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Una Volta Eravamo In Sette - La Ballata Del Vecchio Marinaio CD (album) cover


Una Volta Eravamo In Sette


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.45 | 9 ratings

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4 stars Una Volta Eravamo In Sette are an Italian progressive rock band from Forlė that was formed in 2008. The line up features Francesco Agnoletti (keyboards, electric guitar, vocals), Riccardo Fiorini (vocals, flute), Mattia Massa (electric and acoustic guitar, vocals), Mattia Flamigni (drums) and Fabrizio Piani (bass). From the very beginning they started to work on original pieces inspired by The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Their debut work, La ballata del vecchio marinai, was released in 2010 as a free legal download on the site and is an interesting and original mix of vintage and modern sounds featuring influences ranging from the Italian prog masters of the seventies to psychedelia, from classical music to tribal rhythms and many more. The musicians interpreted the poem with the music and their own words just giving you some hints of the events narrated by Coleridge... The rest is up to your imagination!

The opener "Overture" sets the atmosphere. The mood is dark and calm, then the rhythm slowly rises while Oriental influences add a touch of exoticism to a musical tableau where you can see a flock seagulls merrily dancing. The birds are flying over a ship and show the way while some threatening black clouds are gathering on the horizon and an impending sense of doom hangs on the sailors...

"Il matrimonio" (The marriage) depicts the beginning of the poem. The music is lively and tries to describe three men on their way to the church where the marriage of one of their relatives is going to be celebrated. Suddenly the music stops and the mood changes. An old sailor stops one of the three men... "Stop, stay a while with me / Listen to me now that you can...". The voice of the singer now is the voice of the ancient mariner...

"Nella tempesta" (In the storm) opens with a thundering drum roll, then aggressive electric guitar riffs and raging organ waves come in. A "tyrannous and strong" storm drives the ship off course, towards south, to Antarctica... The music and lyrics take you on board... "I want to show where it goes / The ship chased by the storm... I still remember it / My ruin began then...".

"E quanto č immenso l'oceano di ghiaccio" (And how vast is the ocean of ice) is a beautiful, complex track that tries to depict a desolated landscape of ice and solitude... After the storm the sun shines high over emerald green ice blocks. The sailors in dismal can see nothing but ice all around them and on the horizon there's no shape of men nor beasts... "No shape nor beast...".

"L'albatro" (The albatross) begins softly and marks the meeting with a strange bird, an albatross. The beautiful bird in some way speaks to the desperate men... "And now turn your gaze to me... Follow me, follow me...". The sailors follow the flight of the bird and find a way out from their prison of ice but at a certain point one of the sailors, the ancient mariner, feels the sudden impulse to shoot the bird with his cross-bow. An aggressive electric guitar riff underlines the infernal action... "And the scream suffocates our breathing... Take me, kill me...".

"Apologia" (Apology) starts in a frenzied way, then a surreal calm comes down... "I committed my infernal action, I killed the beast / First I was condemned, then I was celebrated as a hero / You're guilty as well...". Initially the other sailors got angry with the mariner since they believed that the albatross brought the south wind that led them out of Antarctica. However they changed their heart when the weather became warmer and the mist disappeared since they thought that it was the bird that brought the fog and mist. They made a mistake in supporting this crime as it aroused the wrath of the spirits who then started haunting the ship. The south wind now sends the ship into uncharted waters, where it is becalmed...

"Silenzio del mare" (The silence of the sea) is definitely closer to post rock than to vintage prog and perfectly depicts a long sad time in the sea where the crew has to wait for a breath of wind... "Day after day, day after day / As a painted ship in a windy sky / While our throats were drying...". Time passed by and one day another ship appeared, a ghost ship! "A sail, a sail! / The sail was moving fast the bones of its crew as a spider-web does...".

"Dadi d'ossa" (Dice of bone) is a powerful, dramatic instrumental featuring a good flute work, sharp electric guitar riffs and raging organ waves. It depicts a nightmare where the Grim Reaper and her companion Death-In-Life are casting dice... The winner will take the souls of the sailors!

"La collana dell'albatro (Danse Macabre)" (The necklace of the albatross) is another beautiful track featuring an eerie, hypnotic mood. All the other sailors are dead now and the mariner is alone. He still wears the dead albatross around his neck because of his crime but now he can see some dangerous water-snakes swimming in the sea around him and is charmed by the beauty of their colours. As he blesses them and begins to pray the albatross falls down from his neck as if the guilt was partially expiated... "The light splits the sky and sea / It's high time to set off / It's time to go on... A sun ray gives the crew a new life...". Like magic the dead sailors come back to life and lead the ship near the coast before sinking forever into the water. The protagonist of the story survives...

The dreamy, ethereal "La ballata del vecchio marinaio" (The ballad of the ancient mariner) concludes the album and the story... "Judge this dream / Judge my act / What I committed is a crime / I relished my wishes... I bring my sentence as a sceptre...". Now the listener has to guess the meaning of a nightmare on the borders of reality...

On the whole a very good album!

andrea | 4/5 |


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