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Mangala Vallis - The Book of Dreams CD (album) cover


Mangala Vallis


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.61 | 73 ratings

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3 stars Neat Neo. Ropey RPI.

Mangala Vallis are a modern Italian band whose 2002 debut album was inspired by the father of modern science fiction, Jules Verne. The French author's novels have influenced other progressive artists of course, such as Rick Wakeman and Genesis; the Charterhouse alumni themselves provide the main musical inspiration for ''The Book Of Dreams''. Analogue keyboards and 12-string guitar are very much the order of the day with bassist Mirco Consolini doubling-up on guitar and keyboardist Enzo Cattini deploying a variety of analogue instruments, namely Hammond organ, Mellotron and Mini-Moog. The album is in fact a real Mellotron fest, with the machine's strings and choirs dominating all but the brief opening instrumental track ''Ouverture''.

Mangala Vallis don't have a regular singer and instead rely on several guest vocalists, with varying degrees of success. All the vocals are in English and here is the disquisition. While English-language vocals in themselves aren't an issue, when they are combined with the style of music here then Mangala Vallis' RPI credentials might be on a bit of a shoogly peg.

''The Book Of Dreams'' is certainly a highly polished, albeit highly derivative, slice of seventies flavoured prog. Take for example the middle section of ''Is The End The Beginning?'' which sounds like Genesis' ''Apocalypse in 9/8''. Then there are the Yes- inspired vocal harmonies of the title-track, while ''The Journey'' features slide guitar that has me thinking of Pink Floyd. Returning to the vocals, Bernardo Lanzetti's accented singing doesn't fit with the other guest vocals although fortunately he only sings on one track. Matteo Setti and Vic Fraja, who sounds a bit like Fish without the East Coast of Scotland accent, seem more suited to the style of music. Actually, I have to keep reminding myself that these guys are Italian.

If you are looking for an alternative to your usual Genesis or Marillion fix then this just might be right up your alley, whereas those expecting the typical Italian shenanigans will probably be disappointed. Mangala Vallis undoubtedly have promise but the bottom line is that there's barely a ha'porth of originality on this album.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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