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The Balmung - Le Porte Della Noia CD (album) cover


The Balmung


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.71 | 31 ratings

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3 stars The Balmung began life in 2007 on the initiative of Claudio Pelliccioni, a singer-songwriter in love with progressive rock hailing from Mentana, near Rome. The name of the band was inspired by the Niebelungenlied and was chosen to represent the interest of the musicians for Medieval lores. In fact, Balmung is the name of the sward that Siegfried used to kill a dragon called Fafnir. After some personnel changes and a hard work, in 2012 the band self released a debut album, "Le porte della noia" (The gates of boredom), with a line up featuring Claudio Pelliccioni (vocals, guitar), Patrik Auletta (guitar), Francesco Galvan (keyboards), Luigi Nespeca (bass) and Alessio Pompei (drums). The result of their efforts is not flawless, the music draw on the prog legacy of the early seventies and Italian "canzone d'autore" with mixed results and many ups and downs while the overall sound suffers a bit of the self-production, especially the vocal parts. Anyway, despite some ingenuities, in this album you can find also many good ideas and at length I enjoyed it.

The long, dreamy opener "Brown Jenkin" evokes a good fellowship, bonfires, smiles, dreams and empty words. Brown Jenkin is the name of a character in The Dreams In The Witch House, a short story by H.P. Lovecraft part of the Cthulhu Mythos. It is described as an evil creature with long hair and the shape of a rat, a messenger of the devil who could speak all languages. Nonetheless in this case Brown Jenkin is also the name of a band that Claudio Pelliccioni formed in the early nineties... "You can drink from this source the water you need to remain green...".

The following "St. Patrick's Day" is a nice instrumental track featuring Celtic influences. It leads to "Sogno fugale" (Escape dream), a piece that describes an ephemeral dream, a kind of psychedelic trip across a pink sky under a dark moon, towards the void. The soaring vocals seem kind of running after a wounded ibex climbing up a mountain but never reaching the beast... Well, in my opinion here the references to Pink Floyd and to the Italian singer-songwriter Antonello Venditti are obvious but I like this song anyway. The following "Il dono" (The gift) is just another brick in the Balmung's "wall of sound" with some powerful guitar riffs, melodic vocals that recall I Nomadi and a nice instrumental finale. It's a song of hope and love for life but beware! You have to be brave to help other people in a world where indifference rules and everyone minds to his own business.

Next comes "Sola" (Alone) which begins softly and reminds me again of Antonello Venditti. The lyrics depict a lonely girl who gets lost into a dark night... "You run alone looking for me / I'm the dark night which lives in you...". The instrumental coda features church-like organ passages and a guitar solo that recalls Santana. The following "Quelli come me" (Those like me) is a straightforward rock track, a protest song against a forgetful political world incapable to take the right decisions for the people. The central section features a narrative vocal part taken from a scene of Il Marchese del Grillo, a famous Italian film directed in 1981 by Mario Monicelli and starring, among others, Alberto Sordi and Flavio Bucci.

"Frammenti di una vita" (Fragments of a life) is a nice, reflective ballad. The lyrics depict the landscape of a peaceful valley where time stands still and the wind brings songs of wolves and sirens, echoes of freedom and a flavour of bitter almonds while the raindrops begin to fall between the lines of a poem... Next comes "Suite per Siegfried", a long, complex instrumental track inspired by the hero of the aforementioned Nieblunglied. While listening to the music you can imagine a knight hunting white wild boars in a forest or slaying a dragon or proposing a toast during a banquet or rescuing a princess in danger or invoking the gods in a desperate prayer.

The title track is another complex piece with many changes in rhythm and atmosphere. The lyrics depict illusions and dreams with the same kind of colourful, naive touch that you can find painted in the album cover. Under the moonlight you can see a white horse walking along the banks of a lake, there's fire under the horseshoes, there's smoke on the water... In the middle of the lake there's a small boat and a fisherman paints the fog in purple colours with his lantern. Memories from a lost childhood begin to emerge and you can have a quick look at them through the keyhole of a hidden door, behind the gates of boredom... The Tibetan soundscapes of "Thoughtful Himalaya" conclude the album.

On the whole I think that this a work with lights and shadows from a band that in the future could do much better. I'm looking forward to their next work!

andrea | 3/5 |


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