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Pandora - Dramma Di Un Poeta Ubriaco CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.11 | 86 ratings

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4 stars The debut album from these modern prog artists. My question is: Am I listening to RPI? or is this really Heavy Prog, Prog Metal, or even Neo Prog? Some of the sounds used here are quite dated (especially the keyboards).

1. "Il Giudizio Universale" (7:37) opens with 90 seconds of someone dialing through a radio that is playing, catching all kinds of international flavors in both talk and music formats. Then a heavier, 1980s hairband-like sound palette burst upon the scene, exposing several somewhat familiar styles--including one that is heavily dominated by a Hammond organ. In the fourth minute things smooth out until at 3:45 a new theme shoots forward over which guitar, synth and voice take turns leading. This is very solid, very polished heavy rock/heavy prog. In the sixth minute, things back off and a nice potential-energy passage holds the forward motion as Corrado Grappegia tones down his vocal a bit. But then things get inexplicably heavy/djenty again for the final wordless minute. Odd! (13/15) 2. "March to Hell" (5:59) more heavily paced music, this one, and instrumental, is a little slower, which, to my ears, feels more similar to the heavy palette of Neo Proggers PALLAS, TRANSATLANTIC, or PENDRAGON. In the middle it takes a strange turn into a faster gear over which Hammond and synth take turns soloing. Machine gun bullet kick drum play makes me feel as if this is really not RPI but Heavy Prog or even Prog Metal. Dated keyboard sounds take turns soloing over the final two minutes. (8/10)

3. "Così Come Sei" (8:21) sensitively picked steel-string guitar solos for the first minute before being joined by bass and wavering pitched synth and then vocals. Corrado sounds much older, more mature on this one--and way more classic RPI in his style. Nice instrumental section in the third and fourth minutes--very solid rhythm section and great melodies from the lead synth. Great transition to a in the end of the fifth minute followed by some cool drumming and organ play. As near to a perfect RPI song as there could be and a top three song for me. (20/20)

4. "Pandora (11:43) another instrumental in which a long spacey synth opening which is eventually joined by male voice reciting something in Italian as drums and bass establish quite a tight and polished musical bass over the next 90 seconds. Then guitars and keys join in with synth leading in the establishment of melodies while metal guitar and piano hold up the middle ground. Very solid. At the end of the fifth minute everybody drops out for an "old time saloon" piano solo. At the six minute mark we burst back into heavy prog, and then Hammond and synth strings led section very reminiscent of classic RPI à la MUSEO ROSENBACH or LE ORME. The organ slowly performs a steady rising arpeggio sequence similar to the one Tony Banks does in "Apocalypse in 9/8." Very nice composition impeccably performed and fairly well recorded. (18.5/20)

5. "Breve Storia di San George" (6:39) delicately-picked and -strummed acoustic guitars with synth flute and (dated) synth strings providing the lead melodies. After two minutes of this pastoral beauty, guitar and harpsichord take more control of the fore as Corrado sings in another performance that would fit perfectly into a classic RPI album like MAXOPHONE's. The final minute turns tribal--gypsy, paisano, or Native American, I'm not sure. A beautiful song for which my only complaint is in the dated keyboard-generated sounds of flutes and strings. (9/10)

6. "Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco" (9:05) sounds of agua con gazeta being poured into glasses on the wooden table top precedes an outburst into rock-ified classical music that sounds very much like the TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. At 2:40 we stop that and move into a more BILLY JOEL "Just the Way You Are" keyboard base before Corrado enters singing in a raspy, strained "older" voice again. Some of the melodies here are either Russian or from very deeply traditional folk traditions. The bombastic "orchestrated" final section sounds nice, conveys the operatic power that it's meant to, and then backs the plaintive lead synth and buzz saw lead guitar in a nice Mellotron-like way. This is, however, the only part of the song that I enjoy. Not my favorite. (16.5/20)

7. "Salto nel Buio" (13:45) steel string acoustic guitar played delicately--almost harp-like--before banked strings chords enter and the guitar begins producing a progression of slowly arpeggiated chords. Slow build and transfer of instruments over the next two minutes. Very pleasant pace and instrumental palettes throughout, with opportune switches for vocal passages in the fourth and fifth minutes and, later, for some folk-sounding passages. In the ninth minute, unfortunately, the band chooses to go back to a heavy/prog metal palette and style. The band does, however, remain tight and focused, delivering an excellent (if TFF "Carole of Bells" like) motif--but then it goes cheesy exaggerated lounge jazz with less than two minutes left. (28/30)

Total Time 63:09

A-/4.5 stars; an album of much more diversified sounds and stylings that I expected. This makes it sometimes difficult to categorize as "RPI" as it is not always the case, but, overall, I'll give in to that assignation.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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