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Nichelodeon - Incidenti - Lo Schianto CD (album) cover





4.24 | 52 ratings

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5 stars This one is an album that's been sitting in the list of things to give a proper review of for a while at this point but it's one that really, really deserves to be brought up because it is so cool. Incidenti - Lo Schianto is an album that feels so directly against the grain of what's to be expected of a lot of modern prog bands, trading the pastiches of the 70s and other retro elements in favour of taking the genre into some truly avant-garde territory while retaining a lot of that core symphonic approach and sound, essentially taking certain ideas from that era and then completely destroying and reconstructing it all. I absolutely adore the way this takes these orchestral, often even classical inspired elements and mixes it with some insanely operatic, dramatic vocals and then a hearty amount of various other concepts and sounds, ranging from jazz, to Italian folk, to some different shades of rock and even metal. This makes for a listen that feels impossibly dense, yet exciting, with the instrumental palette, atmosphere and tone varying wildly from track to track and making for an experience that never knows quite how to sit still, yet is able to make this work in its favour wonderfully.

The vocal gymnastics that go on are consistently one of the most engaging parts of this, especially with how it works within the context of everything else that's happening around these vocals. Sometimes you get these cold, high pitched, moments that feel almost entirely detached from anything other than pure dread, which is then complemented by some equally foreboding music that takes many different forms throughout the album. My favourite of these is with the opening track, Non Esistono, which almost completely cuts out in the final minute and introduces this eerie droning that sets the mood so nicely for some of what's to come. While you've got this brand of creepiness, you can then look on the other side of things with Variations on The Jargon King, which feels far more chaotic, with elements of jazz cutting through, with these atonal horns weaving amongst the shrill strings and whispers. The song in general takes on a far more maximalist approach that is hellbent on filling every moment with something downright strange whilst the many vocal harmonies try their best to play off all the craziness going on, which feels especially effective when more or less every element of the music drops off, only leaving these slow, ritualistic chants combined with a frenetic drum solo that sounds barely coherent. This focus on absolute dissonance on a scale this grandiose is a treat to hear and makes for a true standout song here.

While this tone is certainly one of the most striking aspects of this album, I'd be remiss to ignore how beautiful this can get at times and how this beauty is then often filtered through these more out-there sensibilities to excellent effect, allowing for brief moments of respite before thrusting the listener right back into the madness, amplifying it through using these once fragile, gorgeous melodies as the starting point to yet another tangent. Il Barbiere degli Occhi is especially proficient at this, with many moments that are dedicated to these more melodic elements to the point where the vocals even manage to sound really pretty in their own unique way, with the onslaught often fading out into extended piano sections moments of isolated, interweaving vocal harmonies, even the ending of the song focuses more on these elements than the surreal material which effectively juxtaposes what is expected to be the absolute norm at this point.

If I had one criticism about this it would definitely be that I felt the stretch from track 5 - 9 was a bit hit or miss and more messily constructed, not really having the same staying power as the earlier material and lacking a lot of the clearer arcs that the rest of the material has, being closer to scattershot snippets of ideas strung together as opposed to the fully fledged mastery of the other songs. That's not to say that they're outright bad either, they tend to have a lot of really interesting isolated moments that given them a lot of memorability, but I never really find myself connecting with them in the same way as everything else when looking at the bigger picture. It's very fortunate that the album picks up again once the 12 minute epic Ho Gettato mio Figlio da una Rupe perché non Somigliava a Fabrizio Corona comes in and not only makes for some of the finest music on the album, but also reveals a bit of a sense of humour that adds a surprising amount. No matter how many times I listen to this track I'll still be taken aback by the fact that a few minutes in, this song just has a demented version of the Smurfs chant before things continue on their way, it's such a bizarre thing to just put in but I cannot deny that I also love it.

The rest of the album follows a pretty similar structure to the great material this has to offer and it's overall just an incredibly impressive experience. Such a variety of sounds and ideas have all been jammed into this and made to be really cohesive, even at its most scattershot, unfocused moments, it still all feels like it belongs here in one way or another, and is easily one of the greatest prog albums I've heard this decade so far. Heavily recommend giving this one a couple of listens, it's a wonderful time full of such powerful creativity and heart.

Best tracks: Non Esistono, Variations on the Jargon King, Il Barbiere degli Occhi, Ho Gettato mio Figlio da una Rupe perché non Somigliava a Fabrizio Corona

Kempokid | 5/5 |


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