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Ad Maiora - Repetita Iuvant CD (album) cover


Ad Maiora


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.98 | 58 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Formed in Milan in 2009 and delivering their first self-titled album back in 2014, Italian group Ad Maiora proved right from the start to be a talented band offering pleasing and intelligent progressive music. But whilst their debut was charming and reliable, the two years since have done wonders for the band, and the follow-up album in 2016 shows Ad Maiora stepping up with a more truly impressive work in so many ways! `Repetita Iuvant' is instantly more dynamic and daring, with greater fire to the playing, catchier song-writing, longer instrumental stretches full of variety, and even better, it sees the band adopting Italian vocals (after the wholly English-sung debut) to great dramatic effect throughout, although there's still English pieces here and there too.

Opener `Molokheya' bristles with danger and intensity, all slinking electronics and Flavio Carnovali's twisting-turning mantra- like electric guitar runs, Paolo Callioni's voice more boisterous and urgent than at any point on the debut! `Life' takes the form of an unexpectedly angry protest song, where Moreno Piva's slinking bass pulses with subtle grooves and Sergio Caleca's colourful synths take flight to bring some balance to the biting lyric and raging vocal, and the guitars move between grand fluid Pink Floyd-like soloing and grinding chords. `Fermati' is the first piece to adopt Italian lyrics, a gutsy heavy blast of stop- start maniacal riffing book-ending dreamy and thoughtful passages sung with dignity to perfectly convey a reflective lyric. `Torba' brings us to the half-way point and is the first of three purely instrumental pieces, an adventurous Banco del Mutuo Soccorso-like ride of pure RPI classical/orchestral-like synth grandiosity, tip-toeing piano, tasty Hammond organ and eerie Mellotron choirs (with just a touch of Rick Wakeman-esque fanfare pomp!) over majestic guitar themes and creeping bass purrs.

Despite being another Italian vocal piece, `Invisible' is predominantly instrumental-based and constantly fuelled by Mellotron veils and Hammond organ around the introspective atmosphere and stirring passionate vocal, with even a few moments bouncing with a grooving energy! The keyboard-heavy title track `Repetita Iuvant' is another darker-tinged instrumental full of mystery, airy flute dancing around heavier guitars and rich symphonic synths another reminder of the RPI classics of old with a touch of vintage-era Genesis. There's feint echoes of Pink Floyd again to the hazy electric guitar wailing and gentle electronic trickles throughout `Etereo', Paolo powerfully offering a dignified vocal to perfectly convey the hopeful balance of fantastical and realistic words, but sadly the piece simply stops when it feels like it's building to a grand finale - a bit of a missed opportunity! But final instrumental piece `Never Mind' closes the disc with extended slow-burn bluesy soloing, Enzo Giardina's lively drumming and cheeky electric piano trills, and there's a playful upbeat quality that will leave the listener in a great mood!

So the band like to offer many different styles as opposed to a clear focused direction, but, along with the use of both English and Italian vocals, perhaps these all mean that Ad Maiora make for an ideal gateway band for new listeners wanting to explore Italian prog for the first time? There's no denying this is their strongest work to date, where not only the musicians display a fire and determination to impress in the constant instrumental flourishes, but the songwriting itself is stronger than ever, and Paolo's charismatic vocals are heavier and more passionate, bringing the group that step closer to the proper RPI sound of old. Also, discounting a bonus Procol Harum cover track at the very end of the disk, the vinyl-length running time of about fifty minutes works to the benefit of the album here, so there's rarely much chance for filler to slip in.

Ad Maiora should be absolutely proud of this addictive disc that hints at so much potential for further albums, with their instrumental and melodic skills firmly on display, and it makes `Repetita Iuvant' one of the most welcome and surprising releases in Italian prog for 2016!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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