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Old Rock City Orchestra - The Magic Park of Dark Roses CD (album) cover


Old Rock City Orchestra


Crossover Prog

4.00 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "The Magic Park Of Dark Roses" is the third album by Old Rock City Orchestra and was released in 2018 on the independent label Avanguardia Convention. In 2016 original bassist Giacomo Cocchiara left the band and the other members decided to continue as a trio. So, the line up on this work features just Cinzia Catalucci (vocals, keyboards, percussion), Raffaele Spanetta (acoustic and electric guitars, bass, vocals, additional keyboards) and Michele 'Mike' Capriolo (drums, Glockenspiel, percussion) although during the recording sessions they were helped by some guests such as Laurence Cocchiara (violin) and Chiara Dragoni (flute). The atmospheres and the overall sound are darker than on their previous albums but this is due to the subject matter of the concept: a spiritual, metaphorical journey through a dystopic world drenched in esoteric symbolism and alchemical formulas... According to the liner notes, all the lyrics were inspired by some poems by Kalina Doncheva while the beautiful art work was provided by Lucy Ziniac and tries to describe the musical content with images and colours.

The title track opens the album and lead us in a mysterious, magic park where the cold winds give way to an eternal springtime, a land out of time and space where dark roses grow, a kind of limbo that attracts everyone... Here the lyrics give us just a faint hint of the strange panorama. Organ passages, electric guitar riffs and calmer piano parts conjure up a psychedelic atmosphere and the soaring vocals of Cinzia Catalucci help us to stir the imagination and to draw a personal picture of the surreal, occult landscape'

The following 'Abraxas' is a nervous track that depicts a man who has lost his way and asks for help. The title of this piece refers to a mystic word that was believed to have magical properties and was inscribed on ancient charms and amulets. The early Gnostics personified the word as their Supreme Deity and here the goddess is the one who shows the way to the magic park... Next comes the melancholic 'The Fall', a piece that describes the pain a man experiences for his broken dreams and failures at the end of his days. The music has a slow pace and strong Oriental flavours' Well, it's a beautiful day and Bombay's calling!

The Gothic 'Visions' conjures up the image of a mysterious park in the night, full of stealing shadows and dangers. The protagonist seems like sleepwalking when suddenly the voice of a wizard shows him the way out and the light' Then the following 'A Night In The Forest' tells us of another strange meeting in a dark forest, this time is the turn of a woman dressed in black who whispers to the protagonist that life is like a nightmare...

The short, frenzied 'The Coachman' describes in music and words a carriage that takes the protagonist to the world of shadows. The coachman here is a kind of Charon, the mythological ferryman of Hades who carried the souls of the newly deceased across the rivers that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead... Then come the mysterious atmospheres of 'A Smell Of Heart And Soul Entwined' a piece where dreams, temptations, spells and desires are evoked as in a magic ritual...

The disquieting 'Thinkin' 'bout Fantasy' marks the meeting with a peculiar storyteller while the following 'Soul Blues' is a bit lighter and tells about the importance of friendship and its healing power by describing the meeting with another mysterious character coming out of the blue. Then the beautiful instrumental 'Golden Dawn' closes an album that is really worth listening to...

Even if the concept might be a bit hazy, the music is excellent and you can fill the gaps of the storyline with your own imagination. On the whole, I think that this is a very good work!

andrea | 4/5 |


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