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INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Ingranaggi della Valle biography
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INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE are a young Roman band created with the goal of evoking the sound and atmospheres of the historical Progressive Rock of the 70s, creating their own music open to fusion, ethnic and jazz-rock influences. The 2013 debut album "In Hoc Signo" is the representative manifesto of their music and philosophy.

The project, conceived by Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), already members of the funk/jazz-rock trio The Big Chill, began in December 2010, with Edoardo Arrigo (multi-instrumentalist) on the electric bass; Marco Gennarini (violin) entered the line-up only in June 2011, after the choice of making a concept album set in the First Crusade was made.

During the finalization of the concept album, the band had a long and meticulous selection to find a front man with brilliant vocal, creative and theatrical skills. Only in February 2012 Igor Leone (singer) joined the group. Although Simone Massimi played bass on the majority of the album, the role of the bassist is now filled full-time by Marco Bruno, a friend of the band who played on the album track Cavalcata. Also, to round out the sound of the band live, another friend of the band, Edoardo Arrigo, who also played bass and sang some of the backup vocals on the album, is currently with the band playing mellotron, synth, and guitar.

After the creative phase, including recording a demo EP in 2011 which garnered the interest of Black Widow Records, the band began recording their first album, In Hoc Signo, in September 2012, at the Roman recording studio Point Of View Records of Paolo Pierelli (sound engineer). The band was pleased to have as a guest in Rome the renowned Mattias Olsson (ÄNGLAGARD), with whom they recorded the track Jangala Mem; other distinguished guests include the singer Angelica Sauprel Scutti and the great David Jackson (VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR) on the track Finale.

On May 10, 2013, Black Widow Records released their debut album "In Hoc Signo" in CD format, with the painting "In Hoc Signo" by Marcello Toma as cover artwork. A limited edition vinyl is also planned.

Comments by Todd: This is a wonderful new band, a blend of symphonic and fusion that both hearkens back to the 70s and looks forward as well. Another great artist on the excellent Black Widow label.

[Todd]

Ingranaggi della Valle official website

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4.04 | 175 ratings
In Hoc Signo
2013

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INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE Reviews


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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Progfan97402

5 stars Unreal! Right up there with La Maschera di Cera's Le Porte del Domani, new Italian prog that can hold its own with the very best out of the 1970s, and I can't believe I'm actually saying this! I think a lot of bands in recent years have learned from past mistakes (mistakes too many bands did in the past was nasty digital contemporary production, which many didn't have the knack, and often ended up sterile, and most of all the habit of cramming as much music on one CD as possible so quality control has gone astray and often made for a tedious listen). Ingranaggi della Valle is an incredible band of fusion and prog, in fact this band could have easily fit the Jazz Rock/Fusion category as Rock Progressive Italiano. Incredible energetic prog and fusion, with keyboards, violin, guitar, bass, and drums, and Italian vocals. They combine the high energy fusion of the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Arti & Mestieri and Area (but with more normal vocals and less avant guard inclinations) and give elements of symphonic prog. There are some Allan Holdsworth type guitar fusion moments, with keyboards including piano, organ, Mellotron (or sampled Mellotron), and synths. They have a number of guests, including none other than David Jackson from Van der Graaf Generator (and even Osanna's Prog Family) and Mattias Olsson from Änglagård. I've been waiting for prog like this! It's hard to believe that Black Widow Records is leading the new Italian prog renaissance, and I'm ever thankful for that (it's strange, because Black Widow originally specialized in heavy metal), and it's Black Widow responsible for the release of In Hoc Signo. Totally essential prog that 's truly five star worthy!

