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NOTABENE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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NotaBene biography
After the dissolution of their former group LITHOS in September 2003, drummer Gustavo Pasini and bassist Gianluca Avanzati created NOTABENE. The addition of keyboard player Daniele Manerba and then guitarist Silver Pes allowed the band to perform live gigs. In March 2004, after quite a lengthy search, they found the perfect vocalist in Andrea Alberici. Finally, during a concert, they met violinist and trumpeter Rocco Vitiello who became the band's official sixth member. They recorded some impressive demos and in November 2005, Mellow Records released their first official CD. Since then, violinist/trumpeter Vitiello and guitarist Pes have both left while new guitarist Giampietro Maccabiani has been welcomed aboard.

Their style is pure, classic Italian symphonic prog (BANCO, IL BALLETTO DI BRONZO, et al) with a marked touch of jazz (use of trumpet and violin). What makes them unique is how they manage to fuse both symphonic and jazz elements and make it all sound so natural, as if the two were meant to go hand in hand. All tracks contain vocals (in Italian) but the focus is definitely on the music, and particularly the musicianship which is tight throughout. The compositions are compelling, intricate and suitably dramatic. More than a promising debut, the album is amazingly mature and offers a brand new way of looking at Italian prog.

Definitely recommended to fans of vintage Italian prog.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

On august 2003 Luca e Gustavo, rhythm section of a prog metal band called LITHOS, decided to create a new band, with jazz rock influences, as SOFT MACHINE or Miles Davis in early seventies, then they met young keyboards player, Daniele Manerba. Soon after some jam sessions, Gustavo said they need a guitar to increase their sound, so Luca took contact with Silver Pes, a good guitarist he joined last year in a band of a rock singer named Flai.

The quartet wrote and arranged some new songs and a cover, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", did a lot of concerts and record the first demo cd on first days of December. This cd had good reviews on magazines as Metal Shock and Rock Hard, but the band still thought the first problem was to search a lead vocalist. After some auditions, on March 2004 the band choose Andrea Alberici, good blues vocalist, with a tipical Italian rock style. During a concert at the fest of May the first, Luca met Rocco Vitiello, trumpet and violin player, and during a little storm, who interrupt...
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NotabeneNotabene
Import
Mellow Records 2005
Audio CD$29.99
Sei Lacrime D'AmbraSei Lacrime D'Ambra
Import
Mellow Records
Audio CD$21.99

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NOTABENE discography


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

3.75 | 14 ratings
NotaBene
2005
3.97 | 33 ratings
Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
2007

NOTABENE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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NOTABENE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars The prog community received warmly Notabene's debut and the Italian progsters soon moved on with the process of recording its follow up.In 2006 the band worked hard for three months at Noise Studio in Gussago, Brescia and the next year Notabene's sophomore effort ''Sei lacrime d'ambra'' was released again on Mellow Records.

The album continues along the lines already drawn by the five-piece act on their debut and their sound flirts intensively with the Retro Prog style of LA MASCHERA DI CERA.Well-crafted, pounding and dynamic Progressive Rock with huge vintage blinks and a style ranging from Classic Symphonic Rock to Heavy Prog, thus recalling the goodies offered in the past by ALPHATAURUS, BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, MUSEO ROSENBACH or IL BALLETO DI BRONZO.Lots of complex time changes, impressive and attacking breaks, rough and expressive vocal work and powerful interplays try to find place in Notabene's compositions and the result is pretty great.Nice and versatile guitar work by Giampietro Maccabiani with jazzy chops, heavier grooves and more delicate solos, even nicer keyboard performance by Daniele Manerba filled with sudden changes, from 70's-influenced organ waves to jazzy piano interludes to strong synthesizer moves.But Notabene never forget to throw in some good melodies as well with more sensitive approach in a typical Italian romantic style.Two out of the six compositions exceed the 16-min. mark, being great examples of grandiose Italian Prog with solid arrangements, the only semi-weak point being some Neo Prog-sounding synths that are quite nice but hurt a bit the consistency of an otherwise 70's-sounding album.

