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Mangala Vallis

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Mangala Vallis Lycanthrope album cover
3.64 | 80 ratings | 12 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Echo Absolute (1:45)
- Werewolf Suite:
2. Cosmotraffic Jam (9:49)
3. Call me Alias (7:14)
4. Lycanthroparty (5:24)
5. Hum/Animal Song (2:51)
6. The Boy that Howls at the Moon (13:36)
7. The Mask (11:43)
8. The Transparent and the Obscure (9:57)

Total Time: 62:21

Line-up / Musicians

- Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM) / lead vocals
- Mirco Consolini / electric & acoustic guitars
- Enzo Cattini / keyboards
- Riccardo Sgavetti / bass guitars
- Gigi Cavalli Cocchi / drums, percussions, chorus vocals

- Andrea Fornili / guitar solo (2)
- Nicola Milazzo / guitar (3,4,6,7)
- David Jackson (VdGG) / saxophone (6,7)
- Alessandra Rossi / chorus vocals (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Max Cavalli Cocchi

CD Tamburo Avapore Records ‎- TAVR 022005 (2005, Italy)

Thanks to Roubliev for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANGALA VALLIS Lycanthrope ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MANGALA VALLIS Lycanthrope reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars A few months ago I spoke a member from Dutch progrock formation Plackband. They had performed with Mangala Vallis on an Italian progrock festival and were very impressed by their performance and new material. Well, listening to this new album from Mangala Vallis (with a contribution from VDGG saxophonist David Jackson on 3 songs) I was stunned by the hugh progress this promising Italian band have made. Their debut CD was a pleasant one (loaded with Mellotron) but this one sounds far more mature andd captivating.

The unsurpassed Mellotron is very omnipresent, almost every song contains waves of the violin -, flute - and choir-Mellotron, what a joy! The eight compositions (between 2 and 12 minutes) sound melodic, tasteful and alternating: from dreamy en compelling to up-tempo and sumptuous featuring great soli on guitar (often Gilmourian inspired) and keyboards. The vocals (from Bernardo Lanzetti who played in PFM and Acqua Fragile in the mid-Seventies) are both very distinctive as a bit theatrical and will not be everybody's cup of tea. The highlight on this CD is the long track The Boy That Howls At The Moon. It starts with the howling of wolves, then twanging guitars, dreamy vocals and flute-Mellotron. The rhythm turns into slow delivering floods of organ and delicate acoustic rhythm guitar, culminating in a senstitive electric guitar solo, supported by violin-Mellotron. Next a splendid piece of music with lots of bombastic progrock, very compelling and moving: heavy choir- Mellotron, a Hammond organ solo and finally an up-tempo rhythm with flashy synthesizer runs, GOOSE BUMPS! The final part contains a wonderful build-up guitar solo with fiery runs and fluent drums.


Review by progrules
3 stars I never heard of Mangala Vallis and to be honest I'm not to fond of Italian prog. But since this is not typical Italian symphonic prog I gave it a try. It ended up as an experience with mixed feelings. Summarizing I would like to say: the disappointment are the vocals, the positive aspect are the compositions.

But this is typical an album of which you'd better judge every individual song. 1. Echo absolute: not a very impressive opener, not much is happening there 1 star 2. Cosmotrafficjam: the first confrontation with the voice. This is not my cup of tea, instrumentally ok. 3 stars 3. Call me alias: the ballad of the album but not the kind of ballad I like. 2 stars 4. Lycanthroparty: somewhat heavier but not too impressive alltogether 2.5 stars 5. Hum/animal song: short song of not so much importance 2 stars 6. The boy that howls at the moon: by far the best song of the album, great guitar work and brilliant composition 4.5 stars 7. The mask: a bit like the previous but less. 4- stars 8. The transparant and the obscure: a quiet song with a large vocal contribution, not my thing really 2.5 stars

So that explains my mixed feelings and it's thanks to the 6th song that I still give it three stars, 2.5 is closer to the truth.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars The band was quite hesitant in terms of vocalist on their first album. No less than three will be featured, which will not really give the impression of some sorts of consistency. For "Lycanthrope", they will make up their mind and choose Bernardo Lanzetti (from PFM) to be the lead singer.

