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LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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La Coscienza di Zeno biography
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO (CDZ) is a modern Italian progressive band that formed in Genoa in 2007. CDZ is named after a well-known Italian novel, the title of which translates into English as ''Zeno's conscience''. The book is largely concerned with the paradoxes of human behaviour and is considered to be the first psychoanalytic novel. It represents the journal of the unreliable narrator Zeno Cosini as he undergoes psychoanalysis, and this contrasts with the efficacy of CDZ's seventies-inspired musical narratives. CDZ initially played a modern style of progressive music that was influenced by the giants of UK prog rock. In fact, while they were working on their debut album last year they recorded a track for the YES tribute project ''Tales from the Edge''. However with the departure a couple of years earlier of the band's original guitarist, Matteo Malvezzi, CDZ's sound drew closer to that of the classic Italian bands such as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, although modified with a slight Neo-prog edge. The various members of CDZ themselves have a fairly illustrious pedigree and number the likes of NARROW PASS, IL TEMPIO DELLE CLESSIDRE, FINISTERRE and MALOMBRA among their former bands.

The band underwent a further change of direction during 2008 with the arrival of keyboards-player Stefano Agnini from new wave band VICO DELL'AMOR PERFETTO. With Agnini on board, CDZ recorded a song for a Mellow Records compilation that showcased the talents of new Italian progressive acts. The band's repertoire centres largely on re-workings of Agnini's songs, and his rich texts form the main parallelisms between the Zeno novel and the music of CDZ. While the band's first stimulus is to dedicate itself to producing music founded on the legacy of the past, they also have a particular regard to writing refined lyrics and are driven by a self-conscious desire to create distinct atmospheres. Agnini has subsequently quit as a full-time member but his texts are no less important therefore he continues to collaborate with the songwriting. During the years 2008 and 2009 guitarist Davide Serpico and keyboardist Andrea Lotti joined, and in May 2010 recording of the band's debut got underway with the following line-up: Gabriele Guidi Colombi (bass), Andrea Orlando (drums, percussion), Alessio Calandriello (vocals), Davide Serpico (electric and acoustic guitars), Andrea Lotti (piano, keyboards, acoustic guitar), and Stefano Agnini (piano, keyboards).

Released in May 2011, the se...
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La Coscienza Di ZenoLa Coscienza Di Zeno
Mellow Records
Audio CD$14.98 (used)
SensitivitaSensitivita
Import
Belle Antique 2013
Audio CD$21.99
$16.99 (used)
LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO +2(reissue)LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO +2(reissue)
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4.02 | 158 ratings
La Coscienza di Zeno
2011
3.92 | 158 ratings
SensitivitÓ
2013

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LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO Reviews


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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 158 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

3 stars Happily I grabbed this chance to listen to more Italian prog, which perhaps is the best nowadays. La Coscienza di Zeno's second album from this year was praised and has even better rating than Interaggi della Valle's magnificent record. Therefore I was ready to be impressed. But I wasn't. Every record can't be a star, some just do their very best and it seems to work that way. To be honest I don't find so much original here. I like to listen to it so it's not in any way a bad album. As usual I'll start with the albums merits.

La Coscienza di Zeno plays heavy symphonic prog with bearing and profitable Italian vocals. They variate their album with both soft, light and dark parts. Each long song follows the symphonic tradition of different passages and sensitive music. The instruments used here are the common ones but in the last song I think I hear harmonium and flute. As often I would like to mention the both longest tracks "Sensitiva" and "La Temperanza" for being the highlights. I also enjoy "CittÓ di Dite" and "Chiusa 1915" much.

My review of the album is though not irrefutably good. Much of what I hear here bears an undistinguished feeling I can't get rid of. Where are the brave and reckless adventures? When do they challange my mind? I shouldn't be picky and perhaps this is just my way to defend my opinion. The cover doesn't either appeal to me. A strength though is that this disc doesn't contain any bad tracks.

As keyboard driven music I should mention Stefano Agnini and Luca Scherani who plays it. It don't bother me so much but perhaps you'll like it. Three stars!