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by MELNIBONÉ

3 stars Young band from Rome Ingranaggi Della Valle is part of the New Wave of Italian progressive rockers? although some might dispute labelling them RPI, since their debut album veers quite often to Fusion and flirts with Metal and Funk. On the other hand, it doesn't mean that IDV ignore altogether what they owe to their symphonic forebears from the previous century. As a matter of fact, it would almost be impossible to do so, given the number of musicians featured on "In Hoc Signo". First, there's the band itself : I. Leone (vocals) M. Liberati (keys). F. Gonnellini (guitars & vocals), M. Gennarini (violin & vocals) S, Colucci (drums & percussion). Then come the guests appearing on certain pieces : M. Bruno (bass), E. Arrigo (vocals & bass), S. Massimi (various types of bass), L. Colucci (speech), F. Projetti (classical guitar) and B. Miglietta (vocals). And then, we have the "special" guests : M. Olsson from Anglagard (drums, percussion, synth & noises), D. Jackson from VdGG (sax & flute) and pop singer A. S. Scutti (vocals). By any standards, when there are so many musicians and/or vocalists on an album, it usually means that we're in for a treat, in that the music on display will most surely feature a rich and wide palette.

That said, before getting into the musical core of the album, I must say that the concept explored in "In Hoc Signo" is not necessarily one that I would've expected on a new band's first release. The album refers to historical facts surrounding the launching of the first Crusade (1096-1099) ; "In Hoc Signo" is Latin meaning "By this sign (the Cross, you shall win)", even though the Norman knights of the times would have said it in low Latin: "Deus lo vult" ("God Wills It"). From the notes (the only ones that are written in English) within the booklet, we learn that the songs are not about the mustering of armies, the long journey from Italian shores to the Holy Land and the walls of Jerusalem, but they are rather focused on "the development of a modern social conscience in a period dominated by a savage and intolerant individualism. A time where a "Deus Lo Vult" hid more than a heroic action of defense or a sacrifice in the sign of the Cross. A time that's not so far away." All of which make for quite an intriguing and challenging lyrical endeavour? but one that you won't access to unless you understand Italian (which I do not, at least not enough to get a clear picture of the exact content of each song).

The album offers a bit more than an hour (63:55) of music. Apart from the "Introduzione" (0:15) and "Fuga da Amman" (5:56), the nine other pieces are songs. That said, the lyrics within some of them are relatively short as is the case with "Mare in Tempesta" (3:17), "Kairuv'an" (6:09), "Masqat" (5:16) and "Jangala Mem" (6:47), leaving therefore ample space for the music to expand. The other songs range from 5:49 ("Cavalcata") to 9:34 ("Finale"), with "Via Ignatia" clocking at 5:41, "L'Assedio di Antiochia" at 8:11 and "Il vento del tempo" at 7:00. So, all in all, despite the serious and dramatic "concept" (we might even say "context" in this case) underlining the album, IDV have given themselves plenty of elbow room to create, develop and offer us a meaningful opus, where words have their rightful place, but not to the expense of music.

Since other reviewers have been through each songs thoroughly enough, it would be a waste of time and space to go through that all over again. So I'll move right away to my conclusions. "In Hoc Signo" is modern RPI, in that it's edgy, often heavy, with frequent jazz frenzy, so dense dense at times that you might be wondering where it will lead to. Tempo changes abound, in par with a wide range of atmospheres from delicate to frantic, from almost metal to eerie, and melodically romantic to power funk. Here and there, there are echoes of iconic Italian bands of the '70s (even those that were short-lived), but IDV are no copy cats. There's a feel throughout that connects these young musicians to their forebears, but it's more a matter of attitude and a desire to push the envelope than producing (or re-producing) the readily identifiable sound of a bygone era.

"In Hoc Signo" is good from start to finish, and very good at times. But, overall, Ingranaggi Della Valle has still some work to do in order to achieve a distinctive, original sound they can call their own, whatever means or direction this may imply. Granted, their debut album is more than promising, but still the band's musical identity must be refined. We'll see how it will all turn out on their next album. And I really hope there will be a follow-up to that brilliant start.

