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BAROCK PROJECT

Neo-Prog • Italy


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Barock Project picture
Barock Project biography
Formed in Modena, Italy in 2004

The BAROCK PROJECT idea generates from a desire to deliver the finest and perfect structure of classical music (mainly baroque music) with a rock-style and a little bit of jazz harmony, supported by a pop framework with the intention to revamp the appeal of '70s progressive-rock.

The project founder, pianist and composer Luca Zabbini, states that his passion for the music of famous keyboardist Keith Emerson (ELP), has fuelled his desire to compose and play a full range of styles, from classical to rock and jazz.

In the summer of 2004, Giambattista "GB" Giorgi, a young bassist influenced by rock sounds with big passion for jazz, and drummer Giacomo Calabria joined the band.

After a long European tour with "Children of the Damned" and Iron Maiden's singer Paul Di'Anno, Luca Pancaldi joins the band as lead vocals in 2002.

In January 2007 the band performs live in Bologna (Italy) with a string quartet. All arrangements are written by Luca Zabbini and they release the performance as a DVD called "Rock in Theater".

In December 2007, published by Musea Records, the first album "Misteriose Voci" makes a great impact with very good reviews and media coverage from all over the world ("Passion Progressive" France ; "Progressive World.net" USA ; "ProgNosis" USA ; "MovimentiProg" Italy ; "Raw and Wild Magazine" Italy ; "Manticornio" Mexico ; "Prog Nose" Belgium ; "PRPM" Brazil ; "ProgWereld" Netherlands .)

In the summer 2009 the band releases the second album "Rebus" with the Italian label Mellow Records, again with very good reviews from all over the world.

In March 2012, published by French label Musea Records, the band releases the third album "Coffee In Neukölln", with all lyrics in English.

In the summer 2014 the band welcomes on board two new members, Eric Ombelli (drums) and Marco Mazzuoccolo (guitar) and begins recording sessions for their 4th and most complex album. Towards the end of 2014 bass player Giambattista Giorgi leaves the project leaving Luca Zabbini to play and re-record the bass lines on the forthcoming album.

January 2015, Barock Project sign a management contract with Stars of Italy and immediately after announce their 4th album, Skyline.

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BAROCK PROJECT discography


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

3.24 | 51 ratings
Misteriose Voci
2007
3.96 | 78 ratings
Rebus
2009
3.99 | 240 ratings
Coffee In Neukölln
2012
3.89 | 350 ratings
Skyline
2015
4.02 | 325 ratings
Detachment
2017
3.90 | 138 ratings
Seven Seas
2019

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

4.49 | 45 ratings
Vivo
2016

BAROCK PROJECT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BAROCK PROJECT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BAROCK PROJECT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 5 ratings
Barock Project
2005

BAROCK PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Seven Seas by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.90 | 138 ratings

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Seven Seas
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by FatherChristmas

4 stars The new album of the Italian project to combine PFM and Puccini has not failed to impress me - after all, classical music and prog rock are two genres Italy has excelled in. Despite being around for about thirteen years, they have not lost their touch, and have made a record worthy of both Tosca and Per un Amico (by the way, PFM and Puccini are not their only influences; I like my little joke ;]).

Seven Seas funnily enough opens with the song 'Seven Seas', beginning with only a muted guitar, piano and vocals. It's interesting to see how this song effortlessly develops from very little into a dark, thunderous guitar riff, with the rest of the band joining subtly without you really noticing. That's my take on it, others might disagree, but however it is a song that is enjoyable, emotional, displays excellent musicianship, and all in five minutes - very short for both a prog band and for that amount of good material in it. A good and suitable opener for a great album.

'I Call Your Name' is very much the pop song of the album, but do not be daunted, prog fans! It opens with a capella, somewhat suspiciously characteristic of prog ('Looking for Someone''I've Seen All Good People''Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' to name a few) and classical music (making a point here?). This evolves into a lively guitar-led tune, with the drums, bass and keyboards following. It's energetic, fun, and has odd time signatures and a middle section to make it up to the proggers.

