Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
La Coscienza Di Zeno - La Coscienza di Zeno CD (album) cover


La Coscienza Di Zeno

Rock Progressivo Italiano

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars La Coscienza di Zeno (CDZ) is a contemporary RPI band that recently completed its first album for Mellow Records. They began recording in May 2010 and when they emerged from the studio in November they must surely have believed their musical vision had materialised. After listening to the sample songs on the band's official site I couldn't wait to get my hands on the album. It's probably worth saying straight from the off that their music is not instantaneous. I wasn't exactly bowled over at first by the seemingly less-than- adventurous music, but then some of the best progressive music suffers from the very same perceived deficiency. And sure enough this album's initially vague landscape slowly came into perspective with repeated plays, like clouds of mist drifting away to leave a clear summer's day.

CDZ are undoubtedly influenced by the golden generation of Italian progressive bands but this isn't the only circumstance that guarantees my enjoyment of the album. My understanding is that CDZ write discerning lyrics in order to create a distinct style; each song is apparently linked to visual images and sensations in an attempt to whelm the listener's imagination. While this high ambition is somewhat lost on a non-Italian speaker, I can still appreciate a vivid sense of grandeur in the texts. Lyricist Stefano Agnini, in addition to providing all the words, was involved in composing the music on all but two tracks here. Apparently he is no longer a full-time member of CDZ but will continue to write lyrics for the band's songs; hopefully they will continue to come up with equally good material in the future despite Stefano's departure. However if the only track he didn't have a hand in writing, 'Un insolito baratto alchemico', is anything to go by then there's no need for concern.

The intricate compositions are highly articulated and there's an effective conflict between the band's soft and hard sides; melodies are elegant and full of lustre while riffs are robust and, at times, sinister-sounding. All in all it makes for a balanced, well-proportioned mix of styles and CDZ certainly seem to have brought their A-game with them. They demonstrate their seventies-inspired RPI passion on 'Cronovisione' which basks in some eerie synthesizer parts that in a curious way remind me of a track on the first Alphataurus album, although it also features some wonderfully spacey guitar and later has a slightly Arabic feel. There's also plenty of that Italian eclecticism thanks to the energetic leanness of the synth- work on 'Gatto Lupesco', the spirited wanderings of the multi-part 'Nei cerchi del legno', and the discordant 'Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico' with its dialogue of flute and fuzzed guitar. But I really don't need to describe every track in detail because devotees of traditional Italian symphonic prog should just plunge straight into the album.

The RPI subgenre shows no sign of diminution with the recent and imminent additions of some very exciting bands, and with the release of this album CDZ has produced what I think will be one of the dominant works of the year.

Report this review (#483240)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The start of something beautiful

The members of the RPI team listen to a lot of Italian bands as we do reviews and evaluations, and for whatever reason my initial reaction to La Coscienza di Zeno's debut album was very similar to my team mate Chris (who wrote the first review and the biography for ProgArchives). Like Chris I was not blown away by CDZ upon first listen for some reason, it took some time, but when it grabbed me I was hooked. CDZ are one of the latest superb RPI releases by Mellow Records and this is a band which should have some staying power. With a powerful presence, dramatic material, and tight musicianship, their modern symphonic prog can at times conjure Pandora, VIII Strada, Banco, Genesis, or even Phideaux'.not all at once of course. More than anything there is a strong influence of the classic RPI bands handsomely updated with elegant, powerful sound and intriguing songwriting.

The seven beefy tracks are amazingly consistent in their quality, the sound primarily an energetic and confident heavy symphonic bolstered by sections that can feel jazzy or pastoral. The moods are balanced between dark, light, but all are passionate. All of the musicians are totally going for it here, there is no coasting or pointless noodling happening. Focused, tight, pretty intense, and definitely the product of many hours of collaboration between great players. Surprisingly a good amount of the album is instrumental and yet it engages with slightly avant-garde moments, some spoken word interlude, strings, romantic piano, organ, flute, and accordion. When the vocals do kick in they are very good and very Italian, dramatic, theatrical, and occasionally this guy goes way up there like Gillan or the New Trolls vocalist. And he nails those registers with no problem. I am captivated by the sweeping twists and turns, the heartfelt, soaring emotions, and the transitions from one interesting, lovely section to another. Even some dissonance and non-linear surprises here and there, but mostly just knockout, exceptional Italian prog.