Unfortunately Notabene faded away after this release with only one more appearance on the 2008 compilation album ''Dante's Inferno: The Divine Comedy - Part I'' and I am pretty sure they even had an official announcement of their demise back at the time, automatically listing them among the unfairly lost Italian bands of the new era.''Sei lacrime d'ambra'' still is a fantastic example of furious and dynamic first class Progressive Rock and of course highly recommended.

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars NotaBene were formed in Brescia in 2003 on the initiative of Gustavo Pasini (drums, percussion, vocals) and Gianluca Avanzati (bass), both former members of a band called Lithos. After a first eponymous album in 2005 and some line up changes, in 2007 NotaBene released their best work so far, "Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber), on the independent label Mellow Records. On this album the line up features, along with Gustavo Pasini and Gianluca Avanzati, Andrea Alberici (vocals), Giampietro Maccabiani (guitars, mandolin) and Daniele Manerba (keyboards, vocals). NotaBene's sources of inspiration range from classical to jazz, from the prog masters of the seventies to Italian melody and "canzone d'autore" but the band managed to shape an original sound blending new ideas and reminiscences from the past. The result is quite good and on this work music flows away steadily conveying feelings and emotions, without weak moments.

The opener "La révolution bourgeoise (parte I)" starts bringing echoes from the seventies... Breaking news report the murder of the Italian poet Pier Paolo Pasolini. It happened one night in Rome in November 1975, during the "years of lead" when every day shootings in the streets, riots and hard slogans used to poison Italy. Music and lyrics try to drive you back in time. What's the legacy of those days of ideological fighting? Disillusion rules by now... "We are slaves of an illusion and of our holes of memory / We've lost the last train trying to find a faith in which nobody believes anymore...".

Next comes the long and complex "Le mistificazioni dell'ombra" (The mystifications of the shade) that starts depicting the bleak reality of a loser who lives into the shade and dislikes other people. Then the light of hope turns on... "There's no need to live in the dark / Stop grudging, it's dawn by now / It's a sunny day, if you want it...". Let truth lead your actions... "Ego veritas, tuarum actionum dux sum!". The instrumental coda is excellent.

"Maschera di cera" (Mask of wax) is an introspective track about the need to hide themselves from other people because being sincere is not convenient. Sometimes we have to put on a mask of wax to protect our fragility, it's easy to get lost in this life where there are so many nuances... "Mask of wax drip down from the face / I can see a new look that I don't know / Perhaps it's just a natural changing / A mutation that I can not accept...".

"Sei lacrime d'ambra" (Six tears of amber) is bittersweet and dreamy. It features clear classical influences and many changes of mood and atmosphere. Lyrics depict the disappointment for a reality that exploits people and then throws them away, worn out. The wish to leave is strong and you look at the sky. Suddenly a mysterious shadow comes down inviting you to fly away taking with you nothing but your dearest dreams... "Souls here can happily fly / No condemns nor judgements because of what you are / Freedom to express yourself at your best / Respect and passion for everything...".

"Il treno di Obuda" (The train to Obuda) is a beautiful suite in five parts. It's a tribute to the Sziget Festival, one of the most important music and cultural festivals in Europe that is held every year in August in Hungary, on an island on the Danube, Obuda, close to Budapest. The suite tells of a boy who sets off with his backpack and goes to Obuda by train carrying with him his dreams while tiredness and troubles are left behind. The journey leads to the magic of the island... "It seems a theatre without walls / A big stage made of living dreams...".

The last track is the second part of "La révolution bourgeoise (parte II)". It's a long and complex suite in four parts dealing with the generational gap. What's left of the ideological struggles of the seventies? Well, after so many years spent running after illusions and dreams you realize that youth is gone and that the sleep of reason generates monsters... "I believed to have jumped into the future / But eventually it was just the usual illusion / Now I look back and I laugh a little bit / They have persuaded me that reality is different...". Finally the truth hits hard and takes you back to your roots, you look in the mirror and what you see is not a boy but a man... "In the mirror I can't see my face / It's my father's face... And then I can hear the cry of a baby / He wants me, yes, I'm his daddy / I know that this is the whole story / The beginning is the end...".