Next, the soft 'Ashes', beginning with a lovely piano ostinato, and fairly soft vocals. This carries on for about two minutes until the whole band comes together and plays a very colourful melody, compromising guitar, drums and bass with very classical piano and strings arrangements. However, that's not it, it then breaks down into a very jazzy piano ostinato, joined by the thunderous as ever guitar, soon evolving into a hard rock riff with vocals - but breaks down again into a (sort of) reprise of the first part. It's another highly musically varied track, something that occurs very often in the prog of today.

The first opus of the album, 'Cold Fog' opens with elegant strings and the omnipresent piano, and from there, I won't ruin it for you. I'd also be here writing for a while. It contains further fantastic musicianship, great tunes and a very nice acoustic section with a guitar solo (as I may have mentioned in another review of mine, always a winner with me.).

After the foggy mistiness of 'Cold Fog', 'A Mirror Trick' ensues ' beginning with an acoustic guitar melody that sounds very much like a certain simple piano piece I know of called 'Allegretto Grazioso' by Cornelius Gurlitt. It is a short, quiet song, led by the lovely classical guitar.

'Hamburg', the longest song, starts off with more acoustic guitar, led by what sounds like an oboe. The drums come in, with a brilliant guitar solo, reminiscent somewhat of Pendragon's Nick Barrett's playing (in my opinion). It breaks down for the first vocals, but soon picks itself up again for a very heavy section lasting until about, I'd say, seven minutes through. Then a very nice piano-dominated section that lasts until the end.

This is probably my favourite songs on the album. It makes a perfect combination of classic neo, the guitar and synths to perfection, and the beautiful baroque piano ' and a balance between complexity and just good tunes.

'Brain Damage', the next song, is not a cover of the Pink Floyd song, but a very original emotional, sentimental ballad of a kind only Barock Project can write - well, until about the middle, that is. A lovely classical guitar begins the nine minute opus, which at about four minutes through becomes electric and the rest of the band joins in with a bang. The heavy guitar is soon accompanied by a spacey synth solo which becomes wilder and wilder until you can't believe that it started out a bit like a neo version of a Simon and Garfunkel song.

Then, 'Chemnitz Girl', also beginning a bit like a neo version of a Simon and Garfunkel song, but unlike 'Brain Damage', stays that way. Not that that is a bad thing, though, in fact quite the contrary - it works wonderfully. 'Chemnitz Girl' is followed up by the heavy 'I Should Have Learned To', that provides a cheerful break from the somewhat melancholic earlier tracks.

'Moving On' follows, heavier still, that is reminiscent of the heavy prog of Porcupine Tree (in my opinion, at least), with an imaginative middle section. What is interesting is that there are virtually no classical elements in 'Moving On' - the entire album, even, seems more rock orientated than perhaps their earlier work. That is my opinion, others may disagree.

The final track, 'The Ones', I will not try and ruin with crude words, and say only it is one of my favourite Barock Project songs and an excellent outro.

So, since I have not said a word against any song I have described here, why have I so cruelly rated it four stars? To help, my personal requirements for a five star album:

1. The songs must all be excellent.

2. It must work brilliantly as an album.

Even then... both of them are satisfied. The thing is, brilliant though this album may be, would I put it above, say, Misplaced Childhood by Marillion? The fact is, no. So, for the fact it simply is not as classic to that level... four stars.

 Seven Seas by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.90 | 138 ratings

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Seven Seas
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I see a fair number of ratings but no reviews yet for this 2019 release of intricate, complex, keyboard-driven rock fusion from Barock Project. It deserves a review so I guess it is time for me to "step up" and contribute! As is often the case, this won't appeal to everyone. Although it features punctuating passages of sheer power, these compositions more often require a chisel than a sledgehammer. The vocals are sometimes sung with a bit of a melodramatic flair which will appeal to some as very expressive and no doubt turn others away crying "extra"!

Luca Zabbini is a genius in my book. If you like keyboard driven jazz rock fusion and wish there was a band like Journey or Queen that would break use odd time signatures and/or break into complex jams reminiscent of Return to Forever or Jan Hammer, check this album out!

Here's a 'track-by-track' rundown if you are into this level of detail.

