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SOULENGINE

Symphonic Prog • Italy


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SoulenginE biography
To find the origins of this Milan based band, we only need to travel back to 2007, when the skilled guitarist Ettore Salati and the virtuoso keyboardist contacted Nando de Luca and Giacomo Pacini and together forms SoulenginE, a Classical Italian band with a modern Symphonic sound carefully blended with hints of Jazz, Psychedelia and everything a good Proghead loves.

It's important to mention that Ettore is well known among Progressive Rock listeners, being that he was founder of the Italian Neo Prog band THE WATCH, and Fabio was invited to play Moog in their third album "Primitive" (2007). But their approach is absolutely different in SoulenginE, where they embrace RPI oriented Symphonic with a modern twist.

After a couple of EP's, their official debut "Mind Colours" has reached the stores in 2012, and for what can be listened, I dare to vaticinate them a long and prosper career in this new millennium, because they have the talent and compositional skills, the rest is only luck

Iván Melgar-Morey - Perú

SoulenginE official website

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3.82 | 24 ratings
Mind Colours
2012

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SOULENGINE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SoulenginE were formed in Milan in 2007 on the initiative of guitarist Ettore Salati (who is also a member of RedZen and of the Alex Carpani Band) and keyboardist Fabio Mancini who had just left their previous band, The Watch. Later the line up was completed by bassist Nando De Luca and drummer Giacomo Pacini and the band began to work on new compositions blending vintage sounds and new ideas with a wide range of influences going from progressive rock to jazz, from fusion to psychedelia. After a hard work, in 2012 they released their first full length album on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records, Mind Colours, featuring a nice art work by Davide Guidoni that in some way tries to catch the spirit of this work, a variegated mix of musical colours and dizzy reveries. The album is almost completely instrumental but never boring and the all the members of the band showcase a great musicianship.

The excellent opener "Polheim" begins softly with a strummed acoustic guitar pattern and a dark organ background, then the rhythm rises while keyboards and electric guitar begin to embroider charming melodic lines. Polheim (Home at the Pole) is the name that Roald Amundsen gave to his camp at the South Pole when he reached it with his expedition on December 14, 1911 but this piece was also used to comment Dante Alighieri's immortal poetry in the Musea's tribute to his Divine Comedy. In particular, this track is related to the verses of Purgatory ? Canto VI, where the Sommo Poeta compares Italy to a vessel without a pilot in a storm, a country that has became savage and unmanageable on account of the greediness and selfishness of its political class. Anyway, close your eyes and let the music drive! You're embarking on an adventurous musical journey through time and space.

Next comes the dreamy "Third In Line" featuring delicate piano passages and a spicy flavoured finale, a kind of oriental delight. It leads to "Rain Flower", sprinkled with Latin rock echoes that could recall Santana, then it's the turn of the calm, jazzy "On The Other Side", an evocative piece full of soft nuances.

The atmosphere of the following "Down The Street" is nightmarish and tense. It depicts a personal crises and features English lyrics written by Ettore Salati and Ettore's brother Giorgio (a.k.a. Joe Sal) on vocals. It is linked to "No Way Out", a nervous, short instrumental. Then comes the dark "No Rewarding".

"Asleep" is another piece featuring English lyrics and the guest vocalist Joe Sal. It's a reflective track that draws the imagine of a man who has to get out of his dreams to take his responsibilities... "I've been asleep / And I never thought how could it be / To be awake / See the light, feel the sounds...". It leads to the beautiful conclusive track, "Challenge To An End", a long, complex piece featuring another guest, Davide Gandino, on flute. Well, on the whole I think that this is very good album that it's really worth listening to. Have a try!

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 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by The Mystical

2 stars I was disappointed with "Mind Colours". There are some nice moments here, but they are lost between the many grooves that are played. There is a lack of interesting melodies here, which lets the album down in a big way, considering that it is mainly an instrumental album. The album is not displeasing to the ears, but it leaves much to be desired. The musicianship of this band is excellent. The band are very tight, and the keyboard player is fantastic. But I personally find the composition here rather boring. There are a few good tracks, such as "Polheim" and "Challenge to an End", but I find that even in these tracks, there is a lack of melodicism and it gets monotonous rather quickly. I can see why many people seem to love this release, but in my personal opinion it is just not that good. The band is promising however, and I will look out for any new releases. 2 stars.

