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LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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La Torre Dell Alchimista biography
LA TORRE DELL'ALCHIMISTA is a new Italian Progressive band that we can add to a list that is getting longer and longer since about thirty years. Focused around a twin keyboard attack, strong lead flute, and confident warm Italian vocals, La Torre combines classic Italian symphonic rock with a modern sensibility. Some have compared the band to a cross between BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO and SOLARIS.

Their first eponymous album recorded in 2001 seems to have come straight from the 70's, and shows a lot of keyboards parts. The acoustic guitar and the flute replace without problems the electric guitar, while this very Latin voice becomes highly charming. LA TORRE DELL'ALCHIMISTA should be a welcome addition to any progressive CD collection. LA TORRE ... is great!

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LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 60 ratings
La Torre Dell'Alchimista
2001
3.82 | 51 ratings
Neo
2007

LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 9 ratings
USA...You Know?
2005

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LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Neo by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 51 ratings

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Neo
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The following years were quite busy for La Torre Dell' Alchimista.Adding Elena Biagioni on keyboards they were invited to the 2002 Nearfest in New Jersey, a performance captured in the 2005 live CD ''USA ... you know?''.The group was part of another major Prog event, the 2004 Gouveia Art Rock Festival in Portugal, opening the gig of Isildurs Bane.Meanwhile Biagioni, flutist Silva Ceraolo and drummer Noberto Mosconi left the group and were replaced by Michelangelo Donadini on drums and Mauro Donini on flute and sax, while, as the Kaliphonia had folded, they found a new home on MaRaCash Records.Preparations for a second album begun in 2006, but soon Donini also quit for personal reasons and the album was recorded as a quartet with a few guests on guitars, violin and flute.''Neo'' was released eventually in 2007.

Despite the busy programm and the line-up changes, this new work finds La Torre Dell' Alchimista in great shape.They insist on playing a melodic Symphonic Rock with dual and triple keyboard fanfares, combining the drama of GENESIS' compositions, the extreme technique of KEITH EMERSON and the romanticism of LE ORME's delicate approach.Everything in the album is well-composed and nicely executed.From the very good, crystal-clear vocals of Michele Giardino to the melodic passages and the bombastic acrobatics of Michele Mutti.The music is quite amazing with impressive breaks and good melodies, based mainly on the vintage organ washes and the dreamy Mellotrons of Mutti.As with their debut guitars are used sporadically and the style of the group is led by Classical-inspired themes, very dense keyboard interplays and a heavy dose of ethereal movements.Mutti's performance on synthesizers is pretty limited and he uses them exactly when needed, while the instrumental parts are quite extended with a high technical level, always delivered in memorable compositions.The material is not exactly original, as traces of the past legends are always waiting in the corner, but the combination of romantic soundscapes with more grandiose atmospheres is more than welcome.

Simultaneously the group was in search of an additional member and finally multi-instrumentalist Matteo Mondini joined them shortly after.However the inactivity of La Torre Dell' Alchimista gives birth for the questionable future of the group.

Very good Symphonic Rock with influences both from the Italian and British scene of the 70's.Again this is not very original stuff, but the nice compositions of ''Neo'' are certainly more than rewarding.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Neo by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 51 ratings

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Neo
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Is the title of the second Torre Dell Alchimista album a nod to the neo-prog scene? Well, if it is you'd never guess from the music, which aside from a few keyboard textures doesn't draw very much on neo-prog. Instead, what we have here is more symphonic-derived RPI gorgeousness along similar lines to the band's first album, which perhaps a few more jazzy touches here and there as well as some nods to Emerson Lake and Palmer (with main keyboardist Michele Mutti referencing some of the same classical pieces that Keith Emerson turned his hand to in days gone by). It's a pleasant and enjoyable RPI album that keeps the flame alive for the style of prog practised by the likes of early Banco.

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 La Torre Dell'Alchimista by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 60 ratings

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La Torre Dell'Alchimista
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Don't let the title of La Torre Dell'Alchimista's second album (Neo) fool you - this is no neo-prog group, but a symphonic prog-inspired RPI band creating music in the tradition of their forefathers in the golden age of Italian prog. Thanks to Ceraolo Silva's presence on flute, there is a very pronounced Jethro Tull influence at play here, but for the most part the sound resembles the prettier and more pastoral end of the RPI spectrum, as occupied by bands such as PFM and Locanda Delle Fate. La Torre's mastery of this particular style of progressive rock is impressive, and even though this debut might not be the most original album out there, it should warm the hearts of most RPI and symphonic prog fans.

