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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - The Spaghetti Epic CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.68 | 54 ratings

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Dark Nazgul
3 stars Premiata Forneria "Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez."

Second chapter of the Musea/Colossus project that combines progressive rock with famous Italian movies. After "The Colossus of Rhodes" this time the film chosen is Sergio Leone's masterpiece "Once Upon A Time In The West" (excellent film even if lower than the previous "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly", which I consider to be the greatest movie ever) and the suites that make up the double album are dedicated to the most important characters of the movie: Jill (Claudia Cardinale), Cheyenne (Jason Robards), Harmonica (Charles Bronson), Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti), Frank (Henry Fonda). There is also a sixth suite dedicated to the West in general. Note that there are no references to the wonderful soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, except in very few cases (some themes appear briefly in the suites of Randone and Tilion).

The combination of progressive rock and western movies is a bit strange. What does the West with the progressive rock? Nothing. Can you imagine Wyatt Earp whistles "Watcher Of The Skies" or "Epitaph" at the OK Corrall? Thinking at Monument Valley is difficult when listening to a progressive track (much easier to think of wizards, elves and spaceships, don't you think?). For this reason, I was very wary when I bought this album. Fortunately, my concerns have proven unfounded in part. Now a brief analysis of the songs.

1. The West. Author: HAIKARA. The first suite of Haikara (from Finland) is one of the weakest of the album. In a word we can say that it is mediocre. Never fails to provoke me chills, it is always rather dull. The style reminds me a bit Renassaince, but the voice (female) is obviously not comparable to that of Annie Haslam. After a singed prelude, the piano takes on the role as the main instrument and the suite continues with instrumental symphonyc parts connected to each other with the only one solo of the song (a drum solo fortunately rather short). Some themes are interesting (especially after the drum solo) but is often too repetitive and dilated. The suite ends with the reprise of the opening theme. In conclusion, a not exceptional first song. Rating: 3/10.

2. Jill. Author: RANDONE. Second suite by the Italians Randone. The beginning is good with a nice introduction to organ and mellotron and great guitar solos. The atmosphere, for the first five minutes, is very reminiscent of the classic period of PFM. After the promising start the suite becomes quite confused. The vocals (sung in Italian) and the choruses are another weak point and seem out of context. Finally, the lyrics are very weak and are the simple reporting of events of the film. The worst track on the album. Rating: 2/10.

3. Cheyenne. Author: TILION. The best suite of disc one and one of the best things of the album by another Italian band. Experimental, intriguing, evocative and very much in tune with the character of the "gentleman bandit". Not easy to digest (no doubt, it takes more plays!), is inspired by the typical sounds of Italian prog bands like Balletto di Bronzo but with very good vocals (in Italian) and very intriguing lyrics, concerning the controversial nature of the character interpreted by Robards. Keyboards (all types but especially piano) are in evidence throughout the suite, but there is no trace of the exaggerations and pomposity typical of this kind of style. Very good. Rating 7/10.

4. Harmonica. Author: LA VOCE DEL VENTO (Alias Tillison and Manning). Two stars of contemporary British prog give life to a fruitful collaboration: the suite dedicated to the silent hero interpreted by Charles Bronson is excellent. Good perform by Guy Manning on vocals (by contrary the vocals in the middle of the suite performed by Tillison are not exceptional). Good balance between the acoustic parts and others characterized by the use of electronic keyboards. The final Manning singing "It's a hard life / Time to bring you down / It's a hard life / Leave you on the ground" is very effective. Rating: 6/10.

5. Morton. Author: TAPROBAN. Italian band author of the suite dedicated to Morton, the builder of the railroad that wants to link the two American coasts (started by the Atlantic Ocean, his dream is to get to see the shores of the Pacific: he will die looking at a pool of muddy water). The vocals are in English (unfortunately, the Italian accent is evident). The first part reminds me ELP or Quatermass with a lot of keyboards. Then a sound effect that mimics the construction of the tracks. After that a more intimate section of voice and piano is followed, and then a fantastic rhythmic variation that leads to the final. Another good one. Rating 6/10.

6. Frank. Author: TRION. The end of the album is dedicated to Henry Fonda's villain. It is an amazing instrumental suite, performed by this Dutch trio. In the first half keyboards dominating the scene with a theme repeated twice (first with the piano, then with the organ in a crescendo of extraordinary tension) to symbolize the arrival on the scene of the evil Frank. The second half the guitar is protagonist (we can hear some memorable solos here). The final is a stunning crescendo on a typical western theme, with guitar again in evidence. The best song on the album. Rating: 9/10.

A good album. Final Rating: 5/10.

Best song: Frank

Dark Nazgul | 3/5 |


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