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Ezra Winston - Ancient Afternoons CD (album) cover


Ezra Winston


Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 64 ratings

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5 stars Dateline 1990: the Dictatorial Rule of the Corporate Music Industry has crushed the remaining stubborn prog dinosaurs into oblivion. Yet little did the corporate bigwigs know that within a year Metallica and Nirvana would conspire to "tear the playhouse down" again and bring in the grunge/alternative era of noisy guitar crap and wounded (or MIA) melodies (sorry Kurt). Prog was forced into the "maquis", becoming jungle guerillas, a few trembling survivors fighting on bravely and in silent lucidity(Queensryche-Empire, Ant Phillips-Slow Dance, Ozric Tentacles-Erpland, Oldfield's Amarok, After Crying-Overground Music and Fish-The Vigil ). Needless to say, times were tough in Progland during the blitz. Yet among the smoking ruins and strewn corpses of the once all mighty (Yes, Tull, Floyd, KC and the traitor Genesis), there was a fabulous little treasure that few knew about, away from the usual Brit-Yank commercial infested stage , in a country known more for food, drink, fashion and history but also once a pivotal school of prog-rock : Italy. Far removed from the maddening hypocrisy of the flavor of the month rock band philosophy was Ezra Winston and its mythical "Ancient Afternoons", a heady follow up to their equally resplendent 1988 debut" Myth of the Chrysalides". Composer and multi-instrumentalist Mauro di Donato put together another symphonic masterpiece with heavy Medieval/Renaissance influences (identified by some reviewers as Trespass-era Genesis) meshed with outright classical orchestrations leaning heavily on assorted wind and brass instruments. There are some strong similarities with Hackett's debut "Voyage of the Acolyte", with some typical PFM/LeOrme arrangements (the latter's Aldo Tagliapietra is a guest on bass and vocals) and plenty lush symphonics that will leave you speechless. There are no outright flashy solos but rather a team concept all focusing on the sum of the parts that make this slant towards a classical prog monument. The nearly hour long recording is an utter stroke of genius, a masterpiece of Italian symphonic prog that has few peers and deserves to be in any prog collection. Amazing for 1990, still stunning today. That means 5 pounds of marlboros.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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