SEVEN SEAS - starts very subtly with a sound reminiscent of the clicking of a fast clock. Composer, arranger, keyboard wizard and acoustic guitarist Luca Zabbini handles lead vocals with specialist Alex Mari providing additional vox in the background. At around 1:15 into the piece, some power begins to make its way into the equation. At around 2:30 an anthemic big chorus is introduced. A grandiose symphonic interlude is followed by a calm verse which sets up a magnificently powerful organ solo at about 3:30. This solo is expressive and well executed. It does not, however, reveal the true extent of Zabbini's mastery of fusion keyboards. That will have to wait until later on in the album!

I CALL YOUR NAME reminds me of old PFM songs like "Celebration". Of course this is a modern production with a more powerful edge in the chorus, but the vocal vibe on the verses (along with the fact that the singer is an Italian singing in English as a 2nd language) is probably what evokes my memories of classic PFM. I particularly like the way this song hinges upon a syncopated guitar riff which makes the 7/8 time signature invitingly intuitive to follow (even to non-proggers IMO). Clocking in at 3:46 and with a catchy groove, this could be a "hit single" in an alternate universe where prog still makes regular appearances on the pop charts.

ASHES - introduces a combination of gently melodic, intricate piano playing, and dramatic vocal styling that will characterize much of the rest of this CD. This song is probably a pretty decent litmus test of whether this CD will be to your liking. It has complex, lush arrangements with very high quality composition and performances throughout. At about the 3:10 an energetic passage features distorted guitar. A couple of monster keyboard solos are added. But by 4:40, it gives way to a gentle - yet majestic - wave of symphonic jazz rock fusion to end the song.

COLD FOG - The mood cools down even further as this song begins with a pastoral symphonic jazz fusion introduction. At about 1:30, bass guitar, drums, and a carefully crafted keyboard sequence adds energy. At 2:00, the chorus adds a bit more energy - even so, everything is still rather gentle with piano and rhythmic keyboards at the forefront. At 2:30, a rock beat finally takes over. The arrangement rarely "sits still". By 3:00 a short vocal section introduces an elegant piano led fusion solo. The bridge carries us to another rock beat explosion for a 30 second chorus before introducing a guitar solo from 4:32 to 4:55 or so. At the 5 minute mark, acoustic guitar accompanies a bridge section which features a lower octave vocal double of the lead singer's line to great effect. The guitar solo at 6:30 boosts an already anthemic bridge progression to more expressive heights. At 7:07, it gives way to a piano interlude accompanied by a lush yet understated symphonic background. At 7:51, everything gets energetically symphonic. The song ends with one more pass at the rock led chorus and a final fusion ending.

A MIRROR TRICK - This gently bouncy song is led by acoustic guitar. It reminds me of some of Gentle Giant's less complex appropriations of Renaissance and medieval musical sensibilities. Symphonic elements come and go throughout. At 3:29, this composition will almost certainly leave fans of this style wishing for more. HAMBURG - Begins with atmospheric sounds of seaguls and the seashore. Acoustic guitar accompanies a symphonic score. Acoustic piano joins without overpowering the symphonic leads. At 11:25, this is the CD's "epic". At 1:25 drums, bass guitar and lead guitar enter to carry the song into elegant jazz rock fusion territory. Fans of Kenso would love this passage I would think. At 2:45, acoustic piano takes over to set the stage for a gently dramatic vocal verse. This seems to me like what the band Queen might have sounded like in the early 70's had they been more symphonic,complex , fusion oriented and progressive. At 4:35, the chorus is still slow and deliberate but larger and louder. At 5:00, a 30 second jazz rock interlude threatens to take the song in a new and more powerful direction yet at 5:30, we dropping right back into the deliberate pace of the large anthemic chorus. At 5:46, a soaring melodic guitar lead is introduced. Then a soaring vocal line joins to match the same line. This melody line is both fresh and yet also intuitively 'listener friendly'. That is quite an interesting combination. The guitar soars in a higher octave as it repeats this same melodic line and then starts improvise from its base. Again, this is great guitar fusion. At 7:18, solo piano resets the tone to gentle yet again. The song returns to the symphonic piano led arrangement which it began with. Everything remains gentle long enough for the anthemic chorus (at around 9:45) to sound full of vigor and powerful yet again. The soaring guitar solo returns briefly. Then quiet solo piano carries us to the same atmospheric 'sounds of the sea' from which we started.

