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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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4.13 | 151 ratings
La Coscienza di Zeno
2011
3.97 | 147 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
3.97 | 147 ratings

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SensitivitÓ
La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. It's been quite the journey the last couple of weeks with this album. I went from not even liking it after one listen to finally enjoying it after six spins, but the issues I had with it after one listen were still there. My rating was finally decided after playing the debut and realizing that it is so much better than "Sensitivita", well in my opinion of course. These two records do have a different "feel" from each other and certainly the biggest difference for me is how prominant the vocals are in this latest offering. Just to back-track I have to say the vocals are beyond very good which is why I think they became the focus this time around after so many positive comments about them(from the debut) by people all over the world.

One lineup change from the debut with one of the keyboardists leaving to be replaced by Luca Scherani who actually guested on the debut. Here he plays piano, synths and mellotron along with bouzouki and accordion. We also get four guests here playing flute, violin, violincello and mellotron. The one thing I do like better here than on the debut is the abundance of mellotron.

"La Citta Di Dite" opens with some beautiful piano melodies before it kicks in hard with passionate vocals and more. Man what a contrast. They're just galloping along then it settles right down before 3 1/2 minutes with reserved vocals. Man he can sing as heard before 5 minutes followed by some majestic mellotron. "Sensitivita" puts the focus on the vocals to start with piano helping out. Synths and piano only lead 3 minutes in before it picks up. Great instrumental section right here then the vocals return before 5 1/2 minutes. Mellotron and more passionate vocals follow. A guitar solo and prominant bass impress. Man the vocals and mellotron are killer once again later on. "Tenue" is a gorgeous track with fragile vocals, piano, bass and a light beat.

"Chiusa" is ethnic sounding instrumentally before a calm with vocals takes over 1 1/2 minutes in. Contrasts continue. "Tensegrita" has a nice heavy sound as the vocals join in. It's fairly slow paced. Not a fan of the final two minutes where the vocals become the focus in this ballad-like finish. "Pauvre Misere" has an excellent guitar led section to start. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in then we get a heavy sound 3 minutes in after the vocals stop. Lots of mellotron 4 1/2 minutes in along with strings. "Temperanza" opens with piano as flute, intricate guitar, strings and more help out. Drums arrive around 1 1/2 minutes followed by accordion. Vocals after 3 minutes as things pick up. It turns heavy 5 minutes in in what is the heaviest part of the album, nice bass too. Strings and flute follow then vocals.

There's so much on this recording that I really enjoy so it's a shame not to give it 4 stars but this is a big step down from the debut in my opinion.

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 147 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Seems like La Coscienza di Zeno is one of those fairly recent RPI bands that I'm hearing a lot of positive words about lately, and rightfully so, especially after hearing their recent release, Sensivita. Sporting members from various Italian bands (Il Tempio delle Clessidere, Malombra, Narrow, and Finisterre), La Coscienza di Zeno is a group that is not lacking in experience and uniqueness. While they maintain a very distinct RPI sound, CDZ manages to do so without sounding totally throwback or like a ripoff of other RPI groups. There's something about this band that still says 2013 despite the fact that there is plenty about their sound palette and vibe that screams out 70's prog.

After a brief piano intro, CDZ wastes no time in screaming out 'prog' with some roaring Moog lead right up in your face. "La Citta di Dite" goes all out with memorable vocal lines and a wall of guitars and keys that aren't afraid to get heavy. On the back end it also demonstrates the sheer emotion the band can conjure up in the soft sections through nicely layered arrangements and phenomenal interpretations of vocal lines. After this strong opener these Italian boys decide, for a couple of songs, to take a break from the heaviness of the first track as they quickly move on to "Sensitivita," a piece that delivers a passionate, almost romantic, vocal performance and is all around one of the most focused songs on the album. Next up is "Tenue," a jazzy piano driven track employing low fi effects on vocals and drums to deliver a sort of nostalgic feel drenched in melancholy.

"Chiusa 1915″ takes us right back into prog territory with some nice interplay between keys, bass, guitar, and drums before introducing a piano part that weaves smoothly in and out of the heavier sections. After getting a bit more somber we dive straight into some vocal lines that really shine before building power, adding guitar, organ and analog leads for some oomph. "Tensegrita" caught my attention with loads of piano-work and an ending section featuring a variation on "A Whiter Shade of Pale" while "Pauvre misere" gives us some great 7/8 grooves and standout use of vibrato and nuanced inflections from Alessio Calandriello, and even includes a really cool instrumental section spearheaded by guest strings players. If there's a piece on this album that is pretty zany, this is it, whirling through passages that recall neoprog, avant-garde, symphonic rock, and even prog metal.

Then there's "La temperanza," the true beast of the album. Clocking in at over ten minutes, "La temperanza" shows that La Coscienza di Zeno can do much more than just write cool songs. Starting off with interweaving piano, violin, and cello, with a strong emphasis on counterpoint and neoclassical chamber atmosphere, the piece certainly knows how to give you some twists and turns as it subsequently rolls through folky accordion and strings and even gets dance-like at times while still maintaining a sense of darkness in the vocal melodies. As we approach the five minute mark the tone gets even more grim and the band spices it up with distorted guitar and an instrumental part that incorporates symphonics and even a hint of avante-garde before returning to a very passionate vocal performance with minimal instrumentation and no percussion. After passing through the final phases of a banquet of symphonic rock, the band wraps up this piece which truly capitalizes on its instrumental sections. We'll see what the future holds, but I'm anticipating some real epic stuff from CDZ in the future after hearing this piece.

Sensitivita turns out to be an impressive sophomore release from a band that already got off to a phenomenal start with their first album. In reality, it's a record that offers fantastic performances on each member's respective instrument while keeping a clear song driven direction with key emphasis on the vocals; Calandriello's sublime voice instantly calls to mind the passionate and theatrical vocal tradition of bands such as Locanda delle Fate and Banco del Mutuosoccorso and is always right up front, driving the performance (he even got huge compliments from my wife, who is not a prog fan!). As a solid backdrop to the vocals we see loads of Scherani's moody piano playing that often has a slight jazz feel, giving the band a unique touch, supported by an extremely tasteful rhythm section. In the end, if you're looking for focused songwriting, powerful melodies, and passionate vocals, you've come to the right place. Kudos to La Coscienza di Zeno for a great release.

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 SensitivitÓ by COSCIENZA DI ZENO, LA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 147 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
3.97 | 147 ratings

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La Coscienza di Zeno Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions 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
4.13 | 151 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
3.97 | 147 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
3.97 | 147 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
3.97 | 147 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
4.13 | 151 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
4.13 | 151 ratings

BUY
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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