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Locus Amoenus - Clessidra CD (album) cover


Locus Amoenus


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.96 | 15 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Forming back in 2010 at Irpinia, Italy, and spending a couple of years touring and eventually recording, Locus Amoenus released their debut album `Clessidra' (Hourglass) on September 28th 2013, and it keeps up the strong tradition of dynamic Italian progressive releases from recent years. However, what sets them instantly apart is that band work at the darker, noisier and dirtier end of RPI, more influenced by the likes of Biglietto per L'Inferno and the dark jazz of Delirium due to the heavy attacking presence of sax and flute. The musicians contrast soft and heavy, electric and acoustic passages with plenty of building, brooding atmosphere, and despite moments of heavy riffing, they never simply fall back on heavy metal clichés.  Listeners who don't enjoy the often pristine and polished production of modern RPI albums should appreciate this one more too, as the band favour a scuzzy, more dangerous murkiness to their sound.

The opening instrumental `Tra La Mente...' welcomes droning immersive and slightly creeping feedback atmosphere, metallic King Crimson-styled electric guitar razor blade slices through sludgy stomping riffs over huffing flute and filthy mucky sax. A skipping beat over `Inverno's looping electronics and galloping bass quickly turn to harsh noise, buzzsaw electric guitar wailing and thundering drumming. There's wild disorientating flute, unexpected tempo-change surges back and forth and passionate pleading vocals, with just dark addictive grooves all around. The next two tracks lull you into a false sense of security, `Il Suono Di Lei' beginning with more gentle chiming guitars, an up-tempo beat and warmer voices, `Lettera di un Folle' a reassuring classical acoustic guitar warmth and soft soothing vocal. But before long, the band roars into aggressive tsunamis of Osanna and Van der Graaf Generator-styled sax violence, smoky dark Delirium-like jazz strolls with nimble little fiery electric guitar fills and thick bass eruptions.

Flute flitters around cool mysterious electronics and ranting droning fragments of other-wordly treated voices on the disturbing psychedelic jazz of `Amleto', the sombre `Anima' twists into a boisterous storm of hard guitars and urgent forceful vocals. The final track is the deeply melancholic `I Segni Del Mio Tempo', lost flute and careful acoustic guitar beauty offers a great deal of loneliness, with drifting lonely saxophone and blistering electric guitar filled with a grinding frustration that ensures it's a deeply emotional and powerful closer.

Confronting, powerful, often frightening...there's a grit, an unpredictable approach and a sense of daring that reminds of the best vintage RPI albums to this band that is often missing from modern Italian prog groups, and fans who don't mind getting a bit of dirt under their nails should investigate this exceptional debut right away. By adding a youthful heaviness, Locus Amoenus are a very modern sounding kind of RPI that respects and acknowledges the vintage masters without ever feeling the need to merely imitate them, while also bringing them screaming into the present era, and the band have more than enough talent and edge to make a strong impact in the modern RPI scene.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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