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UBI MAIOR

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Ubi Maior biography
UBI MAIOR were formed in 1999, when Lorenzo Marotta (vocals) and Stefano Mancarella (guitar) joined forces together with keyboard player Gabriele Manzini. Bass player Walter Gorreri came in a few weeks later, and at the same time Gabriele brought in his friend and old bandmate Alessandro Di Caprio to play drums. After some months spent rehearsing compositions by UN BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, Le ORME, PFM, BALLETTO DI BRONZO and BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, some new original tracks were written. "Messia", "Vendetta" and "Terra Madre" are a perfect combination of symphonic prog and hard rock, and they remain a cornerstone in the evolution of the band.

In 2001 they recorded their first demo, Frontiere. In the same year Gabriele Manzini joined GENESIS-inspired band The WATCH as keyboard player, and played and recorded with them until the end of 2004. In 2002 Lorenzo Marotta left the band to study bel canto. His place was taken by Mario Moi. During 2004 UBI MAIOR played at numerous festivals organised by UN BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO in order to promote their 30th years boxed-set. The performances were very strong and UBI MAIOR received the praise of both public and press. In the same year they recorded a cover of "Prince Rupert Awakes" for the KING CRIMSON tribute album The Letters, released by Mellow Records. After some spring gigs, just before summer they recorded a new demo called Atto Primo - Atto Secondo, featuring new versions of old tracks, and a new, longer composition which paved the way for their debut CD.

In January 2005, at the Prog Day Festival in Lecco, northern Italy, UBI MAIOR played a tribute to UN BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, sharing the stage with famous Italian artists as Rodolfo Maltese (BANCO), Patrizio Fariselli (AREA), Tony Pagliuca (Le ORME) and Mauro Gnecchi (UN BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO). By the beginning of 2005 the track "Veteran Cosmic Rocker" was recorded for the new Mellow Records tribute album "Higher and Higher - A Tribute to The Moody Blues" which will be available by the end of 2005. Finally the debut CD Nostos was released in October 2005. It also features a cover of BALLETTO DI BRONZO's "La tua casa comoda", which has received the appreciation of BALLETTO leader Gianni Leone.

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UBI MAIOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.72 | 30 ratings
Nostos
2005
3.31 | 21 ratings
Senza Tempo
2009

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UBI MAIOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Senza Tempo by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.31 | 21 ratings

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Senza Tempo
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Following the release of ''Nostos'' Ubi Maior eventually entered a fruitful period with numerous live shows in festivals, mainly in their homecountry, while they also covered ''Veteran cosmic rocker'' for the 2006 Moody Blues' tribute album ''Higher and higher'', released on Mellow Records.Once the concept of their next album was captured, the band begun rehearsing.Their new work was thematically based on Neil Gaiman's graphic novel ''Sandman'' and Ubi Maior recorded the album at the Pop Life Studio in Milano.May 2009 sees finally the release of ''Senza tempo''.

The sound of the band remained energetic, passionate and melodic with heavier underlines between their most typical symphonic glory, displayed with a balanced instrumentation and plenty of mood changes.Still they seem to be heavily influenced by the classic Italian acts such as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO and BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, combining Classical influences with harder moments and lyrical intensity.Very bombastic and pompous material with shifting keyboard textures, starting from orchestral keyboards and old-fashioned organ and ending up in flashy, modern synth deliveries and atmospheric piano interludes, while the guitar work is often great with impressive solos and inspired lead parts.There are also some surprising jazzy overtones in a few tracks, what the album lacks is some of the striking compositions of their debut.Otherwise ''Senza tempo'' is a very good album in a typical Italian Prog vein with a hard edge and dramatic, symphonic influences.The band never forgets to add some fine melodic lines between the bombastic executions and the result is charming, adventuruous and often intricate, even if not exactly on par with their amazing debut.

Solid second effort by Ubi Maior.Essential or fans of dramatic Italian Prog and rich Symphonic/Heavy Prog.Recommended.

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The very high quality of the new generation of RPI bands amazes me. No disrespect, but I am starting to wonder if the RPI scene in the 1970s was better than today's RPI scene. Today's scene would not had been here without the 1970s scene so this debate is wrong anyway.