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 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by Roland113
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Well this is a pleasant surprise.

So, I arrived at work this morning and wasn't sure what I was going to listen to, pulled up Progstreaming and saw an option for a band that I'd never heard. The cover looked cool so I gave it a whirl.

Holy smokes, Mind Colours is fantastic. Five minutes into the album I realize that I've stumbled onto a gem. Every musician in this band is top notch and the rhythm section melds together fantastically. The first song, Polheim, has moments of Genesis interspersed with moments of Return to Forever.

Fabio Mancin is obviously a virtuoso keyboard player and has a fantastic sense of backing rhythm vs solo madness. He can do both and the important thing, is that he knows the right one to play at any given time. Ettore Salati's guitar blends perfectly with Mancin's keyboards. I would describe his style as a combination of Carlos Santana, Steve Hackett and a modern shredder (sorry, no one comes to mind at the moment).

The rhythm section of Nando de Luca and Giacomo Pacin are firing on all cylinders and sound like they've been playing together for years. Pacin, in particular is incredibly intricate, the cymbal work in No Rewarding made me sit up and say wow.

All in all, this is a great addition to anyone's collection. It's a tight combination of Symphonic and Fusion with an amazing rhythm section to balance out a pair of vets on the lead instruments.

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 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars SoulenginE is a new instrumental kid on the sympho-prog block that just may make some huge inroads in the future, featuring 4 incredibly adept musicians formulating a tried and true style that actually sets new frontiers with wickedly tight playing, breakneck turn-on-a- dime contours and an overpowering sense of achievement emanating from the plastic. There are some trilling Hackettisms are on display here as guitarist Ettore Salati tortures his axe with frivolous disregard for normalcy. We are also witness to drummer extraordinaire Giacomo Pacini, who likes to shove the pieces along with deft bashing in a semi-jazz-rock style. Together they really excavate nicely on the opener "Polheim", a thrilling introduction to their sensational talent. Every single subsequent title will have its own idiosyncrasy, each well within its own sphere of sound, much to the listener's immediate delight.

Keyboard man Fabio Mancini's flamboyant piano decorates the romantic symphonic prog of "Third in Line", whilst being unafraid to churn the raging organ up a notch and incorporate it into the fire. Certainly the Genesis emanations are obvious but there is so much more at work here, with dabs of classic Focus, Greenslade, Banco, Billy Cobham, ELP, Colosseum II, DiMeola, RTF, etc?

Sterling bassist Nando de Luca organizes the rollicking "Rain Flower" into a tight jazzy groove, best exemplified by a bluesy guitar quiver from Ettore and waspish synths fluttering in the background. Change of pace with some magical mellotron moments and Boom! back into the groove with a whiplash guitar solo, loaded up with manic wah-wah and sustained notes, the delirium settles in.

"On the Other Side" keeps things initially sedate and dreamy, the suave Fender Rhodes electric piano (what a beautiful instrument!) braising nicely, showing equal amounts of grandiloquence and restraint, dazzling fretless bass rumbles and a genuine essence of creative release. The ELP-influenced "No Way Out" infuses intense turbulence, showing off their rather considerable chops, as if to show:"Hey, we can play with the best of them!", sizzling interplay, terrific soloing, crashing beat and rapturous speed quantify this little ditty.

"No Rewarding" is a tempestuous affair, very close to Colosseum II , in that it proposes a heavy form of jazz-rock that skirts the outside edges of insanity, clicking on all cylinders and evoking dense symphonic visions. All four musicians shine brightly and seemingly, effortlessly.

Two vocal tracks also adorn this album and they are, in my opinion, not as interesting as their all-instrumental work, the only weak tracks on the set-list. "Down the Street" has the Hammond heating up and some screeching English vocals and a harder, more classic heavy rock approach even though the instrumental mid-section is bloody glorious. "Asleep" is sentimental and somehow a bit at odds with the previous material, perhaps a little too simplistic for my ears.