The bottom line on CDZ is that they will knock RPI fans on their ass and leave giddy most any fans of quality progressive rock. They sound more authentic and confident than many of the so called 'retro' bands out there, and the music is a pure delight. I expect CDZ to grace some end of year RPI lists with Gran Turismo Veloce and Hostsonaten. It will certainly be near the top of my list and is an easy 4 stars without hesitation, maybe a bit north of 4. Just remember not to judge it on the first spin, trust me, it grows on you. A damn fine debut.

Report this review (#486510)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Well I have to agree with Jim and Chris that this is a grower. I really intended on giving this 3 stars which seems so ridiculous now when I think of it but this one kind of sneaks up on you after a many listens.They are a 6 piece Italian band with four guests helping out with some flute, strings, vocals and accordion.This clocks in at just under 60 minutes which for me is a positive. While this is a new band many of these musicians have played in other bands, in other words these are seasoned pros and it shows.

"Cronovisione" opens with the keyboards, guitar and synths trading off then we get a calm with spoken female words and plenty of atmosphere 2 1/2 minutes in. It picks up with synths again. Piano and drums are prominant too right to the end.

"Gatto Lupesco" is led by piano and reserved vocals early. It turns more powerful after 2 minutes and the vocals speed up too. An instrumental passage follows that is so good. Vocals are back before 6 1/2 minutes as it settles to the end.

"Nei Cerchi Del Legno" has an excellent intro especially after a minute.This is a long instrumental section that lasts until before 9 1/2 minutes when the vocals arrive. Strings late.

"Il Fattore Precipitante" is a vocal track with vocals that will impress you I guarantee it. Such passion and emotion here. I like the heaviness of this one too late.

"Il Basilisco" opens with accordion then the vocals kick in as the accordion continues. "Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico" opens with guitar and the intro sounds great. I like when the flute comes in then the organ before 2 1/2 minutes. It settles with piano after 4 minutes with acoustic guitar and flute. Check out the drumming before 6 minutes.

"Acustica Felina" is orchestral sounding early then the drums come in before 1 1/2 minutes,then vocals. It's orchestral again after 2 1/2 minutes as contrasts continue. It does settle with almost spoken vocals around 6 minutes. It stays laid back to the end.

A very proggy album in the RPI tradition, only this is modern sounding. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#531760)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut album from this Italian band.

This band with the impossible long name delivers an hour worth of RPI which is both complex and beautiful at the same time. The music is very much RPI, full stop. PFM, Banco, Biglietto, Le Orme... well, you get my drift. La Coscienza Di Zeno's brand of RPI is not as hard as many other RPI though. It is more darkened melancholic than most other RPI bands though. Some King Crimson influences is also creeping in here. Both piano, flute, keyboards and guitars is used to great effect on this album. The vocals is great.

I have noticed that other reviewers has stated that this album is a grower. I agree with these sentiments. This album has risen a lot in my estimations after some nights sleeping on it. This album really creeps does it's magic even when not listening to it. That for me is the hallmarks of a great album. The melodies here are not immediate hits, but they are still great.

This album is not one of the best albums of this year, but it is still a great album from a band which surely is one of the greatest talents in the RPI scene.

4 stars

Report this review (#569755)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Over the last few years the Italian prog scene seems healthier than it's been in quite a while with many great albums from bands such as Pandora, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre, Gran Turismo Veloce and La Maschera Di Cera to name a few and that's without going into the bands that are still with us or have reformed from the golden seventies era. Another one to keep an eye on are La Coscienza Di Zeno, a six piece from Genoa who formed in 2007 and released their debut album in 2011.

This eponymous debut is a very mature album, no doubt helped by band members having a past in various Italian formations such as Finisterre, Il Tempio Delle Clessidre and Narrow Pass. CDZ like most bands in the current RPI scene acknowledge the past without succumbing totally to a retrogressive style and keep at least one foot firmly in the present though not as obvious as fellow countrymen Gran Turismo Veloce who have a more streamlined and harder modern sound. CDZ sound more organic where mellower parts sit alongside heavier sections on their inventive and complex compositions. Neo prog plays a part in their sound with symphonic sections too. There are some truly excellent moments such as the thirteen minute Nei Cerchi Del Legno and moody instrumental Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico to name just two but occasional lapses steal it of classic status. Nevertheless there's no denying this is a very good debut by anyone's standards and if CDZ stick around they have the potential to be somewhere near the top of the current breed of RPI bands. 3 ˝ stars.

