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THE BALMUNG

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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The Balmung biography
THE BALMUNG, founded by singer-songwriter Claudio Pelliccioni, began in 2007 in Mentana, near Rome. Named after a mighty sword of the same name from the epic thirteenth century poem The Nibelungenlied, the band draws inspiration from classic 70's rock, Italian progressive and psychedelic music.

Despite coming from different musical backgrounds, the band, presently consisting of Pelliccioni (vocals, guitar), Patrik Auletta (guitar), Francesco Galvan (keyboards), Luigi Nespeca (bass) and Alessio Pompei (drums), craft a form of grand progressive rock where melody and true-songwriting is never neglected in favour of endless soloing and bloated instrumental play. The band are determined to present through their music a taste of the 70's with a relevant modern edge.

In his own words, Claudio states: We're looking to recreate the golden sounds of progressive rock, giving body to the rhythms and beautiful melodic lines that convey emotions and dreams. The power of DEEP PURPLE, the sophistication of PINK FLOYD with the innovative elegance and immediacy of PETER GABRIEL's GENESIS. Everyone in the band has poured into the complex music their creativity gained from decades of living with music.

Their debut album Le Porte Della Noia (The Gates Of Boredom) was released in October 2012, and is an exciting and confident release with plenty of musical variety and expert playing that will appeal to both RPI followers and progressive rock fans in general.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother (Michael H)

The Balmung official website

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3.75 | 17 ratings
Le Porte Della Noia
2012

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THE BALMUNG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Le Porte Della Noia by BALMUNG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 17 ratings

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Le Porte Della Noia
The Balmung Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Balmung (mighty sword of the same name from the epic thirteenth century poem The Nibelungenlied) from Italy and their first baby named Le porte della noia aka The gates of boredom issued in 20012. Well, a very nice surprise this unknown band, fans of prog rock will love this album as I did. The music is very reminescent of italian prog school of course from the glorious '70s but all wraped with their own sound and ideas. I have to quote Claudio Pelliccioni the vocalist and main composer of this fantastic album about his music and overall vision of the band "We're looking to recreate the golden sounds of progressive rock, giving body to the rhythms and beautiful melodic lines that convey emotions and dreams. The power of Deep Purple, the sophistication of Pink Floyd with the innovative elegance and immediacy of Genesis. Everyone in the band has poured into the complex music their creativity gained from decades of living with music" - he described very well what is going on on le porte della noia. All pieces are winners no fillers here, lenghty album with lots of instrumental parts with flute, keybords, guitars and all the ingredients to be a fairly solid album in this field, is just enough to listen to the title track Le Porte Della Noia and the listner will be hooked for sure, complex passages with many tempo changes, very nice, the rest of the pieces are at same level. Nothing remain to me only to recommend this album, is quite excellent and showing bif pontential in today scene. Nice artwork. Easy 4 stars.

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 Le Porte Della Noia by BALMUNG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 17 ratings

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Le Porte Della Noia
The Balmung Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ginaparis

