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Mad Crayon - Preda CD (album) cover

PREDA

Mad Crayon

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.88 | 30 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Preda moves the band into a new era

Mad Crayon recently celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band. They began in the middle 80s with other Italian groups who pioneered what would become another wave of RPI into the 90s, influenced by the 70s symphonic bands and neo prog. They did not remain there however, instead Mad Crayon has evolved from the typical early 90s Italian sound to the modern RPI edge of today. The five-piece still sports two of its original members in keyboardists Alessandro Di Benedetti and Daniele Agostinelli. They are joined today by guitarists Federico Tetti, Daniele Vitalone (guitar/bass), and drummer Stefano Fabiani (though Stefano Crudele recorded Preda.) Their Cygnus Records debut in 1994 was admittedly heavily influenced by 1970s Genesis and was warmly received by fans of the traditional style. The good response led to a 2nd album this time on Mellow Records, Diamanti, for which the band were attempting to become more complex.

Then in 2009 Mad Crayon reinvented themselves with a much more technically complex and harder edged modern sound on Preda. Most of the Tony Banks inspirations have been replaced by something closer to Ozric Tentacles, D.F.A., Yugen, and even a few bits of Porcupine Tree (Deadwing era, with some metal influence but not quite metal.) It is pretty obvious that the guys labored hard over these tracks, they are filled with ambition and complexity. As mentioned songs have a basis not so far from Ozric with a sort of free form instrumental jam and some spacey sound effects. Occasionally they'll inject a jazzier feel which accounts for my DFA reference, and there are some heavy guitar sections that sound like they came straight outta "Anesthetize." The RPI touches are there as well, the vocals and some of the lovely piano gracing certain sections resemble what a younger Banco might sound like today. It's all a very feisty and energetic ball of sound that bounces you around the room.

Some of the cooler parts are jaw-dropping good, nimble electric jamming, with amazing acoustic sections for balance, often over some dreamy sound effects. And yet to be frank there are sections which drag a bit for me, and some of the heaviest in particular can sound a bit forced. I love it best when the loudness falls away and the simple beauty of the keyboards brings the Italian flavor back to the forefront. Vocals do no play a huge role on Preda but they are definitely there and of decent quality. The variety of styles and the wide swings in intensity provide a package that will surely satiate adrenalin seeking prog fans. I think "Preda" is a good album by a very tight band. I'm torn between 3 and 4 stars as I often am, rounding up here because of what I feel would be their wide appeal to PA listeners. But I also feel that compositionally this band can do even better, at least for my personal taste. They have all the chops and imagination in the world, I'm truly anxious to hear where they go next.

Since the album's release Mad Crayon have been performing Preda live and working on new material, so stay tuned. 25 years on, the party is not over yet!

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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