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CIVICO 23

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Civico 23 biography
Formed in Rome in October 2010, CIVICO 23 take inspiration mainly from the British and American hard rock and metal scenes. The band's recent debut album ''Siero Progressivo'' (2013) emphasises a particular relationship with the heavy face of progressive rock through a lively antithesis of ferocious guitars and stately keyboards. However the band members aren't prisoners to their imported influences and comparisons can easily be drawn to a number of likewise heavy RPI bands such as '70s blues-rockers I TEOREMI and the metal-centric '90s outfit A PIEDI NUDI; contemporary retro-sounding groups THE BALMUNG and LE PORTE NON APERTE also spring to mind.

CIVICO 23 otherwise pass the RPI litmus test by dint of certain foundational elements; their wild enthusiasm, intensely gregarious vocals, and a thoroughgoing adoption of the Italian storytelling tradition help to forge a strong partnership common to much RPI. Their lyrics transport the listener with subject matter as diverse as the pimp and drug businesses, chivalric ideals, space exploration, brigandage and pestilence. While the texts don't obviously form a central thesis, one notable strand throughout the album is a concern with hauntings and other supernatural wonders.

CIVICO 23's earthy, energetic synthesis of back to basics heavy rock and Italian prog is highly recommended to RPI-neutrals and followers alike. ''Siero Progressivo'' is currently available in CD format and to stream via the link to the band's Soundcloud on this page.

- seventhsojourn


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3.76 | 9 ratings
Siero progressivo
2013

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CIVICO 23 Reviews


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 Siero progressivo by CIVICO 23 album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 9 ratings

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Siero progressivo
Civico 23 Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars When Civico 23 celebrated their third birthday in October last year they might well have had a dual celebration because their debut album had just cleared the way for their addition to the PA database. And if any champagne was quaffed during a wee celebratory swally it might have been accompanied by the crashing of a case of the heavy stuff, 'cos on the evidence of 'Siero Progressivo' these guys offer an unusual coincidence of hard rock and metal influences that includes Joe Cocker alongside Dream Theater, System of a Down, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. However they also shake the RPI tree hard enough. The above-named influences are tempered with echoes of their Italian brethren and, without wishing to overcook the praise, 'Siero Progressivo' proposes a work of occasional wow-factor Italian progressive rock albeit with an emphasis on the R O C K part of the equation.

Okay, so this is no tiptoe through the tulips of Italian pastoral prog. Centred around lead singer Joe Galatone's forty-a-day vocals, Civico 23's inventions are messy raw and riffsome. It's like the guys in the band are bollock-naked 'cept for sporting the multiple hats of heavy prog, metal and hard rock. From the rain-bearing wind that introduces the opening track, right through to the sound of waves at the fag end of the album, the whole thing is lashed by a tidal wave of rumbustious organs and spiralling guitars. It reaches its peak of heaviness midway though the album on the gratuitous metal hornpipe of 'Paura Infinita', a track that's fuelled by dogwatch hallucinatory images of ghost pirates and fire ships. Similarly, 'Urano' blasts off with the power of a salvo from an atomic seven-barrelled volley- gun and hurtles across space on a post-armagideon visionary voyage to Uranus. And back on the vocals front, your man Galatone comes across here like a rapacious Ouranos, initially creamin' his jeans but eventually sounding frantic (He's frantic, one-one-eight!) when a sickle-packin' Kronos blooters his knackers to the four winds. He's a wee toe-rag, that Kronos.

In the absence of an overarching concept the album kind of sounds like a collection of songs to read 'Orlando Furioso' by. It offers a litany of diverse subject material - Jungian philosophy, humanism, the seamy realm of pimps and druggies, space travel, depopulation and so on. With such a catholic appropriation of the Italian storytelling tradition, these young Romans have clearly learned to say more than their prayers. Fortunately for non-speakers of Italian the music really tells its own stories. For example 'Il Cavaliere Illuso' presents an allegory on Western foreign policy through the improbable tale of a knight whose act of vanquishing a dragon has unintended consequences for the good sir. The monster in this here story protects a town by absorbing the negative emotions of the townsfolk, and as soon as the dragon is toast the knight himself becomes the object of all the community's scuttlebutt. He's less of a gallant knight and more of a feckless fud, trippin' over his own armour in the shambling drum intro. The dragon then appears to a ponderous Iommi-style riff and along the way the band kicks up an almighty stooshie with the ensuing battle and the rousing of the village rabble to a punky Cossack battle-cry. Finally, a swelling organ refrain heralds the knight's melancholy as it all ends in tears for him and he's forced to shag off to hide in the forest.