BRAIN DAMAGE - This song also has a very gentle beginning featuring quiet yet dramatic vocals (this time accompanied by solo acoustic guitar). At about 2:20, vocal harmonies contribute a very nice feel. At around 3:05, gently picked electric guitar (on a very clean setting) enters the scene. At around 4:15, rock power enters in a big way almost reminding me of Rush's output in the late 1970's! A monster fusion synth solo follows. I fully understand that some proggers will not want to persevere through all the gentility to finally reach a section like this, but I must admit that the quietude did serve to make this section seem all the more powerful when it finally arrived. It gives way to the gentle proceedings after only 90 seconds. But don't give up on the song. Soon enough, the power returns with a wonderfully syncopated fusion jam. Again, the jamming is not entirely unlike 1970's rush except it features intricately powerful fusion keyboard solos. Fantastic composition and powerful performance. We finally get a big rock ending.

Luca Zabbini plays every instrument (even percussion!) and sings every vocal on the gentle tune CHEMNITZ GIRL. It is also the only song on the album with lyrics penned by Zabbini. Some of his Italian accent belies his English pronunciation but that doesn't bother me. This is a beautiful song.

Luca also sings lead on "I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED TO". The track placement seems wise. This upbeat sing-a-long song doesn't strike me as particularly "prog". On the contrary, it reminds me of a very professionally performed and recorded theme song to an expensive Disney movie. If a listener has "hung in there" to reach track 9 of an 11 track CD, they probably won't abandon everything because of the unexpected shift.

Alex Mari takes back over the microphone to sing on the song MOVING ON which returns us squarely to the genre of progressive rock. This song is exceptional in that the music is co-written by guitarist MARCO MAZZUOCCOLO and drummer MARCO MAZZUOCCOLO. A harder groove and more powerfull riffs abound.

THE ONES - is a pensive, gentle, lushly romantic piano based song which gains some weightiness after the 2 minute mark. At the 3:15 mark, we encounter a passage very reminiscent of "The Great Gig in the Sky" from Pink Floyd's classic "Dark Side of the Moon". It only lasts a little over 30 seconds and - as such - serves as a very nice nod of affection toward a masterwork of yesteryear.

 Rebus by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.96 | 78 ratings

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Rebus
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Barock Project is an Italian band that have released five studio-albums (between 2007 and 2017) and one live CD entitled Vivo (from 2016). The musical Brainchild is Luca Zabbini (composer, keyboards and piano), he likes play with a huge variety, from classical to rock and jazz.

On their debut album entitled Misteriose Voci (2007) Barock Project delivered strong Italian vocals (with a very pleasant emotional undertone), an accessible and melodic sound (loaded with the distinctive Hammond organ) and a tasteful colouring and strong interplay by guitar and keyboards. The more mellow parts with twanging acoustic guitar and good vocals Barock Project reminded me of Angelo Branduardi. In the more symphonic rock interludes with omnipresent vintage keyboards I noticed strong elements of Dutch keyboard driven pride Trace.

These elements we can enjoy even better on the more elaborate and captivating second effort entitled Rebus (featuring guitarist Max Scarcia).

The ten compositions (running time around 70 minutes) are loaded with variation, strong musical ideas and outstanding work on guitar and keyboards. The element rock we can trace in the track Enemy (blended with prog metal and a biting guitar solo) and in some songs in which the rock has strong classical undertones (indeed , Barock rocks!) like Don Giovanni (rock opera vocals, orchestral keyboards and a fiery wah-wah solo) and Duellum featuring a wonderful Minimoog and Hammond sound along a swinging piano solo.