The debut finalizes brilliantly with the sweeping 10 minute+ "Challenge to An End", perhaps the finest piece here, replete with tangible inventiveness and artistic genius that are elevated to the highest echelon, introducing some trembling flute (oh, how Italian is that?), spacious sonic realms and sheer elegance.

A magnificent and compelling debut, SoulenginE is a crew to follow, perhaps eschewing the microphone altogether and forging an all-instrumental future, proving once again the majestic artistic creativity emanating form the "boot". Perhaps the loveliest artwork cover in recent decades only adds to their charm.

4.5 psyche shades

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 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although the neo-progressive rock movement is most closely associated with British acts like Marillion, Pendragon, and IQ, Italy's The Watch has gained a reputation as one of the genre's more impressive outfits over the past decade. For this reason, many listeners may want to check out SoulenginE, which is a new act featuring ex-members of The Watch (guitarist Ettore Salati and keyboardist Fabio Mancini) as well as a tight rhythm section consisting of bassist Nando de Luca and drummer Giacomo Pacini. SoulenginE's 2012 debut Mind Colours may bear little resemblance to The Watch's theatrical and Genesis-inspired take on the progressive rock genre, but its satisfying mix of symphonic prog and fusion should certainly appeal to fans of the style.

The music on Mind Colours is largely instrumental apart from the hard-rocking "Down the Street" and the spacey ballad "Asleep", and most of the tunes rest somewhere between classic symphonic prog and seventies' fusion. Giacomo Pacini's jazzy drumming is usually what gives the music a Return to Forever or Mahavishnu Orchestra-oriented vibe, although Fabio Mancini's keyboard palette contains plenty of Rhodes tones that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a seventies' fusion record either. Lots of symphonic textures and mildly heavy organ and guitar sections round off SoulenginE's sound, and I ended up being quite surprised with the level of originality that this ensemble managed to achieve while staying within the confines of retro prog; although very little is offered here that wouldn't have been possible in the seventies', the band's charming mix of different styles makes for an entertaining listen every time.

In terms of songwriting, Mind Colours also satisfies, with the wildly complex "No Way Out" and the epic symphonic closer "Challenge to an End" standing as my favorites. This is simply a quality product from nearly all fronts, and although the production sounds a bit rough around the edges, I think most listeners should be able to overlook the mediocre sound quality and enjoy this great offering of modern progressive rock.

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 Mind Colours by SOULENGINE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Mind Colours
SoulenginE Symphonic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

4 stars I came across this quartet two years ago due to a promo EP containing two songs, which both made it on this album btw. Ettore Salati (guitars) and Fabio Mancini (keyboards) were former members of symphonic prog outfit THE WATCH featuring Simone Rossetti, the charismatic singer/front man. Initially the impression came up, that SOULENGINE are standing for an intersection between jazz fusion and symphonic. However, after listening to the entire album now, I'd say the focus is on the latter obviously. Overall I find the songs a bit straighter and rockier than what I've heard from THE WATCH repertoire, which shows clear Genesis references as a trademark and manifests them as brilliant tribute players by the way.

So besides the few relations I've mentioned, the SOULENGINE band is a rather independent affair, to make it clear. The opener Polheim belongs to their very early material - okay, the guitar appears Hackett reminiscent, but Giacomo Pacini's drum playing on the other hand has a significant jazzy drive. Overall this song bears great dynamics, is an excellent introduction. Rain Flower comes from the same direction. Even if we can enjoy a nice guitar solo here, this is more keyboard focussed though, while utilizing multiple instruments, including Rhodes piano. And again - counting in the following On The Other Side - this points to the already mentioned jazzy touch.

The sentimental ballad Asleep comes with vocal contributions by Joe Sal and finally Challenge To An End closes the album as the awaited long-distance runner. I would say this pretentious flow brings them close to Genesis respectively Big Big Train now, rich in melody and mellotron. Davide Gandino has a guest appearance on flute. My favourite tune here, so much feeling, spirit. With 'Mind Colours' they have put an entertaining debut on the table, (nearly) instrumental symphonic basically, featuring some jazz fusion leanings to realize anyhow. Recommended!

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Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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