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Periferia Del Mondo - Nel Regno Dei Ciechi CD (album) cover


Periferia Del Mondo


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.10 | 13 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Going back probably over fifteen years ago now, my good prog friend Tom (Prog Archives member Tom Ozric) and I purchased the debut album from a then new modern R.P.I band called Periferia del Mondo, either from the Freak Emporium in the UK or from the late Michael Piper (help me out, Tom!). The group were an offshoot of Banco del Mutuo Soccorsso, formed by a member of that classic band, woodwind player Alessandro Papotto. It not only looked amazing on the LP format, but it turned out to be a very good album. The late Franceso Di Giacomo from Banco guested on the first track, and the album raced through an assortment of prog styles - classical based Italian prog, jazz/fusion and even some Neo flavours, with plenty of exciting extended instrumental passages. Even after not hearing it for a while, when the announcement of a new album from the band came out, I instantly ordered the CD expecting more of the same quality from this talented band, but instead I've been left a little disappointed and somewhat surprised.

`Nel Regno dei Ciechi' slumps about in a wide range of confused styles, trying to mix progressive rock with everything from bad poppy numbers, adult commercial rock and lots of tired heavy metal posturing. It also doesn't help that the group constantly sings in English, and often badly garbled incomprehensible English at that. A band like this has no chance making an impact in international music circles, so why alienate your existing Italian fanbase for some delusional hope of appealing to a wider crowd that would have no time for a band like this in the first place? When the band sing in Italian, the results vocally are unsurprisingly a lot smoother, and I suggest the band stick to this in the future. But if you take the time to wade through the poorer sections, there's still moments where a track will suddenly take a promising turn and get your hopes up. It's a frustrating listen, because with a bit of work, the band would have delivered a really strong album here.

Despite a thoughtful lyric about the Japanese tsunami of 2011, the bland opener `Sakura Zensen', with it's chiming electric guitars, would barely make for a Hogarth-period Marilion or U2 B-side filler. The melancholic `Purity' had endless potential with it's programmed trip-hop percussion, electronic ripples and Steve Hackett-like guitar tones, so it's a shame the English vocals make it all sound a little forced, and it also has a lazy anti-climactic fadeout. The tiresome album closer `Alibi' is a cheesy poppy groover that begins and ends with sludgy heavy-metal stomping. Actually, so many of the tracks on this disc use heavy metal to open and close the tracks, even though it's totally unnecessary, seems so lazy and uninspired, and seriously undoes some of the good work on display elsewhere on the disc. But worst of all is the tedious novelty rocker `I Need U' (urgh, even that `hip' spelling makes me cringe). I think it's meant to be a slightly comical or tongue-in- cheek piece, but the joke is lost on me, and until I looked at the CD booklet, I was sure, due to the dreadful English vocals, that the band was singing `Honey Dew', pledging their love for the green melon!

It's not all bad though. The title track, despite being bookended with uninspired metal riff clich├ęs, has a sublime moody Pink Floyd-like instrumental passage in the middle with Alessandro's lonely sax over humming Hammond organ and a powerful vocal rise. Instrumental `The Bridge's Resilience' also opens and closes with silly grungy metal riffs, but is briefly saved midway by lovely quirky keyboard twitches, haunting sax and a dreamy Gilmour-inspired electric guitar solo. Despite a droning and mostly unsuccessful English vocal melody, the instrumental parts of the 12 minute `Suburban Life' - snarling electric lead guitar, delicate electric piano jamming, restrained drumming, thick punchy bass and drifting saxophone - are especially thrilling, but the fade-out at the end is unforgivable! `Suburban Landscapes' is a bluesy guitar over rising and falling placid electronic washes interlude reprise. But special mention must go to `A Ryttu U Jelu', the absolute highlight of the album, a seven minute instrumental that really displays the musical skills of all the players, driven by a relentless bass throb and middle-eastern styled flute around classical guitar. There's a drowsy improvised jazzy middle with howling sax and warped electronics - Periferia guys, why wasn't the whole album this good?!

The biggest problem I have here is that 2013 was not only a superb year from progressive rock in general (possibly one of the best since the vintage days), but especially for the Italian prog artists, either comeback bands or brand new acts, with some releasing almost instantly classic works. So an album like `Nel Regno dei Ciechi' just doesn't quite totally cut it with so many other more consistent options available, and a few brief tasteful instrumental flourishes and a decent track here and there simply isn't quite good enough.

I really hope Perifieria del Mondo have a bit of a rethink and push themselves to step up the quality and compositions for their next work (and ditch the metal too), because they're an extremely talented bunch of musicians that I know can do better, and they also look like a bunch of good blokes on the CD booklet photos. There's a few tracks of superb musicianship on display here, with a bunch of questionable choices that should have been worked on or removed altogether, so it ultimately leaves `Nel Regno dei Ciechi' as an occasionally wonderful but flawed missed opportunity.

Two and a half stars - but rounded up to three, because when it's good, it truly soars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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