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Civico 23 - Siero Progressivo CD (album) cover


Civico 23


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.74 | 14 ratings

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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.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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