3 well oiled cogs

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Ingranaggi della Valle were formed in Rome at the end of 2010, when Mattia Liberati (keyboards) and Flavio Gonnellini (guitar), both playing in the Jazz Rock act The Big Chill, joined forces with drummer Shanti Colucci and bassist Edoardo Arrigo.In June Marco Gennarini enters the band on violin and with the help of their friend and singer Leonardo Pandolfo they recorded a demo EP in November of the same year.Enough of a good work to be approached by Black Widow, so the searching for a full-time singer begun, resulting to the hiring of Igor Leone in 2012.By the time of their debut ''In hoc signo'' Arrigo appears only as a guest with Simone Massimi playing most of the bass parts.Several guests appear on the album, but the names of Van der Graaf Generator David Jackson and Änglagård's Mattias Olsson shine through.This one came out in 2013 both in vinyl and CD format.

The name of the game here is very dense Italian Prog with a Fusion aura and enough vintage echoes to get goosebumps to lovers of the Classic Prog era, just do not expect the strong Classical tastes of the old groups, although there are plenty of them, cause Ingranaggi della Valle are more of a Prog Fusion band, the mass of quirky, schizophenic interplays, the display of strong jazzy components and the tireless soloing on various instruments are certain proofs of their direction.Considering that, they are much closer to ARTI E MESTIERI or AREA, while the jazzier period of PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI still springs to mind.Now, the music is perhaps on the jazzier side of Prog Rock, but the vocals have this flawless expression, warmth and romanticism of Italian Prog singers, excellent work by Igor Leone.The performance of the group comes at a professional level with a full-time violin player and a wide array of vintage keys like Mellotron, Hammond B3, Moog synthesizer and a Rhodes electric piano.Closer look from the recent bands could be DEUS EX MACHINA, heavy instrumental music with power and passion all over the place, rhythmic lines and odd time signatures, surprising breaks into varied tempos and a fascinating palette of different protagonists with each minute passing by.At times the music gets a bit chaotic and too complex with constantly changing rhythms and everpopping solos, but the general taste is more than positive, material with an unmet virtuosity and even some flavor from the theatrical side of Prog Rock.

Extremely talented band.Great instrumental work and marvelous vocals all the way.I think that consistency is the matter of discussion for the future of this group.Still a pretty amazing debut by this bunch of Italian youngsters, one of those groups deserving a really close look.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars 2013 was an astonishing year for Italian Progressive Rock. The year gave us some superb albums like Sensitivitā (La Coscienza Di Zeno), AlieNatura (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre), You Have A Chance (Camelias Garden), PFM In Classic (Premiata Forneria Marconi), Barbarica (Museo Rosenbach), just to name a few. All of those albums were qualified to a Top10 list. Unfortunately, I got the album I'm reviewing right in 2014, but as they say, better late than never.

In Hocno Signo (2013) is the debut album of Ingranaggi Della Valle and here we have all the ingredients that Italian Prog Rock lovers could want but without sounding dated and old. In Hoc Signo (2013) is the contemporary answer to the great classics!

Ingranaggi Della Valle is a quintet formed in Roma by the young musicians Igor Leoni (vocals), Mattia Liberati (keyboards), Flavio Gonnellini (guitars), Marco Gennarini (violin and vocals) and Shanti Colucci (drums and percussion). And I can honestly say that the band recorded a modern classic when it comes to In Hocno Signo (2013)!

Let's begin with Igor Leoni vocals which are absolutely fantastic and shine strongly in 'Cavalcata'. The fact that the band use the violin in its line-up and loads of vintage keyboards makes tracks like 'Mare In Tempesta' and 'Via Egnatia' become so strong and powerful that it is impossible to just stand still. In 'L'Assedio Di Antiochia' the band unite all their elements in a single and powerful track full of vocals and killer riffs. This power continues shining mercilessly in the instrumental 'Fuga Da Amman' and it keeps going on in the jazzy tracks 'Kairuv'An' and 'Masqat', in this last one Flavio's guitar speaks loud and well. Then in 'Jangala Mem' we have a bit of psychedelia in a more experimental sound with varied and different parts.

The previous experimentation continues , initially in 'Il Vento Del Tempo', but next to first minute of the song we come back to the signature sound of the band. To finish the great album that In Hoc Signo (2013) is we have 'Finale' and its 9'33. We have a special touch on this track, the participation of David Jackson from Osanna playing saxophones and flutes with a frantic musical background to them.