On the whole a very good album and an excellent addition to every prog collection!

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Sei Lacrime d'Ambra (2007) is the second album by contemporary Italian band NotaBene. The album runs for over an hour and contains only 6 tracks. That running time allows for plenty of detailed arrangements on the long multi-part epics, and means it's tailor-made for fans of Italian symphonic prog. Lead singer Andrea Alberici has a fine voice, deep and confident, but there are plenty of extended instrumental passages such as the jazzy improvisation on LE MISTIFICAZIONI DELL'OMBRA. The music generally has a nostalgic feel that harks back to the '70s, but it's not just a re-hash of the classics that seemingly influenced it. It has a fresh, modern sound with sections of LA REVOLUTION BOURGEOISE (PARTE II) reminding me of alt-rock and even synthesizer-pop. There's also the seemingly obligatory folk influence in the mandolin and accordion of SEI LACRIME D'AMBRA.

As far as the other songs go, LA REVOLUTION BOURGEOISE (PARTE I) is dominated by a metal-tinged guitar riff, MASCHERA DI CERA is a catchy mainstream song, and the multi- section IL TRENO DI OBUDA contains one of the album's best melodies. This is another of those albums that sits somewhere between good and excellent. It's accessible yet interesting, varied yet cohesive. Given that there's a dedication to ProgArchives (among notable others) in the cd's booklet, I think the band deserves some attention here so I'm going to go with 4 stars. Hopefully they can win over a few new fans thanks to this great place.

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Among the new prog bands frm Italy, Notabene is one of the busiest ones - only two years after their debut album, their sophomore effort "Sei Lacrime d'Ambra" graced the market, and it didn't take too long before it started eventually gathering positive feedback from fans and reviewers. The heritage from the hard rock trend of clasic Italian symphonic rock makes this band related to Nuova Era, Chiave di Volta and Ubi Maior, but you can also notice traces from Genesis' old-school melodic sense, also traces of contemporary symphonic prog's dynamics, plus some jazzy tricks settled in for good effect. The fact that half of the album's tracks last 11 to 17 minutes indicates a strong confidence of Notabene for their creative juices: indeed, the compositional creativity is more accomplished here than in the promising debut album. The album kicks off with the first part of 'La Revolution Bourgeoise', which reveals itself as the central item in thsi tracklist. It bears lots of punch throughout the well-ordaind fluidity than runs the various motif and mood shifts. The organ and lead guitar are in charge of the center stage, while the drummer's endeavors allows the whole sonic structure build up solidly. Following is the first long piece, 'Le Mistificazioni dell'Ombra', whose lyricism may somewhat remind us of Sithonia for the opening motif, but eventually things strongly wander on a powerful display of muscular sonorities, properly augmented with jazz-rock flavors, and this makes the band lean closer to the paragon of Museo Rosenbach. 'Machera di Cera' is built on a clever alternance of acoustic and electric instrumentations, which curiously may remind us of Zuffanti's LMDC [and I seriously doubt that this personal impression has anything to do with the song's title]. Next, the namesake track delivers a precious set of varied themes clearly articulated within a 7 minute framework: the inclusion of mandolin and teh conclusion on a bossanova-like swing give this song a peculiar colorfulness. 'Il Treno di Obuda' is a 16 minute suite that sets the firstsomber moods in the album, which turn out to be more greyish than actually dark. But this is only part of the pictutre, and in fact, the predominant ambiences are staged on an optimistic mood. Once again, the utilization of occasional jazzy arrangements helps to generate a healthy dose of variety to the melodies' development. Manerb'as keyboards seem influenced by Bardens and Banks in distinct moments. The album's last 17 minutes are occupied by the second part of 'La Revolution Bourgeoise', which retakes a couple of motifs from Part 1, and then elaborates a magnificent progressive architecture. The 'Bolero pour un Generation Defunte' section brings martial airs augmented by a mysterious, ethereal vibration, while the last section gets started with a lovely piano passage that graudally sets the foundation for the joyful coda. Notabene is, most of all, a band with clear idea sabout what the essence of prog rock has always been, and from there, it aims at preserving it for our contemporary times. This album entitled "Sei Lacrime d'Ambra" is prooof that their ideas are accurate, and what's more, the band members have enough talent and efficiency to make things really happen in prog music.