All songs(in order of being great): 2.Sensitiva(8/10), 7.La Temperanza(8/10), 4.Chiusa 1915(7/10), 1.CittÓ di Dite(7/10), 5.Tensegrita(6/10), 6.Pauvre Misere(6/10), 3.Tenve(6/10)

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 158 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

5 stars Many new Italian bands try to emulate their glory Prog 70's days, but just a few of them actually achieve that high goal. La Coscienza Di Zeno is definitely one of them, beginning with the name, that definitely reminds me the old days. But not just their name made me remind the past.

SensitivitÓ (2013) is the band's second album and it was released by Alt Rock/Fading Records. These two labels are responsible for some great Prog music released in the last two years or so. La Coscienza Di Zeno was formed in 2007 and they're doing everything to have the big sound 70's had. To achieve that the band plays as a sextet, including two keyboard players. They are Alessio Calandriello (vocals), Gabriele Guidi Colombi (bass), Andrea Orlando (drums and percussion), Davide Serpico (guitars) and Stefano Agnini and Luca Scherani (keyboards).

I can honestly say that SensitivitÓ (2013) pretty much blew me away from the very beginning. The extraordinary piano intro in 'La CittÓ Di Ditte' leads us to greater things, a fast passage full of synths and great vocals by Alessandro Calandriello. This track is probably one of the best I've heard in many years. In its 6'46 minutes La Coscienza Di Zeno was able to gather pretty much everything I love about Prog Rock. They have the melodic side, the synthesizers, the great vocal and the climax. A better start for an album would be impossible.

The album's title-track begins weird with a keyboard that soon disappears and is replaced by a piano. Luca Scherani and Stefano Agnini know how to use their keyboards. This track has the classic 70's Italian Prog style with acoustic guitars included and of course, synths. 'SensitivitÓ' is the longest track on the album and captives the Italian sextet in their best melodic suit.

'Tenue' is the shortest track on the album and it's a pretty ballad led by piano. But I would also say that this is the weakest one on SensitivitÓ (2013). 'Chiusa 1915' brings back the great synths but now followed by a great bass line by Gabriele Guidi Colombi and also clever guitars by Davide Serpico. A great intro. By the time the vocals come in the piano is the main sound.

'TensegritÓ' has the guitar as the main instrument in the intro and a different kind of chord progression in the verses. Around the second minute a fantastic bass interlude appears and then the song changes, becoming more dynamic. The shadows and the light have always been present in the Italian Prog and 'TensegritÓ' is a modern version of that. 'Pauvre Misere' follows the same path of excellence as the previous tracks with strong and melodic music. But here they added a very weird tempo throughout the verses. They also have in the last bit some violins to improve their music even more. Superb!

As the closing track La Coscienza Di Zeno presents us 'La Temperanza' with more than 10 minutes. Piano, flute, acoustic guitar, violin and cello give the intro a complete classical feeling. At least till Andrea Orlando's drums appear. They have many different sounds going on here and for my personal pleasure they added some synths too. The verses are in waltz tempo but in the middle everything goes weird and fast with tons of different sections. Just great!

La Coscienza Di Zeno's SensitivitÓ (2013) is somewhat out of our regular, and for times overcrowded, Prog Rock world. Is something else! This is one of the best albums I've heard in the last couple of years and easily my Top 5 from 2013. On top of that, SensitivitÓ (2013) is beautiful to the eyes too as we have great artwork in the cover and booklet.

If you're a fan of Italian Progressive Rock and don't know this band/album yet? you should be ashamed of yourself cause this is a serious candidate to become a new classic.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 La Coscienza di Zeno by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 158 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by anglagard

4 stars This album contains the soul of the best Italian progressive rock albums. The principal ingredients of this disc are great sensibility and great Musical arrangements with a powerfull and beautiful voice. 'Alessio Calandriello' has an incredible voice, very melodic and his voice has a lot of protagonism in the work. The songs 'La Citta di Ditte' and 'Sensitivita' are a crushing beginning, simply they are perfect songs. 'Tenue' has a delicious cadence. Last minutes of Tensegrita are one of the best moments of the progressive Italian rock history and the beginning of 'The Temperanza' is a good example and a demonstration of the musical greatness of the "La Coscienza di Zeno", this song is a perfect closing to the album... 'Sensitivita' is indisputably one classic of the progressive Italian music. 9 stars

