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Mangala Vallis - Lycanthrope CD (album) cover


Mangala Vallis


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.64 | 77 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The band was quite hesitant in terms of vocalist on their first album. No less than three will be featured, which will not really give the impression of some sorts of consistency. For "Lycanthrope", they will make up their mind and choose Bernardo Lanzetti (from PFM) to be the lead singer.

If you are a bit "Watcher Of The Skies" hungry, just listen to the short opening number ("Echo Absolute"); you will be amazed. The "Genesis" relation was already very much present on "The Book of Dreams" (their first album). And nothing will fundamentally change here. Just look at the front cover (even if it is a werewoolf featured and not a fox...).

We'll get two sides of Genesis with the first two songs : a harder attack during "Cosmotraffic Jam" and a wonderful and symphonic one with "Call Me Alias" (which finale is again fully "Watcher" oriented). So the band ends up a song with "Watcher" and will start the next one with ..."Watcher". I guess that very few songs are so close than "Lycanthrope" (well maybe "Intelligence" from "Fruitcake").

Since it belongs to my top three fave from my favourite prog band, I could not be more touched (by your presence, dear). It might be called plagiatory I guess, but I am not much into these useless discussions. I just like it. Period. "Lycanthrope" also sounds like "A Trick Of The Tail" (the track) during the second half. Very good music, actually (even if not really original).

Same sort of mellotron sound, off-beat rhytms and theatrical vocals. There is the third part of a long suite-type song featured on this album. OK, it will be divided into four pieces; but its total lenght almost reaches twenty five minutes. The closing section is fully symphonic again. Gorgeous mellotron (how much I love these...). This is truely a great epic theme and a must for all the vintage "Genesis" lovers (anyone out there ?).

One of the best songs (but each of them is brilliant, except the closing one) is the wonderful "The Boy That Howls At The Moon". Probably the most emotional of the whole (you might know by now how much I praised emotional songs). Vocals are totally Gabrielesque ("Slipperman" : "You yourself are just the same as what you see in me"). This is a jewel of a song. Hundred per cent "Genesis" oriented (while they were five - do you love this line-up ?); so if you are looking desperately for creative ingenuity you might not get it here. But boy, what a great musicianship and such an emotional trip back to my early teenage years (yes, I know I'm getting old...).

We'll remain in the same territories with "The Mask" (would you believe !) and its fully "Supper's Ready" finale. "Apocalytical" ! Only the closing number is not on par. Another reason for ths four stars rating. A very good album (but only six commented reviews).

The only reason why I do not rate this album with five stars is that it is sounds too much as who you know. This band also would sit better into the neo-prog category. Because they sing in English and they are so much related with the early "Genesis" music (like "The Watch" for instance) that they definitely o not belong in the Italian symph prog genre. But I guess that an admin guy will mail me "We have decided to place Mangala Vallis into the Italian symphonic genre, and it will remain as such".

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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