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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Paradiso - The Divine Comedy, Part III CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

4.06 | 16 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Finnish prog association Colossus and its Italian chairman Marco Bernard have been very active since 2000 in producing numerous 4-disc projects for various prog artists around the world to participate in. Perhaps two of the largest ordeals have been the trilogies based on Boccaccio's Decameron (Pt. 3 of it was released in 2016) and Dante's The Divine Comedy. "Paradiso" is naturally the final part of the latter. Here's my modest look at it, to accompany Octopus-4's more detailed review.

Marco Piva has written a 7-page essay of Dante's work. The lay-out of the thick booklet lists, including little pics too, all the performers and their instruments, with (mainly?) Gustave Doré's graphic art in the background instead of being lavishly illustrated with full-colour paintings as in the Decameron series. Looks very good anyway. Marco Lo Muscio's Intro is a piano solo. Disc One's highlights include beautiful, keyboard-centred instrumentals by NUOVA ERA, Dutch keyboardist MATTHIJS HERDER, Argentinan NEXUS and TOMMY ERIKSSON (better known as the frontman of Finland's Ageness).

Disc Two contains a bit more vocal stuff. ORACLE (ie. Canadian Cary Clouser) may not be an excellent singer but the retro-style arrangement is good. (NB! the whole set, as actually all Clossus projects, is intentionally meant to sound rather 70's.) The vocals on ARMALITE's Wakemanesque piece are not very cultivated either. GROOVECTOR offers a good composition with Finnish lyrics and a flute in a big role. ECHOES from Venezuela features as many as three guitarists; the instrumental track is moody and dynamic. The vocals are slightly average on otherwise gorgeous 10-minute track of JAIME ROSAS from Chile.

While the listener is hardly not even expected to love each participation, Disc Three is perhaps most notably uneven. Fine instrumentally oriented pieces by e.g. KBRIDGE and MATTHIJS HERDER. The female vocals grace RAIMUNDO RODULFO's 'El sol de sus ojos'. The 4th disc is stronger. Finnish MIST SEASON featuring female guest vocals is a bliss, and the Dutch bands FLAMBOROUGH HEAD and LADY LAKE are in good shape here, the latter citing Dido's Lament of Henry Purcell. The Hungarian group YESTERDAYS comes with perhaps the poppiest song of the set, sung by Hanna Horvath. Of course it would be more elegant to end the whole set with the real Outro (an organ piece by Marco Lo Muscio) instead of having a separate "Bonus Track" by Atlantis1001...

These Colossus projects are always a great way of getting to know dozens of prog acts all over the world and to hear how they are inspired by the literary source material and how they obey the producer's wish to sound like 70's prog. Italy is however much more represented than any other country, and it's understandable that often the same artists reappear on several projects. "Paradiso" could well be among the finest ones, even if the content is not as celestial as one could think, starting from the beautiful cover art.

Matti | 4/5 |


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