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Randone - Hybla Act 1 CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.11 | 59 ratings

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5 stars "Hybla Act 1" is a concept album (or a "barock opera", if you prefer to use the same words as the band) about the history of Ragusa (Sicily), the hometown of Nicola Randone and of his fellow musicians (Hybla is the ancient name of Ragusa). It was inspired by a book by Mimi Arezzo ("Ibla dei miracoli") and was conceived as a long suite where all the tracks are bound together...

This is a little passage from the book of Mimi Arezzo that is quoted in the liner notes: "Wandering in the evening on any little street of the baroque town I could not ignore the buzz of a thousand voices all around, and the clamour of armies, and the echo of remote jamborees, and the moaning of the unfortunates, and children's laughter; all this is comprised in the hundred year long silence of the alleys, of the mouldy doorways, of the courtyards with their shut windows. Some silences give the idea of peace, love and calmness; but some others give shivers of fear and distress to the soul; the silences of Hybla are full with all the good and all the bad of this world, they are swollen with history"...

"Story of misery and nobility / I can still hear the voices of the slaves and of their captors on the city roads"... Listening to this album is like taking a walk into a dream... Lyrics don't try to tell the history of the city in an academic way but they just suggest in a very poetical way misty and ghostly images that your imagination has to shape while the music steadily flows... The song-writing is astounding and although you can find here some "quotes" of famous "Italianprog" bands of the Seventies like Le Orme and BMS (for instance, in "La caccia"), you never have the feeling of a "nostalgic operation". All the tracks bring changes of rhythm and mood avoiding banality and monotony... Every now and then you can catch peculiar sounds of traditional instruments like the "scacciapensieri" or marching drums interacting with keyboards and guitars suggesting echoes of war (this work features also Beppe Crovella of Arti e Mestieri as a guest musician on moog and mellotron) but what really strikes in this album is the richness and variety of the vocal parts...

The crystal voice of Nicola Randone frequently give way to the operatic baritone voice of Carmelo Corrado Caruso or to female vocals that seem to come from the dark side of the moon... Nevertheless the final result is a perfectly balanced mix of prog and poetry, the music is veined by colours of local folklore and of modernity, Wagnerian and Gregorian choirs are intertwined with fiery parts of heavy rock guitar, but you never have the feeling of an odd patchwork...

In my opinion this is one of the best albums of the present Italian Progressive scene and an essential one in every prog collection...

P.S.: The booklet, where you can find all the lyrics with the English translation, is very accurate and rich with notes and images describing the concept... You can find more information about this excellent work on the official website of the band (where you can also find some samples and from where you can easily purchase the CD)...

andrea | 5/5 |


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