This album, the debut album from Ubi Maior is in any case very close to what Biglietto and Osanna did in the 1970s. A very nice vintage sound with Hammond organs and keyboards is the building foundation of this album. The music is then both lyrical, pretty epic and at times heavy. The vocals are excellent and in Italian. In other words; this is a very RPI sounding album and one that warms the hearts of all RPI fans. Mine included, I have to say.

This album is also filled with some great melody lines too. It starts with the excellent nine minutes long Vendetta and continues in the same vein. The almost ten minutes long epic Messia is the strongest track here with it's excellent melody lines. The rest of the album is great too.

This is an album I would put in my top ten RPI albums from this decade. It is a true heart warmer from Italy. As simple as that.

4 stars

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Add another great band to the ever-growing list of the new Italian groups with both vintage and modern touches in their progressive sound.UBI MAIOR were found in 1998 by Lorenzo Marotta (vocals) and Stefano Mancarella (guitars) and soon they rehearsed their own composition.Keyboardist Gabriele Manzini joined ''The watch'' by the dawn of the new millenium to return in 2004 in UBI MAIOR.With a stable line-up the band gigged intensively,performed at famoust festivals and participated in a couple of tribute allbums.With a growing fame UBI MAIOR recorded ''Nostos'' in 2005 (on Vinyl Magic).

...an album influenced by the like of the 70's Italian giants,balancing between the heavy symphonic prog of BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO and the grandiose sound of BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO.There are lot of absolutely inspiring and delicate classical-sounding piano parts and heavy organ echoes,reminding of Nocenzi brothers of BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO,but the guitar work is closer to the heavy side of prog with Mancarella delivering strong riffs and darkened grooves throughout the listening.The vocals of Mario Moi (who replaced Marotta on the way) also come from another age,giving emphasis more on the theatrical and expressive side of singing than on vocal techniques.The rhythm section is also briliiant with a tight and confindent playing.Good breaks are followed by odd time signatures,heavy riffing is balanced with stunning melodies,angry singing is supported by crying vocal arrangements...modern progressive symph prog is greatly mixed with the vintage echoes of the 70's...This is an absolutely essential release for searchers of good music overall.Enjoy UBI MAIOR at their best!

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 Senza Tempo by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.31 | 21 ratings

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Senza Tempo
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I got this album through a friend who was praising this band in a brazilian prog forum. The first notes from Senza Tempo had the effect of thinking this was one obscure outfit from the 70´s. I was quite impressed to know they were in fact such a contemporary italian band. Certainly they did absorb very well the right influences (other italian great ones from that era like Banco, PFM, etc plus some british counterparts, of which early Genesis is the most obvious one), and while they retain some every strong old styled symphonic sounds, I found they also incorporated more modern elements, even some metallic riffings here and there.

I believe this is a concept album, but I´m not really sure of it. All I can say the music is very good . The musicians are very skilled . Mario Moi has a strong voice that is fairly unique and overall their sound is less melodic and edgier than most bands I heard from Italy. Production and mixing are excellent.

All in all I felt this band to be quite promising. I´m looking forward to hear their next releases. If you like italian symphonic rock mixed with some alternative and metal bits to spice it up, then Senxa Tempo is for you. 3,5 stars.

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 Senza Tempo by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.31 | 21 ratings

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Senza Tempo
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by bspark

4 stars UBI MAIOR's Senza Tempo is their second album. I got this CD after I hear first one Nostos many times. This second album is more fresh than first one I think. And while hearing the album, I was quite a good feeling of this CD, and it has a very good moments! I would like to give 4 stars on this second album that first album Nostos of course is same rating I would like to give. If you have generous mind of Italian Prog , this album is quite good . Just get it and listen, you like it and notice a different feeling than Nostos. thank you.

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars FULL OF GROWIN' PASSION!