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 158 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars La Coscienza di Zeno now looks like the real deal, a potential RPI giant that will keep the flame of Italian prog burning brightly for many decades. Their sublime debut album had all the hallmarks of a stunning discovery of various talents, especially the voice of Alessio Calandriello , not to mention some stellar musicianship from a Goblin/Banco dual keyboard attack, with lush guitar, as well as rock solid bass and drums. Thankfully, only a slight line- up change was penciled in for this effort, a switch of ivoryman Andrea Lotti for the seasoned Luca Scherani (H÷stsonaten), so the backbone is still in place. Generally, there is a sophomore jinx and my expectations are always to, at the very most, equal the first offering. CDZ does that with a great amount of flair, as all musicians conspire to shine brightly once again.

Calandriello has an inspiring and full voice, quite original in his highest note presentation and knows how to ratchet up the emotion. He also can tone it down into a shuddering whisper. Guitarist Davide Serpico is rather keen on meaty riffs and occasional twisted leads, bassist Gabriele Guidi Colombi carves some strenuous lines throughout, helping ex-Finisterre drummer Andrea Orlando affirm with authority. But, CDZ's claim to fame is the double keyboard formula which gives the arrangements enormous depth and width, brilliant in dabbing little detailed splotches of mellotron where strategically needed, whilst leaving the gorgeous piano to lead the electric orchestra. To tighten the excitement, a barrage of synthesized wizardry surfaces often and willingly. Both Scherani and Stefano Agnini really know how to play the ivories. The mellower pieces such as the soporific "Tenue" are leaning towards jazzier confines, which only increase the pleasure and the flow. These lads are capable of hurtling like a Ferrari or gliding along silken Venetian waters on a gondola. The results are breathtaking as evidenced by the sterling title composition as well as the epic finale "Temperanza", both glittering prog prizes, both happening to be the longest pieces here.

That is not to say that the band has not mastered the 7 minute extravaganza as "Chiusa 1915", "Tensegrita", the frantic "Pauvre Misere" and the slick opener all qualify as utterly successful and each with their own identity and character.

I am still rapturously enamored by their debut disc (and its startling artwork), so many more spins will be needed to anoint "Sensitivita" with an equal score, but I am working hard on it. CDZ has immense talents, so I need to do my usual 'concentrate on one instrument throughout' formula and really revel in the prowess displayed by each player. But even the initial spin is quite delirious, full of inventive playfulness and bold confidence. Their music requires, no demands! repeat visits, a true sign of genius. A fabulous talent!

4.5 sophomore reactions

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 158 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by anglagard

5 stars This album contains the soul of the best Italian progressive rock albums. The principal ingredients of this disc are great sensibility and great Musical arrangements with a powerfull and beautiful voice. 'Alessio Calandriello' has an incredible voice, very melodic and his voice has a lot of protagonism in the work. The songs 'La Citta di Ditte' and 'Sensitivita' are a crushing beginning, simply they are perfect songs. 'Tenue' has a delicious cadence. Last minutes of Tensegrita are one of the best moments of the progressive Italian rock history and the beginning of 'The Temperanza' is a good example and a demonstration of the musical greatness of the "La Coscienza di Zeno", this song is a perfect closing to the album. 'Sensitivita' is indisputably one classic of the progressive Italian music . 9 Stars.

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 158 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars This is a young Italian group with a great, powerful sound--as good as anything that came out of RPI in the 70s. And what a voice in singer Alessio Calandriello! Though there is a ton of 70's-like RPI power here, my review's references are, unfortunately, more weighted to the more familiar world of English symphonic rock.