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars NOTABENE's debut completely floored me back in 2006 when I first listened to it. I ended up giving it a well deserved 4.5 stars. Their second album has a bit of a different feel with a new lead guitarist and their violin / trumpet player has left. It took me longer to warm up to this one and I still feel it's not nearly as good as the debut.

"La Revolution Bourgeoise (Parte 1)" opens with spoken word samples as heavy guitar and drums come in. Nice. Again the organ really brings some Sweden bands to mind just like their debut album did. It settles then we get vocals before 2 minutes. Not a big fan of how he seems to shout the lyrics. Great section before 4 minutes with guitar and organ though. "Le Mistificazioni Dell'Ombra" puts the focus on the vocals as the guitar, drums and organ support early. Lots of tempo changes and mood shifts on this 11 1/2 minute track. Nice guitar 4 1/2 minutes in especially a minute later. I like the heavy sound that comes and goes. "Mashera Di Cera" opens with the guitar grinding away as the organ runs wild. Some good bass lines as well before it settles with reserved vocals and gentle guitar. It is so uplifting before 1 1/2 minutes as his vocals get more passionate.

"Sei Lacrime D'Ambra" has some good bombast early before gentle vocals and piano take over. Again lots of tempo changes. Guitar joins in and flute later. Scorching guitar before 5 minutes then it calms right down with accordion. "Il Treno Di Obuda" is 16 minutes long and quite the journey. It begins with spoken words then a nice heavy sound with organ, drums and guitar comes in. Sounds like mellotron after 3 minutes. A brighter sound follows with vocals. Heaviness after 7 1/2 minutes with piano and bass. I like the guitar before 13 minutes but it's even better a minute later ! Emotional vocals follow, what a great way to end this song. "La Revolution Bourgeoise (Parte 2)" is the 17 minute closer. It opens with guitar before keyboards join in. Vocals 2 1/2 minutes in and a great sound with it. A dark calm before 7 minutes and a vocal melody also joins in as the guitar grinds away. Marching style drums come in joined by some excellent guitar. A calm with piano 11 1/2 minutes in and almost spoken vocals join in then guitar at 15 minutes.

While I didn't like this nearly as much as the debut it's clear that most reviewers do so please check it out. 3.5 stars.

