Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Egonon - Risveglio CD (album) cover



Rock Progressivo Italiano

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
RPI / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Amazing new RPI voice

EGONON combines the best of the Italian progressive tradition with modern sensibilities and eclectic influences. Although "Risveglio," their first album, was self-produced, the sound is very professional. The band continues in the grand Italian tradition of incorporating Mediterranean (including Middle Eastern) influences, sounds, melodies, and instruments into their songs--besides the normal rock staples, we hear mellotron, cello, sax, trumpet, flugelhorn, oud, sitar, sarangi, and darbuka. The result is a wonderful blend of old and new, exotic and familiar, melodic and jarring--in short an excellent Rock Progressivo Italiano adventure.

As for the music, there is beautiful melody as seemingly only the Italians can do (listen to the chorus of "Voglio Essere Piccolo"); hard driving crunchy guitars (beginning of the same song); guitars doubled by sax ("Rosso Asfalto"); melodic acoustic guitars over a lush mellotron background ("Lacrime di Luce"). There are many Middle Eastern instruments, singing, and melodies ("Golgotha," "Khamsin"), even some Italian folk melodies.

Lyrically, according to lyricist and songwriter Fabio Calo', the album begins a "quadrilogy that sets a whole initiation process through Music; a different way to see spirituality, more of a Solar Hero's ultimate fight rather than a monk making Om on a solitary hill. . . . It hits your darkest parts soundly and lifts them up to the sky sublimated." Sung mostly in Italian, the lyrics are personal, meaningful, and poignant, adding another dimension to an already pleasantly diverse work.

All in all, this album is a phenomenal debut from a band that I look forward to hearing from in the future. I include Egonon with Gran Turismo Veloce, Absenthia, La Coscienza di Zeno, Il Tempio delle Clessidre, and Lagartija as the vanguard of the excellent new music coming from Italy. I can't actually imagine them getting any better. Five stars.

Report this review (#536614)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oh Italy, you are so lovely!

And I am not a one-day fan of Italian prog, no, I am a truly follower of that progressive rock scene because they are always bringing new, fresh and original music, of course, with elements taken from past influences, but with an own and rising sound. Egonon is a new band whose music surpasses the RPI cannon, and includes an interesting blend of symphonic rock, with folk elements, jazzy moments and even some avant-garde tunes. They released in 2011 their debut album entitled 'Risveglio', whose 15 tracks will make you have a satisfying experience.

It opens with 'Phosforo' which is a wonderful opener song. Piano, percussion, strings and a great voice begin to build up this track. There are soft moments which later are contrasted with heavier ones in which electric guitars appear; there is also a brief passage where English lyrics appear, but well, I love Italian language, so I always prefer bands sing in their native language, it gives uniqueness. After some four minutes when you don't think about it, you are already listening to 'Lacrime di Luce' which is one of my favorite tracks of this album. Here I love the keyboards as background, the sometimes delicate sometimes heavy guitars, and of course I love Fabio Calo's voice. The song is very well crafted and gives as a result a wonderful composition.

With only two tracks, one can feel satisfied and wait for more good tunes. The next track is 'Risveglio', it features a sitar that produces an obvious mid-east sound complemented by percussion, however, seconds later it makes a drastic change making a heavier sound with electric guitar and strong vocals. The variety of musical and cultural elements in this song is worth highlighting, because we can listen to the 'ordinary' instruments, but in some moments they bring a flute, a sax, a sitar, and even a guest male voice that all together make an outstanding track, whose four minutes are a proof of the top-notch quality of Egonon.

'Alma senza virt'' continues with that particular Egonon sound which does not stand in only one style. Here we can listen again to sax, plus a wonderful viola, as well as the conventional instruments. One of the things I really appreciate is how the album easily flows, I mean, we are listening to a giant track divided in 15 episodes which are connected each other, here all of them are essential for the album's success. 'L'uomo Libero' is an example of that perfect fluency, and another of my favorite tracks, especially after two minutes when sax enters and a true dynamic passage is created.

