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Conqueror - Madame Zelle CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.41 | 48 ratings

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4 stars One of my favourite more recent purchases is Madame Zelle, the latest of four studio albums from Italian's Coqueror. It's a concept album based on the colourful life of Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, better known as the Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari, who met her death in 1917 at the hands of a firing squad having been accused of being a double agent. In the years since it has come to light that the accusations were unfounded and she was actually innocent.

Madame Zelle is a lovely album at the more melodic end of the RPI genre. The band certainly have plenty of experience having been around since the mid-nineties in one form or another and it shows as they turn in a classy performance of well-constructed and tuneful Italian prog with a contemporary sound, though with roots in the seventies tradition of the genre. The music features lots of instrumental sections, not overly complex but nevertheless creating a captivating listening experience as it shifts through many moods and changes created by the keyboards, flute, saxophone, guitar, bass and drums line-up. All this is topped off by the gorgeous female vocals of Simona Rigano, her melancholic tones perfectly capturing the sadness of the outcome of the story. It's not the most bombastic of albums, though it has its moments, but is more about strong melodic hooks and as a result is easily accessible. Sometimes an eastern vibe is present, no doubt to create the mood of the exotic dancer part of the story.

Despite having an instant liking for Madame Zelle, no doubt down to the tuneful nature of the material, repeated plays reveal more layers, something often lacking in more immediately accessible music. Not so here as I've grown fonder of it with each play and it's well on track to make my top 10 albums of the year. A really lovely record.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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