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Ellesmere - Wyrd CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.91 | 93 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Wyrd" is the third album by Roman project Ellesmere and was released in 2020 on the independent label AMS Records. To complete the line up and enrich the sound, this time composer and multi instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli (bass, guitar, Moog) gathered around him many prestigious guests such as Mattias Olsson (drums, from Anglagard, and White Willow), Tomas Bodin (keyboards, from The Flower Kings), David Cross (violin, from King Crimson), John Hackett (flute), David Jackson (sax, from Van Der Graaf Generator), Tony Pagliuca (keyboards, from Le Orme), Luciano Regoli (vocals, from Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno and DGM), Fabio Liberatori (keyboards, from Il Poliedro di Leonardo and the new line up of Reale Accademia di Musica), Fabio Bonuglia (keyboards, Mellotron, Hammond, Moog) and Giorgio Pizzala (vocals). The result is a good mix of vintage sounds, modern prog and jazz rock with a wide range of influences ranging from Yes, King Crimson or Kansas to Transatlantic, The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard.

The wonderful artwork by Rodney Matthews recalls the style of Roger Dean and evokes wondrous stories and epic adventures in fantastic worlds and enchanted woods. The first three tracks are linked together and form an excellent suite. On "Challenge" you can hear the voice of a young warrior leaving his country for new territories crawling with tall tales, myths and stories of haunted spirits and goblins. He's hiding under the cloak of his dreams as the wind blows... "The Eery Manor" is a sparkling instrumental section where John Hackett and David Jackson showcase all their great talent painting disquieting atmospheres and adding vivid touches of colours to the picture with saxes, flutes and other wind instruments. After a long ride through a dark forest on a strange horse among nymphs, friendly dwarves and lurking werewolves you're in sight of a mysterious castle... "Endeavour" ends the first part of the album combining dreamy, pastoral parts and harder passages and could recall every now and again ELP or Van Der Graaf Generator. The warrior relies on his good luck to defy the fate and discover what's hidden behind the walls of the castle...

The second part of the album (or the side B of the LP) begins with "Ajar" and a martial marching beat. Echoes of Delirium III could come to mind. Hardly any sunlight breaks through the dense tree tops of the forest, and the myths surrounding these woods are more fantastical than paranormal. You can imagine hunting Tarkus and other strange creatures all around... However, the only way to know for certain what monsters await around the next bend is to venture out into the darkness yourself...

The long instrumental "Endless" closes the album. There are other surprises along the way that you might never expect to find deep in the woods and so it's no surprise that the surreal world depicted in the art cover could develop a reputation for spooky sounds and ghostly apparitions. Some cinematic passages could recall Ennio Morricone and stir the imagination of the listener and could be the perfect for a fantasy film score...

On the whole, a very good album. Especially recommended to symphonic prog lovers!

andrea | 4/5 |


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