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Carpe Nota - Carpe Nota CD (album) cover


Carpe Nota


Heavy Prog

3.99 | 78 ratings

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5 stars I had a Carpe Nota review almost done, giddy as I was from all the praise given by Aussie- Byrd-Brother as well as listening to this marvel on the car stereo but I had a PC meltdown due to my son in law who wanted to clean up my files. He did such a good job, he got rid of EVERYTHING! It's okay, he bought me a new laptop, so I still love him dearly. But the review, as well as many other files were erased into oblivion. He thought I would be angry but I explained that prog makes you mellow (yeah, bitches!). So it's back to the drawing board for this stunning piece of work from American band Carpe Nota.

Yes, kiddies, this is perhaps one of the finest instrumental prog-rock albums ever, with a plethora of brilliant tracks that harken back to bands such as classic Focus, Allman Bros, Rush, King Crimson (Wetton-Bruford-Cross era), Metallica, scents of Return to Forever, even hints of Led Zeppelin.

A heartbeat, huge mellotron choir waves and rustling cymbals ignite the marvelous opener, "Thoracic Park", a 10 minute+ extravaganza of rollicking, bruising, kick-ass, highway star driving rock music with all the trimmings, sauces and condiments. Slithering synths, crunchy rhythms, crushing bass and manic drumming keep things pressure-cooker intense, with sublime guitarist Peter Rubinetti ripping off all kinds of majestic solos, where both speed and emotion rule the roost. The pace is gruelling yet smooth, the bass carving quite nicely (Ken Sundling is awesome), Dan Pluta's keys coloring the arrangement with stylistic touches of the finest order, especially when he combines brooding organ runs with Manfred Mann-like bending Moog flights. Yeah, it's definitely 'chopzilla' but with purpose and balls! Check out the wicked axe solo, pfffffff! Like they say in the hardware store, "Screw Me"! Add the reptilian bass and the deranged drumming, there is so much pleasure to deal with, my goodness!

"Welcome to the Edge" is progressive rock 'roll, a sensual frolic that just chugs along like some prog-infected Southern boogie with instantaneous appeal, the rhythm guitar just stuns with raucous rage, the tortured solo is a sizzling Sidewinder missile heading right up the rear-end engine exhaust, ready to go BOOM! Sundling then blasts some fine lines from his hot bass guitar, keeping things sweaty and perverse. Bloody brilliant stuff, this!

The classic 9 minute "Obsession" infuses a little Middle Eastern aroma into the mix, 'yalla habibi' but in a nasty way, full of lush bravado and hard rhythmic pounding, hints of Robin Trower or Iron Maiden are accurate, as its scorching and weighty in the prog desert! Driving, relentless and passionate, the highlights include the stunning violin-patch synth solo that is incredibly gorgeous and the acoustic guitar solo that is even more mind-blowing! Forge ahead with a brutal electric rampage, dripping with angst and dexterous speed, I mean how can you not be intoxicated? This is sonic hashish! Knock me down and call me Aisha!

"It Can't Be So" is the same length, a tad more investigational in nature, weaving dense grooves that has a slight Focus "Hocus Pocus" feel but bluesy and greasier. Rubinetti gives his fretboard a real workout initially, then falling back to prepare the final mellotron-infected onslaught, a colossal explosion of temperament and purpose that will shake your tree, with blazing synths, insane riffs and squealing leads! Almost like a Focus/Anekdoten mix!

"Obsidian" is rock solid and obsessive, almost a companion piece to "Obsession" where frantic meets delirious, soaring electronic keyboards amid harsh guitar rasps, pummeling drums and that darn bass rumbling madly. Halfway through, the stage is set for some more ponderous moments to reflect on the heavens in an almost jazzy, contemplative oasis. Sure, Rubinetti brings back the fiery leads to the forefront, just in time to keep the listener perplexed and breathless. His main solo is very Robin Trower circa Bridge of Sighs while Pluta manhandles his Moog like some Jan Hammer clone.

The shorter "Batovich" is fun, a toe-tapping groove piece that is not nuclear science but just plain entertainment. Pluta in particular does some stellar work on the ivories while Paul just unleashes a massive rip from his inspired 1976 Stratocaster.

Another 9 minute + job, "Bio-Freez" is a looser piece with some interesting keyboard sounds, intricate bass swerves and of course, Rubinetti slicing through the haze. Drummer Derenbecher is no slouch either, drumming like some possessed madman. This is probably the most deconstructed piece here, very much a monster jam with everyone grooving along. Bass fluttering amid the mellotron, I mean really! Lots of soloing on this one, folks!

The 10 minute finale "For All Time" is a subtle piece that seeks out gentler pastures, easily the most symphonic piece, illustrated by a gorgeous melody, punctuated by a forlorn bass and a seductive, almost Italian synth passage. Gaga Gaga! Wakeman would be soiling himself over this! When Rubinetti introduces his passionate guitar, the Italian feel becomes even more apparent, an instrumental prog ballad of the highest order. Colossal contrasts, breathtaking musical skills (these are not young rascals) and a perfect ending to a phenomenal album. Easily my favorite track here, though all are simply excellent pieces that will stand the test of time.

An absolute must for fans of heavy instrumental prog, with massive doses of masterful soloing and exotic arrangements. I mean, WOW! Not a single second of drudgery, a pure delight?..Ideal car driving or love making music. I have listened to this at least 50 times, a rather rare event in my busy prog schedule! Desert Island classic and 2011's highest recommendation. Oh, the cover art is stupendous! Can't wait for their next one!

Now I have to thank my Aussie pal Michael H for reminding me that I was amiss in rewriting the review for this masterpiece.

5 seized goldfish

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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