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Unreal City - Il Paese Del Tramonto CD (album) cover


Unreal City


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.00 | 360 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Having lived for almost 2 years in Italy, I should know a little more about Italian prog rock than what I do. But, it was in 1980 that I lived there and I didn't keep up on the scene like I should have. Of course, I am somewhat familiar with PFM, i Pooh's "Parsifal" (which is frankly the only real progressive piece they did in their huge discography), and The New Trolls and their progressive work in that era. I really should have stayed up to date, but I haven't. I have basically concentrated on the many progressive bands that are English based, and that is where my weakness with Prog lies, in the huge library of RIP music out there. Time for me to get to work, right?

So, in reviewing this album, I am perhaps comparing somewhat unfairly to the Progressive music that I am familiar with. But, if it is unfair, I still think this is a worthy progressive release anyway. I must say, for only a 2nd release, this band sounds very mature and well-versed in progressive techniques and have quite an impressive understanding of the music that they have been inspired by.

Overall, the voice and the instrumentals work well for the genre. The vocals do have a little na´ve sound to them, but not enough to put me off or make me think that their sound isn't mature enough. On the contrary, the sound is very mature. The guitar and bass guitar work is well done and tasteful, the keyboards are mostly current sounding and in good taste, especially the acoustic piano work. There are some synths that sound dated when compared to some of the general sound of progressive music, but those times are seldom and short. It may be that the sound is current in the sub-genre of Italian Progressive, I'm not sure, but to me there are a few times the seem dated. But that still doesn't put me off much. In most cases, the interplay of the instruments on the long instrumental passages is really very tasteful and mature sounding, very well done. I also love the addition of the violin from time to time that helps to give the album more character and variety.

To mention a few highlights, there is some nice inventive sections in these songs. In the first half of "Caligari" there is a great instrumental passage 5 minutes in that shows off that interplay between the instruments between the bass, the lead guitar, the piano which is later swapped out for the organ that is fun and exciting which later turns into a keyboard-led ballad with wordless vocals towards the last part of the song. "La Meccanica dell'Ombra" has an almost Jewish dance music vibe to it during the first part and later easily morphs to a mid-eastern style vibe. "Lo Schirma di Pietra" has a more dense section that actually approaches the sound of The Mars Volta for a few minutes. But the sound never really settles in to anything predictable throughout the entire album and if anything, compares a lot to a Neo-Prog sound. You get glimpses in the album of their contemporaries both old and new, but the music still stays fresh and alive throughout. The biggest highlight here is the multi movement 20 minute epic "Ex Tenebre Lux" which is a masterpiece and some of the quickest 20 minutes ever because it goes by so quickly and never drags.

The biggest complaint is that with the multi-faceted songs, there are a few times when things sound a little same-y and it can be hard to distinguish one song from another as far as each song's individuality. I think that might be only an issue for the first few listens though. It would have been nice to give each track a little more individuality, that maybe the ever changing music is a bit overplayed within each track, but as I get more familiar with the songs, that might change. In any event, I enjoy this album enough to want to get to know it better. I can easily give it a four star rating and would easily recommend it to fans of the more progressive Saga music or even Spock's Beard.

TCat | 4/5 |


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