1. "La citta di dite" (6:46) has some great sounds and dynamics but is a bit inconsistent, confusing and, ultimately, wayward in its meanderings. (8/10)

2. "Sensitivita" (12:22) the instrumental jam beginning at 3:20 is an awesome whole-band production--though the synths/keys are pretty outstanding. At 5:15 things calm down significantly giving Alessio space for some sensitive and powerful singing. At 6:21 we are treated to a brief bass- and electric guitar-led section. The mellotron-acccompanied vocal section beginning at 7:30 is quite powerful--with drummer Andrea Orlando really shining from here on out. The instrumental build-to-crescendo in the ninth minute is awesome! Very GENESIS-like, though the classical piano chord hits in the background remind me of RENAISSANCE's John Tout. Very strong song, well organized and never meandering or lacking for power and emotion. Definitely one to go back to over and over. (10/10)

3. "Tenue" (3:31) shows the band turning its piano-jazz bar side out for viewing. Slowed down and almost jazzy, this one uses a lot of unusual treatments/effects on the vocal, drums, guitar, and other instruments which, unfortunately, seems to give it a feel as if it is aimlessly searching for its sound groove. (7/10)

4. "Chiusa 1915" (7:04) begins with some wonderful keyboard, piano, and electric guitar weaves until suddenly, at 1:15, it all stops to become a sparse piano-accompanied vocal (great vocal and melody lines!) As the rest of the band gradually rejoin all is right again?a very nice song to accompany Alessio's amazing voice. Nice soli intermittently interjected from electric guitar and synthesizer. Very And Then There Were Three--familiar at the 3:30 mark. Like the bass-line and other unexpected changes from 4:10. Kind of SYLVAN-like. 4:50 back to the "The Lady Lies" sound again. Very catchy melodies and chord progressions throughout--a very mature neo-prog song creation in the vein of NINE STONES CLOSE, KNIGHT AREA or MYSTERY. (9/10)

5. "Tensegrita" (7:18) begins a bit cheesy-bombastically with electric guitar over electric piano and rhythm section. Odd carnival-like instrument at 1:00. This song is personality challenged--kind of like a I AND THOU creation?syrupy and over-melodic with almost too- cliched hooks and melodies. Again, Tony Banks' influence from c. 1978-9 is incredibly strong here. Ultimately, this one fails to deliver because it fails to bring itself together in a cohesive, sensible fashion--though it certainly seems to be trying! (7/10)

6. "Pauvre misere" (7:49) once again begins with some over-the-top neo sounds and structures. What was once a lovely, refreshing ride is beginning to get old and feeling a bit forced. It is only when Alessio's voice is allowed to take center stage that all is right. Odd shift in style and sound at 2:20. Are they trying to go jazz, eclectic or avant-gard? It does tighten up a bit for a while before another shift showcases Alessio the Crooner--later to turn to Alessio the Broadway singer. Strings at 5:30 usher in a nice instrumental section with some clever time and key changes and interesting though subtle instrumental soli--to fade! (8/10)

7. "La temperanza" (10:38) begins with some acoustic instruments weaving in an almost neo-classical fashion. The YUGEN/AltrOck influence shows on this one. Great harmonies of multiple melody lines. At 3:11 Alessio and the band take on a kind of "Get 'em Out by Friday" mantle. At 5:02 things turn a little dirtier--SYLVAN-like! Very cool! At 6:15 sparse background electric guitar arpeggios (à la GENESIS c. 1971) opens up a quite lovely section. Definitely my favorite song on the album. (10/10)

I don't know how well the band worked on the various songs on this album but there are several, like the title song and the last song, that just feel like they are much more well worked out, more complex, and much more mature. This band, this album, are definitely a very positive find for me. Considering they are considered a "young" band, I will look forward to following their growth and development throughout their career(s).

A 3.5 star album (for inconsistencies) that I'll rate up for its high points--which are among the highest of 2013, so far.

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 La Coscienza di Zeno by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 158 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

5 stars Sort of an Italian Prog supergroup, La Coscienza di zeno from Genoa were born in 2007, led by bassist Gabriele Guidi Colombi (Trama, Narrow Pass, Il Tempio delle Clessidre and Armalite), drummer Andrea Orlando (Malombra and Finisterre), singer Alessio Calandriello from Narrow Pass and guitarist Matteo Malvezzi.During the summer of 2008 Malvezzi was replaced by keyboardist Stefano Agnini, followed a bit later by guitarist David Serpico.The last to enter the band was keyboardist Andrea Lotti in 2009 and the next year begin the recordings of the band's debut.This was released eventually on Mellow Records in 2011.