The album takes a new direction with 'L'Ultimo Grido Di Galeria', the band's poignant witness to the village of Galeria Antica near Rome which was abandoned in the early 19th Century after being zapped by a malaria epidemic. According to legend a phantom minstrel by the name of Senz'affini returns every year on his white charger, and the sound of horse's hooves is echoed in a gallop rhythm during this track. A scene of picturesque desolation slowly emerges with jangling guitars, while impressionistic sound effects and distant cries convey the shadowy interpretation of unburied corpses in the zone of pestilence. This is grim stuff for sure, but appropriate enough subject matter for around the time of La Notte Nera when the album was released. In addition to the band's birthday falling in October this is also the month when the clocks go back and listening to Civico 23 is like turning the hands of time back to the halcyon days of prog rock circa nineteen-canteen. For all its untidiness and messiness this music is surely guaranteed to ring the chimes of heavy RPI- followers.

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 Siero progressivo by CIVICO 23 album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 9 ratings

BUY
Siero progressivo
Civico 23 Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars `Progressive Serum'...I think we could all do with some of that! In fact, I'm pretty sure many listeners of heavier progressive sounds would dig this musical potion that Italian band Civico 23 are offering on their debut album `Siero Progressivo' (which translates to the above). This 6 piece band hails from Rome, and what initially appears as merely a Heavy-Prog album quickly reveals itself to have much in common with numerous other Rock Progressivo Italiano bands, as well as some of the trademarks usually associated with the RPI genre. It's an energetic, unpredictable and very modern debut that delivers great things for this promising new band.

One of the defining features that pushes this album and band firmly into the Italian prog corner is Civico 23's secret weapon - lead vocalist Massimo "Joe" Galatone. The charismatic performer has a coarse, raspy croon, bellowing theatrically one second and purring lusty deliveries the next. The other band members are all highly competent and each have their own moments to stand out, but never do they resort to extended show-boating or competing for attention. Because most of the tightly-composed compositions are at the hard-rock end of Italian progressive, the band are similar to bands such as La Porte Non Aperte and Bacco della Medusa. They're dramatic and brooding one minute, then they tear to life with hair-pulling intensity through superbly executed instrumental passages. The Italian lyrics are mix of modern social-observation and fantasy stories, with very dark imagery woven amongst the words that suit the heavy attacking sound of the accompanying music.

Tracks like the opener `Umida Cenere' and `Urano' are punchy rockers that balance spiky guitars with thoughtful washes of vintage synths perfectly. `Il Cavaliere Illuso' and `Paura Infinita' have a rollicking devil-may-care attitude as it races back and forth through unpredictable tempo changes, all delirious, feral power but still finding time to slow down for a few dreamier moments to catch your breath - the later having some catchy dark grooves as well. Interludes such as `Il Menestrello', `I Sette Angeli' and `Rimane Il Mare' show the band incorporating narrated passages into the music, a classic RPI story-telling trademark, and even though all the pieces on the disc they are seemingly unrelated, it works as a successful framing device to shape the album.

Three tracks incorporate a strong Banco del Mutuo Soccorso influence, offering a modern take on the same approach that legendary band took. The lovely jazzy piano filtered throughout `Aureo and `Delirio Ad Occhi Chiusi' makes the tracks initially appear more sedate, before they suddenly turn into twisty raucous blasts. But it's the grandly symphonic album closer `L'Ultimo Grido di Galeria' that hints at so many directions the band may choose to go in the future. Especially striking because it's the piece that holds back the most on heavy sounds, it's a melancholic and darkly romantic number full of wondrous piano, beautiful fluid bass work and skittering drumming. There's a delicate shimmering ambience to it, a disorientating gentle psychedelic touch, a slow building tension, with the band displaying great restraint for much of the piece. They would be well advised to dial down a bit of the noise that covers much of this album and offer more pieces in the future just like this!

This is an album that impresses more and more with each additional listen, full of melodic arrangements and boundless energy, and it even has some mind-bending psychedelic artwork as well to grab some attention! Civico 23 are a younger modern band who proudly respect the Italian progressive acts of the Seventies without being slavishly devoted to them, and they never come across as any sort of `retro' prog band. They show so much potential with this debut, and I'm sure they'll flex their progressive muscles even further on future albums. But for now, this is one progressive serum we should all be taking a sip of! Hell, drink the whole damn bottle down and raise it to this exciting new Italian prog band!

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four for the Archives rating system.