'Voglio essere piccolo' has a powerful starting but it is softened seconds later, though guess what, it is like a roller coaster with moments of high and low intensity that is transmitted to the listener, so one can feel what the music suggests, no matter if you understand Italian or not. I am about to say that this is another of my favorite tracks, but well, which isn't? 'Golgotha' starts with a delicate saxophone for almost a minute, then guitars, drums, bass and voice enter, along with that particular mid-eastern flavor. Here we can listen how they enjoy experimenting and trespass boundaries.

'Khamsin' is the shortest track, but it is a very peculiar one nonetheless due to the addition of a disarming African voice, I ignore the language, but it sounds terrific. It is liked to 'Maya' where the Italian lyrics return but the mid-east sound is still there. Here, besides those sounds and cultural styles we can listen to a jazzy passage thanks to the saxophone, but later a violin and female vocals produce once again the folkish sound. Man, what a great mixture of elements, sounds, textures, cultures, styles, nuances, etc.

'Rosso asfalto' has a powerful introduction with the sax, drums and bass, later it slows down and little by little it begins to progress once again. The mellotron background is wonderful in the whole album, as well as the voice. There is a short pause after 4 minutes, later some spoken voices are heard and the song softly vanishes. 'Tra la note e l'Alba' continues with that soft sound in the beginning, but later it progresses little by little, adding electric guitar riffs, heavier tunes that all of a sudden are combined and contrasted with some experimental moments, like the entrance of sax.

'Tutto cio che avevo era un'anima' starts again with a delicate sound, with violoncello accompanying voice and guitar, later mellotron joins and creates a wonderful choral background. The last minute is vertiginous, faster and with some cool backing vocals. 'Sul lato caldo della strada' combines once again Italian and English lyrics, while the music lies in a mellotron atmosphere, along with rockish guitars (acoustic and electric), jazzy saxophone and nice bass lines.

'L'abito bianco' has a kind of sacred sound in the beginning, but later a new structure is being built with a delicate and mellow sound that in moments is even sensual with the addition of the clarinet. However, as usual they change and produce different sounds and moods, which is part of the own style of Egonon. The album finishes with 'Coda: 42km' a two-minute ending track that is like the final experiment of the band. Case closed, turn the page, and wait for their new album.

What a wonderful experience I had with this album, now I am eagerly expecting for the new Egonon work, which will be sure a guarantee of good music. My final grade will be five stars, masterpiece!

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#628940)
Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Risveglio' - Egonon (8/10)

Although prog rock may not receive the same recognition today that it did in its prime, Italy is one place where the progressive tradition still holds strong. In fact, bands like EGONON go to prove that the Italy prog scene is going through another 'great age'. Among acts like IL TEMPIO DE CLESSIDRE and HOSTSONATEN, EGONON are pursuing the 'prog' sound boldly, without falling into many of its cliches. 'Risveglio' is the first effort by this band, although the professional approach and sense of adventure seems indicative of a band much more experienced. Lively, diverse and full of surprises, 'Risveglio' is a near-masterpiece from a band that is worth keeping an eye on.

Regardless of quality, I cannot say I would have been surprised, had EGONON pursued a 'symphonic' brand of prog rock here, as many of their contemporaries have done. Mellotrons and the theatrical Italian-language vocals typical of Italian progressive music are both here in great amounts, but this band may have as much in common with TOOL or even SYSTEM OF A DOWN as they do with PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI, or the 'classic' Italian bands. At first, hearing EGONON's grungy approach to the prog formula is puzzling, but they know how to make it work. Inching over the hour mark, 'Risveglio' boasts the performances of many talented musicians and instrumentation ranging from the typical guitars and keyboards, to trumpets, cellos, and sitar. EGONON seem determined to keep their sound from falling into any one style. Suffice to say, there are few albums out there where a listener is treated to grungy alt rock and Arabic folk music within the same disc.

'Voglio Essere Piccolo' may be my favourite cut from 'Risveglio', balancing out passionate anger and beauty in equal measure. Barring that, it is difficult to pinpoint 'highlights' within 'Risveglio'. The sheer variety and constant switching up of sound and style makes EGONON's music best approached idea-by-idea. Some of the more conservatively minded RPI proggers may find EGONON's modern approach to be a little too aggressive and promiscuous with style, but 'Risveglio' is one of the most interesting modern statements to come out of Italy's prog rock scene over the past year.

