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La Maschera Di Cera - Petali Di Fuoco CD (album) cover


La Maschera Di Cera


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.57 | 124 ratings

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4 stars After thoroughly enjoying 2006's LuxAde, I was really looking forward to the new album from La Maschera Di Cera. I'm pleased to say that not only have they equalled that fine album but have actually bettered it.

What has pleased most lovers of Italian prog, myself included, was the authentic retro sound of the band harking back to the glory days of seventies RPI. Well if that's what floats your boat you'll be pleased to know those elements are still in place and yet Petali Di Fuoco doesn't see the band standing still with an obvious tightening up of the sound. The biggest difference you'll notice is the introduction of electric guitar where LuxAde only had acoustic. This has really toughened up the sound in places with new guy Matteo Nahum having a strong presence throughout, his playing ranging from delicate picking to powerful chords and searing solos. Fortunately he doesn't over dominate and there's still room for all that wonderful keyboard work from Agostino Macor. The flute is still a major force and the rhythm section has a tighter sound in no small part down to Fabio Zuffanti abandoning his fuzz bass in favour of a cleaner sound. Alessandro Corvaglia is singing better than ever showing that he's one of the finest vocalists in Italian prog today.

The album benefits from the strongest melodies the band has put together yet. They still produce a very dynamic sound with lots of use of light and shade. There's no epic track here like Enciclica 1168 from LuxAde, but with tracks sometimes around the six/seven minute mark there's still plenty of space for some fine instrumental work.

On an album of such overall quality favourite moments are difficult to pick, but Tra Due Petali Di Fuoco is worthy of a mention for its sheer beauty and the powerful opening of Fino All'Aurora makes an exciting start to the album with its lilting organ runs, powerful electric guitar and rhythm section before settling into a piano dominated verse. Powerful Hammond introduces the more up tempo Il Declino until midway a change of tempo slows things down and this segues into Phoenix for some wonderfully melancholic piano and flute playing. Some particularly dynamic instrumental work marks this as a highlight as it builds to a climax. La Notte Trasparente is a fitting way to close featuring a stunning extended guitar solo from Nahum.

With Petali Di Fuoco La Maschera Di Cera have excelled themselves and produced I suspect their finest album so far, though I can't include their debut in that statement as I have yet to hear it, but as good as Il Grande Labirinto and luxAde are, this new one is destined I believe to top them with RPI fans and become one of the finest Italian prog albums of 2010. 4 stars.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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