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 La Torre Dell'Alchimista by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 60 ratings

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La Torre Dell'Alchimista
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars While 2007's Neo was a more compelling piece of work to my ears this eponymous debut from La Torre Dell'Alchimsta released six years previous is nevertheless very good and a surprisingly mature piece of work from a band at such an early stage in their career.

There's no getting away from the fact that here is an album steeped in the traditions of 70's Italian symphonic prog, the warm organic production making it sound more so. However whilst bands like Banco and Le Orme must have influenced them they manage to retain their own identity by not sounding like a direct copy of these or any other bands from the genre. With the absence of electric guitar keyboards dominate with Hammond organ having a strong presence and they make considerable use of flute too. The competent rhythm section hold thing together well enough though sometimes lack the drive to really push things up a notch. The vocals of Giardino Michele whilst adequate are a little bland leaving the weight of the albums appeal leaning on keyboardist Mutti Michele's shoulders. Fortunately he takes up the challenge producing some exciting playing on the nine compositions, providing jazzy touches alongside the largely symphonic style.

Whilst this debut is a very worthwhile album it's far from essential. Nevertheless, still worth a listen but I'd suggest going for Neo first.

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 Neo by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 51 ratings

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Neo
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There's no accounting for taste is there. I was blown away by their debut but I knew after one listen that "Neo" was a different beast. It's been 6 years since their debut and they now have a new drummer, but more importantly their flute player has left. So that's one big difference, a lot less flute. The mellotron is more prominant though but the vocals and songs for me aren't as good as on the debut. Now understand that by far the majority feel that "Neo" is an upgrade over the debut. So big surprise that my thoughts and feelings about this album are in the minority.

"Dissimmetrie" is keyboard led and a little jazzy to start. Vocals 2 minutes in.Lots of organ in this one. It settles before 6 1/2 minutes with reserved vocals and mellotron. "Medusa" features some great sounding mellotron which is contrasted with the keyboards. Vocals and piano after a minute. Themes are repeated. Nice bass after 4 minutes. I like the mellotron that comes and goes. "Idra" is a piano laden track. "Risveglio Procreazione E Dubbio Pt.I" is led by bass, drums and keyboards in this uptempo intro. It settles with mellotron and acoustic guitar.It kicks back in. Vocals and a calm before 2 minutes. It gets fuller. Another calm after 6 1/2 minutes and before 9 minutes. Some guest violin and piano here. "L'amore Diverso" features laid back piano melodies throughout.

"Cerbero" is uptempo with keyboards and drums. Mellotron comes and goes.Theatrical vocals and violin follow. Crickets after 2 minutes. I thought it was my phone 'cause my ring-tone is the sound of crickets. Ok maybe I shouldn't have said that (haha). I like the synths 3 1/2 minutes with organ and drums. Themes are repeated. A calm after 6 minutes before kicking back in a minute later. "Risveglio Procreazione E Dubbio Pt.II" opens with drums, bass, mellotron and keys. Great sound. Synths and drums lead before 3 minutes. A calm with flute 4 1/2 minutes. Synths are back with drums and bass. Vocals are back after 6 1/2 minutes. Mellotron follows then synths and violin.

If I hadn't heard the debut I might have given this 4 stars so maybe 3.5 stars isn't fair, but i'll stick with the debut thankyou.

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 La Torre Dell'Alchimista by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 60 ratings

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La Torre Dell'Alchimista
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Greg Walker recommended this to me a some time ago and on his site he refers to it as "Killer 70's style Prog". Even the cover art is classic Italian don't you think ? The emphisis is certainly on the variety of keyboards used plus there's lots of flute. What i'm most impressed with though are the vocals, just the tone of his voice which thankfully is in Italian.