''La Coscienza di zeno'' is structurally a strange album.It starts off with a style like a cross between Neo/Symphonic Rock mixed with modern Italian Prog, but closes in a complete Classic Italian Prog heaven.The first few tracks sound like contemporary bands such as YLECLIPSE or SITHONIA with big time nods to Classic Italian Prog.Plenty of powerful synth runs (sometimes even with a MARILLION-esque flavor), careful guitar moves but also huge Classical-drenched organ themes offer series of dynamic and impressive pieces of music.The arrangements are excellent with lots of interplays and the vocals come in the best Italian Prog tradition.The more the album unfolds, the more come in evidence the influences from the 70's.Fantastic Mellotron washes and delicate piano interludes make up for some trully majestic moments.Slowly the guitar parts become heavier with touches of MUSEO ROSENBACH in the listening, while the best is saved for last.The last two pieces are simply outstanding, close to the sound of LA MACHERA DI CERA.Amazing flute drives, bombastic organs and Mellotrons, punchy guitars and jazzy pianos collaborate to result two complex, melodic and grandiose arrangements of unmet beauty, even more strengthened by the poetic voice of Calandriello.

Searching for high-class Italian Prog from the recent years?Look no further.La Coscienza di zeno will leave you speechless with their ultimate deegrees of technique and composing.Fantastic, almost masterful material...4.5 stars upgraded.

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 La Coscienza di Zeno by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 158 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars La Coscienza di Zeno began life in Genoa in 2007 on the initiative of three experienced musicians: Gabriele Guidi Colombi (bass - previously in other bands such as Trama, Narrow Pass, Armalite, Il Tempio delle clessidre, Hidebehind), Andrea Orlando (drums ' previously with Finisterre, Malombra, Real Dream) and Alessio Clandriello (vocals ' previously with Narrow Pass, Hidebehind, Klepsydra, Lucid Dream). Later the line up was completed by Stefano Agnini (keyboards), Davide Serpico (guitar) and Andrea Lotti (keyboards, guitar). The name of the band is taken from the tile of a famous novel by Italian writer Italo Svevo, Zeno's Conscience, which is based on the psychological analysis of the protagonist, Zeno Cosini, a man who tries to find out the reasons of his emotional weakness. The musicians thought that there was a strong connection between the spirit of this literary work and what they were trying to express throughout their music and lyrics. Their first eponymous full length album was released in 2011 on the independent label Mellow Records and in the studio the band was helped by same guest musicians such as Luca Scherani (accordion), Joanne Roan (flute), Rossano Villa (strings arrangements) and Lidia Molinari (vocals) who contributed to enrich sound. The result is excellent, the strong influences of the Italian prog masters of the seventies are effectively mixed with a touch of up to date technology and an original song-writing. The original, disquieting art cover by Dario Milana (a.k.a. D Tao) probably depicts the content of the album better than many words...

The opener 'Cronovisione' (Chronovision) starts with a keyboards surge and a lively rhythm but in the middle section the mood suddenly changes, there's a thunder and the music stops giving way to a cryptic narrative vocal part... 'The stones are telling a story / When you touch them lightly you become part of the story... The conscience of the matter submerges you / If it only could speak men will become insane...'. After this warning the rhythm rises again but the atmosphere becomes darker while some Oriental influences add a touch of mystery to the music.

'Gatto lupesco' (Wolfish cat) begins with piano and vocals in the forefront. The lyrics draw the blurred lines of a strange character, a young man whose look makes seem him much older than he really is. He's tired of struggles, he would like to set off looking for new experiences but not in the army as his father did... Then the rhythm rises, the other instruments come in and the music becomes more complex. Along with the sunburnt body of the protagonist now you can see his tiredness and the shivering of someone who tried to overcome the remorse of his bad conscience but failed. Now his conscience surreptitiously tantalizes him like a 'wolfish cat'... After an effervescent instrumental break the vocals come back commenting the attitude of the protagonist... 'As if you were another man / As if you were speaking of another man / Your otherness prevents you to be yourself / And to be a different man as well...'.

