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Areknamés - In Case Of Loss ... CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 165 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars More good news from Italy's progressive rock field: Areknamés is back on the road and in very good shape. 4 years after the excellent demonstration of epic and somber retro-prog delivered in "Love Hate Round Trip", Michele Epifani & co. manage to offer yet another enjoyable exhibition of art-rock with "In Case Of Loss?", the third album that confirms these guys as serious business. The VDGG and Hammill references remain a solid source of inspiration in the band's input, but in comparison to the aforementioned sophomore album, "In Case Of Loss?" exhibits more luminous textures and a lighter dynamics in places. In fact, the guitar parts are less intense in general terms, although the use of powerful riffs and creative harmonies remains a strong asset in the band's framework: in short, there is more Hackett and less Iommi in the guitar inputs. All in all, Epifani (call him the "Italian Matthew Parmenter" if you like) provides less tense singing and more colorful keyboard inputs in the overall repertoire. Well, now we are going to the repertoire itself, and so we find that the opener 'Beached' provides almost 7 minutes of agile space-rock moods set on an appealing rhythmic swing: picture pre-"Absentia" PT and the artsier side of Radiohead meeting halfway in the realms of the softer side of Ozric Tentacles and you will have a reasonable idea about what is cooking here. This somewhat up-tempo beginning prepares our spirit to face the nihilistic approach incarnated in the next two pieces, 'Alone' and 'Dateless Diary', which indeed keep a closer relation with the angry somberness of the "Love Hate" album. 'Alone' starts with a brief musical box sequence, then shifts toward a vandegraffian framework wisely elaborated with uncommon signatures and augmented with jazz-oriented schemes (very "Godbluff"-like); 'Dateless Diary' states eerier ambiences that serves as a valid counterpoint to the caustic moods predominant in the previous track? and why does the fade-out have to arrive so soon?... At this point, we can easily notice the musical substance that makes this album such a rich contribution to the 2010's prog rock scene, but there's more to enjoy. 'Don't Move' brings what is perhaps the warmer atmosphere in the album: a progressive ballad that gives Epifani enough room to celebrate (one more time) the Hammill legacy (something like "Over"-meets-"Silent Corner"). Its ethereal mood is defining of the whole composition despite the presence of some intense passages in its main body's elaboration. Apparently, 'A New Song' inherited some of the previous track's contemplative aura for its first half, but then the second half shifts toward a robust expression of psychedelic developments, very retro, a well accomplished amalgam of early VDGG, Gnidrolog, Greenslade, and even some classic Deep Purple too! The resulting climax is forceful and brilliant. 'Where' slows down thing a bit (just a bit) by installing a middle term between track 1 and 3. So far, this is how it goes with the album's "shorter" tracks. Now, let's go for the suite entitled 'The Last Number'. This piece shows the sort of disciplined progressive rock students the Areknamés musicians are: this suite bears the epic attitude and melodic ambition that prog rock suites are famous (and infamous) for. All in all, let us remember that this is "In Case", not "Love Hate", so this suite in question gives ample room to constrained sonorities and sober melodic developments in preference over the darker passages (which also exist). Introspection and melancholy are the dominant atmospheres in 'The Last Number'. There are also some sax solos that emphasize the occasional jazzy textures, while the cello arrangements display an extra dose of stylish beauty to some symphonic-centered passages. Right at the 12 minute mark, a motif installed on a 5/4 tempo capitalizes the controlled intensity for a while until it fluidly gives way to a softer passage - here is an example of the consistent brilliancy in this suite's arrangements. For the last 4 minutes, a lovely organ solo and a powerful section announce the majestic finale that brings back memories of 70-71 VDGG and "Trespass"-era Genesis. This is not the real end: after a minute of silence or so, Epifani plays a spinet sonata that mixes Baroque and modern dissonance (very much a Balletto thing, isn't it?). The listening experience of this album is just awesome: Areknamés reassures its status as one of the biggest items in the current European retro-prog area.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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