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La Torre Dell'Alchimista - Neo CD (album) cover


La Torre Dell'Alchimista


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.05 | 88 ratings

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5 stars The second studio album by La Torre dell'Alchimista was released in 2007, six years after their beautiful debut eponymous work. The line up has slightly changed and now it features Michele Mutti (keyboards), Michele Giardino (vocals), Davide Donadoni (bass) and Michelangelo Donadini (drums, percussion). During the recording sessions they were helped by some guest musicians that enriched the sound of the band providing guitars, sax, violin and flute and the result is definitively good. La Torre dell'Alchimista sound is definitively "keyboards driven" (Michele Mutti plays acoustic and electric piano, Hammond C3, Minimoog, organ, synth and Mellotron) and blends strong classical influences with prog-rock and Italian melody. Good also the art cover (painted by Michele Mutti) and the booklet containing some peculiar pictures and the lyrics. This work could remind of bands like Le Orme, PFM and BMS but it's not too derivative and it's really worth listen to. "Neo" is conceived as a concept album describing the end of a love story in an original way, through a continuous parallelism between personal feelings and images taken from ancient myths. Lyrics are not banal and it would be very unfair define this work as just dealing with Greek mythology...

The opener "Dissimmetrie" (Asymmetry) condemns conformism and hypocrisy. Jumping keyboards and sax play joyfully around while lyrics compare people who do not dare to fight for a change in their everyday life to the Golem, an artificial monster with the form of a man created from clay by magic charms or sacred words, an image taken from Jewish folklore. "You are like a shapeless drop of water / You are evanescent / Invisible fade-out / You don't leave traces of yourself... You are just souls of clay / Who fly away without dignity / You are just souls of clay / Who live into hypocrisy... I look at you and I can see / The curtain of noise / That shelters you / From the external world / Sounds of plastic / Words and shouts". If you disregard the opinion of the hypocrites and their false smiles, you can dare and fall in love with a beautiful and dangerous woman... And get troubles!

The dreamy outro of the first track leads to "Medusa", a complex piece in four parts (Faith, Fugue, Chorale, Samba V) that was inspired by the mythical character of an unfortunate woman raped by Neptune into Athena's temple. After the rape, Medusa's long hair were turned into snakes by the goddess and she was given the power to turn everyone who dared to look directly at her into stone. According to the myth, the head of Medusa was cut off by Perseus who looked at her through a mirror- like shield. Once cut off, the head maintained its power and was at last placed at the centre of Athena's Aegis as a symbol of her power. The music perfectly fits the lyrics with well balanced changes of moods and rhythms that blend prog rock, classical music and melodic vocals... "You, who confound my thoughts / On the shield of knowledge / Reflected imagine, You don't scare me / You, who confound my thoughts / You turn into stone the stupidity / Of the people who stare at you / The men who lived with you are stones by now / The heart that loved you don't beat anymore... I won't follow you, I'm free by now...". Well, a complex, dangerous and charming woman indeed! One who can drive you crazy dancing samba and that could be very difficult to forget...

"Idra" (Hydra) is a short instrumental interlude for piano solo that leads you to the first part of the long and complex "Risveglio, Procreazione e Dubbio" (Awakening, Procreation and Doubt) where, after an amazing instrumental prelude, nice melodic vocals come in changing atmosphere. Lyrics depicts some experiments to overcome the split up where you can find shadows and wasted days fading out until your arms will fall and wings will take their place to let you fly on the horizons just before falling back with your doubts... "So I feel like the father of an unknown son, scared by these signs / If the giant rides the dwarf / How can his arms carry that weight?... Idra, Cerbero and Medusa were born from waking-hours not from sleep / And they devour the remnants of my greatness... And suddenly, I lose myself".

"L'Amore Diverso" (The Different Love) is another short instrumental for piano solo that leads to "Cerbero" (Cerberus), an intricate track in three parts (Promenade, The Three Heads, The War To Hydrogenous). The sound of a piano leads you softly to the gates of madness... Cerberus is the name of the three-headed monster hound guarding the entrance to the Greek Underworld. No-one can enter or leave without getting past him... "Six eyes, six shouts, you are everywhere I turn my eyes / Six times you promise, but seven times you disappoint / You are blood, you are tears but no sweat!...". The music is haunting, swinging from frenzy keyboards rides to calm and romantic violin melodies... Well, the nightmares that rise when a love story comes to an end can really haunt you like omnipresent ghosts. Trying to fight them could bring dangerous side-effects and for your soul it could be destructive like an atomic war... "It's my rage, it's your craziness / To win, to lose, what's really important? / A hot wind blows by now / My breath is dying / My way to think about the future is dying...".

The last track "Risveglio, Procreazione E Dubbio Pt. II" is another beautiful complex piece in three parts (Epilogue, Coda, Farewell) where you can some find a nice flute passage and even some echoes coming from "the court of the Crimson King". Lyrics deals with the awareness of past errors and the condemn of arrogance, haughtiness and pride... "Time that has joined us is already splitting us / But how moves slowly the time of the split up! / Like a leaf into the wind / You are going away from here / Leaving my body naked / It remains the image of your diversity / You are like a wave, you slowly worn out / You used to confound my thoughts / Now you're going away / Leaving a void and a closed speech". A beautiful farewell for an excellent album!

I think that this is album should be a must for every Italianprog lover!

andrea | 5/5 |


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