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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso CD (album) cover


Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.29 | 923 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso produces one of the best debut albums in history.

Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is the debut from one of the most influential Italian prog bands in history. The iconic cover is familiar to prog fans and signifies how important this album has become. Its main power stems from an unprecedented conviction to producing some of the most inventive and complex music, pure innovation on every track and some incredible virtuoso musicianship. The album spawned a plethora of other Italian prog artists hoping to do as well as Banco but succumbing to their sheer progressive spirit. PFM (Photos of Ghosts and Per Un Amico) and Le Orme (Felona E Serona and Uomo Di Pezza) were as influential among others but Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is one of the pioneering Italian Prog bands and their 1972 debut is an incredible triumph. The band perform astounding unified music but one of the main drawcards to Banco is the accomplished vocal prowess of Francesco Di Giacomo. When he sings in Italian it transcends barriers of language as the tone is always upbeat and hopeful. Another drawcard is the astounding keyboard wizardry of Vitorio Nocenzi and Giani Nocenzi who seem to trade off one another on every track to produce a refined beauty that soars and dives across the musicscape.

The opening track is "In Volo" that announces their arrival with flute, spoken word and female choral sections with synthesizer. It is only a taster of what is to come.

"R.I.P. (Reqcuiesant in Pace) is a huge change in direction as the pace quickens and the band go into full flight. Francesco di Giacomo has an incredible vocal range and really shines on this track. There is funked up guitar and some piano fortissimo in this jazz fusion triumph. The symphonic influence is prevalent and the track grinds to a halt and creates an ambience of beauty and serenity. At times the sound is similar to Mahavishnu Orchestra.

"Passagio" features a prelude of piano and is really a transition to the next track.

"Metamorfosi" is next on the menu and is a lengthy progressive masterpiece. The guitar and keyboards are accompanied with some sporadic drumming and there is a frenetic section of electrifying jazz. It soon peters out to a slow droning classical piece that focuses on piano. The peace does not last long as a huge wall of sound is created with chaotic iambic pentameter, arhythmical structures that elicit an alternative anti music sound. All boundaries are broken and the band go into extreme time signature changes. The bass lines and drumming metrical patterns are off the scale. This passage is the band at their best. Then it is bookended by another slow low key ambient section with strong melodies and tonal phrases. This is an incredible track and one of the best you will hear.

Can it get better? It does.... "Il Giardino del Mago" is the opus, and this track has a stamp of authority sending out a signal to all others, declaring the sheer power of Banco del Soccorso Mutuo. The track almost has a running time of 20 minutes. But you will not notice this. It begins with gentle piano that transfixes you and the drums are a constant companion. It takes a series of rapid detours that will astound. It is difficult to know which direction the band will take next on this prog journey. There is an intricacy to the music that is compelling and the song tends to build to a crescendo with a freak out section of keyboards and crazy drumming. This track is worth a listen to the album alone, but there is more to come.

The final hurrah is the outstanding "Traccia" which builds in depth and volume from slow beginnings to prog blasts of staccato piano. The vocals are more choral on this and it kind of says farewell to the album and ends the journey in style.

I think the only thing I can add is that this is the best I have heard from the big three of the band; their first three albums. It is a definitive masterpiece hands down and Rock Progressivo Italiano would be all the poorer without it. Banco became RPI giants after these albums. Their debut is an important album, a quintessential album, a masterpiece.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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