4 stars Davvero tanta carne al fuoco in questo album dei The Balmung. Da questo quintetto esce una musica potente, unica, un vero e proprio cocktail di testi innovativi e mai banali. Un disco dove la psichedelia si abbraccia con il progressive creando un sound a sé. The Balmung nasce dalla passione dei componenti della band per i racconti medievali. Balmung è la spada di Sigfrido nella saga dei Nibelunghi, infatti la Suite, contenuta nell'album è dedicata all'eroe che uccise il drago. "Brown Jenkin", apre l'album con una melodica chitarra solista per raggiungere, poi, suoni più forti, verso un momento eterno, sognante, in cui "poter bere dalla sorgente l'acqua che serve per rimanere verde". Nel secondo brano, "St. Patrick's day", riecheggia la musica celtica che ci accompagnerà al terzo brano "Sogno Fugale", un pezzo che descrive un viaggio immaginario, verso un mondo psichedelico, dove "le fragole sono un miraggio e il cielo è rosa". Poi, "Il dono"che, con una potente chitarra, rappresenta una canzone di speranza nell'aiuto verso il prossimo. "L'essenza dell'umanità è donare a chi non ha". "Sola",un brano dominato da una chitarra blues, in una notte buia e calma e in un vortice di emozioni che ti accarezza con la sua mano muta. Un finale maestoso con un organo liturgico. "Quelli come me" il sesto brano dell'album, un brano di protesta contro questo mondo crudo ed egoista, un mondo incapace di considerare un uomo come tale la cui condizione è descritta con ironia accattivante. La canzone è poi caratterizzata da una parte vocale che riprende una scena dello storico film "il Marchese del Grillo", nello specifico Don Bastiano . "Frammenti di una vita" ? "mentre scende giù la pioggia, tra le righe di una poesia, tutta la storia, la mia". Una canzone sicuramente riflessiva e ricca di tanto sentimento. Segue, poi, un'immancabile Suite, la cui parte iniziale è caratterizzata da una chitarra che con un velo di tristezza manifesta il dolore di una battaglia, per poi giungere ad un rock aggressivo. Si intervalla con le note di un balletto di corte in stile valzer. Ad un tratto il suono delle spade che si sfidano all'unisono per poi riprendere un classico epic rock che si contrappone alla successiva sensazione di trovarsi in un poliziesco all'italiana. La suite termina con la tristezza e il dolore iniziale. Il penultimo brano, "Le porte della Noia" che è anche il titolo del disco. Un pezzo sicuramente complesso. In una travolgente illusione , luci ed ombre delle sirene creano vortici senza confini che ricordano i suoni di Santana, AC/DC e Pink Floyd. L'album termina con "Thoughtful Himalaya", un viaggio in Tibet che vede la formazione di note armoniche. Cosa dire ? lasciatevi emozionare dai The Balmung. Gina Paris

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 Le Porte Della Noia by BALMUNG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 17 ratings

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Le Porte Della Noia
The Balmung Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Balmung began life in 2007 on the initiative of Claudio Pelliccioni, a singer-songwriter in love with progressive rock hailing from Mentana, near Rome. The name of the band was inspired by the Niebelungenlied and was chosen to represent the interest of the musicians for Medieval lores. In fact, Balmung is the name of the sward that Siegfried used to kill a dragon called Fafnir. After some personnel changes and a hard work, in 2012 the band self released a debut album, "Le porte della noia" (The gates of boredom), with a line up featuring Claudio Pelliccioni (vocals, guitar), Patrik Auletta (guitar), Francesco Galvan (keyboards), Luigi Nespeca (bass) and Alessio Pompei (drums). The result of their efforts is not flawless, the music draw on the prog legacy of the early seventies and Italian "canzone d'autore" with mixed results and many ups and downs while the overall sound suffers a bit of the self-production, especially the vocal parts. Anyway, despite some ingenuities, in this album you can find also many good ideas and at length I enjoyed it.

The long, dreamy opener "Brown Jenkin" evokes a good fellowship, bonfires, smiles, dreams and empty words. Brown Jenkin is the name of a character in The Dreams In The Witch House, a short story by H.P. Lovecraft part of the Cthulhu Mythos. It is described as an evil creature with long hair and the shape of a rat, a messenger of the devil who could speak all languages. Nonetheless in this case Brown Jenkin is also the name of a band that Claudio Pelliccioni formed in the early nineties... "You can drink from this source the water you need to remain green...".

The following "St. Patrick's Day" is a nice instrumental track featuring Celtic influences. It leads to "Sogno fugale" (Escape dream), a piece that describes an ephemeral dream, a kind of psychedelic trip across a pink sky under a dark moon, towards the void. The soaring vocals seem kind of running after a wounded ibex climbing up a mountain but never reaching the beast... Well, in my opinion here the references to Pink Floyd and to the Italian singer-songwriter Antonello Venditti are obvious but I like this song anyway. The following "Il dono" (The gift) is just another brick in the Balmung's "wall of sound" with some powerful guitar riffs, melodic vocals that recall I Nomadi and a nice instrumental finale. It's a song of hope and love for life but beware! You have to be brave to help other people in a world where indifference rules and everyone minds to his own business.

