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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Banco CD (album) cover


Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.03 | 308 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
5 stars - For me early Banco is one of the bands that epitomizes the legendary Italy progrock sound: hints of the Seventies Symphonic Rock dinosaurs (ELP) but presented with those very distinctive Classic Italian Progrock elements like passionate native vocals (although on this Manticore version the vocals are in English), classically inspired compositions with sumptuous undertones, a pleasant variety of instruments, an eclectic musical approach (from classic and rock to jazz, avant-garde and folk) and, last but not least, very crafted, often classically trained musicians. The first Banco album I ever bought was this eponymous fifth LP, it was in the late Seventies when I had discovered Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, Camel and Yes but wanted to broaden my progrock horizon. In those days it was not very difficult to purchase 'non-UK' progrock like Banco, PFM and Ange because these bands were released on known labels like Philips and Manticore (ELP's record company).

Side 1:

1. Chorale (From Traccia Theme) (2:30) : First a bit ominous spacey atmosphere, then a lush vintage keyboards by the obviously classically trained Nocenzi brothers.

2. L'Albero Del Pane (The Bread Tree) (4:45) : A fluent rhythm in which Banco incorporates elements of rock, classical and folk, topped with the excellent Italian vocals by Francesco Di Giacomo, one of my favorite progrock singers. The duo-keyboard work delivers a wide range of sounds, from sparkling Grand piano and the warm string-ensemble to powerful Hammond organ runs and fat synthesizer flights, obviously ELP inspired. The acoustic rhythm-guitar and the adventurous rhythm- section are wonderfully blended in the lush keyboard sound, the interplay is awesome!

3. Metamorphosis (14:54) : In my opinion the final composition on side I is one of the highlights in Classic Italian Progrock, here "classical meets symphonic rock" in a very exciting and captivating way. The first parts delivers the distinctive early Banco sound with great interplay, ELP organ and synthesizers sounds and rock guitar. Then a sumptuous church organ sound as a bridge to a long part featuring virtuosic solo Grand piano (in the vein of the first ELP album), when the drums and bass join it culminates mighty close to "ELP goes avant-garde" before Banco returns to a 24-carat symphonic rock atmosphere with sensational Moog synthesizer outbursts. The music slows down to warm Grand piano runs, then spectucaluar interplay between fat Moog and sparkling Grand piano, soon Hammond and fiery electric guitar join and again we can enjoy the splendid and exciting Bacno interplay. After a bit experimental interlude with clarinet (evoking the avant-garde side of King Crimson) Banco delivers a breathtaking build-up and grand finale: first soaring strings, fragile electric guitar and warm piano, then a compelling climate with emotional vocals and sparkling Grand piano, culminating in an accellaration with bombastic keyboards and a propulsive rhythm-section, what a power and dynamics and how many goose bumps moments I had during this mindblowing final part!

Side 2:

4. Outside (7:42) : In this track the guitarplayer is more omnipresent, he adds a 'rock element' to Banco that fits perfect with the classical sounding keyboards. In a swinging rhythm we can enjoy great interplay, warm vocals, solos on guitar ("rock meets jazz"), Fender Rhodes electric piano (jazzy) and Hammond organ (Emerson-oriented). The second part starts mellow with emotional vocals, beautiful Grand piano and warm acoustic guitar, gradually the atmosphere turns into more compelling with a pleasant string-ensemble sound and strong vocals.

5. Leave Me Alone (5:20) : This composition contains wonderful duo-classical guitarplay and the emotional voice of Francesco, halfway blended with cheerful acoustic rhythm-guitar and in the end a sparkling Moog synthesizer solo, very tastefully arranged.

6. Nothing's The Same (9:58) : Along powerful electric guitar, here the Moog synthesizer sound (with echoes of Larry Fast) is very important, to me it often sounds or Banco has invited a certain JS Bach because of the very classical way of playing. Again singer Francesco adds an extra dimension to the Banco sound, a bit more theatrical than usual but that's part of the Italian tradition!

7. Traccia II (2:42) : The final track delivers outstanding duo-keyboard work, from warm Grand piano to fat Moog synthesizer runs in a classical atmosphere, gradually turning into bombastic, a perfect goodbey!


erik neuteboom | 5/5 |


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