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Nuova Era - Nuova Era CD (album) cover


Nuova Era


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.71 | 21 ratings

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4 stars Nuova Era are one of the more highly regarded Italian prog bands of the nineties amongst the RPI loving community. Releasing their debut, L'Ultimo Viaggio in 1988, they went on to release a further three albums culminating with the wonderful Il Passo Del Soldato in 1995. Apart from contributing to the ambitious The Divine Comedy project, a sprawling collection released as three separate multi disc sets based on Dante Alighieri's epic poem, all has been quiet on the recording front since, until now that is. Before you get too excited however this eponymous release is not so much a new album from the band, but more a collection, though with something to offer the long term fan in terms of recordings they may not have.

Musically the band is towards the symphonic end of Italian prog with a prominent keyboard driven sound. In fact by the release of Il Passo Del Soldato guitar was absent from the line- up. Clearly influenced by the classic seventies era of Italian prog they nevertheless stamp enough of their own identity to mark them out as more than mere clones of a bygone era.

So what do we get here and is it worth parting with your hard earned cash for? Well there's undoubtedly some excellent music on here but whether it's worth getting is really dependant on how much of this material is already in your collection. The first three tracks are their contributions to the three Divine Comedy releases, Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Lasciate Ogni Speranza...Voi Ch'entrate from Inferno is the only one I was already familiar with. In keeping with the concept it's a dark and brooding organ driven instrumental with some excellent playing from the band. In fact all three of the tracks are instrumentals, Canto VII having a similar dark vibe being from Purgatorio and the lighter feel of Canto II from Paradiso.

Next is a re-recorded version of Dopo L'Infinito, the epic title track of the album of the same name. It's been re-arranged somewhat and is now minus guitar. Clearly a guitarist has not been reintroduced into the line-up. The band are understandably better musicians these days so the sound is tighter, the recording quality superior but overall I wouldn't say it's an improvement over the original. On the original guitar took a back seat over the strong emphasis on keyboard work but I do miss the colour it added to that early version. Overall though an excellent piece from the band.

Lo E Il Tempo, the title track from their third album is present here in demo form. Having not heard the original I can't compare but it's a pretty complete piece in itself with no rough edges to speak of. Another long track, at fourteen and a half minutes shifting through many moods and some pleasing instrumental interplay.

The rest of this compilation revisits material from their debut album. L'Ultimo Viaggio, another instrumental is credited here as a swing version. It does have a certain swing feel but I wish I had the original here to compare it too. Ultimately though it's a little simplistic and the least satisfying piece overall. The last three tracks are all live, presumably recorded sometime around the release of their debut. The recording quality is less than perfect but it's clear to see that the band were already an impressive live act. Guitar takes a more prominent role though the sound is still based around Walter Pini's excellent keyboard work.

So there you have it, overall an excellent compilation which makes a good introduction to the band though for fans who own the original albums (I only have two of them one of which doesn't feature here at all) certainly not essential, particularly if you already own the three Divine Comedy collections.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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