Report this review (#569783)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars There is nothing better than seeing various reviewers correctly identify the same vibe, and in this instance with La Coscienza di Zeno, the near unanimity about its slow infusion into one's musical mind is spectacular to witness and nod in rapt agreement. Yes, this is one definite temperate snail (Escargot-prog, a new sub-genre????) that barely elicits a first impression , yielding upward spiraling praise as one revisits over and over willingly (it has mystical effects on the decision-making process, like a beckoning siren in the storm). There are mostly all fantastic tracks that have the audacity to include 2 real killer pieces, the luxuriantly elegant "Nei Cerchi del Legno" and the jaw-dropping "Il Fattore Precipittante". The first is a fully developed 13 minute section that swerves and weaves with utter class and distinction, very much in a team-oriented spirit that eschews egos and prima-donna attitudes, the ensemble playing is seamless, technical yet always romantic, occasionally seasoned with unexpected tones from both the guitarist and the keyboards, led by some dazzling piano runs (always a good omen in prog when the Steinways rule) and throw in some servile flute exercises et voila! Genius stuff! This is precisely the kind of prog that requires blind obedience to the listening experience, no distraction or yearning for background music (the new modern pop!). With a line-up featuring 2 keyboardists (Stefano Agnini and Andrea Lotti) who clearly favor the piano as the predominant instrument, one cannot help to make comparisons with Banco or Goblin. The presence of Andrea Orlando who once drummed for the mighty Finisterre only confirms his immense talent, bashing like a madman on steroids. All these elements are up front and center on the opener "Cronovisione", a rollicking piece of music that has synths fluttering passionately and a crunching church organ finale. Wow! On "Gatto Lupesco", lead singer Alessio Calandrillo infuses his rather insane pipes into the mix with dirty guitarist Davide Serpico slashing wide swaths of fuzzy chords and a strong foundation laid down firmly by the regimental rhythm section. Tremendous variation in keyboard sounds with trilling synths, rumbling organ, dissonant piano give this piece and the remaining ones a clear understanding of the core philosophy behind this band. There are many similarities with newer RPI bands such as CAP, the short lived Foglie di Vetro, Narrow Pass, Chiave di Volta and Notabene. The previously mentioned "Nei Cerchi del Legno" is a total 4 part joy from beginning to end, with countless mood swings and furious playing (that darn drummer again putting on one hell of a cymbal show) but balanced by a lead melody (yeah on piano) to croak for! Supremely refined, gentle and evocative, this music is. Serpico then parallels the theme with his gruff guitar tone and segues into a pastoral lullaby that introduces Alessio's passion laden vocals. This track is an RPI classic and cannot go unacknowledged. Now if you were still unsure about his vocals, check out the delirious "Il Fattore Precipittante" and shiver in delight, as he howls like some helium-fueled hair metal vocalist, a wild lungfest that will leave you bewildered! I could not help but laughing in pure awe. Spooky synths and bruising guitar leads vie for the podium, simply memorable and stunning music as the piano settles the fury and stamps the deal. Man, can this guy sing or what? The phenomenal vocal display continues on "Il Basilisco", a showcase for further instrumental development as well as a welcome change of pace, exposing the band softer side with Höstsonaten's Luca Scherani's use of the Fisarmonica (Italian accordion), again highlighting a gorgeous melody that instills reverence and the highest praise (the choir finale is particularly poignant!). On the instrumental "Un Insolito Baratto Alchemico", the mood is both playful and intense, led by Gabriele Guido Colombi's rabid bass, adorned by Joanne Roan's fluttering flute (she is another Höstsonaten veteran) and some pompous (in a good sense) church organ columns of sound. Orlando keeps things nice and tight with some savvy beats, introducing the suave piano solo that is simply exquisite in its finesse. By this time, it is clear we are in the presence of a fine recording that will continue to grow (is that possible? Yup!) , never tedious or even remotely predictable. The grand finale does not disappoint either as "Acustica Felina" competently résumés the work, a 9 and a half minute opus of sheer splendor, featuring all those characteristics that make La Coscienza di Zeno a strong new player on the Prog scene. Massive blasts of mellotron, strings and assorted other ivories, biting axe interventions, aggressive singing paralleled by some furious drumming. But the unsuspectingly shy melodies are what make this debut such a glittering prize, a gem that needed time and space to blossom and what a jewel it is. Imagine for a second a disc that just keeps growing and growing (thoughts of that silly Enzyte commercial!) . Incredible 5 smiles .
Report this review (#574493)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars La Coscienza di Zeno began life in Genoa in 2007 on the initiative of three experienced musicians: Gabriele Guidi Colombi (bass - previously in other bands such as Trama, Narrow Pass, Armalite, Il Tempio delle clessidre, Hidebehind), Andrea Orlando (drums ' previously with Finisterre, Malombra, Real Dream) and Alessio Clandriello (vocals ' previously with Narrow Pass, Hidebehind, Klepsydra, Lucid Dream). Later the line up was completed by Stefano Agnini (keyboards), Davide Serpico (guitar) and Andrea Lotti (keyboards, guitar). The name of the band is taken from the tile of a famous novel by Italian writer Italo Svevo, Zeno's Conscience, which is based on the psychological analysis of the protagonist, Zeno Cosini, a man who tries to find out the reasons of his emotional weakness. The musicians thought that there was a strong connection between the spirit of this literary work and what they were trying to express throughout their music and lyrics. Their first eponymous full length album was released in 2011 on the independent label Mellow Records and in the studio the band was helped by same guest musicians such as Luca Scherani (accordion), Joanne Roan (flute), Rossano Villa (strings arrangements) and Lidia Molinari (vocals) who contributed to enrich sound. The result is excellent, the strong influences of the Italian prog masters of the seventies are effectively mixed with a touch of up to date technology and an original song-writing. The original, disquieting art cover by Dario Milana (a.k.a. D Tao) probably depicts the content of the album better than many words...

