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Il Ballo delle Castagne - Kalachakra CD (album) cover


Il Ballo delle Castagne


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.41 | 20 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Il Ballo delle Castagne were formed in 2007 by four musicians coming from different experiences. The name of the band means 'The Chestnuts Ball' and it was inspired by a legend involving the Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503) and his luxurious habits: the 'Chestnuts Ball' was a kind of 'Satanic Sabbath' where naked women used to dance in the light of candelabrums picking chestnuts from the floor with their mouths. The music of this band is an interesting blend of psychedelia, hard rock, progressive and new wave. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2009 and in the same year they released a 10' vinyl single featuring two covers, Biglietto per l'Inferno's Ansia/Confessione and Franco Battiato's Paranoia. Their sophomore album was released in 2011 on the independent label Hau Ruck S.P.Q.R. and distributed by Black Widow Records. It's a concept album inspired by Wheel of Time, a documentary film about Tibet by Werner Herzog: Kalachakra. The album is dedicated to the Dalai Lama and to the struggles for the liberation of Tibet.

The opener 'Passioni diaboliche' (Diabolical passions) is a beautiful track full of a dark energy and enriched by the female vocals provided by the guest Carolina Cecchinato (singer of a folk prog band called Egida Aurea). Lyrics are about the need to get free from the diabolical passions and the ancient obsessions which dance inside us. We set off on a spiritual journey leading to purification... 'Following the immense trail of the blind souls / I'm among those who seek the path to the source from which the water flows...'.

'Tutte le anime saranno pesate' (All souls will be weighed) is unquiet and features a mystical atmosphere... 'You'll pay for every sin / In the temple of eternity you will be judged / And for every tear, for every sin a stone will fall from the sky...'. Lyrics were inspired by the 'Bardo Thodol', a funerary text which is often referred to in the West as the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead': It describes the experiences that the consciousness has after death, during the interval between death and the next rebirth. A black stone will be hung on the neck of the evil people while a white stone will be hung on the neck of the good ones...

'I giorni della memoria terrena' (The days of the earthly memory) features church like choirs and a martial marching beat. The music, credited to Eloy, leads you throughout the shadows of Death, as through the fog between earth and sky...

The evocative title track features a strong psychedelic and Oriental flavour... 'They bring an ancient wisdom / They sing old legends / The air smells of spices and incense / Lotus flowers accompany our steps / Here everything is quiet / From here you can reach the eternal... Pilgrims and travellers recite mantras waiting for a new awakening... Listen to the wheel of time...'.

'La terra trema' (The Earth trembles) is more rock oriented and features electric guitar and organ in the forefront Lyrics were inspired by a famous film directed in 1972 by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski, 'Aguirre, The Wrath Of God'... 'The sky gets dark when I look at it / The Earth trembles under my steps / Aguirre is my name / I bring civilization / The cross and the sword...'. Excellent the instrumental coda featuring a fiery violin solo.

'La foresta dei suicidi' (The forest of suicides) is a suggestive instrumental track featuring nocturnal piano passages and restless wordless vocals. The mood is definitively dark and it could be the perfect soundtrack to visit the forest of Aokigahara, near Mount Fuji in Japan...

'Omega' is mysterious and spacey. Lyrics are about the last voyage towards the great return, the rebirth after a long and uncertain wandering into the void... 'Inside of me lives the whole universe...'.

The last track 'Ballo delle Castagne' starts with hypnotic percussion and recitative vocals in German. Words have been taken from 'Jesus Christus Erl'ser' (Jesus Christ saviour) a controversial work for theatre by Klaus Kinski... A powerful psychedelic finale concludes the album.

Well, on the whole I think this is an excellent work, challenging and never boring, featuring many literary quotes and musical ideas that are definitively worth to check out...

andrea | 4/5 |


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