If you are a bit "Watcher Of The Skies" hungry, just listen to the short opening number ("Echo Absolute"); you will be amazed. The "Genesis" relation was already very much present on "The Book of Dreams" (their first album). And nothing will fundamentally change here. Just look at the front cover (even if it is a werewoolf featured and not a fox...).

We'll get two sides of Genesis with the first two songs : a harder attack during "Cosmotraffic Jam" and a wonderful and symphonic one with "Call Me Alias" (which finale is again fully "Watcher" oriented). So the band ends up a song with "Watcher" and will start the next one with ..."Watcher". I guess that very few songs are so close than "Lycanthrope" (well maybe "Intelligence" from "Fruitcake").

Since it belongs to my top three fave from my favourite prog band, I could not be more touched (by your presence, dear). It might be called plagiatory I guess, but I am not much into these useless discussions. I just like it. Period. "Lycanthrope" also sounds like "A Trick Of The Tail" (the track) during the second half. Very good music, actually (even if not really original).

Same sort of mellotron sound, off-beat rhytms and theatrical vocals. There is the third part of a long suite-type song featured on this album. OK, it will be divided into four pieces; but its total lenght almost reaches twenty five minutes. The closing section is fully symphonic again. Gorgeous mellotron (how much I love these...). This is truely a great epic theme and a must for all the vintage "Genesis" lovers (anyone out there ?).

One of the best songs (but each of them is brilliant, except the closing one) is the wonderful "The Boy That Howls At The Moon". Probably the most emotional of the whole (you might know by now how much I praised emotional songs). Vocals are totally Gabrielesque ("Slipperman" : "You yourself are just the same as what you see in me"). This is a jewel of a song. Hundred per cent "Genesis" oriented (while they were five - do you love this line-up ?); so if you are looking desperately for creative ingenuity you might not get it here. But boy, what a great musicianship and such an emotional trip back to my early teenage years (yes, I know I'm getting old...).

We'll remain in the same territories with "The Mask" (would you believe !) and its fully "Supper's Ready" finale. "Apocalytical" ! Only the closing number is not on par. Another reason for ths four stars rating. A very good album (but only six commented reviews).

The only reason why I do not rate this album with five stars is that it is sounds too much as who you know. This band also would sit better into the neo-prog category. Because they sing in English and they are so much related with the early "Genesis" music (like "The Watch" for instance) that they definitely o not belong in the Italian symph prog genre. But I guess that an admin guy will mail me "We have decided to place Mangala Vallis into the Italian symphonic genre, and it will remain as such".