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 Siero progressivo by CIVICO 23 album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 9 ratings

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Siero progressivo
Civico 23 Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Civico 23 is an unknown but competent young heavy prog band from Rome - Italy with one album issued since their formation in 2010 named Siero progressivo released at BTF records 2013. Well, this is good album for sure, energic music full of great guitar chops, hammond organ for good measure and a fantastic singer - Massimo Joe Galatone. The sound is very vintage like on the glory '70s, even the influences are from that period, Museo Rosembach mostly or Uriah Heep comes in mind or from more recent times they are similar with another italian band named Graal or with czechs Votchi. Now, the album is well balanced, there are some really solid heavy prog here, with rich instrumental parts, the guitar specially is awesome combined with more calmer moements, all melted in a typical italian feel. Pieces like Umida Cenere, Il Cavaliere Illuso, I Sette Angeli or the longest piece of the album L'Ultimo Grido Di Galeria are really really good, showing that theheavy prog scene is alive and kicking. Some spoken words apear here and there to give an almost story tell kind of album with lyrics about dragons, knights, castels and this kind of stuff. All in all I like what I've heared here on Siero progressivo, good towards great album. Definetly 3.5 stars.

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 Siero progressivo by CIVICO 23 album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.76 | 9 ratings

BUY
Siero progressivo
Civico 23 Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Civico 23 began life in Rome in 2010 on the initiative of Massimo "Joe" Galatone and Lorenzo Gaudino with the aim to blend classic rock with new sounds. After a demo and an intense live activity in the Roman area, in 2013 the band released an interesting début album on the independent label Lizard Records titled "Siero progressivo" (Progressive serum) with a line up featuring Massimo "Joe" Galatone (vocals), Lorenzo Gaudino (basso), Daniel Parisi (lead guitar), Federico Cianfarra (rhythm guitar), Simone Mastrodonato (organ, piano, keyboards) and Francesco Cossio (drums). The result of their efforts is a personal "NeWintage" music (as they define it) full of raw energy and irony with a strong theatrical approach and influences ranging from Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Premiata Forneria Marconi to Joe Cocker, Neil Young, Dream Theater and many more.

The opener "Umida cenere" (Wet ash) begins with an electric guitar arpeggio. Then, out of the blue, the music and lyrics conjure up hard images of desolate, dark streets where drug dealers and pimps rule over men and women who burn their life under a gloomy rain before getting lost into the black, as wet ashes swept away by a hurricane.

"Il menestrello" (The minstrel) is a short narrative introduction to the following "Il cavaliere illuso" (The deluded knight) , a long, complex track that alternates heavy guitar riffs and calmer moments, fiery organ rides and acoustic passages. It tells the story of a knight who kills a dragon and later realizes that he did the wrong thing since the dragon was there only to protect the town. The ungrateful townsfolk are far from happy for his noble deed since the dragon used to feed on hatred and negativity giving peace in exchange. So, eventually, the knight runs away and shelters in the forest, ashamed and regretful. In some way this track reminds me of another Italian prog band called Fiaba.

"Urano" (Uranus) tells in music and words about a cathartic voyage toward Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky. It starts softly, then a sudden burst of energy marks the take off towards deep purple skies. Along the way you could die working in slavery, haunted by apocalyptic visions and then come to life again with a new hope... "Stand up!".

"Paura infinita" (Infinite fear) features a heavy atmosphere where the music and lyrics evoke gloomy, infernal figures moving behind the black face of Death, wildly dancing on the deck of a pirate ship... "Forests of fire / Deserts of sulphur / Come on damned! Dance with me! / You're welcome in my Hell...".

"Aureo" (Aureus) is a short narrative piece which sets the atmosphere to the following "I sette angeli" (The seven angels), an apocalyptic ballad evoking seven angels carrying death and destruction on earth. After their passage there's nothing left but dust, ash and silence, then a woman crowned with stars appears in the sky bringing a new hope. She's ready to give birth to a new messiah, a new sun is going to rise and you can't do nothing but hope in a better world...

"Delirio ad occhi chiusi" (Delirium with eyes closed) begins with a delicate piano pattern, then the rhythm rises bringing a positive energy along with odd dreams and strange sensations. Only keeping your eyes shut you can fly over the towers of the prophets discovering humble, fragile secrets and see the infinite throughout the light that for centuries has been hiding it... "I want to shout on a distant music / As the wind blowing on a volcano that is going to erupt...".

The long, complex "L'ultimo grido di Galeria" (The last scream of Galeria) is my favourite track on this album. Galeria is a ghost town that lies near Rome and was completely abandoned by the inhabitants in 1809, probably on account of a malaria epidemic. This piece depicts in music and words a traveller who walks among the ruins of the ancient buildings in wintertime. He can still hear the songs of a minstrel carried by the wind or the screams of pain of some lost souls still echoing all around...

A last short narrative track, "Rimane il mare" (It remains the sea), concludes the album with sparks of fairy tales and poetical visions... "In the beginning it was silence, then wind and rain came / And the sea with its ever changing wave / Then came the man with his wars and no solution / Then music came, primordial sounds / And in the end, in the very end / The wind was gone, and the man with his heart of pain was gone too / There was nothing left but the sea / A sound that can replace every human sound...".

On the whole, a good work that is really worth listening to.

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Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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