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Clepsydra - Fears CD (album) cover





3.94 | 170 ratings

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4 stars This is a huge surprise, another one of those 'never really paid proper attention' albums that lunge out at you ferociously, growlingly irate at being ignored! These Swiss veterans are an impressive bunch, creating deep and moody arrangements that exude warmth , craft and passion. Aluisio Maggini has that voice that anesthetizes his, at times obvious accent, loaded to the gills with heady panache and emotive intensity, a fluid raconteur that manages above all, to convince. Imagine a proggy mix of Saga's Michael Sadler and Klaus Meine of Scorpions . "Soaked" is a superb opening salvo, 9 minutes of original symphonic prog, introducing the masterful guitar playing from new shredder Marco Cerulli (replacing former leader and virtuoso Lele Hoffmann, now guiding Shakary) On the equally 9 minute and dizzyingly playful, IQ-inspired "The Missing Spark", Clepsydra suggest a more classic neo prog piece that has evolving guitar-led moods, a heavenly chorus with fabulous vocals and effective synth sweeps washing through the spume. This is a simply awesome display of quixotic progressive rock, lush yet regretful, heartfelt and fragile, as expressed by a slippery Moog solo from Philip Hubert and a tectonic solo from the ardent Cerulli that has you wincing in pain. I mean WOW! Fans of Collage (with whom there are many similarities), Genesis, Marillion, RPWL, IQ, Satellite, Arena, Galahad, Knight Area and co? will find bliss here, I guarantee !The previous reviewers had correctly mentioned that the shorter pieces were less interesting and I must assuredly concur! It's very apparent throughout the disc. "Into my Cartoon" is a simpler piece, a passionate ballad that swishes in the wind, a billowing cloud from a recent melancholia that is enjoyable in an interlude sense. "The Age of Glass" is a decent slice of melodic prog but nothing mind-numbing or earthshaking, while "Fearless" is a more rollicking tempo altogether. After a neat little thingie on acoustic guitar, we get back in the saddle with "The Cloister", a curious sonic adventure that impresses because of the distinct contrasts that ambient, neo and symphonic styles can create in unison. There is a sense of alienating solitude (the title says it all, I guess) that is deftly conveyed , crowned by a swiveling Cerulli solo amid the rhythmic riffery and some cool marimba like tones from the keys. "The 19th Hole" is a cinema-prog epic, deeply poignant with blistering vocals (that Maggini can sing!) leading the way, dragging the orchestral keyboard textures along and finally shepherding in the monster axe solo. Very cool indeed! The short but this time brilliant "Sweet Smelling Wood" paves the way for the final cut, perhaps the acme of this recording, a stirring "Fear", a 10 minute+ epic escapade into obsession, fixation and paranoia, featuring once again the three main soloists (Maggini, Cerulli and Hubert), all combining to surge beyond the norm. Maggini sings with articulate grace, the guitar soaring majestically with multiple wicked solos , a solid piece of melodic rock that dips into softer, ambient spaces and sprinkled with 'children playing' sonic effects. Not the most complex material but definitely not your run of the mill "neo". Clepsydra figures among the more imaginative groups in the often misunderstood sub genre, a definitely worthy candidate to figure in any prog collection. 4 Swiss panic rooms.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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