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Somehow, there are always first impressions when listening avidly to a new release and they often determine at the very least whether there is any future pleasure in reliving the experience and even feeling it grow in intensity. I have had perfect first impressions as well as the radical opposite, mostly a certain neutral attitude and then getting blown away later. Sometimes, I never can quite get over the hump, though I am fortunate, 95% that I buy, I like a lot! This is one of those "enigmas", I still can't figure out the stumbling blocks that prevent me for loving this second release by Mangala Vallis. I enjoyed the debut intensely, because there were so many positives (tons of mellotron, great playing all around, gorgeous cover art and production, finally some interesting but very unoriginal "usual suspects influenced" vocals that fit the retro mood perfectly. The Łber-Genesis inspiration was admirable, even though it was clearly very unapologetic about bandying about their "raison d'Ítre". Truth is the songs were palpably vibrant and even exhilarating. With this sophomore work, already the artwork got under my skin as a somewhat graphic demonstration of bad taste. I mean on a Darryl Way's Wolf album, it would be acceptable in view of that band's moniker! Here, it just looks plain silly! Then, the famed ex- PFM and Acqua Fragile singer Bernardo Lanzetti is now on full-time ,after guesting on the previous 'album final track. He is far from my idea of an enjoyable voice, he has always had a propensity to "tremble" and I dislike it intensely. They say he sings like Gabriel, Fish and Hammill. Yeah, right, not exactly at all! My first impression (I was talking about that earlier) of his tone was on PFM's "Chocolate Kings" where the sheer instrumental prowess of the musicians overcame his rather thin performance and I wondered "why him?" ever since! He ain't no Francesco di Giacomo or Aldo Tagliapietra, that's for sure! So, "Lycanthrope" has some first rate Genesis tunes that would have been better served on the main microphone with Ray Wilson and even Uncle Phil Collins! The songs are charcoaled by Lanzetti's neurotic phrasing, the wrong voice regardless of his grand reputation. Now, if Lanzetti wanted to do some bar-room jazz or feel like Tom Waits, fine! But in our critical proggy environment, it must be stated that his singing IMPEDES severely on the enjoyment of the music. There is some mind blowing music here , such as the deep rivulets of rippling bass, magical keyboards textures and positive drumming that are a notch above excellent. Like at Sodom, as soon as Lanzetti sings, I turn to express my displeasure, only to be transformed into a statue of salt! The album starts off with annoying noise effects, police cars, ringing phones, etc.and a final wave of mellotron introduces the storyline of the 4 part Werewolf Suite. Great instrumental barricades are erected with swirling keys laden with majestic orchestrations, raunchy guitar ornamentations, booming bass lines and destructive drumming, all massacred by Lanzetti's disturbed vocals (he makes The Watch's clone-ster vocalist Simone Rossetti sound like Pavarotti !) . Again, the instrumental parts are first rate and cannot be applauded more, especially when the electric guitar decides to go on a whirring journey, weaving deeply into the sonic space, until the mike man returns. Gracefully, the grand piano takes the spotlight on the outro. I am seriously considering getting rid of the vocals and turning this into an instrumental disc. "Call Me Alias" just reinforces my opinion, the same menu of stellar music overshadowed by the voice, the mellotron arrangements alone are sumptuous, burrowing into the pleasure nodes, but Lanzetti is at his worst here, unintelligibly trembling like a babbling fool, words that seem to be in English (they are, mind you Italian lyrics would not have altered his delivery, anyway). Crushing disappointment, as the massive waves of keyboard-driven violins howl convincingly, even allowing a huge guitar sortie that liberally sprinkles Gilmourian exuberance over the entire process. The title track just reinforces the deal, it's becoming harder for me to concentrate on reviewing as my skin continues to raise hairs for the wrong reasons, the upfront reptilian bass keeping the flow aglow, with avid support from drummer Cecchi, sadly demolished by silly vocal inflections and even sillier lyrics (spelling out "Lycanthrope" is just plain idiotic) . I am crying in my minestrone now, wishing it ain't so. I can go on and on but ultimately, I guess the message is clear : Great (at times fabulous) music , full of Genesis/ELP bombast, great instrumental prowess and fascinating pacing , all of it playing second fiddle to the dictatorial voice , as Lanzetti is everywhere .Best example is the brilliant "The Boy That Howls At the Moon" , simply drenched in superlative playing by all, some of the best emotional technique heard in a long time, sadly you know the rest. With a better vocalist, a 5 star album hands down, but Bernardo blows 2 of them out of the sky with his laser-misguided Patriot missile voice. 3 sheep in Wolf's clothing
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Lycanthrope is Mangala Vallis sophmore release and shows the band developing their own sound even more than on their already excellent debut. Not that they are dropping out all their 70's explicit references: in fact, right on the starting of this CD you will hear hints of Genesis Watcher Of The Skies-like mellotron, ELP's style Hammond organ and mini mogg riffs and, later on, some brief, but very familiar Steve Howe's guitar lines. But again this is less a case of copycats and more of a homage to their heroes. This disc is very much Mangala Vallis sound, even if soaked with that era influences. Nothing very original, I know, but I like it!

