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Sezione Frenante - Metafora Di Un Viaggio CD (album) cover


Sezione Frenante


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.19 | 31 ratings

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4 stars My good friend Jean Roby (not to be confused with John 'the Cat' Robie of Alfred Hitchcock fame, the suave cat burglar in the legendary film 'To Catch a Thief') and I have been exchanging progressive rock discussions for a couple of years now and he suggested I strive to hunt this sucker down, as it was his opinion that I would go gaga over this Italian band from Venice whose name would be translated as The Braking Section. He was dead right as this debut album owns all of the hallmarks of a classic RPI release but fondly wrapped in a modern lustre. Hints of Le Orme, PFM and Banco are front and center, festooned by some terrific modern production techniques and a pristine recording. The seasoned musicians are simply first rate, especially the bass player Sandro Bellemo who just knocks it out the park throughout the set list. The rest of the squadra are no slouches either, as Dario Mestriner plays a mean guitar with a wide variety of tones to satisfy the axe technician, keyboardist Mirco de Marchi favors rolling organ, delicate piano and subtle synthesizer moves , while drummer Alessandro Casagrande pounds like the best of them. The biggest surprise is lead lung Francesco Nardo, who owns a deluxe and expressive set of pipes that verges on the outstanding and thus providing a highly enjoyable upfront presence that does wonders to the stylish arrangements.

There are plentiful moments where the mood is perhaps closer to a lighter version of Deep Purple or even Uriah Heep what with the slick interplay between Mastriner and de Marchi as well as the rock-solid partnership on bass and drums. I was immediately impressed from the very first notes, stunned into submission by the crisp edges and overt melodies that litter this album. Fresh and powerful, the production is deliriously attractive, the melodies are simple yet divine, as I have caught myself many times humming certain passages.

When first hearing the opener 'La Quiete In Un Attimo', I was quite surprised by the sizzling touches from axeman Dario Mastriner, purveyor of stinging leads and shrieking riffs that ultimately lead to the delicate piano and the suave voice of Francesco Nardo in loving embrace.

Then comes the 2 part 'La Meta non Trovata' which offers a binary beat, dancing organs and a shuffling funky guitar swath that once again switches to a piano and voice duet, organ in the background. The guitar then scours gently like some stringed lullaby. The second part is typical RPI in all its simplicity and delicate nature. The electric guitar takes over the main melody and forges ahead with bold determination.

With 'Attesa', I was tempted to believe that I was listening to a new version of the Cars 'Let the Good Times Roll' as the first few seconds are nearly identical, before veering into outright RPI mode, with striking guitar scratches and organ rumbles. I wonder if Braking Section and Cars have anything in common? Nah'just my overtly abundant imagination. Anyway, the track then evolves into this galloping march, the raunchy bass leading the way for the thumping binary drums a la Lee Kerslake. Short, sweet and fun with a cool organ flurry to exit. 'Passagio' is a minute of oddness, the guitar and keys in a tandem tornado that kicks up a mini-storm. Only to prepare for 'Viscido Ambiente', another brief but powerful piece that has all the fine little musical touches that ultimately showcase the dazzling voice of Francesco Nardo, a clean and startling belt that has all the emotions one can ask for.

'Pace Immaginata' is perhaps the finest RPI song in a decade, a stupendous slice of perfection led by a monster bass groove that just keeps pounding furiously at your brain. Everything about this piece is sumptuous, incredible vocalizations, deadly guitar stokes, subtle keyboard interventions and tremendous drum support. The initial melody is subtly carved out on triangle hand percussion, then a takeover the lead bass jumps in to propel this masterful piece forward with drums, bass and choir in hot pursuit. A buzzing, fuzzy lead guitar really kills it. Tremendous tune.

Bass, tubular bells and e-piano infect 'Quattro Stelle', another monumental song that provides intense resolution from Nardo's booming voice, keys and guitar in unison in a decidedly Mediterranean feel (that accordion-like patch). The bass undertow is sublime, this man Bellamo knows how to play his instrument, up-front and center.

The album finishes off with 2 longer pieces, the 8 minute + epic 'Nota Stonata' forging ahead nicely, riding the bass player's crest, with the De Marchi organ loyally following behind and expert aid from drummer Casagrande. The lead singer does perhaps his finest work on this tricky vocal arrangement, both demanding and complex, a real quality delivery of an ultra-expressive melody that is not an easy chore. The honking Hammond is also in the spotlight, keeping things very 70s a la Toni Pagliuca of Le Orme legend, later tossing in some fine synthesizer layers to add to the texture.

Another superb piece is the 9 minute 'Svegliati Luce', a more tortuous composition once again dominated by a marvelous bass run, slithering synthesizers, and powerful drum support. The Hammond does it smoking thing quite convincingly, playful and burning. Guest Antonio Zullo does wonders on acoustic guitar, the choir mellotron heightening the voice to even loftier pinnacles and then one more go-around, lead guitar soloing from Mastriner that shudders and soars, while Bellamo threatens below. Bombastic symphonic prog Italian style. Si, per favore, ancora!

This is an obviously mature crew of seasoned musicians who have waited a long time to put their craft into a recording and in my opinion, they succeed brilliantly in combining the glory years with a modern, fresh and direct approach, with crystalline sound and intense presentation. This is one hell of a debut album, for sure and I thank 'the Cat' for not putting the brakes to this disc-overy !

4.5 Excursion allegories

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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