I like the way "Eclisse" builds as drums join in followed by piano. Organ then takes the lead. A calm with flute after a minute are contrasted with outbursts of organ. Pulsating synths with drums, bass and vocals before 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. Strummed guitar comes in later. "Delirio" is uptempo with flute, drums and piano standing out. Vocals after a minute. Love how this sounds.The organ comes in screaming before 3 minutes. "La Torre Dell'Alchimsta" is flat out amazing ! Mellotron to open as flute joins in. It turns uptempo as organ and drums take over. Vocals arrive as it settles before 1 1/2 minutes. Some nice bass and organ follow. A heavenly soundscape 2 1/2 minutes in. Mellotron is back. This is absolutely gorgeous and moving. Vocal melodies before 6 minutes. "Il Volo" opens with acoustic guitar as fragile vocals join in. Some atmosphere here. A change after 4 minutes as the tempo picks up with strummed guitar.

"L'apprendista" is uptempo with drums and flute to open. Organ comes blasting in around a minute. A change to a darker sound a minute later. Nice. It settles as reserved vocals come in. It kicks back in at 3 1/2 minutes. Lots of organ late. Amazing song ! "I Figli Della Mezzanotte" features keyboards, light drums, flute and bass. Vocals before a minute. The organ sounds great here. "La Persistenza Della Memoria" is filled with these inspiring piano melodies throughout. "Lo Gnomo" is uptempo to start with flute, drums and organ standing out. Vocals before a minute as it settles. Contrasts continue. "Acquario" opens with a powerful sound but it lightens quickly with flute, synths and drums. Vocals and organ follow. Beautiful. Deep bass lines 3 1/2 minutes in with piano and cymbals. Cool section. Some heavy organ after 5 minutes. Jazzy 7 minutes in.

I tried to reason out why this isn't a 5 star album, but in the end there are no reasons. A classic.

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 La Torre Dell'Alchimista by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 60 ratings

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La Torre Dell'Alchimista
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars 3.5 stars...

A relatively new Italian band,playing progressive rock definitely of symphonic realms and trying to recapture the 70's feeling.They were found in 1997 by Michele Giardino (vocals,acoustic guitars),Davide Donadoni (bass,clarinet) and Michele Mutti (keyboards) and a year later they were joined by drummer Noberto Mosconi.In 1999 LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA started playing alive around Italy,while they added Silvia Ceraolo on flutes about the same time.The dawn of the millenium found the band sifning with Kaliphonia Label and on February of 2001 they recorded their eponymous debut...

A refreshing yet so retro-sounding release full of the vintage keyboard sounds of Mutti.You won't find any electric guitars in LA TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA's debut,as their compositions are centered around Mutti's keyboards,Ceraolo's flutes and some acoustic guitars played by singer Michele Giardino.Their style is a cross of LE ORME and BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO,being melodic yet certainly dramatic at the same time.Nice organ solos and passages,distinctive mellotron parts and some background Fender Rhodes piano will thrill every progressive fan of the old times,accompanied by the good interplays between flutes,acoustic guitars,bass and drums.All these stuff is strongly mixed with the great voice of Giardino,whose vocal chords are very crystalline and intense...A fantastic debut lovers for all the freaks out there,who can't get enough of vintage-sounding adventures!

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 Neo by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 51 ratings

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Neo
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The second studio album by La Torre dell'Alchimista was released in 2007, six years after their beautiful debut eponymous work. The line up has slightly changed and now it features Michele Mutti (keyboards), Michele Giardino (vocals), Davide Donadoni (bass) and Michelangelo Donadini (drums, percussion). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guest musicians that enriched the sound of the band providing guitars, sax, violin and flute and the result is definitively good. La Torre dell'Alchimista sound is definitively "keyboards driven" (Michele Mutti plays acoustic and electric piano, Hammond C3, Minimoog, organ, synth and Mellotron) and blends strong classical influences with prog-rock and Italian melody. Good also the art cover (painted by Michele Mutti) and the booklet containing some peculiar pictures and the lyrics. This work could remind of bands like Le Orme, PFM and BMS but it's not too derivative and it's really worth listen to. "Neo" is conceived as a concept album describing the end of a love story in an original way, through a continuous parallelism between personal feelings and images taken from ancient myths. Lyrics are not banal and it would be very unfair define this work as just dealing with Greek mythology...