While their first album featured as much as 3 lead singers, for this one the band stuck solely with veteran vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti (ex PFM and Agua Fragile). Not too many prog fans seem to like his style. Ok, he still has some Peter Gabriel maneirisms on some (few) parts, but it must be reckoned that the guy developed a lot over the years and found his unique way of delivering the notes which, fortunatly is the majority here. There are some really touching moments when his passionate vocal lines are fantastic (just hear The mask). I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I think he fitted in well. The musicicanship of the band is, of course, flawless: they are now a tight unit, with some great keyboards passages (with delicious waves of mellotrons, Hammond and analog synths), tasteful guitar lines, fine bass and some very inventive drums.

The production is quite good, even if it could be a little better. As for the songs themselves I must say that the band has a different sound from most italian prog bands: is closer to UK 70's synphonic groups than to their own most famous colleagues (this feeling is enhanced by the english lyrics). Sometimes they border the neo prog. Lycanthrope is one of those CDs you have to listen several times to fully get a glimpse of its richness and beauty, but it is worth it. There are no fillers. The songwriting skills of the band members is matching their musical prowness. A band to watch for. Rating: something between 4 and 4,5 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I agree 100 % with tszirmay's thoughts on this album. Like him I really enjoyed MANGALA VALLIS' debut, but this one does little for me. The ex-PFM vocalist Bernardo Lanzetti is definitely not an upgrade, in fact it's the oposite. The mellotron on the debut was fantastic but according to PlanetMellotron it's not real here, it's sampled. Bottom line though is that the songs just aren't as good. Sure there are those moments, but overall it's probably not an album i'll play again. Heck even David Jackson playing sax on a couple of tracks doesn't save it.

"Echo Absolute" features samples of different sounds including a siren before synths and organ wash in to end it as it blends into "Cosmotrafficjam". Organ leads the way in this uptempo intro. Vocals and mellotron after a minute as it settles. The tempo and mood continues to shift. Some passion in those vocals at times. Nice guitar after 5 minutes, synths follow. It settles with piano 7 1/2 minutes to the end. "Call Me Alias" opens with floating organ. Lots of atmosphere here. Strummed guitar 2 minutes in followed by fragile vocals and mellotron. Taseful guitar 5 minutes in as vocals stop. "Lycanthroparty" builds with synths and drums. A good rhythm a minute in then vocals join in. It's ok. "Hum / Animal Song" sounds really good with the atmosphere and tasteful guitar. Vocals come in sadly. No I mean sadly.

"The Boy That Howls At The Moon" needs some help desperately. It opens with wolves howling until mellotron takes over. A beat then vocals follow. A change before 3 1/2 minutes as organ comes in. Guitar 4 minutes in and later before 5 1/2 minutes followed by organ. More prominant guitar 10 minutes in. Vocals and organ late. "The Mask" is uptempo early with organ and drums leading the way. It settles with vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. Organ and nature sounds before 6 1/2 minutes. Nice beat 8 minutes in followed by mellotron and guitar. Good song. "The Transparent And The Obscure" is laid back as reserved vocals, acoustic guitar and organ come in. Drums follow as it builds. Passionate vocals 4 1/2 minutes in with some backup vocals to follow. Themes are repeated. Nice guitar late.

This is barely 3 stars.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Other members of the site have beaten me to the punch with their reviews of this album so I'll keep my comments short if not sweet. ''Lycanthrope'' contains some nice tunes but it's just a tad too derivative. If it's not the seemingly ubiquitous Dave Gilmour slide guitar then it's the Chris Squire bass, and if it's not the Emerson-inspired Hammond organ flourishes then it's the unashamed references to ''Watcher Of The Skies''. Mangala Vallis aren't the only Italian band to have borrowed from this song of course, but come on, not on three of the opening four tracks on an album. And they don't so much borrow from Genesis as rob them blind.