In this debut album Nostos they might pack all of things they wanted to do. There are many kinds of songs...one with full of heavy riff and frequently altered rhythm, and another with straight rock sound and catchy melody. However, all songs are same at the point that Mario's voice should have strong passion. Well I want to emphasize this point to all listeners! I suggest we can understand their identity and potential with listening to the first track Vendetta. In this song are almost all of their music styles. Exactly, a lump of heavyness, strict rhythm, terrific melody and hot voice. This about-ten-minute song know all of their Italian spirits. They can have a gentle style in the song Terra Madre or play a melancholic keyboard-play in Livia...yes, they should have lots of faces. The longest track in this work Nostos has many short pieces with various waves. Sadly there's not an exploded part like Close To The Edge, so my first hearin' I felt the song so long and slightly flat. But listening again and again, I can always feel their large possibility in future. Of course, they can play well not only their original songs but also a covered track of IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO (La tua casa comoda).

Ubi Maior is now growing, I can realize. Their next work will be absolutely climb up the mountain named Italian progressive rock!

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Good job bridging the classic to the modern, yet...

Ubi Major is one of the bright lights on what we can call the present-day Italian Symphonic stage, that is, bands that are somewhat channeling the classic period Italian bands while trying to also reach the modern progressive audience around the world. Born in Milano in 1998 they grew and changed over the early years before releasing their epic debut in 2005 in the form of a gorgeous gatefold mini-LP sleeve CD.

In doing some reading about the band I noticed many proclaim them the torchbearers for the '70s greats. Perhaps, but in describing their sound to a potential buyer I would say "Nostos" mixes elements of classic Italian with a more modern edge made popular these days by the likes of Porcupine Tree, Finisterre, and Magic Pie. A little romantic, a little rocking, a little moody and spacey, and a ton of quality musicianship.that would sum it up. Seemingly every prog itch is scratched in ten different ways. There are long passages of wonderful acoustic and electrical guitars. There are boisterous Italian vocals. There are grandiose displays of keyboards/synths and tasteful piano passages. It is an all-encompassing prog experience that broken down cannot be denied. I can say that in each track I found something to enjoy. The centerpiece is the 23-minute epic title track. Generally mid-paced and expertly arranged, the piece brings to mind about one-third Magic Pie, one-third Finisterre, and the rest maybe a bit of "Grand Illusion" era Styx or Balletto di Bronzo. The bass playing was really knock-out, very warm and present in the mix. The piano in the closing "La tua casa" was really beautiful but a bit drowned out by the heavier instrumentation. It is a classy and ambitious work on the whole. And yet it does not quite leave me breathless. "Nostos" on the whole is an example of composition being "good but not great" or at the least having room to grow. Ideas are compelling and playing is accomplished but the good moments do not seem to me to be seamlessly crafted into an album that flows and enthralls the listener from beginning to end. At 61 minutes the album would have benefited from about 15 minutes of editing to tighten up the overall feel. It's so strange how good this album sounds and yet cannot seem to sink its teeth into me, the goosebumps rarely come, so I guess it's a mixed bag. I really can't do better than 3 stars personally but I can certainly understand those who rate it higher. The mini edition is a high quality, heavy gatefold with a nice lyric booklet.

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There's no question about this band being influenced by the Italian greats of the seventies. Yet this is modern sounding with crystal clear production. I wasn't expecting the heaviness that comes up periodically, but these guys can really let it rip when they want to.

"Vendetta" opens so beautifully with atosphere and acoustic guitar that is joined by some nice piano melodies. Organ arrives after 2 minutes before we get a full sound. Check out the heaviness as vocal melodies join in. Nice. The vocals are very well done along with the organ that floats in, and check out the guitar leads 4 1/2 minutes in and to follow. A tasteful guitar solo after 8 1/2 minutes. That was my favourite track. "Terra Madre" opens with strummed guitar as drums and reserved vocals come in. I like the synths on this one and the vocals become so uplifting. Piano 3 minutes in. More great synth work after 4 minutes followed by some excellent guitar. "Livia" is the shortest track and opens with piano as synths join in. I really like the organ that brought to mind VIOLETA DE OUTONO. Pounding drums and more synths follow.

