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Conqueror - Istinto CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.92 | 36 ratings

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3 stars RPI isn’t really my bag, mostly because I don’t understand the Italian language and a lot of the marquee Italian acts tend to embellish in their music a bit too much for my tastes. Then again it seems like the most well-known groups of this genre are also from days gone by. Conqueror by contrast is a relatively new band and seems to have successfully fused the best of modern rock, some nuances of symphonic prog arrangements, and Italian expressiveness into a pretty appealing album. Kudos to them for that.

I picked this one up only because the band has a female singer who doubles as the group’s keyboardist. I’m a sucker for female prog singers as IMHO they almost always improve a band’s sound and give warmth and range to the instrumental side of the songs. This album is no exception. Simona Rigano reminds me a lot of the Gathering’s former lead singer Anneke van Giersbergen, especially the way she sang on her last record with that group, ‘Home’. Check out “Quarter” and “Porte Straniere” and compare them to the Gathering’s “A Noise Severe” and “Box” and you should hear the same resemblance.

The piano really stands out on several tracks here, particularly with “Pensieri Fragili” and the slightly more strident but equally charming “Porte Straniere”. Ms. Rigano can definitely play as well as she can sing.

Gaetano Scarcella’s guitar playing is a bit reminiscent of the early Mostly Autumn albums before that group got a little too pretentious. And considering the only other instruments are bass and drums, the group does a very good job of presenting a full, rich sound even without the layers of synthesizers or strings I would normally expect from a more traditional Italian prog band. That’s not to say a couple of violins or a cello wouldn’t have improved their sound; they probably would have. But it wasn’t until the third spin that I realized the instrument lineup is pretty much just your basic rock band fare, and that’s a testament to their great playing and ambitious arrangements.

There are a couple parts where the digital keyboards get just a bit cheesy and overdone, mostly on “Porte Straniere” and to a lesser extent the closing “Entropia”, but for the most part I enjoyed every song on the album.

I haven’t heard anything else by the band so don’t know if this is as good as they got, but considering this is their debut and they’ve released a couple more since it’s a safe bet they must be improving or at least have developed a following or their label wouldn’t be spending money on them. This first one was self-released, so the production quality is a bit inconsistent, but only noticeable if you are playing this on a good sound system and really paying attention. Otherwise I’ve no complaints.

Easily three stars for a decent record from an apparently up-and-coming band. Recommend for neo-prog fans and Italian proggers who are willing to look beyond PFM and the seventies for some decent Italian prog.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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