The opener "Dissimmetrie" (Asymmetry) condemns conformism and hypocrisy. Jumping keyboards and sax play joyfully around while lyrics compare people who do not dare to fight for a change in their everyday life to the Golem, an artificial monster with the form of a man created from clay by magic charms or sacred words, an image taken from Jewish folklore. "You are like a shapeless drop of water / You are evanescent / Invisible fade-out / You don't leave traces of yourself... You are just souls of clay / Who fly away without dignity / You are just souls of clay / Who live into hypocrisy... I look at you and I can see / The curtain of noise / That shelters you / From the external world / Sounds of plastic / Words and shouts". If you disregard the opinion of the hypocrites and their false smiles, you can dare and fall in love with a beautiful and dangerous woman... And get troubles!

The dreamy outro of the first track leads to "Medusa", a complex piece in four parts (Faith, Fugue, Chorale, Samba V) that was inspired by the mythical character of an unfortunate woman raped by Neptune into Athena's temple. After the rape, Medusa's long hair were turned into snakes by the goddess and she was given the power to turn everyone who dared to look directly at her into stone. According to the myth, the head of Medusa was cut off by Perseus who looked at her through a mirror- like shield. Once cut off, the head maintained its power and was at last placed at the centre of Athena's Aegis as a symbol of her power. The music perfectly fits the lyrics with well balanced changes of moods and rhythms that blend prog rock, classical music and melodic vocals... "You, who confound my thoughts / On the shield of knowledge / Reflected imagine, You don't scare me / You, who confound my thoughts / You turn into stone the stupidity / Of the people who stare at you / The men who lived with you are stones by now / The heart that loved you don't beat anymore... I won't follow you, I'm free by now...". Well, a complex, dangerous and charming woman indeed! One who can drive you crazy dancing samba and that could be very difficult to forget...

"Idra" (Hydra) is a short instrumental interlude for piano solo that leads you to the first part of the long and complex "Risveglio, Procreazione e Dubbio" (Awakening, Procreation and Doubt) where, after an amazing instrumental prelude, nice melodic vocals come in changing atmosphere. Lyrics depicts some experiments to overcome the split up where you can find shadows and wasted days fading out until your arms will fall and wings will take their place to let you fly on the horizons just before falling back with your doubts... "So I feel like the father of an unknown son, scared by these signs / If the giant rides the dwarf / How can his arms carry that weight?... Idra, Cerbero and Medusa were born from waking-hours not from sleep / And they devour the remnants of my greatness... And suddenly, I lose myself".

"L'Amore Diverso" (The Different Love) is another short instrumental for piano solo that leads to "Cerbero" (Cerberus), an intricate track in three parts (Promenade, The Three Heads, The War To Hydrogenous). The sound of a piano leads you softly to the gates of madness... Cerberus is the name of the three-headed monster hound guarding the entrance to the Greek Underworld. No-one can enter or leave without getting past him... "Six eyes, six shouts, you are everywhere I turn my eyes / Six times you promise, but seven times you disappoint / You are blood, you are tears but no sweat!...". The music is haunting, swinging from frenzy keyboards rides to calm and romantic violin melodies... Well, the nightmares that rise when a love story comes to an end can really haunt you like omnipresent ghosts. Trying to fight them could bring dangerous side-effects and for your soul it could be destructive like an atomic war... "It's my rage, it's your craziness / To win, to lose, what's really important? / A hot wind blows by now / My breath is dying / My way to think about the future is dying...".

The last track "Risveglio, Procreazione E Dubbio Pt. II" is another beautiful complex piece in three parts (Epilogue, Coda, Farewell) where you can some find a nice flute passage and even some echoes coming from "the court of the Crimson King". Lyrics deals with the awareness of past errors and the condemn of arrogance, haughtiness and pride... "Time that has joined us is already splitting us / But how moves slowly the time of the split up! / Like a leaf into the wind / You are going away from here / Leaving my body naked / It remains the image of your diversity / You are like a wave, you slowly worn out / You used to confound my thoughts / Now you're going away / Leaving a void and a closed speech". A beautiful farewell for an excellent album!

I think that this is album should be a must for every Italianprog lover!

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 La Torre Dell'Alchimista by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 60 ratings

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La Torre Dell'Alchimista
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars La Torre dell'Alchimista is an Italian prog band from Bergamo that was formed in 1997 by Michele Giardino (vocals, acoustic guitar), Davide Donadoni (bass) and Michele Mutti (keyboards) who were later joined by Norberto Mosconi (drums) and Silvia Ceraolo (flute). The members of the band managed to shape their own original compositions following the great tradition of classic Italian prog bands like PFM, BMS and Le Orme while adding their personal touch and an up to date sound. This eponymous debut album was released in 2001 by Kaliphonia and the result is definitively good.

