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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso CD (album) cover


Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.29 | 923 ratings

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4 stars While I haven't listened to much RPI at this point in time, mainly only listening to some of the big bands such as Le Orme and PFM, the debut album of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso easily stands out to me, having a more energetic, experimental sound to it, making it stand out from the others I've hears which stuck to a more beautiful approach. That's not to say I necessarily like it more than those others, it's just that this one is quite interesting to me, further due to the odd album structure, only having 3 real songs, 2 over 10 minutes, and then a few interludes. The album most reminds me of Emerson, Lake and Palmer but with a strong Italian identity and a vocalist more suited to opera.

The first proper song on the album is also the one I consider far and away the best here, as it still impresses me just how much harder this song rocks compared to the rest of the Italian prog I've heard, being wonderfully energetic with the guitar and piano playing off each other excellently, while Pier Luigi Calderoni bashes away at the drums. This song is so incredibly catchy, with a superb vocal melody from Francesco Di Giacomo, who I think has an excellent voice all around. Further adding to this song's greatness are the solos in the first half, which are a perfect mix of bombastic and enjoyable. The final nail in the coffin that secures this song as being absolutely brilliant is its complete change at the halfway mark, leaning much harder on classical influences as it slows down considerably, making way for lush, breathtaking piano lines and flutes, the vocal absolutely stealing the show. This all culminates with the drumming becoming progressivly becoming faster until everything bursts into a much more grandiose sound produced by the organ. Metamorfosi is a far more experimental, wild piece, being predominantly instrumental, with hints of frenetic jamming amongst sometimes jazzy, melodic lines and solos. The song never really sits still, as even during the quieter sections, there's always some sort of instrument playing very energetically until just past the halfway mark, where just like the previous song, it shifts considerably into much slower, more emotive sounding music. The song picks up again near the end, being much darker sounding. I find this track quite good in general, but definitely feel like it could have been shortened by a couple of minutes. Il Giardano Del Mago is definitely the most free flowing of the songs, being an 18 minute multipart suite that has a fairly consistent tone to it, but definitely goes from dark and isolated, especially when the vocals are backed up by some unsettling harmonies, which transitions excellently into what almost sounds like chanting as the song picks up considerably into an instrumental breakdown that sounds quite similar to certain sections of Tarkus. The song continues progressing, with a really pleasant, softer section further accentuating the vocal talent present here, before picking right back up again, complete with an excellent section with the clarinet. Overall, I find this to be another excellent song, despite once again feeling as if it could have been cut by a couple of minutes. The short interludes on the album are all quite nice sounding, but are just interludes, so I really don't pay too much attention to them in all honesty.

While occasionally carrying on for too long during certain sections of the 2 longer songs, this album nonetheless is one that I find highly enjoyable, perfectly balancing between energy and beauty in a highly appealing way. In terms of quality, I'd recommend this album to newcomers of the genre, as it both contains the accessible, fun song of R.I.P, while also having some more challenging, ambitious stuff on here in the form of the two epics, providing depth while also being all around fun.

Best songs: R.I.P, Metamorfosi

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: A fun album filled with bursts of energy and sweeping sections of beauty making it quite nicely balanced. The longer tracks probably each could have been cut down a bit, but it doesn't really hurt the album's quality all that much.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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