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Three Monks - The Legend Of The Holy Circle CD (album) cover


Three Monks


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.04 | 65 ratings

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5 stars Three Monks return with the follow up to their amazing debut work, and `The Legend of the Holy Circle' is loaded with grand, haunting and overpowering medieval classical atmosphere mainly built around endless pipe organ. Fans of keyboard dominated progressive acts such as Sweden's Par Lindh Project, Japan's all-girl trio Ars Nova and especially the darker styled Italian bands such as Goblin and the Bartoccetti projects Antonius Rex/Jacula will really want to make this their next essential purchase.

`The Legend of the Holy Circle' is apparently something of a concept piece, although I've yet to figure out the theme or narrative just yet! Even the band members credit themselves as Julius, Bozorius, Placidius and Ursinius, but I'm not sure if there's any clues there! Paolo Lazzeri (Pipe Organ, synthesizers, compositions), Maurizio Bozzi (Bass, Sound Engineer), with both Roberto Bichi (tracks 3, 6, 7) and Claudio Cuseri (tracks 1-2-5) are on drums, and within the first few minutes, you'll be transported to a time of ancient stone castles, chilly mists over lonely hills, solemn churchs, private meetings for secret societies, esoteric symbols and devilish deals.

Lead track `The Holy Circle' definitely brings to mind Ars Nova, loud and heavy overwhelming dizzying gothic synths swirling around booming intimidating pipe organ, pitch black dirty bass mumbling away in the background beneath a storm of the wildest drums smashing through some unpredictable tempo changes. A truly delirious and manic opening that will have you gasping for air! `Into Mystery' opens with some nice stalking bass creeping up, Grand organ shattering your senses and stomping down on top of you, the whirling aggressive Moog throughout taking on such a spectral ghostly glee that I had to check to credits to see if this section wasn't played by a demon inhabiting the body of Rick Wakeman!

At nearly ten minutes `The Battle of Marduk' sinks into the mire and grime of the deepest dungeon, sometimes comparable to the scratching, clawing overwhelming sinister organ driven menace of Antonius Rex and Jacula. Thrashing militaristic drumming, wild tempo changes that grab you by the throat, and even a cautiously soothing electric piano passage in the middle to catch you off guard. The bass here has a murky, stuffy sound that really hammers home the oppressive and suffocating mood of this gloomy work, and the final half of the track turns absolutely chaotic and berserk. Thankfully `The Rest of the Sacred Swarm' is a lovely and darkly romantic solo duel organ piece, full of wistful contemplation and longing, truly a sublime reflective moment of respite to catch your breath.

`Rieger' is all stomping, imperial pomp and intimidating regal glorious majesty, with frequently lovely near-whispering moments of low-key organ and the softest of percussion, only to have these moments of ease blasted away seconds later. Like a serpent, the bass slithers it's way around the background of the piece, as if whispering promises and lies in your very ear. Several grand and triumphant themes throughout this one. The frequently uptempo and nimble `The Strife of Souls' moves through chasing, manic-like tension and fear to even more heroic themes of glorious victory, always a constant strident drumming charge moving the piece forward, the gentlest of tiptoeing vibraphone footsteps over lulling placid organ. Solemn, somber, filled with purpose, and always exhilarating.

`Toccata Neogotica (Epilogue)' is like a ghostly waltz, so grab your gothic lady and head to the ballroom floor. All eyes on you, you steal the spotlight, some guests look on with plotting and jealous eyes, others in quiet awe. Organ crashes down like an anvil, taking to listener up in glorious divine rapture. A breathtaking vigil mass to end this intoxicating work on.

Available on both CD and LP from Black Widow Records, `The Legend of the Holy Circle' is more thrilling instrumental music for prog fans in 2013, as well as yet another Italian stunner. Truly timeless music, and along with Sophya Baccini's Arcadia's theatrical gothic symphonic opera `Big Red Dragon', L'Albero del Veleno's promising debut `Le Radici del Male' and the latest Antonius Rex work from late last year `Hystero Demonopathy', it makes for yet another triumph for the dark and uneasy corner of the Italian progressive scene.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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