The opener 'Cronovisione' (Chronovision) starts with a keyboards surge and a lively rhythm but in the middle section the mood suddenly changes, there's a thunder and the music stops giving way to a cryptic narrative vocal part... 'The stones are telling a story / When you touch them lightly you become part of the story... The conscience of the matter submerges you / If it only could speak men will become insane...'. After this warning the rhythm rises again but the atmosphere becomes darker while some Oriental influences add a touch of mystery to the music.

'Gatto lupesco' (Wolfish cat) begins with piano and vocals in the forefront. The lyrics draw the blurred lines of a strange character, a young man whose look makes seem him much older than he really is. He's tired of struggles, he would like to set off looking for new experiences but not in the army as his father did... Then the rhythm rises, the other instruments come in and the music becomes more complex. Along with the sunburnt body of the protagonist now you can see his tiredness and the shivering of someone who tried to overcome the remorse of his bad conscience but failed. Now his conscience surreptitiously tantalizes him like a 'wolfish cat'... After an effervescent instrumental break the vocals come back commenting the attitude of the protagonist... 'As if you were another man / As if you were speaking of another man / Your otherness prevents you to be yourself / And to be a different man as well...'.

'Nei cerchi del legno' (In the circles of the wood) is a long, complex track in four parts inspired by Le avventure di Pinocchio, a famous novel by Italian writer Carlo Collodi that tells the adventures of an animated puppet who eventually becomes a real child. The lyrics, by means of some short poetical flash-backs, try to investigate the roots of the conscience that lies in the circles of the wood which forms the body of the protagonist... 'In the evening you used to come back home with the burden of your truancy... In the night you secretly studied the forbidden books / To build your civil consciousness...'. An excellent track!

'Il fattore precipitante' (The precipitant factor) deals in some way with therianthropy and describes a strange character who is going through a terrible inner conflict between instinct and reason. At last the factor that inhibits the animal instinct falls apart and gives way to the wild call of an inhuman nature... 'Man-beast, old theriomorphs / Leader of the pack, you were born wrong...'. Soaring vocals fly towards unexpected heights as if howling to the moon.

