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Il Ballo delle Castagne - Live Studio CD (album) cover


Il Ballo delle Castagne


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.45 | 4 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Lurking in the shadowy corner where the darker Italian prog bands dwell, Il Ballo delle Castagne closed out their 2014 with the recording of a live album simply entitled `Live Studio'. Performed live, sure enough, at the Nadir studio in Genova in the Spring of 2014, main composer Vinz Aquarian and his cohort Diego Banchero from fellow Italian dark prog masters Il Segno del Comando, along with other members of the band, played a selection of Castagne pieces and an interesting choice of covers by artists as diverse as Franco Battiato, psychedelic band Ya Ho Wa 13 and even German symphonic prog legends Eloy! The results are a superb little forty minute vinyl length live release, and fans of the band should greatly enjoy the results!

Marina Larcher's hissing chants and gothic priestess wail weaves around Vinz's weary vocal that's seemingly carved from a cursed altar stone throughout opener `Tema di Gilgamesh'. Heavy slab guitars and sprinkles of organ ploddingly lurch along until spacey swirling synths flitter around strangled electric guitar soloing in the climax. The slow burn bluesy/acid rock guitar strutting that quickly turns wailing throughout `La Terra Trema' over spectral church organ instantly calls to mind Antonio Bartoccetti's Antonius Rex, and Diego gets some playful jazzy bass soloing before Fernando Cherchi's drumming erupts to life with fiery purpose. Lusty foot-tapping guitar grooves saunter through the hallucinogenic synths and ghoulish female beckonings of `Il Viaggio', the most subtle of jazzy flavours dancing throughout, and a rollicking piece originating from one of Diego's side projects Egida Aurea, `Odore di Benzina', offers frantic dark funk, his relentless bass purring with wicked delight.

`I Giorni della Memoria Terrena' is a dramatic and dreamy reinterpretation of German band Eloy's `Appearance of the Voice', Vinz's distorted spoken vocal (with new Italian lyrics) groaning over reflective and tasteful guitars replacing those shimmering synth lines of the original. A further cover of Italian legend Franco Battiato's `Areknames' is given a frantic new-wave punky sprightly pop/rock makeover. A ranting narrated introduction over rising church organ builds a brooding mysterious menace throughout `Omega' before the band twist it into a devilish Black Sabbath stomp, and the band close on Ya Ho Wa 13's acid-rocker `Fire in the Sky', where endless scorching electric guitar soloing burns with hellfire intent, the repeated chanted chorus crushes your precious hold on sanity and a repetitive bass-line smashes down on your skull over and over for all eternity!

`Live Studio' is limited to just over a hundred copies, and despite it being a CD release, it comes in a glossy fold-out 7" LP sized sleeve, with the disc carefully placed in a plastic pocket inside. It's a beautiful presentation for a special little live document that, although not essential, offers a frequently exciting live performance with plenty of spontaneous fire and rough intimidating gloom from a fascinating darker Italian band. It's meant as a friendly gesture of thanks to fans for supporting the band, and while it's definitely recommended, the March 2015 release of their next studio album, `Soundtrack for an Unreleased Herzog Movie' promises to surely be even more exciting!

Four stars nonetheless.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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