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Nuova Era - Il Passo Del Soldato CD (album) cover

IL PASSO DEL SOLDATO

Nuova Era

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.17 | 185 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Nobody denies that Italian Symphonic as a genre reached the peak in the early/mid 70's, bands as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, PFM or LE ORME are only the tip of the iceberg, because almost any album of those days presents us an impeccable style, great musicianship and that unique characteristic that made of this country the second home of Progressive Rock.

It's also truth that in the 80's, 90's and even 00's we can find great Italian bands, but the case of NUOVA ERA is unmatched, they present us an immaculate 70's sound in the late 80's/early 90's, but without sounding derivative at all, their approach is simply unparalleled but at the same time familiar enough for the Prog Fan used to the early Italian sound, and one of the few bands that is able to resist any comparison with the early 70's monsters.

"Il Passo del Soldato" (The March of the Soldier) is the last release by this fantastic band and a concept album about all the stages of a war, which starts with the declaration and ends with an epitaph as usual in every conflict.

Even when NUOVA ERA suffered the loss of Alex Camaiti (guitars and vocals) who left the band, they manage to release an impressive album without guitar and recruiting Claudio Guerrini, who does an absolutely dramatic vocal work with his impressive voice that allows him to sing comfortably the lowest ranges and reach the most acute ones without any problem.

Probably any other band would have terrible problems performing without a guitar, but in this case Walter Pini does such an impressive job with the keyboards that covers any other problem, something impressive when we're talking of a musician who confessed in an interview with "La Caja de Música" not having formal musical education, but who plays piano, Moog, Organ and Mellotron with equal skills.

The album starts with "All'ombra di un Conflitto (La Dichiriazone)" A military march that announces the beginning of a war, in this track Claudio Guerrini takes the lead role proving his skills as vocalist, specially in the sections in which he reaches incredibly high ranges adding pure drama.

While Gianluca Lavacchi keeps the military march mood with his syncopated drumming, Walter Pini does an amazing job with the Hammond and Moog, pure Progressive Rock of the best quality from start to end.

"Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo (Consternazione)" begins with a lush keyboard solo that reminds me a bit of Jurgen Fritz fron TRIUMVIRAT, but with a delicate feeling that's so unique in Italian bands, until the organ in the vein of PAR LIND appears in the scenario, pure strength, even the vocals are far more aggressive than in the previous track and lead to a passage that reminds me of ELP, a phenomenal performance from start to end.

"La Parata del Simboli (La Truppa)", as the name implies, the song starts with another military march that reminds us of the soldiers going to the front, but a dramatic keyboard adds the sense of nostalgia and feat that arises in the middle of the sense of patriotism, again NUOVA ERA hits the nail precisely in the head transmitting several feelings in an instrumental.

"Il Passo del Soldato (Verso la Battaglia)" is a 12 minutes epic that's opened with a delightful piano solo, that leads after a couple of minutes to an "Emersonian" section with reminiscences of "Pictures at a Exhibition" but with much more feeling and passion than the excellent British band, if Italians are strong in something is precisely in powerful emotions, and this is where NUOVA ERA makes the difference.

But this is only the beginning, after several frenetic passages with radical changes and notable performance the grand finale reaches with absolute naturally, nothing is forced, nothing is out of place, everything is just perfect, something only the great musicians achieve.

"Armicrazia (I Pensieri di Cecchino)" is one of the most mysterious and striking pieces of music, the band manages to present us several passages all "in crescendo" as leading to an explosion that never reaches, creating a perfect sense of transit from one section to another, The vocal part is simply breathtaking. One of the most complex but at the same time emotional tracks I ever listened.

"L'armistizio (Le Decisioni del Generalli)" After an aggressive and almost brutal organ intro a soft piano performance clearly reflects a cease of hostilities as in armistice, but at the end the opening is repeated as to reflect that this is only temporal.

Again Claudio Guerrini gives us a superb rendition capable to move the less sensible listener, just brilliant.

"Riflessi di Pace (Ottre il Fronte)" is a softer track that gives us a sensation of hope, as if peace was reaching at last, the incredibly beautiful organ and vocals are perfectly supported by the rhythm section that maintains a military mood in the background, another overwhelming song, this time with Pini playing in the style of Rick Wakeman.

The album ends with "Epitaffio (La morale)" and "Nuova Era Atto Secondo", two tracks that I comment together because they seem to summarize the whole album and both present us absolutely amazing Mellotron and organ performances, "Il Passo del Soldato" ends as strong as it started.

The rating is no problem for me, anything bellow 5 stars would be unfair, a perfect masterpiece for any Progressive Rock listener, absolutely essential.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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