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Notabene's second effort is a quantum leap forward (guess that's what is meant by "progression") after some manpower changes, namely a new guitarist and the disappearance of the violin/trumpet element that made the debut so unique. The sophomore release wastes little time in boldly stating its colors, "La Revolution Bourgeoise Parte1" instills a raucous and hard-edged classic RPI ride with ballsy guitar musings that recalls the mythical Foglie di Vetro , operatic Italian language vocals and mounds of dense atmosphere. The 11 minute "Le Mistificazioni dell'Ombra" keeps the pace hectic, with heady doses of raging and passionate vocals, including some satanic/sardonic laughter , variances in mood and textures , at times dreamy and then subtly grimy and sweaty, where Giampietro Maccabiani's manic riffing keeps the pace ablaze with the keyboard complicity of the effusive Daniele Manerba. Drummer Gus Pasini is a stalwart drummer (who also chairs the more pastoral Corte Aulica) who can rock, jazz and roll with great skill, especially in a duet with Manerba's piano. Gianluca Avanzati shows considerable dexterity in handling the bass and never disappoints even on the Stick. This piece epitomizes the continuing legacy of the hard-edge faction within RPI's new bands that openly favors harsher climates instead of the Celeste/Höstsonaten pastoral symphonics. In that sense, Notabene is closer to Il Bacio della Medusa, at least in style and spirit. "Maschera di Cera" is a more traditional RPI piece that broods within the confines of Italian folk, loaded with acoustic guitars and tons of spirited singing that takes center stage with unbridled eloquence. The title track is yet another winner, again espousing burly vocal tendencies, this time with rather palpable Jethro Tull influences (the inveterate main guitar-led theme for one), the playing relying on some overt classicisms in terms of intricacy, where the piano and mandolin take turns at shining through the opaque electric guitar clouds that permeate the arrangement. Maccabiani's screaming guitar solo is a treat as well as the immediately thereafter jazzy romp. Andrea Alberici has a pleasant and powerful voice that complements the music tremendously. The surprising accordion makes an impromptu cameo appearance at the very end that is quite stunning. The next masterful 16 minute epic , "Il Treno di Obuda" (which I presume recalls the impressions of a train ride in a section of Budapest -Obuda means "old Buda"- a city composed of the hilly Buda and the flat Pest , both partitioned by the mighty Danube). The music combines the tension of hard-rock gymnastics, the playfulness of typical RPI and some amusing jazz leanings that provide candor, contrast and a hint of welcome rebellion. This piece is also a definite highlight, constantly stretched by assorted pressures and directions, truly breaking the standard and daring to voyage into exhilarating soundscapes (such as the African percussion motifs midway through). A wonderful ride full of unexpected triumphs and tribulations, what prog was really meant to be in terms of experimentation! The final English vocal part is really quite clever, thick Italian accent and all! BTW, that was the idea! Knowing that they are on momentum's favorite track, the band closes out with a extended 17 minute reprise of the opening salvo, " La Revolution Bourgeoise Parte 2" , a severely developed musical adventure that searches out pitilessly the very far reaches of expression. A true modern masterpiece of unmitigated proportions . The raunchy guitar riff introduces wobbly synth motifs, vigorous drumming, some sexy bass and a fantastic atmosphere laden with expressive creativity. The guitar really shines brightly as if wired to explode, gloomy little snippets aimed at inducing even more angst, Alberici's vocals growing in zeal as if hypnotized by the entire concept, a true talent . Maccabiani solos forcefully again, showing that he is a force to be reckoned with. There is very little to express negative comments about in this fine release, perhaps a little more overt soloing would help but these are team players of the first order and they stick to playing it their way. While perhaps as good as Bacio della Medusa second effort, the true essence of this band's future will appear with the next one, creating a dud or an outright masterpiece. This is close to that perfect mark but not quite yet. Certainly a recent RPI group that needs to be followed closely and an excellent addition to any Italo-Prog collection. 4.5 amber tears.

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Vintage symphonic prog from today for selected listners

After i read the beautiful and full of meaning review of Zowie Ziggy about this albim, i said to my self, i must get this one to check them out. Surprise this album knock out of my socks, really, super from capo al fine, a masterpice of prog music. The band has it's roots in the 70's italian symphonic prog, and are quite fond of using very 70's sounding prog, the result is a stunning symphonic album of the highest calibre. The synth are present on every piece and with guitars solos and melodic aproach give to the listner a pleasent discovery all through the album. Even in some places are some jazzy intenspired themes and moods. The album sounds very strong for a young band, and is among the best albums i heard from today. Sei lacrime d'ambra has a lots of strong structures, nice moods, time signatures so a big 5 album for me. Fans of vintage italian prog bands will love this album. The first 2 pieces are the best from here, the rest are also very great and well done, every musian is sure on his instrument and capable to release something for a true value in the future of prog. So an importand album in symphonic prog from today, among the best in last years and desearve a much more attention from prog conoseurs, because they desearve it. Very rare i give 5 stars to a young band, but Notabene and specially their second album Sei lacrime d'ambra is a masterpiece of moder symphonic prog. Recommended, amazing music

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by jimmy_row

3 stars Nota Bene have been around since 2003, releasing two albums and gaining a strong reputation as one of the leading Italian bands in running. While their sound is rooted in the '70s tradition, Nota Bene has a strong tendency to experiment with many approaches and have solidified themselves as "their own" band. They play a brand of symphonic prog that occasionally ventures into jazz and heavier rock with a dramatic flare of course; going back and forth between light and heavy, upbeat and dark, sprawling and direct. In 2005, their debut album showed considerable promise, especially in the remarkably successful blend approaches usually difficult to tackle for a young band. "Sei Lacrime d'Ambra" followed in 2007 with longer tracks and more room for Daniele Manerba to stretch out on keyboards with the departure of Rocco Vitiello (violin and trumpet). Guitarist Silver Pes also left and was replaced by Giampietro Maccabiani who fills the role nicely.