Next comes "Sola" (Alone) which begins softly and reminds me again of Antonello Venditti. The lyrics depict a lonely girl who gets lost into a dark night... "You run alone looking for me / I'm the dark night which lives in you...". The instrumental coda features church-like organ passages and a guitar solo that recalls Santana. The following "Quelli come me" (Those like me) is a straightforward rock track, a protest song against a forgetful political world incapable to take the right decisions for the people. The central section features a narrative vocal part taken from a scene of Il Marchese del Grillo, a famous Italian film directed in 1981 by Mario Monicelli and starring, among others, Alberto Sordi and Flavio Bucci.

"Frammenti di una vita" (Fragments of a life) is a nice, reflective ballad. The lyrics depict the landscape of a peaceful valley where time stands still and the wind brings songs of wolves and sirens, echoes of freedom and a flavour of bitter almonds while the raindrops begin to fall between the lines of a poem... Next comes "Suite per Siegfried", a long, complex instrumental track inspired by the hero of the aforementioned Nieblunglied. While listening to the music you can imagine a knight hunting white wild boars in a forest or slaying a dragon or proposing a toast during a banquet or rescuing a princess in danger or invoking the gods in a desperate prayer.

The title track is another complex piece with many changes in rhythm and atmosphere. The lyrics depict illusions and dreams with the same kind of colourful, naive touch that you can find painted in the album cover. Under the moonlight you can see a white horse walking along the banks of a lake, there's fire under the horseshoes, there's smoke on the water... In the middle of the lake there's a small boat and a fisherman paints the fog in purple colours with his lantern. Memories from a lost childhood begin to emerge and you can have a quick look at them through the keyhole of a hidden door, behind the gates of boredom... The Tibetan soundscapes of "Thoughtful Himalaya" conclude the album.

On the whole I think that this a work with lights and shadows from a band that in the future could do much better. I'm looking forward to their next work!

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 Le Porte Della Noia by BALMUNG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 17 ratings

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Le Porte Della Noia
The Balmung Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars `Le Porte Della Noia'...You'd have to be a little worried about an album title that translates to `The Gates Of Boredom', but fear not, progressive rock fans! Andrea of the Italian Prog Map website has provided us with an explanation - "Boredom is a synonym of adulthood and it contrasts with the magic world of childhood...Memories from a lost childhood begin to emerge and you can have a quick look at them through the keyhole of a hidden door, beyond the gates of boredom...". This alone should reassure the listener that they are in for a dynamic and richly lyrical album, and Claudio Pelliccioni and fellow band-members of Italian band The Balmung offer a rewarding debut album that mixes the passionate classical Italian progressive sophistication with a modern and relevant sound. Most of the tracks dart back and forth between lighter passages and darker moments, shorter vocal sections and extended instrumental play, providing a lot of light and shade for varying emotions. The vocals are in Italian and full of typical RPI fire and conviction, giving the surreal lyrics an added poetic tone and welcome warmth.

`Brown Jenkin' opens the album with soft chiming guitars, gentle percussion and plodding bass gradually rising from the background. A lovely and melodic lead guitar winds it's way through the classic 70's rock influenced extended intro, with very positive vibes all around. Uplifting piano and Pink Floyd-styled drumming dance about before the piece turns wild and unhinged with heavy chugging guitars and super-thick synths. Vocalist Claudio Pelliccioni enters with a raspy and commanding lead vocal, the piece then alternates between mysterious dreamy passages with glistening electric piano and harder searing lead guitar solos, with a tasteful synth run near the finale. The character of the title is described as an evil long-haired creature with the appearance of a rat who speaks all languages, from the H.P.Lovecraft short story `The Dreams In The Witch House', so there's plenty of vivid imagery for the band to draw inspiration from on this one!