Resuming, In Hoc Sogno (2013) is simply essential. You're a fan of Progressive Rock, right? So make a favor to yourself and buy this album asap!

I would like to give a huge thank you to Black Widow Records for releasing this album and for Ingranaggi Della Valle for existing!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE's debut "In Hoc Signo" certainly caused a stir among RPI fans last year, in fact it was on many people's top ten for 2013. They are a five piece band out of Italy and have nine guests helping out so we get a wide variety of instruments here on this expansive recording. I was surprised after listening to this many times last week to find out yesterday after reading the liner notes that David Jackson(VDGG) and Mattias Olsson(ANGLAGARD) are two of the nine guests. Interesting because two of my favourite sections involve these two men not so surprisingly. There is a lot to like here but I must admit the violin and lead vocals both of which are very prominant on this album don't do a lot for me, hence my 3 star rating(ducks). Still as I just mentioned there are some spine tingling moments regardless of my musical tastes.

Funny though that after one listen I knew this wasn't quite for me and many spins later I still feel the same way. After a very brief intro track of mellow guitar and melancholic violin it blends into "Cavalcata" where it kicks into a full sound with violin playing over top and leading the way. Piano then vocals lead a minute in then it kicks in again with violin. It's fairly heavy here until a calm arrives before 2 1/2 minutes. It's full again before 5 minutes to the end. An okay tune. "Mare In Tempesta" has lots of synths and drums to start as vocals join in. Violin and guitar take over when the vocals stop. "Via Egnatia" sounds good early with the atmosphere and soaring guitar. Violin and vocals take over before 2 minutes then it picks up but the mood and tempo continues to shift. Vocal melodies and violin end it. Not bad. "L'assedio Di Antiochia" has some great sounding organ early on as the violin joins in and leads. It becomes fuller then the vocals join in as well. I like the instrumental sections on this one, especially 4 1/2 minutes in. Not a fan of the vocals that follow though. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in then it slowly builds until we get this great sound that starts before 7 minutes.

"Fuga Da Amman" is probably my favourite tune and it's an instrumental. Best part is the guitar that comes in around 3 minutes. "Kairuv'an" reminds me of DFA early on and yes it's really good. Vocals come in then it settles before picking back up. "Masqat" is led by drums and violin until it settles down well before a minute. Piano before 2 minutes as it starts to pick back up, nice bass too. A heavy sound after 4 1/2 minutes. "Jangala Mem" is the track Mattias plays drums on and he's outstanding as usual. There's this eerie vibe after 1 1/2 minutes. I like it ! That mood changes as we get some impressive instrumental workouts. "Il Vento Del Tempo" has this intro that is quite dark and Mattias is credited with adding "weird noises" on this song. It kicks in before settling back quickly with reserved vocals, mellotron follows. I really like how themes are repeated on this one. "Finale" is the longest song at around 9 1/2 minutes. Violin leads early then it becomes fuller. Nice. Not a fan of the vocals before 4 minutes but I like the mellotron. Sax(David Jackson) before 6 minutes then the piano leads. Adventerous sounding sax follows before it turns mellow with relaxed vocals. Violin takes over 8 minutes in followed by flute.

Man talk about an epic debut, these guys really impressed me with such an ambitious work here, I just wished I liked it more.

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars I've listened to this album a huge number of times before writing this review. Its a good album showing excellent musicianship, it has a good concept and shows an excellent knowledge of history by the lyricists, it has all the ingredients to be a masterpiece but there's something wrong.

Several times I've tried to understand what I don't like in it, why I'm unable to get it.

After repeated listens I think I have found the reason. There are bands which have repeated almost the same song for ages: in the pop world I think to R.E.M or Dire Straits. I can enjoy one or two of their songs, but at the third I'm bored, it's always the same song.

For Ingranaggi Della Valle it's different: they don't repeat the same song, their compositions are very well arranged and orchestrated, I really like the vocalist, but what doesn't change it's the mood. "Cavalcata" and "L'Assedio Di Antiochia" are excellent songs, but I can rarely resist to listen to the whole album in one shot.