The acoustic, evocative 'Il basilisco' (The basilisk) is introduced by the accordion of the guest Luca Scherani and features a strong Mediterranean flavour. The lyrics describe in a poetical way a land between rocks and sea, a steep coast overlooking the sea and its merciless fury. It's a beautiful country with a glorious past but where the life is hard and from where many people want to leave... 'The basilisk spits at us the heritage of the coat of arms / Then it smiles and goes back to the sea / Looking for a new master to dominate...'.

'Un insolito baratto alchemico' (An unusual alchemic exchange) is an excellent instrumental track featuring many changes in rhythm and mood where electric guitar riffs, organ waves and swirling flute notes embroider dark images and unquiet dreams...

The final track 'Acustica felina' (Feline acoustic) is complex and tense. The lyrics investigate the background of a haughty woman who acts like a star and looks like the beautiful witch in the story of Snow White... 'Eat your damned apple, do it! / Get poisoned with your own taste / Once in your life taste yourself...'. The music leads you through the vortex of the conscience of a bad girl. She was a disappointment for her parents but she met the wrong people and is also a victim of her broken dreams... 'Words pronounced with young innocence burn inside whom can to listen to them...'.

On the whole an excellent album. It's not an easy one but it grows spin after spin...

Report this review (#596839)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Sort of an Italian Prog supergroup, La Coscienza di zeno from Genoa were born in 2007, led by bassist Gabriele Guidi Colombi (Trama, Narrow Pass, Il Tempio delle Clessidre and Armalite), drummer Andrea Orlando (Malombra and Finisterre), singer Alessio Calandriello from Narrow Pass and guitarist Matteo Malvezzi.During the summer of 2008 Malvezzi was replaced by keyboardist Stefano Agnini, followed a bit later by guitarist David Serpico.The last to enter the band was keyboardist Andrea Lotti in 2009 and the next year begin the recordings of the band's debut.This was released eventually on Mellow Records in 2011.

''La Coscienza di zeno'' is structurally a strange album.It starts off with a style like a cross between Neo/Symphonic Rock mixed with modern Italian Prog, but closes in a complete Classic Italian Prog heaven.The first few tracks sound like contemporary bands such as YLECLIPSE or SITHONIA with big time nods to Classic Italian Prog.Plenty of powerful synth runs (sometimes even with a MARILLION-esque flavor), careful guitar moves but also huge Classical-drenched organ themes offer series of dynamic and impressive pieces of music.The arrangements are excellent with lots of interplays and the vocals come in the best Italian Prog tradition.The more the album unfolds, the more come in evidence the influences from the 70's.Fantastic Mellotron washes and delicate piano interludes make up for some trully majestic moments.Slowly the guitar parts become heavier with touches of MUSEO ROSENBACH in the listening, while the best is saved for last.The last two pieces are simply outstanding, close to the sound of LA MACHERA DI CERA.Amazing flute drives, bombastic organs and Mellotrons, punchy guitars and jazzy pianos collaborate to result two complex, melodic and grandiose arrangements of unmet beauty, even more strengthened by the poetic voice of Calandriello.

Searching for high-class Italian Prog from the recent years?Look no further.La Coscienza di zeno will leave you speechless with their ultimate deegrees of technique and composing.Fantastic, almost masterful material...4.5 stars upgraded.

Report this review (#979249)
Posted Sunday, June 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album contains the soul of the best Italian progressive rock albums. The principal ingredients of this disc are great sensibility and great Musical arrangements with a powerfull and beautiful voice. 'Alessio Calandriello' has an incredible voice, very melodic and his voice has a lot of protagonism in the work. The songs 'La Citta di Ditte' and 'Sensitivita' are a crushing beginning, simply they are perfect songs. 'Tenue' has a delicious cadence. Last minutes of Tensegrita are one of the best moments of the progressive Italian rock history and the beginning of 'The Temperanza' is a good example and a demonstration of the musical greatness of the "La Coscienza di Zeno", this song is a perfect closing to the album... 'Sensitivita' is indisputably one classic of the progressive Italian music. 9 stars
Report this review (#1021001)
Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Review Permalink

LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO La Coscienza di Zeno ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO La Coscienza di Zeno

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.