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Ubi Maior - Nostos CD (album) cover

NOSTOS

Ubi Maior

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.73 | 40 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good job bridging the classic to the modern, yet...

Ubi Major is one of the bright lights on what we can call the present-day Italian Symphonic stage, that is, bands that are somewhat channeling the classic period Italian bands while trying to also reach the modern progressive audience around the world. Born in Milano in 1998 they grew and changed over the early years before releasing their epic debut in 2005 in the form of a gorgeous gatefold mini-LP sleeve CD.

In doing some reading about the band I noticed many proclaim them the torchbearers for the '70s greats. Perhaps, but in describing their sound to a potential buyer I would say "Nostos" mixes elements of classic Italian with a more modern edge made popular these days by the likes of Porcupine Tree, Finisterre, and Magic Pie. A little romantic, a little rocking, a little moody and spacey, and a ton of quality musicianship.that would sum it up. Seemingly every prog itch is scratched in ten different ways. There are long passages of wonderful acoustic and electrical guitars. There are boisterous Italian vocals. There are grandiose displays of keyboards/synths and tasteful piano passages. It is an all-encompassing prog experience that broken down cannot be denied. I can say that in each track I found something to enjoy. The centerpiece is the 23-minute epic title track. Generally mid-paced and expertly arranged, the piece brings to mind about one-third Magic Pie, one-third Finisterre, and the rest maybe a bit of "Grand Illusion" era Styx or Balletto di Bronzo. The bass playing was really knock-out, very warm and present in the mix. The piano in the closing "La tua casa" was really beautiful but a bit drowned out by the heavier instrumentation. It is a classy and ambitious work on the whole. And yet it does not quite leave me breathless. "Nostos" on the whole is an example of composition being "good but not great" or at the least having room to grow. Ideas are compelling and playing is accomplished but the good moments do not seem to me to be seamlessly crafted into an album that flows and enthralls the listener from beginning to end. At 61 minutes the album would have benefited from about 15 minutes of editing to tighten up the overall feel. It's so strange how good this album sounds and yet cannot seem to sink its teeth into me, the goosebumps rarely come, so I guess it's a mixed bag. I really can't do better than 3 stars personally but I can certainly understand those who rate it higher. The mini edition is a high quality, heavy gatefold with a nice lyric booklet.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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