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Mangala Vallis - Microsolco CD (album) cover

MICROSOLCO

Mangala Vallis

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.79 | 80 ratings

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Gallifrey
4 stars Mangala Vallis - "Microsolco" 13/20

43rd place album of the year 2012

"Microsolco" is the latest album from Italian band Mangala Vallis, and their first full-length in 7 years. Judging from the lyrics, referencing the year and even the 2012 apocalypse, it is clear the band intended this to be released in 2012, in fact releasing it on the very first day of 2012. Despite often being lumped into the Italian Symphonic (RPI) subgenres, Microsolco contains a significant amount of neo-prog tendencies, as opposed to straight symphonic.

The entire album, musically, is fantastic. The melodies are strong, the solos are inventive, but I feel it's the entire instrumentation of symphonic prog that pulls it back here. The retro instruments are actually a hindrance to any atmosphere, and often sound comical. Anyone could take the music here and make some truly beautiful stuff, which sometimes happens, like in the latter half of "Easy Empire", but the primary focus of symphonic arrangements pulls back most of the album, the same problem I find with artists like Neal Morse.

The more neo-prog sounding parts of the album are the nicest, in my opinion; with "Gods of The XXI Century" containing the obvious synth solo, but never loses its atmosphere because of it. "Plastic Paradise" is my personal favourite on the album, also devoid of the 'retro' sounds, with a really fantastic chorus.

Now, to the REAL reason I don't like this album as much as the music dictates I should. The lyrics are atrocious. Absolutely horrible. The album writes about something to do with the apocalypse and "everyone believing it would happen". A really weak topic for an album, especially considering everyone had forgotten about it come June. And it seems the band specifically waited for 2012 to release it, because of these lyrics, which seems like a bit of a waste.

The music on this album is great, very good choruses and solos, excellent use of time signatures, especially the 13/8 one in "Welcome to the New World", but the old-fashioned sounding instruments and awful lyrics mean that after a few listens you're very sick of it. Definitely worth a listen, but maybe not much more.

Originally written for my facebook page/blog http://www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

Gallifrey | 4/5 |

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