Report this review (#747059)
Posted Monday, April 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is an album that has that dark mood I like and they keep it interesting with those Middle Eastern instruments and sound. This really was a trip though that offers up plenty of atmosphere and power as the mood and tempo shift often. This is never boring and it's quite adventerous. I can't praise this album enough and there's mellotron too.

"Phosforo" eventually is led by drums followed by reserved vocals. Piano, horns and more. Great sound. It's surprisingly heavy before 2 minutes and this will come and go. Nice grinding guitar late. "Lacrime Di Luce" opens with what sounds like someone trying to find a radio station. It kicks in before a minute then settles back with vocals as contrasts continue. I like the clarinet that comes and goes. Killer track. "Risveglio" has a Middle Eastern sounding intro then the drums kick in at a minute. Here we go ! The heaviness continues to be contrasted with the more laid back sections. "Alma Senza Virtu" has sparse cello to start followed by melodic guitar and reserved vocals. It's building with horns. Guitar before 4 minutes. "L'uomo Libero" has reserved vocals and flute as a beat joins in and more. It kicks in at a minute then settles back again. It then picks up before 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound. It settles again before 4 minutes. "Voglio Essere Piccolo" kicks in right away with a heavy sound then the vocals come in as it settles some. The tempo and mood continue to change. "Golgotha" has mournful sounding horns to start then it kicks in hard before a minute. Vocals arrive as it settles back. Violin-like sounds after 2 minutes then it turns jazzy after 3 1/2 minutes then heavy again. The sound of the wind blowing ends it.

"Khamsin" is a short piece with mournful vocals. "Maya" has spoken words, strings and bass as it builds. It kicks in with vocals before a minute. Spoken words as it calms down again. Contrasts continue. "Rosso Asfalto" is an amazing track where the heaviness comes and goes. "Tra La Notte E T'alba" opens with the usual chunky bass and deep sounding drums. Vocals join in. It picks up with horns. Grinding guitar after 2 1/2 minutes then it turns jazzy before 3 1/2 minutes. Kicks back in. "Tutto Cio Che Avevo Era Un'anima" is a vocal track where the tempo changes often. Guitar after 2 minutes. It ends with laughter and i'm laughing too. "Sul Lato Caldo Della Strada" has a dark intro that builds. So good. Reserved vocals join in then it turns powerful before settling back again as contrasts continue. Horns before 2 1/2 minutes then guitar. "L'abito Bianco" has these repeated words as vocal melodies join in. Very Middle Eastern sounding then the horns come in. "Coda : 42 Km !" ends the album with atmosphere and experimental sounds.

An incredible release from Italy, maybe there's too many Middle Eastern references for my tastes but man they do keep things interesting. Great album!

Report this review (#773248)
Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars This brilliant debut release from Egonon convinces me that the band are truly one to watch for all RPI lovers. Incorporating a diverse range of instruments into their sound - including oud, sitar, sarangi, trombone, flugelhorn, cello, bansoori and darkuka - might have come across as gimmicky if Egonon didn't do such an absolutely superb job of incorporating their sounds into their music. And the instrumentation isn't the only unusual influence they bring to bear; evolving the classic RPI sound of yesteryear by incorporating substantially more heavy elements (including one memorable segment which resembles a metalcore breakdown backed by some gorgeous classical acoustic guitar), Egonon demonstrate that they aren't a simple nostalgia act either. Drawing on musical influences spanning decades and sounding thoroughly modern with it, Egonon prove with this album that the RPI scene has plenty of surprises to offer yet.
Report this review (#830932)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One thing is certain about the composition and execution of this album's songs: There is nothing simple or easy here! Each song packs in so much subtlety and so many twists that the listener barely has time to get used to a groove or melody when it's gone. If I have one complaint about Risviglio it is that there seems a bit of a formula at work here: the blending of soft sensitive intro sections with heavier B sections and then peppering the song with quirky brief little C sections, pauses, cadences or bridges. I admire the band's bold and effective blending of instrumentation and vocals (even languages!) rock, classical, Indo-Arabian Italian, and of course heavier elements of rock and roll. Yet even at its heaviest, the instrumentalists seem incredibly sensitive to the delicacies of their sound, of their intentions. Influences could be as diverse as AREA, OSANNA, BANCO del MUTUO SOCCORSO, LUNATIC SOUL/RIVERSIDE, KING CRIMSON or even A PERFECT CIRCLE.

