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Latte E Miele - Passio Secundum Mattheum CD (album) cover


Latte E Miele


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 180 ratings

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4 stars Latte e Miele (Milk and Honey) was a 3 piece from Genova formed in 1971. Another typical Italian band story here with very young guys making a name for themselves in the big Italian festivals and opening for bands from other countries. They differ from the storyline by being a band that managed 3 proper albums in their prime instead of "one-shot" syndrome that many others were relegated to. Passio Secundum Mattheum is a true Italian classic, a heavily Bach inspired concept album based on the Passion of Christ. The album is a feast of sound experiences. You will get some soft and lovely passages that sound like Reale Accademia di Musica, but you will also get hard and heavier moments that recall De De Lind's harder sections. In fact, for the prog metalheads this album may be interesting because you have an example of the Therion "choirs vocals" with rock guitar sound a full generation before Therion. There were big ambitions here by this young band, a concept album on the Gospel with choirs, church organs, many different keys and guitars, and carefully planned arrangements. They tried to make a real splash here and I think they succeeded largely in that they created a memorable Italian classic that is still a joy to listen to. The vocals are in Italian, so those not favoring the religious element needn't worry about being exposed to Christian dogma. Many people compare the group to ELP. I would recommend them to fans of Semiramis, De De Lind, Campo di Marte, Jet, Reale, because while the arrangements are sophisticated and ambitious, Latte Miele still retains a bit of that "rough edge" to the other words it is less polished and shiny than PFM or QVL. But as debut albums go this is a fine one with more little victories than unfortunate naiveties.

"Introduzione" begins with choirs slowly building in volume until soon the band kicks in with some grandiose start and stop playing, accented by piano. Right away it is obvious we are in for dramatic themes, bold playing and painstaking arrangements which are the usual trademarks of classic Italian prog. "Il Giorno" features some spoken narration as do several tracks. There is acoustic guitar and soft singing, joined by operatic choruses. "Ultima Cena" sees the band again rocking as the choir kicks it up a notch and we get our first tasty electric lead. The rock instruments on this album sound amazingly warm and present, like you're right in the room with them. They sound marvelous, alive, and immediate unlike so much nowadays that is so heavily processed. Some will therefore call the sound "dated" but if so, I'll take dated! Sounds great to me. "Getzemani" begins with beautiful classical guitar and piano. They stop and the drummer begins a mid paced beat alone. Some airy keys and upbeat vocals join in this very positive sounding song. A dirty sounding electric solo precedes a workout on the tom-toms before the keys return and stop abruptly. "Il Processo" is more of the same heavy keyboard workout. "I Testimoni part 1" starts with classical guitar and stacked vocal harmonies, with the tron in the background. Out of nowhere comes some jazzy piano dancing on the tron with some fancy drum work behind. These drums are heavily miked and will give your speakers a good workout! Another feisty guitar solo invades the piano/drum section. "I Testimoni part 2" is similar with heavy drums, piano and guitar. "Il Pianto" is a relaxing change with acoustic, piano, flute and pleasant vocal. Like an open window on a spring day but too short. "Giuda" breaks the spell with what sounds like an early incarnation of thrash metal.unreal! "Il Re Dei Giudei" features another acidy reverb drenched electric solo. "Il Calvario" is the longest track at over 7 minutes and starts dramatic with operatic male vocals before a church organ kicks in for an extended workout. At 3 minutes an ominous slow heavy drum beat begins with equally heavy operatic vocals. The electric guitar begins to wail and in the last minute the acoustic replaces the drums for a nice ending. "Il Dono Della Vita" is a soothing closer with acoustics, flutes, and soft effects laden vocals for a dreamy feel. A brief reprise of the band and choirs before it ends.

I can't quite award a fifth star though because I do feel that they repeat themselves in a few different places. But this is without question an album that every Italian fan needs to hear and most should own. Try to find the Japanese mini-lp edition which will give you great sound as well as a gorgeous and particularly high quality replication of the original gatefold lp art, assuming that stuff matters to you. If not there is a jewel case edition although I have not heard the sound on that one, hopefully it is good as well.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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