Now all that would be bad enough but the coup de grace arrives courtesy of singer Bernardo Lanzetti, whose gruff vibrato makes him sound like a heavily accented Roger Chapman. The difference with Chapman is that his voice suits Family's blues-inflected brand of music. Furthermore, the daft wee voices that Lanzetti occasionally uses make it seem that Mangala Vallis simply wants to be taken for a Genesis tribute band.

Plus points? The elegiac ''Call Me Alias'', despite its lack of originality, features some exquisite Mellotron (think of Crimson, circa ''In The Wake Of Poseidon''). Actually, the album features shed-loads of Mellotron, real or otherwise, and that's always a bonus in my book. These guys are apparently working on their third album and, given that this one is even more of a Genesis clone than their debut, they're certainly setting a worrying trend with their releases. If their next album is to be anything other than a pastiche of the seventies giants then a change of direction might be in order, but I'm not holding my breath on that particular score.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 2003 the Mangala Vallis trio had expanded to a solid quintet with the permanent addition of Bernardo Lanzetti on vocals and Riccardo Sgavetti on bass.Lanzetti became also the lyricist of the band and Mangala Vallis begun writing material for a second album.''Lycanthrope'' saw the light in 2005, originally a product of Tamburo A Vapore, with a few guest musicians on guitars and choirs, among them Mr. David Jackson from Van Der Graaf Generator, who adds saxes in a pair of tracks.

The sound of the band has not changed a bit compared to the very good ''The Book of Dreams'', the only difference is Lanzetti's vocals, which are all over the place this time.Mangala Vallis insist on playing nostalgic Symphonic/Progressive Rock with strong GENESIS and PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI influences with endless bits of Mellotron throughout and very solid guitar work.The arrangements are very nice with a great balance between instrumental and vocal parts, mostly with a symphonic approach, where Enzo Cattini shines with his work on organs, Mellotron and pianos, while Consolini delivers a good number of sensitive guitar performances.There is also some nice switches between rhythmic keyboard-driven themes and more atmospheric soundscapes, while Lanzetti's presence adds the GABRIEL-esque voice of a veteran, who knows how to sing.The smoother moments remind a lot of his days with PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI (''Chocolate kings''-period) with nice acoustic textures to surround him.The overall performance of the band is professional, confident, without any serious flaws, but the album lacks the killer track or the personality to make an instant impact.

Definitely an album, which will end up among the favorite ones of Symphonic Rock, Italian Prog, Retro Prog or Classic Progressive Rock's fans.But also anyone who has a leaning towards the modern scene should give Mangala Vallis a chance for the good mix of melodic guitars and clear production with analog keyboards.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is an album that might be underrated sofar in symphonic sections. I don't want to claim that MV is doing absolutely new things here, their sense of melody is totally great though. I've known this album for more than a year now, of course there were other symphonic albums going out all the time ... (read more)

Report this review (#129562) | Posted by Dirk | Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to agree with positive reviews of this album. I love PFM and was a huge fan of Bernardo Lazetti's voice when he was with them. Some may find it irritating but to me he's great. Over the 30 years since his PFM days he's improved. The accent has gone but the expression is still there. Combin ... (read more)

Report this review (#95825) | Posted by zedkatz | Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm gonna be short about this album: It's the best thing I've heard in months! Excellent instrumentation with a brilliant seventies sound with some modern touches, high quality emotional vocals and plenty of mellotron! My wife wept after hearing the moving ballad "Call me Alias" and I cranked up ... (read more)

Report this review (#66868) | Posted by | Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the second album of this italian band.The first one was THE BOOK OF DREAMS and was one of my favorites of 2002.This one is a concept album and does not the job like the first one.The music still great but they choose Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM Chocolate king and Jet Lag).who is not the bes ... (read more)

Report this review (#59722) | Posted by pots | Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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