Then the tracks Polvere Di Stelle (fine swinging bass) and Veleno (captivating electric guitar solo with a Spanish flavor) that remind me of Al DiMeola his excellent jazzrock (Elegant Gypsy-era) with exciting interplay, especially the interaction between the guitar and kebyoards is sensational! Next 24-carat symphonic rock (with hints of 76-77 Genesis) in the Corsa Elettronica, Akery (wonderful vintage keyboards sound) and the first part of Veleno (beautiful howling guitar runs).

Finally I would like to mention the musical surprises in Save Your Soul (Jethro Tull-like flute traverse, Minimoog runs like Celebration from PFM and folky piano evoking the Balkan sound) and the PFM-like conclusion of Nostradamus featuring dreamy flute, acoustic guitar and warm English vocals.

I had to get used to the huge variation but in the end I am delighted about this second Barock Project album!

 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 325 ratings

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Detachment
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band BAROCK PROJECT was formed back in 2003, and have been on a climbing trajectory ever since then, their name and reputation steadily surging upwards with their third album "Coffee In Neukolln" something of a breakthrough one for them. "Detachment" is their fifth studio production, and was released through Italian label Artalia in 2017.

Those who are fond of high quality, modern progressive rock will have taken note of Barock Project already I surmise. If by chance anyone haven't done so, this album showcase just why this is a band that merits and inspection in an excellent manner. If you like your progressive rock to be open, inviting and with a keen focus on melodies and harmonies, without loosing track of being sophisticated on a structural level, "Detachment" is an album with your name written on it.

 Vivo by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Live, 2016
4.49 | 45 ratings

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Vivo
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Italian band BAROCK PROJECT was formed back in 2003, and ever since they started to release their own music in 2005 they have grown in popularity and stature, to the point of being on the verge of becoming a household name in the genre these days. The have half a dozen albums to their name at this stage, of which five are studio albums. "Vivo: Live in Concert" is their sole live album so far, and was released through Italian label Artalia in 2016.

Live albums can often be a hit or a miss, depending on a number of factors. This one will be more likely to be a hit than many other I have listened to, as it documents the skills of a high quality modern day symphonic progressive rock band that are as good on stage as they are in the studio. And with a long studio track tucked in as a bonus feature, existing fans get a nice little boon for buying this album as well. A live production well worth investigating if well made, symphonic progressive rock is a style of music you tend to enjoy.

 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 325 ratings

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Detachment
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by Juan K

5 stars I have been listening to this album for months, I have heard it dozens and dozens of times. It has stuck into my bones and it's my favourite release of 2017. Funny since I don't like much the previous output by the band, mostly because I think previous lead vocalist Luca Pancaldi would work best in a prog metal band, that Barock Project is NOT! Luca Zabbini is the star here, besides playing keyboards like a maestro (and also some guitar) he has written most of the stuff and sings also most of it. His vocals are more earthy, but also the guests vocalists do a fantastic job working around his tasty lines. And the songs are ... well, fabulous. There's hints of Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull ... but all these influences are very focused into the songs. My favourites from the album are Broken, the album's epic - a true masterpiece - and Alone, a wonderful piano and vocal duet, sang by Peter Jones; what's funny is that I don't use to like "piano and voice only" songs !!! In short: I declare proudly this album as my number one for 2017. I only hope they would record again something as good as this.
 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 325 ratings

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Detachment
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars When compared to so many of the modern Neo Prog releases of this decade, this is an extraordinarily well engineered and produced album. The acoustic guitar sounds, bass, keys and vocals have clarity and separation and yet the mixing gives all instruments a blended feeling of "togetherness" which is so often absent from the over compressed, over neutralized tracks of other releases.

1. "Driving Rain" (1:03) piano-based opening could be an opening for an adult contemporary jazz song.