It's very likely my issue, not theirs. I'm sure that I'm failing to enter into this album, it's not the album failing to catch my interest.

Anyway, the band deserves attention and I'll be happy to hear their future outputs. This "In Hoc Signo" has some very good moments, a keyboardist whose skill is somewhere between Emerson and Wakeman, they have the vintage sounds that I usually like, they have violin, flute, ethnic instruments... well, it's possible that sooner or later I'll completely rewrite this review. This album has everything it needs to be called progressive, all the required ingredients...why it doesn't make for me it's still a mistery.

But it's good. I can not like it, but from an overall and detached point of view I must say that it's a good album and most of the prog, and in particular, RPI fans will love it.

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Gli Ingranaggi della Valle are a young prog band that was formed in Rome in 2010 on the initiative of Mattia Liberati and Fabio Gonnellini with the aim of reviving the atmospheres of Italian seventies prog. After some line up changes and a first demo recorded in 2011, in 2013 the band released their first full length album, In hoc signo, on the independent label Black Widow Records with a line up featuring Igor Leone (vocals), Mattia Liberati (keyboards, vocals), Flavio Gonnellini (guitars, vocals), Marco Gennarini (violin, vocals) and Shanti Colucci (drums, percussion) plus some guests such as Marco Bruno (bass), Edoardo Arrigo (bass, backing vocals), Simone Massimi (bass), Fabrizio Proietti (classical guitar), Beatrice Miglietta (backing vocals), Angelica Sauprel Scutti (backing vocals), Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion) and David Jackson (from Van Der Graaf Generator, sax and flute). In my opinion, the result of the hard work of all the musicians involved in this project is excellent. In hoc signo is a concept album inspired by the First Crusade but despite the vintage sounds and the subject matter this work appears always fresh and 'authentic'...

'What is authentic? Anything that is not devised and structured to make a profit. Anything that is not controlled by corporations. Anything that exists for its own sake, that assumes its own shape. But of course, nothing in the modern world is allowed to assume its own shape. The modern world is the equivalent of a formal garden, where everything is planted and arranged for effect. Where nothing is untouched, where nothing is authentic. Where, then, will people turn for the rare and desirable experience of authenticity? They will turn to the past. The past is unarguably authentic. The past is a world that already existed before Disney and Murdoch and Nissan and Sony and IBM and all the other shapers of the present day. The past was here before they were. The past rose and fell without their intrusion and moulding and selling. The past is real. It's authentic...'. Well, these words are taken from Michael Crichton's novel Timeline and in some way I think they could help to understand the spirit of this album, very rich in ideas although respectful of the tradition. But maybe the beautiful art cover by Marcello Toma describes the content of this work better than all my words...

The short opener 'Introduzione' (Introduction) sets a dreamy atmosphere and leads to 'Cavalcata' (Ride), a wonderful track that depicts a group of Norman knights riding through Italy directed to the port of Otranto. Their banners are waving like sails in the wind and you can hear prayers in Latin and toasts. There are many changes in rhythm and mood, there's a feeling of pride and hope but also a poignant sense of impending tragedy.

'Mare in tempesta' (Stormy sea) describes the departure of the ships carrying the Christian knights across the Adriatic Sea. It starts softly, the mood is dreamy. The crusaders look back at the Italian coastline, they think of their families and lands but they're ready to fight in the name of the Sacred Truth. Then the rhythm rises, the wind begins to blow stronger and stronger and the ships are battered by the waves.

'Via Egnatia' greets the landing of the Christian army on the other side of the Adriatic Sea. It's the calm after the storm, but other obstacles are waiting for the crusaders along their march to Byzantium such as a very cold winter and heretic cities to siege. The title refers to a road constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC running through territory that is now part of modern Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, and European Turkey.