"Messia" opens with a spooky atmosphere until replaced by piano. A full sound arrives a minute in. Vocals 2 minutes in. The pounding drums and organ come and go. This is quite bombastic and check out the guitar after 4 minutes. The organ and drums create a fantastic sound. The mellower soundscape that follows is a highlight for me. The last 2 minutes of the song get even more powerful. "Oltre Il Vetro" opens with some guest percussion as vocals and drums arrive. This is a pleasant song with acoustic guitar and organ helping out as well. "Nostos" is the epic at over 23 minutes. I have to agree with Andrea here as I too felt that this was one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It's well done of course, and even amazing at times, but I like most of the other songs better.Some passionate vocals on this one at times, and even some riffing as the guitar and organ both shine. Lots of mood and tempo changes make this an interesting track to listen to. "La Tua Casa Comoda" is a cover of a IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO tune. Some nice piano on this one. Great guitar solo 3 minutes in.

There's lots to like about this record. They seem to have a real respect and love for the older Italian prog bands and it comes through in their music. 3.5 stars as it just hasn't clicked with me yet.

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Νοστος (Nostos) - Return

The debut album of the italian contemporary prog band Ubi Maior reveals an unespected passion for ancient poems and literature. In this case the band alternates a famous latin expression (Ubi Maior...Minor Cessat) to an ancient greek word that means, as I said above, "return" from the greek verb νοστέω (nostéo). The album's title is intriguing for a prog album and certainly catched my attention and my deep interest, since I studied ancient greek and latin at school. So, not only passion for music, but also a personal need for my brain to re-live the past glories of all those hard (but satisying) translating-day's-nights.

Epic literature, in particular, comes to my mind. Odisseus (Ulisses) and Argonauts, in particular. Nostos/Return had a particular meaning for ancient and classic greek people. It also has the meaning of "fruitful". Every famous "return" has been fruitful and godblessed, 'cause it was when the hoeroes could return back home to familiar loves.

And so Ubi Maior sing and play as they were a nouvelle hero who has to pass through unspeakable adversities, horrible wars and apparently endless fights, before he reach the warm light of home. It's not a case that the last track is "La Tua Casa Comoda" (Your Own Comfortable Home) a cover of the same-titled track of IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO.

The album is builded by seven strong compositions and opens with the wonderful "Vendetta" which is melancholic and soft for the first two minutes until it explodes in an exciting traditional italian symphonic prog plus some fiery electric guitar play and "nocturnal" lyrics: "I'm sharpening the blade in the night..:". "Terra Madre" (Motherland) is a more soft tune and, to be honest seems built upon a non-prog structure enriched by remarkable job on synthesizers a la ELP's "Lucky Man". Very pleasant listening.

"Livia" is an enjoyable short piano and synth gem. Great sensibility on drums. "Messia" is probably the most favourite of mine here, musically speaking, at least. It's the stronger one with faster tempo and explaining well the ancient greek word "PATHOS. The only remark is about lyrics that appears a little bit unispired even if about a science fiction story starting in the 2141 year when, according to Ubi Maior, (evil) men from Neptun will land on earth and they will try to destroy us and our planet. Fortunately a "Messia" will finally come, after so many troubles and atrocities.

"Oltre il Vento" (Beyond the Wind) is another shorter tune about 3,45 minutes played faultless with an appreciable delicacy. A tasteful introduction to "Nostos" epic (over 23 mns!!). This adventurous track has some memorable moments, indeed, but it's somehow weaker, in my opinion, than the other six. Pointless sometimes, but, fortunately the second half appears more varied and intriguing. A very good one, though!

What I could say more? Even not a pure masterpiece, Nostos is one of the most exciting records ever released in Italy in the last years. Highly recommended. It's destined to become a classic!!!

4.50 and all my congratulations to the band for such an opus! Let's hope Ubi Maior will not disappear as many other their colleagues...

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 Nostos by UBI MAIOR album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.72 | 30 ratings

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Nostos
Ubi Maior Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by micky
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ubi Maior is a new group formed last year in Milan Italy with the warm regards of many masters of the classic Italian prog that we all love. In listening to this, Ubi Maior's debut, it serves notice they were not just masters of making great music, but possessing a keen eye in recognizing a budding talent. Nostos is the debut album recorded over a period of three months over the spring and summer of 2005. The album was released in October 2005 and was immediately hailed as a great debut album and a group worthy of watching.

