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La Coscienza Di Zeno - La Notte Anche di Giorno CD (album) cover


La Coscienza Di Zeno


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.11 | 244 ratings

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5 stars La Coscienza di Zeno is quickly becoming the new 'enfant terrible' of Italian prog , 3 sensational albums into a career that just keeps giving vivid music that adheres to the classic elements that makes RPI so attractive to many , and puzzling to some others. Well, you have to love Italian vocals, so anti-opera fans will have an understandable hard time even approaching this style. The orchestral bravado, the melodic flair, the rhythmic muscle and the constant sizzle of variety never ends, showing why Italian art, cuisine, design and style rank right up there with the very best. Edgy yet creatively original, pushing emotional and esthetic boundaries is what make Italians tick, in pretty much everything they set their mind to.

In particular, the unending voyage between extremes is a national characteristic and on this album, we have some outright proof: the title has Notte (Night) and Giorno (Day), as well as the two suites, one called Giovane Figlia (Young daughter) and Madre Antica (Old Mother). The band is pretty much the same as on previous recordings except for the arrival of second keyboardist Luca Scherani, a personal favorite of mine what with his work with Fabio Zuffanti's Höstsonaten projects, as well as with Trama and his solo album. Add to that one of RPI's most notable drummer in Andrea Orlando (Finisterre, Hostsonaten, Malombra, Zuffanti, Narrow Pass and Curva di Lesmo). But the star of the show must be lead singer Alessandro Calandriello, a man whose booming voice becomes more and more convincing with each release. As mentioned by many commentators, this one creeps up on you sneakily, as multiple auditions add definition, space and contrast to the initial impression, not really surprising as RPI is, in my mind, really defined by a myriad of little touches, a spot of clarinet here, a tidy flute there, some sizzling violin where necessitated and any other instrumental cameo that heightens the pleasure. What an inspiring disc, truly elite in terms of progressive adventurism, combining whopping melodies that you swear you may have heard in your dreams, with turn-on-a-dime breaks and accelerations that would make Ferrari, Maserati and Bugatti proud. The opener sets the stage with a clear indication of who are the players and what are their intentions. "Ritroso" slams into overdrive immediately, pulling the pants down on expectations and initial misgivings. Boom! "Il Giro del Cappio" is one of those tracks that will attack your musical jugular like some rabid wolf and never let you go, easily falling into the greatest RPI song catalog. A colossal main melody seizes the moment and builds continuously. Majestic, colossal and utterly ambitious, both the verse and the chorus are celestial, the Calandriello voice trembling with power and glory, elevated by some energetic playing on all fronts, featuring piercing guitar, all- encompassing dual keys, thriving bass and booming drum fills. As fine an RPI circa 2015 classic theme as there ever will be! Searing violin, gritty guitar and suave harpsichord and synths greet "Libero Pensatore", blooming into another heavenly melody, expertly expressed by the mellifluous voice. Davide Serpico's axe grinding, riffing and slicing through the slippery violin runs and shoved along by some sublime synth runs that rekindle images of Flavio Premoli, I am starting to see La Coscienza di Zeno as the worthy 21st century successor of the Premiata Forneria Marconi . And that is saying a lot! On the sweet and short "Impromptu", Luca Scherani's piano and Dominico Ingenito on violin conglomerate to shine like distant novas, glittering prizes to the RPI pantheon. This leads straight into the wild roller coaster of "Lenta Discesa all'Averno" where the lead singer shows off some lung gymnastics that contrast brightly with the suave entrance of Simona Angioloni's otherworldly voice. She had previously shone on both the Höstsonaten and Aries discographies (both being Fabio Zuffanti's creations).

The second suite, "Madre Antica", kicks off with a sombre and gloomy premise, the dark obscurity of "Il Paese Ferito" seeks to explore denser musical territories, churning organ colliding with sculpted guitar phrasings and abrupt flute ramblings as a brief introduction before the sublime violin kicks in its romantic ooze, aided by some sweeping synthesizer tapestries. A galaxy of contrasts, twists and turns keep the listener perpetually off guard and hesitant, eager for the next thrill and they do flow inexorably. Again, the main chorus on the companion piece "Cavanella" is completely baffling, Calandriello raising the bar, pushing his animated voice beyond any easy boundaries. Fiery, ambitious, ardent and bold, these talented musicians are in total control of their craft, both in direction and execution. "La Staffetta" has our new favorite singer hitting high notes with ostensible effortlessness, pushing and shoving the pleasure along with little restraint. The gorgeous piano etude comes out of the clouds, lovingly ornate and elegant, another example of opportunity meeting conviction, as Scherani's melody is to expiate over, something Wolgang Amadeus may have dreamed about but died too young to put onto paper. When second keyboardist Agnini adds his raging organ, you get the idea and simply capitulate to the charm. In the presence of glorious brilliance, of that there is no doubt. The final piece to the promenade puzzle (sorry, I could not help myself any longer!) is the stuttering brilliance of "Come Statua di Dolore" (Like statues of pain) where the violin waltzes feverishly with another divine melody that reprises "Il Paese Ferito" and its magical 'Arcobaleno' line to put this masterpiece to bed and consecrate it with the highest praise possible.

La Coscienza di Zeno is the real thing and easily the New Kid on the RPI Block. Stunning artwork puts this release in the must have category. One word : WOW

5 Night and Days

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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