The magnificent epic 'L'assedio di Antiochia' (The siege of Antioch) is in some way the keystone of the album. It tells about the Siege of Antioch but this work is not a celebration of the Crusades and while listening to this album you've always to keep in mind that, as explained in the liner notes, this is the story of a few Norman knights that faced the development of a modern social conscience in a period dominated by a savage and intolerant individualism... a time that's not so far away. As the battle rages on, the lyrics swing from Italian to Latin to describe the slaughter of innocent women and children in the name of God... 'Damnatio aeterna nobis! / Miserere nostras spathas! / Murky images envelop you, crusader / You loosen your grip on the hilt / Your hands drenched with tears can't hide your face from the judgement of God...'. Some knights are fed up, they realize that they have betrayed Christ in His name, in hoc signo, wearing the symbol of the sacred cross. So, they desert from the Christian army and run away from the Western world.

The instrumental 'Fuga da Amman' (Escape from Amman) describes a desperate journey through sunny deserts and mysterious countries. There are many changes in rhythm and atmosphere, oriental flavours are mixed with frenzied jazz rock passages. It leads to 'Kairuv'an' where a melancholic feeling of nostalgia for land and family is mixed with the colours and charms of the kingdom of Sheba... 'Forgive me my love / I can't come back to you...'.

'Masqat' describes the next leg of this desperate journey through unknown countries. Our heroes get lost in the narrow alleys of an Arabic seaport city where they can smell exotic spices blending with the sea. On the following 'Jangala Mem' the atmosphere becomes darker, almost mystical. The knights have come to India where they meet a wise old man in a temple who is sleeping upon the wind. He wakes up and smiling speaks to them...

Next comes the complex, ethereal 'Il vento del tempo' (Wind of Time) where dream and reality blur and the future mirrors in the past. The lyrics describe strange visions, there are mystic temples facing the sea, ancient towers from where you can observe the flight of mysterious spaceships... 'Let the future speak ' tells the hermit / In his hands the wind of Time bends... Manticore! Proud, but not in the soul / The forest of tomorrow is its realm / Its throne has been built by servile monkeys / It lies on the cranes of rebel tigers / In its mocking laughter it hides the wish for power without honour nor justice...'.

The epic 'Finale' tells about the end of the cathartic dream. The altars of sand of an era without reason crumble and the brave crusaders finally find their redemption. Now the evil belongs to their past and their long journey comes to an end. Finally they can come back to their families and land, they can love again and ride back to their sweethearts with a new hope... 'Now I consecrate my sword to a better future / I must come back!...'.

On the whole, I think that this is an almost perfect album where music and lyrics perfectly fit the storyline. An authentic must for every prog lover!

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I've got some good news and bad news: Rock Progressivo Italiano is alive and kicking. And it sounds almost exactly the same as it did 40 years ago. This was my ambivalent reaction for this Roman debut. At least it has a running time of 64 minutes whereas the genre's classics were usually only about a half of that. Even the cover art is very retro style, and it's understandable that the reviews here are extremely positive. I personally am not as charmed. Basically, it's a bit too intensive and heavy for my taste. The quintet continues the long tradition and features a keyboardist with a massive list of used instruments and a violin player. There are also many guests, e.g. David Jackson (VdGG) who plays sax and flute on the long 'Finale'.

The music is highly strung, clearly inspired by its historical and socio-critical concept about the fates of Norman knights. All the way it operates in the hard core of progressive rock without ever staying long in more serene paths. There are a lot of tempo changes, and a constant variation in the power relations between the instruments. The closest comparisons I can think of are some short-time RPI classics such as Il Balletto di Bronzo (Ys), Quella Vecchia Locanda, Alphataurus or Semiramis. Guitars and violin are played quite heavily, and Hammond organ is a central keyboard. Also Igor Leone's vocals are rather attacking. For a debut this is a very notable work and would pass perfectly as a lost 70's gem of RPI. If you like the harder end of the classic RPI, you probably enjoy this album enormously. Sadly it left me cold, and I prefer rating albums subjectively, otherwise four stars would be appropriate.

(Recycled from a review in Colossus magazine.)