1. "Phosforo" (4:16). I like the muted vocals and muted trumpets of the A parts, the heavier B parts make it sound like Maynard James Keenan's PERFECT CIRCLE. (8/10)

2. "Lacrime di luce" (6:50) begins with samples from Italian television. Gorgeous acoustic guitars and mellotrons enter to set up alternating channel lead vocals. Has a bit of LUNATIC SOUL feel. Love the first two minutes. Flute and deep male voice mellotron introduce next heavier 'chorus' section. Cool to hear "heavy" parts done with acoustic guitars and mellotrons. Interesting pause near the five minute mark. Again, PERFECT CIRCLE are my best comparison/reference. (9/10)

3. "Risveglio" (4:28) begins with sitar and drone. At one minute mark enters drums, followed by electric guitar power chords, but sitar, acoustic guitars and Middle Eastern-sounding flutes accompany! Ensuing pause filled by percussive notes of a ChapmanStick with cello playing over. After another round of the harmonized vocal part a voice is singing in Arabian. Saxophone and female voice! What an odd song using such wildly disparate sounds, tempos, and incidentals! To great effect. (9/10)

4. "Alma senza virta" (4:38) begins with cello and woodwind, then deep male voice, adding rolling toms and Arabian violin-like instrument as it builds into a heavier song. At three minute mark is an odd little section of double bass, woodwind and hand percussion, before song returns to original B and A parts. (8/10)

5. "L'uomo libero" (5:24) begins with vocal, backed by piano and soft electric guitar arpeggios before cello/viola joins. Vocal harmonies are quite typical of RPI. Pause filled by trumpet and piano, then cello, piano and voice. A distinctively Spanish feel to this song's melody and singing--not unlike THE GYPSY KINGS. Beat piks up at 2:20 and transmutes into an almost B:LUE OYSTER CULT-like section (saxes make it stand out on its own). Electric guitars backed by mellotron again fill the background. As singers belt it out. Another lull at 3:50 in which plaintive voice sings over repeated electric guitar arpeggios and soloing trumpet. FRIPP-like electric guitar supplants voice for a solo along with the trumpet to end. (8/10)

6. "Voglio essere piccolo" (4:06) begins interestingly but then bleeds into a very pop-sounding B section. But the chorus section is heavier. The following vocal section is one of my favorites on the album: whispers, pleadings, great acoustic guitars. Then back to the chorus. At 2:05 a GENTLE GIANT-like multi-vocal display begins, morphing into a heavier ARJEN LUCCASSON-like section. At 3:05 drums bring us back to the lighter acoustic guitar section. Three songs in a row in which the lead guitarist has chosen a very familiar ROBERT FRIPP sound--dating all the way back to the early 70s. (8/10)

7. "Golgotha" (4:55) is begun with the sound of wind and a distant trumpet echoing from far away. Guitars usher in the heavier rock sounds, which fall away when the emotional soft vocals begin. Keening sound of an oud seems to accompany throughout (except for avant jazz section at 3:30). One of the album's heavier songs, yet as quirky and unpredictable as the rest. (8/10)

8. "Khamsin" (1:32) constitutes a lone male voice singing what sounds like an Arabic religious song. Pretty.