'Nei cerchi del legno' (In the circles of the wood) is a long, complex track in four parts inspired by Le avventure di Pinocchio, a famous novel by Italian writer Carlo Collodi that tells the adventures of an animated puppet who eventually becomes a real child. The lyrics, by means of some short poetical flash-backs, try to investigate the roots of the conscience that lies in the circles of the wood which forms the body of the protagonist... 'In the evening you used to come back home with the burden of your truancy... In the night you secretly studied the forbidden books / To build your civil consciousness...'. An excellent track!

'Il fattore precipitante' (The precipitant factor) deals in some way with therianthropy and describes a strange character who is going through a terrible inner conflict between instinct and reason. At last the factor that inhibits the animal instinct falls apart and gives way to the wild call of an inhuman nature... 'Man-beast, old theriomorphs / Leader of the pack, you were born wrong...'. Soaring vocals fly towards unexpected heights as if howling to the moon.

The acoustic, evocative 'Il basilisco' (The basilisk) is introduced by the accordion of the guest Luca Scherani and features a strong Mediterranean flavour. The lyrics describe in a poetical way a land between rocks and sea, a steep coast overlooking the sea and its merciless fury. It's a beautiful country with a glorious past but where the life is hard and from where many people want to leave... 'The basilisk spits at us the heritage of the coat of arms / Then it smiles and goes back to the sea / Looking for a new master to dominate...'.

'Un insolito baratto alchemico' (An unusual alchemic exchange) is an excellent instrumental track featuring many changes in rhythm and mood where electric guitar riffs, organ waves and swirling flute notes embroider dark images and unquiet dreams...

The final track 'Acustica felina' (Feline acoustic) is complex and tense. The lyrics investigate the background of a haughty woman who acts like a star and looks like the beautiful witch in the story of Snow White... 'Eat your damned apple, do it! / Get poisoned with your own taste / Once in your life taste yourself...'. The music leads you through the vortex of the conscience of a bad girl. She was a disappointment for her parents but she met the wrong people and is also a victim of her broken dreams... 'Words pronounced with young innocence burn inside whom can to listen to them...'.

On the whole an excellent album. It's not an easy one but it grows spin after spin...