2. "Promises" (5:05) taking the same arpeggiated melody from the opening "introduction" and moving it to a synth bass and speeding it up, the band bursts into a very complex (all instruments working furiously to keep up with the others) symphonic beginning, the song settles into a STYX-like driving rhythm with way more complexity to it. This is truly an amazingly constructed and performed song! The cynical lyric is also quite interesting--what if it's really too late to recover from the damage we've inflicted?! (9.5/10)

3. "Happy to see you" (7:37) slowing the pace down a bit and using some computer-sequenced synth rhythms a la IQ gives the opening of this song a familiar feel to it. The Arabic themes put forth from the synth "violins" gives the instrumental parts of the song a bit of a OFRA HAZA or YOSSI SASSI sound and feel to it. Nice organ, nice hand percussion, nice acoustic guitar play in that dynamic fourth minute. Things then slow down into a PHIL COLLINS-feeling section (gone are the Arabic flavors). Excellent guitar work in that Mellotron-drenched sixth minute. Gorgeous! Then we return to the Middle Eastern themes and sounds for an up-shifted key for the final minute. Nicely constructed song. (9/10)

4. "One day" (7:23) opens with some flashy solo acoustic guitar soloing before strums at the 50 second mark set up a fabric for the joining in of 12-string, keys and singing. A bit ANTHONY PHILLIPS, a bit Eastern European. The amping up with electric guitars and medieval sounding instruments in support at the three minute mark cause me to back away and lose interest. Then, with the start of the fifth minute, we're off to the races (anybody else here the similarities here to the work of THE PSYCHEDELIC ENSEMBLE?). (8.5/10)

5. "Secret therapy" (5:37) way too poppy in a 1980s kind of way for my tastes. Nice, clear sound mix in the very middle. (7/10)

6. "Broken" (feat. Peter Jones) (9:10) bouncy, upbeat, almost-classical feeling piano-based start with Peter Jones' recognizable voice to lead us into a dynamic symphonic section that could have been taken straight from a MARTIN READ-era BIG BIG TRAIN song (an era of BBT that I LOVE--and like much more than this song/sound). (8.5/10)

7. "Old Ghosts" (4:07) opens with eerie reverse synths over which a MARCO GLUHMANN-like voice talk-sings in a low voice. At 0:45 the song shifts into a very Spanish-sounding Spanish guitar-based weave. For the first time, lead vocalist LUCA ZABBINI's English singing voice sounds accented. The song flounders a few times, losing my attention and interest (even through repeated listenings). I get the musical choices that fit with the title/subject, but... (8/10)

8. "Alone" (feat. Peter Jones) (3:14) piano-based story sang by PETER JONES (TIGER MOTH TALES, COLIN TENCH PROJECT) (8.5/10)

9. "Rescue Me" (4:55) muted-strummed electric guitar portends something far more aggressive. Meanwhile, somewhat muted, distant vocal opens the story. When FIXX-like rhythm guitar sets us up into a new section (for the chorus) we're given both CY CURNIN vocal melody and synth sounds. Interesting! Weak keyboard and guitar play in the third minute instrumental section. A disappointment. (7/10)

10. "Twenty years" 6:06 for the first two-and-a-half minutes this is stripped down, fast-picked acoustic guitar story told by Luca with some "strings" in support, but then a different course is chosen: a fast, breakneck paced full-band production with a Gary Richrath/REO Speedwagen-like guitar solo played over the top. Then synth-derived strings do the soloing before the song finishes with a cool section of vocally-harmonized acoustic guitar flourish. (9/10)

11. "Waiting" (5:43) accented voice sings in English over synth arpeggio. DEPECHE MODE/TEARS FOR FEARS programmed drum sound plays in second section. Piano in the third. Chorus section is more rocking but melodies or lyrics aren't very engaging for me. Love the sound of the organ & harpsichord solo at the end of the third minute before Russian piano and accordion duet take over. Nice drumming and synth solo in the next section. Then multiple-voiced choral section takes over--unfortunately, over a synth sound that feels/sounds so 90s. Interesting outro. (7.5/10)

12. "A New tomorrow" (7:39) drums, synth and piano open before very pleasant singing voice and chord and melody choice draws me into this one. Great up to the 1:10 mark when the chorus starts. The second verse uses some really awesome multiple-voiced vocal harmonics (not unlike a Simon and Garfunkle efffort). AT 2:20 things amp up quite a bit with electric guitar power chords and Farfisa-like organ providing an interesting contrast to the previous sections, but also diminishing the song's overall feel to more of the early 1970s URIAH HEEP-kind of sound. Great section of vocals in the fifth minute before everything breaks down to a nice section of piano and bass. Almost JOHN TOUT-like! Then back to the GRAND FUNK/early Wakeman hard rock section. (8/10)