9. "Maya" (3:55) begins with some very typical RPI vocals but played over unusual instruments: Arabian strings (oud et al.) and female chants, flutes, bass, acoustic guitar. This could be something from an album by BANCO, AREA or OSANNA. Chorus section is built around electric guitar power chords and saxophone bursts. Excellent bass play throughout this song. What a complex weave! The Arabian themes continue, complete with some female Arabian vocals before and while the song gets heaviest (3:00). Fade with female vocalist singing in that middle Eastern keen. (8/10)

10. "Rosso asfalto" (5:41) is one of the few songs here that starts out on the heavy side and then settles back into a softer section before building. Some fast-speaking lyrics at times feeling as if they are delivering a tongue-in-cheek message. (Red asphalt?!) Ends with a phone conversation. These last two could have easily been from an AREA album. (8/10)

11. "Tra la notte e l'alba (4:03) begins rather delicately, synth and FRIPP "Moonchild"-like guitar notes, before kicking into a more evolved version of KC, say the Larks Tongue era. Less quirks and tricks on this more straightforward rock song. Not a favorite of mine. (But, then, neither is Larks Tongue-era KC.) (7/10)

12. "Tutto cia che avevo era un'anima" (3:52) is another song which makes me feel as if the band is getting a bit tired of diversity, seeking more to settle into more straightforward rock formulae. A little LINCOLN PARK, anyone? Great cello, though! The laugh at the end says it all--and I couldn't agree more. (6/10)

13. "Sul lato caldo della strada" (3:52) begins with that ominous delicacy that just shouts "Just wait: the loudness is coming!" But when the electric guitars come it is with the unexpected accompaniment of female choir and the a chorus sung in English ("Over the rainbow...") Nothing new or unexpected here. (7/10)

14. "L'abito bianco" (4:35) begins with some chanting, as if mountain monks from Eastern and Western traditions were joined together. The song that comes out of this chanting harkens back to a LINCOLN PARK/KING CRIMSON/KINKS union. (8/10)

15. "Coda 43 km!" (2:03) begins with some voices talking as if their in a highway underpass or tunnel. Pulsing reverse squeezebox and echo-treated trumpet join in as cars pass by from both right and left. By 1:10 the musical instruments have left and we are left with just the sounds of the passing cars. And then nothing.

The inventive, complicated compositions here are played and recorded incredibly well but leave me with the feeling that all is one, all are the same, no one song or melody or hook stays in my mind, haunts me, draws me back. I listen to this album from time to time--particularly since it continues to be so highly rated here on PA--but it has never been a labour of love. This music is, for me, interesting more than engaging. I find myself amused and entertained by the musicianship, creative constructs, and unpredictable instrumental combinations, but fail to come away loving this music. Recommended to all for the unusual experience each will take away, but I would not call this an essential addition to any prog lover's collection. For some it may become essential (especially RPI lovers), for others excellent, for still others only something good--a nice experience once in one's lifetime. I am probably of this latter category: once I've posted this review it is unlikely that I will ever return to this album again.

3.5 stars rated up for my appreciation of the talent and courageousness of its composers and performers.

Report this review (#885553)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2013 | Review Permalink

First I'd like to say that I'm sure that my review won't do this very fine piece of artwork justice! Next, I'd like to say that I absolutely love this album! Without much hesitation, I believe that this recording, although using a completely modern format deserves to be perched up near the top recordings of all time in the RPI genre! After a few listens to this recording in my van I found it very difficult to move on to other music. The music, and the detailed recording are of the best quality. Even after several listens, I was still finding new details emerging within the music. If the music is good (which this is no doubt) and a new appreciation occurs durring subsequent hearings, there is nothing left but to give it the highest rating. I only hope that Egonon can come close to this recording in future efforts. As Todd stated in his review, these guys are in my number one spot along with Gran Turisimo Veloce, La Coscienza di Zeno and Pandora as some of the modern-day RPI groups that I love and will be watching for their future recordings! Although Todd had mentioned a few other RPI groups in his review, of them, I am not familiar with Absenthia, was never truly convinced on purchasing any of Lagartija's recordings yet and unfortunately, I'm going to have to give Il Tempio delle Clessidre another listen. Although I haven't reviewed their album yet, upon my first listen or two a number of months, probably over a year ago, I found the recording to be a bit lacking for my personal tastes. I know that it has become a popular recording for many, but to me it seemed to be lacking dynamically and also lacking in variety. It reminded me of early CAP recordings and Starcastle stuff as well. Just sort of there, instrumentally fine but somehow monotonous and undramatic. Oh well, sorry if I stepped on anyones toes as I know that some of these recordings I've just mentioned are highly praised by some. Pardon me for getting off of the topic a bit there. Back to Egonon. Actually and your welcome, I'm pertty much done. I'm sure that I've fallen short on this critique, but to anyone who likes RPI, even a little, I highly recommend giving this recording a chance! Keep up the absolutely fine work Egonon! Enjoy Gods gift of music everyone. Take care.