"La revolution bourgeoise" jumps off to a strong start, the vocals being an obvious strength and perfectly suited for the dark atmosphere. The first four tracks move along nicely, hitting all the necessary stops along the way-they do almost everything you'd expect from a prog band and of course some things you wouldn't expect. The first two tracks are the darkest, Maccabiani having a prominent role in driving the mood home and kicking it into hard rock territory. "Le mistificazioni dell'ombra" is classic RPI, it reminds me of Banco or Museo Rosenbach back in the day (maybe not quite as good, but that's still saying a lot). They definitely have the stop-start-switch mentality in place throughout. "La Maschera di Cera" is a nice little break, very easy going, sort of folky and pleasant to hum along with (I'd sing if I knew the words.). My favorite parts are the more traditional sounding: there are sections of this scattered everywhere but the best is the second half of the title track-almost into cantatore mode and very evocative, Andrea Alberici's voice seems tailor made for this approach and the band overall are well versed in this unmistakably Italian approach.

While the first four tracks work so well together, I might say that the sound starts to wear thin after the first few minutes of "Il treno di Obuda." I'm having a tough time explaining it, but my attention span wanes every time. It could be that it's still growing on me, even after a year, as the album overall was a bit slow to warm up and somewhat longer than the 35-50 minutes that I'm accustomed to. If anything, one of the band's strengths becomes a flaw here because they can't quite tie together all the ground that is explored. And while I love Maccabiani's guitar work throughout, Manerba's keyboard sounds can become a little generic at times on the long tracks; he's best when sticking to the more authentic sounds of piano et. al., but then again I tend to be picky about synthesizers in general. As I might expect, my favorite parts of "Il treno di Obuda" are when it drifts toward folk and classical, and when Maccabiani comes up with very tasty phrases to compliment the exuberant vocals. Hey, maybe it isn't so "boring" per se.it just doesn't deserve 16 minutes - it's the extended sections that really drag. The second installment of "La revolution bourgeoise" is the closer and longest track here, and is considerably better than the previous as an "epic track". It's noticeably more coherent, and the band members give more punch here, carried by the guitar work.pretty good for the new guy! Also, there is a particular synth riff that works very nicely at several points - sounds like a light shining through clouds (.if it's possible for an instrument to do that). There's also more jazzy electric piano playing and dark instrumental sections - this track basically packages everything we've heard so far on the album.and there's even a syncopated marching section before Maccabiani comes up with his most dexterous solo. I've made it this far without even mentioning the solid rhythm section, Gianluca Avanzati in particular on bass does an excellent job of accenting the jazzy sections. This track probably took the longest for me to appreciate, stretching the album to over an hour, but now I'd say that this is the key attraction to prog fans, especially those who love the Italian brand. I'll expect good things from these guys, and I recommend them to anyone digging a little deeper into the scene than the heavy hitters. Nota Bene are definitely one of the more interesting bands to emerge from Italy in recent years.

PA rating: 3-3.25 , not for newcomers to RPI, but valuable within that section. There are no major flaws but nothing here breaks the plane. 'I like it, but I don't know if you will.'

The Jimmy Row Factor: 6.5/10, C

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 Sei Lacrime d'Ambra by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.97 | 33 ratings

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Sei Lacrime d'Ambra
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This great Italian band produced another beautiful album. Their second one.

It is so nice to be able to listen to such wonderful music. Bearing in mind that "Nota Bene" is such a new band only adds more greatness to their work. The central song of this album is the epic "La Révolution Bourgeoise" which is spread over twenty-four minutes (but in two parts).

The first is as magical as one could dream of. Italian prog at its best. One could think that the genre died in the late seventies, when the three major (Banco, PFM, Le Orme) turned from their excellent original music into some sort of electro pop or related stuff. When you listen to "La Révolution Bourgeoise - Part I", you instantly know that something special is going to take place.

