sighing mantra-like wordless group harmonies. It quickly blurs into an collage of news report soundbites that bleed straight into urgent up-tempo rocker `Rivolta'. A call to action and revolt, it's all strident drum tantrums, plodding riffing and icy slivers of cooled synths, and Chiara Gironi's impassioned and scathing lead vocal snarls `If they feel you cannot breathe, they'll call it the `best air ever', see them gorging on the toil of the many just to sate their black-hole souls' - easy listening, eh?! Much of `La Citta della Notte' is a sombre and lyrically weary acoustic ballad with electric bursts that instantly calls to mind the above mentioned Marillion with a touch of overwhelming spectral moodiness, and `Gea', one of the standout tunes, is a hopeful and powerfully defiant respite that effortlessly switches tempo changes around a smart poppy chorus.

`Syrma' recalls the contrasting light/dark, acoustic/electric, soft/heavy dynamics of the later Porcupine Tree discs - musically gentle and sweeping one moment lamenting `Oh sunshine, where have you gone? I've lost track of the days', then roaring to tougher life with rebellious determination offering `I am a fly trapped in amber, but my voice can still be heard, and my soul will only find peace'. `Stasi' is a moving ballad with churning heavy guitar/bass/keyboard-dominating turns that's impeccably sung by Chiara, but the ten-minute `Terre di Mezzo' is a true showcase for the band at their strongest, a call for renewed unity between enemies that rages with brash and relentless instrumental intensity, ambient interludes and soothing reflective vocal breaks, with some particularly gorgeous extended guitar soloing and ruminating bass touches in the finale.

A thematically linked three-part suite `Luna del Viandante' (The Wanderer's Moon) closes the disc, allowing some welcome darker romantic touches to infiltrate the lush synth caresses, some exquisitely heart-breaking piano, tender poignant vocals and grand slow-burn guitar heroics, and this thirteen-minute set delivers power and restraint with danger and delicacy all in perfect unison.

Quite the antidote to the classical symphonic grandiosity and retro-flavoured moves of many contemporary Italian prog bands, Magnolia truly stand out among the crowd with a firmly modern sound, doing things in their own deeply personal, equally elegant and dignified way that confirms subtlety and restraint can be endlessly powerful. `Con Fuoco' bristles with energy and real purpose, but most importantly always retains great humanity and warmth, delivered by a group of talented and thoroughly inspired musicians touching on difficult subjects, and it's their greatest musical artistic achievement to date.

Four and a half stars.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Italian progressive act Magnolia can trace their roots all the way back to 1994, but split up in 2000 only to reform in 2010. Their debut full-length album, `La Zona d'Ombra' was released in 2012, with 'Con Fuoco' following in 2017. Although Chiara Gironi sings in Italian, the booklet contains lyrics both in Italian and English, and the digipak itself is packed full of photographs, which makes it a really nice package. Apart from the lyrics they certainly don't sound like an Italian band, but have been taking their inspiration more from the likes of Porcupine Tree, theGathering, Anathema and modern Marillion, as opposed to the more "traditional" bombastic classical symphonic Italian style.

There are quite large elements of neo prog in their music, so they are definitely quoite removed from many other Italian progressive bands. There are times when they do go quite over the top, and Gironi can be quite strident when she wishes to be, but it is when the band are more reflective and pick at the guitars that they have the most power, definitely a "less is more" approach. The whole album, both musically and presentation wise, is incredibly professional and while never really reaching the realms of being indispensable it is still an enjoyable release.

Review by andrea
4 stars "Con fuoco" is the second full length studio album by Roman band Magnolia and was released in 2017 on the independent label Lizard Records with a confirmed line up featuring Chiara Gironi (vocals), Donatella Valeri (piano, keyboards), Simone Papale (bass), Claudio Carpenelli (drums), Bruno Tifi (guitars, backing vocals) and Alessandro Di Cori (guitars, bass, synthesizers, backing vocals). It confirms all the good qualities of their debut album, the music and lyrics follow a common thread and deal with globalization and social justice, oppression and war, resistance against dictatorships. The art cover by Gianluca Serratore gives a clue of the content and in the booklet you can find some pictures representing the events that inspired the pieces...

The opener "Con fuoco" (With fire) is an instrumental piece that starts by the contrast between a dreamy piano arpeggio and hard electric guitar riffs. The soaring vocals used as an instrument add a touch of oriental flavour and a melancholic mood while in the background you can hear gunshots and echoes of war... Then the voices from some radio news broadcasts introduce "Rivolta" (Revolt), an angry piece inspired by the 2011 clashes between the police and the protesters of the movement Occupy Wall Street in New York. The music and lyrics give voice to the reasons of the demonstrators, fed up by a sense of justice they can't share. The new masters are more arrogant and coward than ever and their greediness is without limit but the time of change has come, this time it's the time of revolt...

The accordion notes of "Bella Ciao" and the voices from some TV news broadcasts from Italy introduce, the reflective, melancholic "La cittą della notte" (City of the night), inspired by the clashes between police and no-global during 2001 G8 summit in Genoa and by the disproportionate police reaction in the night when they were searching for the black blocks who devastated the city the previous day. The music and lyrics describe the feelings of the day after in a city "where violence and abuse buried humanity alive"... Then it's the turn of "Gea", a piece inspired by the 2013 Greek crises. Here the music and lyrics evoke ancient roots of freedom and civilization, roots that start to scream as someone tries to cut them off in the name of financial power...

The following "Syrma" takes us to South America, in Argentina during the period of the civic-military dictatorship when about 30,000 people disappeared. Here the vocalist plays the role of an inmate who feels like a fly trapped in amber, tortured but untamed. The music goes through many changes in rhythm and atmosphere to describe the feelings of the protagonist. Love is a ferocious warrior and he still hopes to come back to his sweetheart that he calls with the name of a shining star to not betray her, Syrma... A wonderful track!

The title of the following "Stasi" refers to the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic, one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in history. It's a disquieting piece where the vocalist plays the role of a dissident who speaks to the shadows without identity that are controlling her, know everything about her life and can even bind her thoughts to the rhythm of their breath. But never become her...

"Terre di mezzo" (Lands in-between) is a long, complex piece inspired by the never ending conflict in Palestine. It starts by a dream of peace and the music and lyrics express the hope of a better future, then an aggressive, electric section marks the rage and the search for revenge, blood on blood... The final section describes in music and words a desolate no man land where nobody can feel safe, a land stretching between abandoned barricades and wailing walls towering on both sides. How to sow and farm this land to turn it into everybody's land?

The last track, "Luna del viandante" (The wanderer's moon) is a long suite divided into three parts, "Stanze" (Rooms), "Distanze" (Distances) and "Assenze" (Absences). It's a dreamy, intimate piece dealing with the subject of travel and the need of coming back to somewhere you can call home before time passing by will transform you in a faded photograph or just a far memory...

On the whole, a very good album mixing modern sounds influenced by artists such as Steven Wilson with Italian canzone d'autore and melody.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Con Fuoco" - fiery, impetuous, with vigor and speed ( used as musical direction) Roman band, Magnolia has been around since 1994. Early on Magnolia bounced around without a true identity. Yet, Magnolia had enough moxy to attract Steve Rothery's attention. Even so Magnolia faded away around t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1873387) | Posted by omphaloskepsis | Thursday, February 8, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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