`St Patrick's Day' is a lovely synth-heavy Celtic influenced instrumental with fiery acoustic guitar, but especially listen out for the suspenseful middle section with droning wordless vocals, drifting flute and very prominent creeping bass.

Strong Pink Floyd references on `Sogno "Fugale" with the laid-back David Gilmour-inspired guitar and pulsing synths. A lovely vocal from Claudio really sits nicely alongside typical RPI passionate deliveries, and there's plenty of harder-edged drama in the second half. It's quite a tasteful and accessible track, a nice pause from the more involved pieces.

Despite a moody sinister stalking bass line in the intro, `Il Dono' quickly changes it's mind and becomes a more straight-forward rocker. It's a little monotonous in this first half, with a slightly dull vocal melody, but stick around until the final minute for the dancing Camel-like synth solo and upbeat spirit!

`Sola' is about a lonely girl who gets lost at night, with Italian lyrics that translate to "You run alone looking for me, I am the dark night that lives in you". The serious vocal and edgy mood conveys these striking words well, and the whole track beginning to end has incredible bluesy guitar playing so full of emotion and compassion. A chilling gothic church organ solo in the finale makes the listener wonder if tale did not end well? Even the ominous title means `Alone'.

The introduction of `Quelli Come Me' (Those Like Me) reminds me a little of the modern Kaipa albums with it's mix of proggy playing blended with folky elements. A defiant protest song, the piece quickly turns into a chugging rock song more along the lines of Mostly Autumn with the addition of a spoken-word middle. Listenable but a little bland and uninteresting.

Much better is the warm acoustic reflective ballad `Frammenti Di Una Vita' (Fragments Of A Life), jammed with humming synths and lovely hearty lead vocals. Very foot-tapping and sure to put you in a great mood!

Now the one we've been waiting for - a beautiful and thrilling 14 minute instrumental! Beginning with pompous dramatic piano (always one of the highlights of many 70's RPI albums) and soon joined by lead guitar solo wailing a majestic repeated theme, `Suite For Siegfried' runs through chugging power chords and hard-rock bluster, regal flute fanfares, grand synth themes, reflective classical acoustic guitar passages and swirling keyboard solos. A dozen ideas worked together to create an exciting piece full of memorable movements and grand storytelling, without ever needing a single spoken word.

The stomping title track has a 70's hard rock kick overloaded with Hammond washes and Pink Floyd styled floating hazy diversions. Shimmering keyboards, dreamy guitars aiming straight for the skies, while lovely murmuring bass, crystalline electric piano and funky wah-wah guitars weave their way through the longer instrumental stretches.

Strangely the album ends on an ambient soundscape with throaty droning wordless vocals. `Thoughtful Himalaia' sounds somewhat out of place and may have worked better incorporated into one of the longer pieces?

The album cover by Buhauevych Yaroslav and Roberto De Cristofaro is absolutely stunning, full of typical progressive rock dynamism and a surreal flavour that's open to all sorts of interpretations. I would dearly love to see this album released on vinyl, as the cover begs for the attention that larger format brings. Even the writing style used on the title and band name is very attractive.

Although a little underwhelming on first listen, repeat plays reveal a rich and confident album with endless ideas and terrific playing from a talented group of musicians. Sure it's too long, a little repetitive in places, and sometimes suffers from an occasional flat production, but fans of modern retro/vintage influenced bands with thick prominent keyboards and huge guitar solos like Arabs In Aspic may find much to appeal here, as well as lovers of Italian progressive music in general. It definitely bridges 70's RPI flavour with modern sensibilities to create an impressive statement of intent, and we can surely only look forward to even better albums from the band in the future. For now, this very assured debut album with a few truly stunning tracks will do just fine.

Four stars.

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