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 La Coscienza di Zeno by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 158 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars There is nothing better than seeing various reviewers correctly identify the same vibe, and in this instance with La Coscienza di Zeno, the near unanimity about its slow infusion into one's musical mind is spectacular to witness and nod in rapt agreement. Yes, this is one definite temperate snail (Escargot-prog, a new sub-genre????) that barely elicits a first impression , yielding upward spiraling praise as one revisits over and over willingly (it has mystical effects on the decision-making process, like a beckoning siren in the storm). There are mostly all fantastic tracks that have the audacity to include 2 real killer pieces, the luxuriantly elegant "Nei Cerchi del Legno" and the jaw-dropping "Il Fattore Precipittante". The first is a fully developed 13 minute section that swerves and weaves with utter class and distinction, very much in a team-oriented spirit that eschews egos and prima-donna attitudes, the ensemble playing is seamless, technical yet always romantic, occasionally seasoned with unexpected tones from both the guitarist and the keyboards, led by some dazzling piano runs (always a good omen in prog when the Steinways rule) and throw in some servile flute exercises et voila! Genius stuff! This is precisely the kind of prog that requires blind obedience to the listening experience, no distraction or yearning for background music (the new modern pop!). With a line-up featuring 2 keyboardists (Stefano Agnini and Andrea Lotti) who clearly favor the piano as the predominant instrument, one cannot help to make comparisons with Banco or Goblin. The presence of Andrea Orlando who once drummed for the mighty Finisterre only confirms his immense talent, bashing like a madman on steroids. All these elements are up front and center on the opener "Cronovisione", a rollicking piece of music that has synths fluttering passionately and a crunching church organ finale. Wow! On "Gatto Lupesco", lead singer Alessio Calandrillo infuses his rather insane pipes into the mix with dirty guitarist Davide Serpico slashing wide swaths of fuzzy chords and a strong foundation laid down firmly by the regimental rhythm section. Tremendous variation in keyboard sounds with trilling synths, rumbling organ, dissonant piano give this piece and the remaining ones a clear understanding of the core philosophy behind this band. There are many similarities with newer RPI bands such as CAP, the short lived Foglie di Vetro, Narrow Pass, Chiave di Volta and Notabene. The previously mentioned "Nei Cerchi del Legno" is a total 4 part joy from beginning to end, with countless mood swings and furious playing (that darn drummer again putting on one hell of a cymbal show) but balanced by a lead melody (yeah on piano) to croak for! Supremely refined, gentle and evocative, this music is. Serpico then parallels the theme with his gruff guitar tone and segues into a pastoral lullaby that introduces Alessio's passion laden vocals. This track is an RPI classic and cannot go unacknowledged. Now if you were still unsure about his vocals, check out the delirious "Il Fattore Precipittante" and shiver in delight, as he howls like some helium-fueled hair metal vocalist, a wild lungfest that will leave you bewildered! I could not help but laughing in pure awe. Spooky synths and bruising guitar leads vie for the podium, simply memorable and stunning music as the piano settles the fury and stamps the deal. Man, can this guy sing or what? The phenomenal vocal display continues on "Il Basilisco", a showcase for further instrumental development as well as a welcome change of pace, exposing the band softer side with H÷stsonaten's Luca Scherani's use of the Fisarmonica (Italian accordion), again highlighting a gorgeous melody that instills reverence and the highest praise (the choir finale is particularly poignant!). On the instrumental "Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico", the mood is both playful and intense, led by Gabriele Guido Colombi's rabid bass, adorned by Joanne Roan's fluttering flute (she is another H÷stsonaten veteran) and some pompous (in a good sense) church organ columns of sound. Orlando keeps things nice and tight with some savvy beats, introducing the suave piano solo that is simply exquisite in its finesse. By this time, it is clear we are in the presence of a fine recording that will continue to grow (is that possible? Yup!) , never tedious or even remotely predictable. The grand finale does not disappoint either as "Acustica Felina" competently rÚsumÚs the work, a 9 and a half minute opus of sheer splendor, featuring all those characteristics that make La Coscienza di Zeno a strong new player on the Prog scene. Massive blasts of mellotron, strings and assorted other ivories, biting axe interventions, aggressive singing paralleled by some furious drumming. But the unsuspectingly shy melodies are what make this debut such a glittering prize, a gem that needed time and space to blossom and what a jewel it is. Imagine for a second a disc that just keeps growing and growing (thoughts of that silly Enzyte commercial!) . Incredible 5 smiles .

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 La Coscienza di Zeno by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 158 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars Over the last few years the Italian prog scene seems healthier than it's been in quite a while with many great albums from bands such as Pandora, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre, Gran Turismo Veloce and La Maschera Di Cera to name a few and that's without going into the bands that are still with us or have reformed from the golden seventies era. Another one to keep an eye on are La Coscienza Di Zeno, a six piece from Genoa who formed in 2007 and released their debut album in 2011.

This eponymous debut is a very mature album, no doubt helped by band members having a past in various Italian formations such as Finisterre, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre and Narrow Pass. CDZ like most bands in the current RPI scene acknowledge the past without succumbing totally to a retrogressive style and keep at least one foot firmly in the present though not as obvious as fellow countrymen Gran Turismo Veloce who have a more streamlined and harder modern sound. CDZ sound more organic where mellower parts sit alongside heavier sections on their inventive and complex compositions. Neo prog plays a part in their sound with symphonic sections too. There are some truly excellent moments such as the thirteen minute Nei Cerchi Del Legno and moody instrumental Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico to name just two but occasional lapses steal it of classic status. Nevertheless there's no denying this is a very good debut by anyone's standards and if CDZ stick around they have the potential to be somewhere near the top of the current breed of RPI bands. 3 Ż stars.

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