The beautiful opener "Eclisse" features piano, drums, organ and flute leading to a tense and "dusty" atmosphere... "The air gets filled with human fear / Drums run after the beating of the hearts... A blade writes on my belly the scream of the people / And the impassive stone drinks blood and vigour...": lyrics depict a human sacrifice during an eclipse of the sun. Well, when listening to this track try to imagine the scene of the sacrifice in 2006 Mel Gibson's film "Apocalypto"... Anyway the acoustic guitar brings a sense of hope in the end: "A new light is rising / And it will heat pale and frail shapes"... A kind of soft and delicate wake up after a nightmare!

Next comes "Delirio (In Do Minore)" that is full of "crazy energy", while the third track "La torre dell'alchimista" (The Alchemist's Tower) is a kind of timeless musical journey featuring many changes of moods and tempos: lyrics tell about a kind of pilgrimage towards a place where you can get out from madness... "Step after step your goal is nearer / You have walked along the fields / And the voice of the river was leading you... Now your journey has come to an end / Here they cure every illness / Now you are in the right place / That's the alchemist's tower... Master, cut away the stone / My name is Lubbert Das / I come from a village in the plains / Beyond the river, beyond the walls / I come to cure my folly / Your fame is great / Even far away from here...". Probably - in the booklet there's no reference about it - the lyrics were inspired by a painting of Hieronymus Bosch, "The Extraction of the Stone of Madness (The Cure of Folly)" where you can find the words Meester snyt die Keye ras - myne name is Lubbert Das (Master, cut away the stone - my name is Lubbert Das)... At length, however, this is just another wonderful "musical painting" and the voice of Michele Giardino is like a brush adding touches of colors to the music!

"Il Volo" (The Flight) is a soft and dreamy acoustic ballad featuring a nice flute work. Lyrics and music try to depict an imaginary flight over a beautiful Irish landscape, "beyond the horizon that you can never reach" and into "fogs sweet like honey". A nice track followed by "L'apprendista" (The apprentice), a piece full of energy and "brio" that was built upon a theme taken from a symphony for organ by Camille Saint Saens... "My world has got a soul too / Simple laws, fragile signals...". Then the organ introduces "I figli della mezzanotte" (The Midnight Children), another good track featuring a mild and peculiar Middle-Eastern flavour... "For every snake there is a staircase... Victim and master of my time / I will live inside a tired body"...

"La persistenza della memoria" is a short classical inspired piano solo, a delicate interlude that precedes "Lo gnomo" (The Gnome), another beautiful classical inspired track where flute and keyboards play joyfully leading you into a fantasy world... "Once upon a time there was a merry spirit / Owner of the wood / Master of the river / He used to live serenely into an enchanted mushroom / Sleeping, smoking and drinking his wine...". The last track, the melancholic and introspective "Acquario", is a perfect finale for an excellent album... "Liquid world lost in a drop / That patiently shapes the nature again / While time slowly passes by / And into the water everything is silent / I can here only my voice".

On the whole, I think that this album should find a place in every Italianprog lover collection...

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 Neo by TORRE DELL ALCHIMISTA, LA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.82 | 51 ratings

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Neo
La Torre Dell Alchimista Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I like their debut album quite a lot and this is no deception.

Of course, the title is really depicting what you'll get here. In the way that neo-prog walks on the paths of "Genesis", "Yes" etc. , this one is deeply exploring the world of ELP as well as the symphonic Crimson (ITCOTCK) thanks to the use of the mellotron.

There are extremely touching mellotron lines on this album ("Risveglio Procreazione") which reminds me the fabulous "Epitaph". What differentiates this band from, let's say "Glass Hammer" is that vocals are very good, there are some guest artists who add value (flute, sax and violin) and the mellotron is a definite plus as far as I'm concerned. Song writing is also more refined and personal.

The whole album is a nice journey back in time. If only ELP could have been recording such type of music nowadays! Still, purists should stay away from this album since it really borrows a lot. There are even two short piano instrumentals which could have been played by K.. I guess.

I have enjoyed this album very much. A great mix of the seventies combined with modern Italian melodic prog. A fine combination.

Four stars but the band should try to be more inventive for their next album.

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