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Bellaphon - Delphi CD (album) cover

DELPHI

Bellaphon

 

Neo-Prog

2.66 | 16 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Released in 1995, many many years after the band's demise, "Delphi" is a rough, unpolished exhibition of the exquisite melodic approach to symphonic prog that Bellaphon so gracefully incarnated in the enthusiastic progressive scene that developed in Japan during the early 80s. It is a pity that this album's sound quality is so inconsistent and irregular, since you can notice that the playing is competent, the ensemble's sound is fluidly organic and the compositional ideas are tight. No way that you can appreciate it properly in thoese moments in which the sound gets really poor. I have to disagree with others' ratings for this album that go under the 3 star grade, but I can fairly see their point when they feel disappointed at this album's sound: I am too, but mostly, I intend to review this album on the music alone. Bellaphon was consistently inspired by two Camels, the one with Sinclair and the one with Watkins (the 77-81 era), as well as some elements of melodic jazz-fusion that emerge in places (something like a "symphonized" Corea, so to speak). The namesake track opens up the album with eerie, romantic moods, mainly based on the lovely synth orchestrations that carry the burden of the track's melodic scheme - their chamber orientation makes the whole instrumentation cry "symphonic!!" from the deepest corners of its "sonic lungs". Track 2 bears a more ambitious structure concernign composition and arrangements, with a noticeably dramatic effect in the motif and tempo shifts: the crystal clear cohesion that goes through the varying sections reveals quite clearly (despite the sound flaws) that the band's a tight unit, a dream come true for prog fans that saw their classic idols fade away in teh 80s one way or another in teh European market. The 14 minute span has been taken advantage of pretty well by all musicians involved. Track 4 is also an extended composition, although this time the sense of cohesion is not as well accomplished as in track 2, but all in all, it still has the merit of retaining Bellaphon's penchant for clean melodic structures and polished developments of them. Between these two epics, 'No Guarded City' happens to be one of the catchiest tracks in the album: it encapsulates a solid, evolving mixture of "Rain dances"-Camel and an inspired sort of standard neo-prog. 'La Villete' is a jazzier venture, and it is so well accomplished that its suration of less than 4 minutes feels terribly short: the main body got an efective melodic hook that, in case teh band decided to enhance it in an exploding climax, might have been mistaken as a Kenso piece. Well, things are as they are and this is all we can get from this track, which is quite good anyway. 'Villa dei Misteri' is the track that completes this album's repertoire, a tremendously colorful track that undeniably shows a joyful spirit - its musical brightness comes at odds with the irregular sound production. I think that "Delphi" is not a record in the truest sense of the word, but a testimony of the efforts that Bellaphon made to preserve the progressive flame in their country: they were talented, so they do not deserve to be forgotten at all. I give this album 3.75 stars, which is almost 4.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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