13. "Spies" (7:23) opens with an inviting weave of guitars, bass, drums and nicely-effected PETER MURPHY-like voiced vocal. Very engaging if poppy and more simple in construction and performance demands than previous songs. A break of silence at 3:13 makes one look to see if the song is over, but then a spoken voice comes in over a kind of cabaret piano. Heavier section soon ensues with effected male voice (not Luca?) singing. Then everything drops away again leaving a soft weave of piano, synths, guitars, bass and percussives (both live and computerized). It's very nice. Keeping the title of this song in mind, one can come to grips with all the twists and changes in directions this song takes. The final minute is even, engaging, and sublime. Interesting! (8.5/10)

Mega kudos, Luca! The compositional quality here is often right in the top tier of prog song-making but often falls back into old used and often tired sounds, riffs, and styles. And you have quite a capable and talented group of musicians to draw from and challenge. Still room to grow, Barock Project!

Four stars; a very nice addition to the world of modern progressive rock music, one that I recommend to all prog lovers.

 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 325 ratings

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Detachment
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by omphaloskepsis

5 stars 94/100 When I heard Barock Project's Luca Zabbini keyboardist/Composer replaced lead vocalist Luca Pancaldi, who quit the band for family reasons...I abandoned my plan to preorder Detachment. Pancaldi's vocals was one of the reasons I fell in love with Barock Project's album Skyline. How could they replace Pancaldi's pretty tonsils with a backup singer? Could Barock Project pull off a Genesis?

But after hearing Detachment on a prog stream service, I fell head over heels and immediately ordered Barock Project's new album. Now, I listen to Detachment more than Skyline! And, I like Skyline a lot.

Skyline and Detachment are strikingly different albums with all the right things in common such as searing guitar solos provided by Marco Mazzuoccolo's emotion drenched guitar picking and chamber strumming, slightly reminiscent of Marillion's Steve Rothery.

Special kudos to Eric Ombelli / drums, percussion. Ombelli reminds me of a less bombastic John Bonham. Eric Ombelli's percussion and drumming is fun, unique, and offbeat accented with memorable drum fills I find myself waiting in anticipation for.

In the last two years, Luca Zabbini has become my favorite modern keyboardist. Why? Zabbini's Bach flavored compositions are complex yet extremely melodic, hook filled ear candy. If you swooned over the sweeping melodic originality of Bach, Rick Wakeman, and Keith Emerson's keyboard styles you must give Barock Project a listen. Don't worry, Zabbini isn't derivative. Zabbini writes catchy proggy melodies that you can hum and bang your head to. And to my surprise, there isn't a drop off from Pancaldi's vocals to Zabbini's. As an added bonus Pete Jones of Tiger Moth Tails sings lead on two wonderful tunes. One upbeat song and one heartbreaking dirge. In my mind Barock Project/Zabbini's strength is composition. Like Steven Wilson and Big Big Train, Luca Zabbini writes gorgeous songs! Songs you can sing to. Shiver up your backbone songs. It's hard to write complex yet catchy prog.

Ironically, I can share Detachment with my wife as it's her favorite album since IQ's Road of Bones. I'm crossing my fingers Barock Project rereleases their back catalog as they continue to forge forward creating consistently resplendent music. I won't hesitate to jump on the next preorder.

 Coffee In Neukölln by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.99 | 240 ratings

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Coffee In Neukölln
Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Though it does have some beautiful moments - like the moving Kyrie - I find that the vocals on Barock Project's Coffee In Neukölln to be a consistent stumbling point. Luca Pancaldi's performance is competent but not exceptional at the best of times, at other points ending up rather jarring; it doesn't help that the lyrics tend to be rather pedestrian and that the music often steps back and goes rather simplistic when the vocals come in. It's all rather nicely polished, but the end product feels calculated and somehow fakey to me, a product manufactured for someone who isn't me. Competent, but doesn't snare the soul.
 Detachment by BAROCK PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 325 ratings

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Barock Project Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Without a doubt one of the highest profile prog-rock bands hailing from Italy of the modern era, Barock Project can be equally frustrating as they are superb! Press releases in the past have made wild boasts about the band being the `symphonic heirs to New Trolls, Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso', and yet with the exception of some of the fancier orchestral elements and an accent detected in the English vocals, there's very little to associate Barock Project with much of the pure Italian progressive music over the decades.