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars There's been some absolutely amazing prog albums coming out in 2013, but this has to be one of the absolute best. Ingranaggi Della Valle hail from Rome and play a style of prog influenced by the likes of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and PFM whilst at the same time having modern instrumentation and production and evoking sounds that remain distinct and original to them, as well as drawing in influences from classic fusion. This is a brand new band whose members, so far as I'm aware, don't have an extensive history in the prog scene, but prog fans should take careful note: these guys blow more or less everyone else on the scene out of the water here.

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 In Hoc Signo by INGRANAGGI DELLA VALLE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 175 ratings

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In Hoc Signo
Ingranaggi della Valle Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by PaulH

5 stars I've been waiting to write this review, mostly because I wanted to see how much this album would grow on me. After almost 9 months, it still hasn't stopped growing on me, so it's probably about time to get to it.

Wow, this is an amazing album! Seriously, if you're a fan of RPI and prog-fusion, just go get it. It's an all-time must-have. I don't say that lightly, it deserves the highest praise.

This is a particularly impressive album when we consider that this is the first effort by a group of young musicians. Talk about getting people's attention! As if putting together a great album in their own right wasn't enough, they gathered folks like Mattias Olsson (Anglagrad) and David Jackson (VDGG) to guest on it, and not just to use their names, but as peer contributors.

As far as the style of music goes, take a strong base of honest RPI in the tradition of Le Orme, Banco, Area and PFM, add in a healthy mix of the virtuosic jazz-fusion of Unorthodox Behavior era Brand X, Bruford, Jean-Luc Ponty and KBB, and a pinch of complex symphonic prog ala UK, and you get something like this. There is even a taste of adventure in a few avant/artsy sections, just to spice things up. But this album is far from derivative. It takes that foundation, updates to the modern era, and takes it to new heights.

The compositions are wonderfully complex, yet accessible, growing more familar with each listen, but still revealing subtleties even after months of play. The songs are ever-changing, with twists and turns and segues that put widely varying sections together in a way that makes total overall sense. This is just flat-out interesting and enjoyable music. My wife laughs at me for dancing around to the 13/8 section in L'Assedio Di Antiochia, but that's the kind of thing you find in this album. It's impossible for me to pick any tracks as highlights -- there are outstanding sections throughout.

The musicianship is superbly virtuosic. But unlike some contemporary groups that seem to be individually great but lack the synergy of a true ensemble, these guys put it together with great interplay and a true sense of a greater whole. It would be unfair to point out any one musician more than any other. Being a drummer myself, I especially appreciate Shanti Colucci's efforts here -- reminds me Phil Collins back in those heady early Brand X days. But jeez, Mattia Liberati on keyboards is excellent. Flavio Gonnellini on guitars absolutely rips it up. Marco Gennarini on violin is one of the best violinists I've come across in the prog genre since the days of Ponty, right there with KBB's Akihisa Tsuboy for sure. Last, but certainly not least, Igor Leone gives us a truly outstanding vocal performance with excellent pitch and timbre to his voice. The lyrics are in Italian, as they should be for this genre, but even though I hardly understand a word of it I find myself singing along just for the great melodies.

The production is first rate. The recording quality is nice and clear, and the mix is very well done so every track can be heard with everything in perfect balance. They manage to get that vintage feel with modern clarity and frequency range. The mastering is good, although they do push the levels a bit like most modern releases, with a little more compression and limiting than I would prefer. I hit it with a light pass of SeeDeClip to restore the dynamics nicely.

This is genuine 5 star material, and I reserve my 5 star ratings for truly masterpiece material. I can't even think of why I'd even deduct a couple of tenths of a point. Maybe just because they aren't pioneering a new prog genre like the greats such as Le Orme or Yes or Genesis did. So maybe this gets a 4.9 just because of that, but there's no way I could round this down to a 4 with a clear conscience. So, it gets a full 5 star rating from me. One of the top 50 albums in my entire prog collection (of over 2,200). I haven't been able to go for more than 2 weeks without listening to this album for over 6 months now! A must have, for sure!

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Thanks to todd for the artist addition.

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