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Egonon - Risveglio CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.19 | 197 ratings

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5 stars We all know the story of the turtle and the hare, but when you get older (aka hopefully wiser), one realizes that this classic old school cliche is actually a truism of the highest order. It does not really matter how long to takes to get to a specific place as long as you get there. This is my intro to Egonon, an album I noticed a while back in 2011 that was getting a lot of ink and consideration as a new RPI wonder find. I pay a lot of attention to the reviews as it's my ultimate shopping guide in purchasing 5 star albums! This debut recording finally landed in my mailbox and it does not disappoint, a dark, brooding and exalted offering from main man Fabio Calo, a talented multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist who happens to have a style all his own, classic RPI blended with middle eastern (oud, darbouka) and Indian (sarangi, sitar) tendencies. There is a dark vibe, full of overt passion, rage and fire that gives the arrangements a pulse that is quite intoxicating. In fact, there are some hard guitar blasts, occasional mellotron storms, blistering playing that winks at classic Mel Collins-flavored King Crimson, while coloring Italian folk melodies that tell stories of romance, family, inner search, renaissance and spirit. In other words, the usual prog suspects! The main man is surrounded by a stellar group, namely slick bassist Andrea Ghion and poly-rhythmic master Roberto Parolin, furthered by a brass, string and reed crew of soloists that add a profound sense of spice and aroma. Some pieces like "Khasim" and "Maya" have outright Arabic influences in the chanting female vocals, the charmed cobra guitar breaks and the rhythmic pulsations of a Marrakesh bazaar.

As stated so boldly on their website bio, Egonon is not a band but an impulse.

Obscure, murky and dissonant, "Phosforo" sets the tone for the album to be, with tinny trumpet details, rash guitars, mellotron blasts and hysteric rhythmic work. The hushed vocals reveal a deep pain, merging both English and Italian lyrics (now, THAT is cool!), ending with an appropriate phosphorescent Frippoid axe sliding into second with studs showing!

"Lacrime di Luce" is a highlight track here, a melancholic mellotron-driven piece that could be an Italian version of an Anekdoten tune. The same misty mood pervades the forlorn sadness, with aggressive rhythmic guitars allied to acoustic soloing and Calo singing his heart out. A percussion laden mid-section straight out of classic KC redirects the mood into a dreamier plane, sweeping mellotron and an explosive chorus , full of pomp and emotion. How can this not impress?

The sitar introduces the title track with sweltering efficiency, suddenly augmented by a harsh and repetitive guitar blast, bubbling bass guitar and both male and female voices howling in the wind to the highest effect. Its companion piece is "Alma Senza Vertu", an ethnically challenged Italian prog song, full of longing, passion and pain, shattered by a searing saxophone and a heart stopping chorus. Calo really knows how to emote and it helps when the melody is so well focused and constructed to please.

The highlight piece is most definitely "L'Uomo Libero" , a breathtaking track constructed out of a gorgeous melody and immaculate singing , with the expansive mellotron howling in the wind, playful contrasts that blend jazz, folk and rock, augmented by stellar lyrical material about 'having the courage to lose one's battles and find the angels of freedom in the end'. The sheer expression of emotions is heard in the stunning vocals, the blaring of the trumpet and another saturated Frippian solo. The guitar provides the segue almost immediately into the obsessive and almost angry "Voglio Essere Piccolo", once more powerfully shoving the message along, fueled by Roberto Parolin's monster drumming, solid and explosive. There are some possessed chanting that hints at Magma, Calo urging, pleading and crying out madly. Glockenspiel puts this to bed. Phew! What a voyage!

A solo trumpet seems to be playing Taps, appropriate since the song deals with Jesus's first resting place "Golgotha", so it goes without saying that there is a lot on Holy Land influences, wailing Arabic voices, assorted Middle Eastern instruments flailing away atop the mount of Olives, psychotic sax blowouts, hurricane guitar flashes, and manic lead vocals that speed by at a blistering pace.

"Rossa Asfalto" is another heavyweight monster track with booming operatic male voice, castigating guitars, mellotron torrents and an enormous brass outbreak (sax, trumpet), showing admiration for classic Italian prog acts like Area, Deus Ex-Machina and the recent Ingranaggi delle Valle. This is such an inspiring track, a platform for Calo's voice trembling passionately (as well as his choir work) while his guitar madly weeps and the Mach 3 speeding rhythm section plowing crazily. This could easily be a track from one of Universal Totem Orchestra's 2 albums. When the mandolin makes a brief appearance, abeted by some swirling wah-wah guitar, I kneel to the shrine! Bloody brilliant! The piece ends with a long phone conversation. Beep!

"Tra La Notte e L'Alba" is a manic segue, full of sparkling sizzle, magical insanity and dense contrasts. Lots of mellotron here, brassy guitar and startling sax and trumpet work. Brit jazz- rockers Nucleus gone heavy and Italian! Yeah, that good! Its companion piece the deeply disturbing "Tutto Cio che avevo era un'anima " just kicks it up a notch, as the mighty mellotron again plays a major in role in elevating the emotions to near unbearable heights, juicily added at appropriate moments and wholly unexpected within the course of the dissonant madness expressed. Frippoid guitar adds zest and zing to it all, culminating in angry howling vocals that rage and fulminate.

On the colder side of the street, Calo shows off his 'softer' side, a heavy ballad "Sul Lato Caldo della Strada", again tossing in English lyric tidbits, giving this so much universal appeal 'over the rainbow', the saxophone playing another massive and controlling part, pushing the theme in jazzier expanses, pulled back by brief and incendiary rock guitar phrasings and captained by a voice that leads by example and expression.

"L'Abito Bianco" has insanity in its whispered hushes, choir mellotron blazing, acoustic guitar and lonely voice. Tortuous contrasts, heavenly moments wrestling with abysmal plunges, constant and unending variations and unexpected surprises. Magma on speed, with Nucleus influences and healthy blasts of vintage Collins-era King Crimson and current Anekdoten.

I was expecting some confusing miasma of sounds that would somehow astound me and that is exactly what I got! Fabio Calo promises 3 more future revelations and I, among countless others around the globe, await them with open and anxious arms. One word to describe this debut: a Revelation. The foundation here is spot on progressive, pulsating modern versions of old school Italian RPI traditions, sensational vocal work, intense instrumentation from the core players, a fabulous drummer and playfully intelligent arranging. The dictatorial presence of the heavenly mellotron is the ultimate clincher.

5 Awakenings

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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