The album itself is a wonderful listen full of great keyboard work by Gabriele Manzini, Mario Moi's strong and somewhat theatrical vocals, varied and most important to me.. tasteful guitar work by Stefano Mancarella, the rhythm section of Gualtiero Gorreri on bass and Alessnadro Di Caprio never fail to provide a solid foundation on which the music was built. Being a bit of a bassist myself I found myself listening quite closely to Gorreri and found his bass was tastefully played and enjoyed his tone.

As to the album itself: The album kicks off with Vendetta. The song spotlights the wonderful keyboard palate of Manzini and the nice contasting guitar tones of Mancarella who makes good use of dreamy reverb drenched, and the crunchy guitars so commen in todays rock. Moi's vocals in this one remind me strongly of Christian DeCamp of Ange in it's rather theatrical style and would add that Moi does have a more pleasant voice to boot. Very nice album opener.

The second track Terra Madre is not much of a challenging listen almost popish in sound in feel but oh is it worth a listen for the confirmed prog-head, especially those Moog fans. Wonderful Moog like synth tones remind me of another 'popish' song, ELP's Lucky Man, that some great Moog playing can take to a place that even the most die-hard of prog firebrands can enjoy.

The third track: Livia is where I really started to fall for the album. A very nice piano-synth-Hammond ascending intro which once the drums and guitars fall in builds into a nice bombastic section. After it's crest the track calms a soft repeated guitar and key section,which then appears to seque into the fourth track Messia.

Messia starts with some spacey sound effects that start just at the end of Livia under the sound effects is some rather nice electric piano. A very nice aggressive rhythm driven by Mancarella's guitar. Here again he alternated between lovely reverb guitar during Moi's vocal turns to fiery guitar runs. Great playing my favorite by him on the album. Great contrasts between light and heavy in this track.

The fifth track Oltre il Vetro has a wonderful percussion intro by guest Mauro Gnecchi. Love the bass on this.. could be wrong but sounds like a fretless and sounds wonderfully placed in the song. The song has a wonderful vocal melody. The song has a vibe that exudes warmth and invitation. Another song that I really enjoy putting on the just kicking back. Well played and Moi's vocals match the musical tone here.. very warm and invitiing.

The next track up is Nostros. The epic of the album clocking in at over 23 minutes. It begins with atmospheric keyboards over reverb guitar. The vocals fall in under this musical canopy before long and continue for several verses. I like the soft Hammond solo break, very tasteful. The second vocal turn by Moi is driven by an interesting bass and drum rhythm for several verses before a bombastic key. This pattern of vocal sections with bombastic breaks, with a couple fiery guitars solos serving a breaks as well, continues for a bit. The rhythm and tempo slightly different each time culminating between halfway betwen the 8 and 9 minute more with a frenetic rhythm layed down by Gorreri and Di Caprio. A pretty guitar and vocal section allows you a moment to catch your breath. The rest of the track is punctuated by great guitar and keyboard playing and great threatrical singing by Moi. Love this song.

The last track is a nice homage to Gianni Leone of Il Balletto di Bronzo. A cover of La Tua Casa Comoda. The song recorded by Il Balletto di Bronzo after their landmark YS album. Very well done and a nice way to end the album.

I'd like to thank a very special friend of mine for turning me on to this album. You have not only opened my eyes to some great wonderful music, but to a great deal more in life. For that I will always... forever be your debt. I could say a lot more.. but this isn't the place for it.

The album itself. 5 stars for personal enjoyment. I found little to nothing that I didn't enjoy in it. For the site... I will go as far as to say this album along with Maldoror's L' Arbre-Cimietre are the best new symphonic releases I've heard recently. A wonderful homage to the traditional Italian prog scene. However I can't quite rate it esesntial so going with 4 stars for this site. Highly recommended as proof that not only symphonic prog but Italian prog is alive and well.

Michael (aka Micky)

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