But hang-ups (and typical press-release excitement!) aside, there's no denying that what Barock Project do, they do damn well, and they've delivered their strongest and most varied disc to date with `Detachment', their fifth full-length set since forming in 2004. The band fuse a wide range of rock, pop and even heavier styles to ambitious orchestral arrangements (actually worked into the music, not merely an orchestra slapped on top, mind you!), all coated in an overly polished production to appeal to as wide a worldwide prog audience as possible.

After a teasing little piano and ambient introduction, proper opener `Promises' is a punchy vocal rocker in the Enchant, Spock's Beard/Neal Morse and even Dream Theater manner, right down to charmingly accented vocalist Luca Zabbini's soaring radio-friendly chorus with slick harmonies - and great frantic drumming from Eric Ombelli on this one too! Some light touches of electronic programming flitting around gorgeous pristine piano would make Radiohead envious throughout `Happy to See You', quickly revealing to be a soft romantic rocker where lush orchestration weaves in and out of Luca's busy keyboard soloing and Marco Mazzuoccolo's slow-burn electric guitar soloing runs. Along with expertly delivered drama and tasty bombastic bursts, much of the vocal melody takes on a memorable `sing-along' quality after only a few listens! There's ravishing Gentle Giant-like chamber prog touches to the sparkling acoustic guitars, dancing flute and groaning group vocals throughout `One Day' which eventually turns into a defiant up-tempo rocker, and breathless Eastern flavours permeate `Secret Therapy' as well as a very spirited chorus.

The nine-minute multi-sectioned suite `Broken' is the longest and most ambitious portion of the disc, a dazzling and sophisticated Big Big Train-like symphonic pantomime utilising English multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Peter Jones as well as female singers. The darker and reflective `Old Ghosts' crams an insane amount of ideas, tempos and moods into a mere four minutes (a great track, but worth it alone for Luca's electric piano touches), Peter Jones takes the lead again on the heartbreaking and melancholic ballad `Alone' that could have been an Eric Woolfson standout on an Alan Parsons Project album, `Rescue Me' is a bold, cool and jangling indie-pop rocker full of momentum, and the wistful and reflective `Twenty Years' is initially elegant with plenty of delicate acoustic passages, soft sweeping orchestration and a sparse heartfelt vocal before crashing into boisterous bluster - phew, got all that?!

`Waiting' is a darker-tinged electronic rocker more along the lines of Porcupine Tree where Francesco Caliendo's thick bass slithers with eerie purpose (and Luca's recurring piano refrain is delightful). `A New Tomorrow' opens as another sweetly romantic piece with dreamy guitar bends and warmly embracing group harmonies that suddenly takes off with energetic up-tempo Kansas-like Hammond bursts and a swooning orchestral finale (the piece will likely become an anthem for the group when performed live!). `Spies' is then a sleek indie pop-rocker with heavier flavours, but it might have been better placed somewhere in the middle of the disk, where the previous track would have served as a stronger and more striking closer, although the devilish jazz-fusion middle instrumental stretch is especially superb!

Yes, the album is absurdly long at over seventy-five minutes (bands, just because you can fill a compact disc to eighty minutes doesn't always mean you have to!), but it's hard not to be won over by the impeccable and varied instrumental arrangements, killer choruses and quickly revealing strong tunes. The album is also constantly optimistic and loved-up, and it refuses to merely be a retro throwback by fusing vintage elements into a firmly modern style. Barock Project have absolutely delivered another crowd-pleasing collection of music here that will not only be adored by their large fanbase, but probably - and absolutely deservedly - bring in a whole new bunch of listeners.

Great stuff all round - four stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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