The band shared the bill with the great "Maschera Di Cera" during some touring in Italy and the influence from this fantastic band is of course very much present. Not only during "Il Treno." but globally upon their entire work. There is even a track called "Maschera Di Cera". Could they be more grateful? I guess not.

While one listens to "Sei Lacrime D'Ambra", there is only one word that comes through my mind : CHAPEAU. Hats off. Music like I was listening in the early mid seventies. No wonder that I love this marvellous band so much.

Two epic numbers close this beautiful album. Just to confirm that the epics days are not gone. But the great "Maschera Di Cera" already confirmed this recently.

"Il Treno Di Obuda" holds everything a lover of this genre is found of : wonderful instrumental passages, inspired vocals, glorious keyboards play, lots of theme changes. Not to forget the sumptuous drumming from Gustavo Pasini. Of course, musicianship has always been a characteristic of these gifted Italian band, but I can't be laudatory enough about "Nota Bene" to encourage you to discover how good they are.

Fortunately, such band as "Nota Bene" do still exist to catch up and hold the prog flag pretty high. I can't think of such a great English band nowadays. I honestly believe that the Italian genre is the only one to keep on producing such great Symphonic prog talents as "Nota Bene".

The music proposed might not be love at first sight (although it was for me), but please : keep on digging into their work. You will be rewarded with so much diversity, skilled performance and clever compositions. But of course, I might be biased since I am so in love with the sounds of all these great Italian bands. If ever you have some doubts about my feelings for "Il Treno", let me confirm that it is a masterpiece of progressive music.

This is an immense album. Five stars? Yes! It is a shame that so little reviews are posted for such a great album on a prog site. So now, you know what you have to do. Just listen to this superb album and talk about it.

Very few current bands (as I used to call them), do produce such emotional, powerful, beautiful, inspired and creative music as "Nota Bene". A gem.

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 NotaBene by NOTABENE album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.75 | 14 ratings

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NotaBene
NotaBene Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a very interesting album from the new Italian prog scene. Some interesting instruments are producing a very typical sound (flute, vibraphone, violin and to a lesser extent trumpet).

The album opens on one of the highlights: "Terra Madre" is a jewel which could only be produced by an Italian band. Melodic, peaceful, harmonious and emotional. The violin play is really beautiful and the vocals are on par. But the genre has already provided lots of great vocalists. Andrea Alberici is one of them.

The style is drastically different on the following track : "Danza Nel Fuoco" sounds almost metal. Upbeat, it features a guitar riff ŕ la "Iron Maiden". The trumpet intervention is not always welcome and even if some Oriental mood enriches this track during the second half, it is my least favorite from this album.

The atmosphere remains solid during "Effimero Regno Di Plastica" which is a complex track, mostly instrumental. It features wild key passages and great drumming. As this is Italian music, it is also combined with a wonderful and truly symphonic part (the whole second half). Magnifique! Another highlight.

But this album is very pleasant almost all the way through. The introduction of "Maestrale" is another jewel of this great genre. The melody is exceptional during these two minutes and opens the way to an excellent track. Sweet violin play and almost church organ are a great combination. Not to forget the vocal performance either of course. Should I say highlight? The third one already!

The last song of this album is a long three pieces suite which is fully in-line with the other parts of this very good album. Complex musical interplay dominated by keyboards. Again, the passion heavily sweats. Maybe that the trumpet might not be really necessary (Rocco Vitiello could have concentrate more on the violin).

Some jazzy parts during the second half contrast with the symphonic sounds available on all the other numbers. "Rosabianca" is probably a bit too long, although the harmonium sounds is quite pleasant towards the end.

And for once there is a good hidden track. It changes from some poor ones which is usually the case. It is more straight forward and I prefer it to "Rosabianca". More guitar available, which is fine since not too much was featured so far. A very good way to close this work.

Seven out of ten, but I'll upgrade it to four stars.

I really hope to be able to go and see them live but when I look at their web-site, the last concert featured took place in February 2007 and almost all their concerts are played in the Brescia area (close to the Northern lakes); so I'm afraid that I won't be able to see them any time soon. A pity.

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