Report this review (#931137)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best album to come out in the 2010s thus far, one of the most pleasant surprises I have experienced in my prog journey (perhaps only surpassed by the discovery of the Cardiacs) and an album that deserves only the highest praise and the top recommendation.

I grew up with grunge, study middle eastern music, am fascinated by and constantly listening to psychedelic music, attempting to delve into jazz and have been consuming Italian prog at an alarming rate so when I hear an album such as this one that contains all of these elements (and so much more) I am surprised, impressed and utterly in awe of the sheer adventurous quality of the musicians.

-- rant begins --

Before I go into the music itself I want to give credit where it is due to albums such as this one, albums that have no boundaries that produce so many ideas and envelop so many styles that the sound feels as though it can only be described as creativity incarnate. Too many bands (not only in prog but throughout the music business) are content with playing it safe and catering to an audience. This isn't entirely bad, after all, we all are (humanity) the audience being catered to but at the same time it leaves me at a bit of a loss, how can we expect music to truly expand and grow as an art form if we don't support those who are trying to change everything we thought we knew about music? I find far too often people use the complaint, music has gone stale, everything has been the same as its been before ect. ect. These are all fair complaints but then a band like Egonon comes along where things are weird, and things are different (dare I say things are unknown) and nobody gives them a second look. The band is almost completely unknown with extremely mediocre sales to boast from this album... I am notorious for not buying cd's for being content to just listen to music on Youtube or to just steal (borrow) cd's from my father or friends but sometimes you just would kill to see a band make it, to make another album and to want to continue being adventurous on their next release. I have bought this album 8 times now, twice digitally (because I lost the first digital copy with a hard drive crash) and six cd's (2 for me, 4 for friends). I don't mean here to make people feel bad for not getting this record (most people likely haven't even heard of it... It was freak chance that I did). On top of that, not everybody will enjoy this record, it's not everyone's cup of tea and I am in no position to argue against that. This is just a frustrating trend I've found of late... In all genres of music.

-- rant over --

On to the album itself, in some ways I don't even know how to begin... I could start at the beginning of the album and review it on a song-to-song basis but, in truth, the strength of this album isn't don justice in the individual songs. This isn't that the songs are bad, but as I've found in attempting to show this album to all of my friends, acquaintances and those poor passer-by's who only get a passing glimpse into my life, if you're given a song to listen to, on its own it can leave (even prog fans) disoriented and unsure. Hopefully it will leave the curious listener interested but this may not always be the case.

Instead I just hope to talk about the aspects of this album that truly shine. It's far to easy to simply say 'all of it' and go get an early lunch but that doesn't exactly do the album justice. I want to start by talking about the vocals, or rather, the vocalist. Fabio Calo has one of the most striking and emotive voices I've heard in prog in a long long time. He brings to mind the passion and intensity of many neo-prog bands but for me, the most striking and readily apparent comparison is to the vocalist of Polish band 'Abraxas' -- the sound is theatrical, at times very aggressive but beyond all else captivatingly passionate. In prog, far too often vocals are pushed to the side so it's nice to see a stunning and captivating vocalist. Unlike with Annie Haslam and Renaissance however, the vocals don't carry the band or even shine through the band but rather blends in perfectly, augmenting the band.

So the band itself, what I like about the band is that nobody really stands out (in a good way) rather they all seem to stand up, together. Every musician has their moments to shine, just as the vocals have their shining moments (such as the stunning Khamsin) each instrument has their moments where they stand out, never long enough to take the spotlight, and then blend back in. I could go through each part saying: "Oh the guitar solo on for example 'Maya' is fantastic" or "The drummer is tight, a real backbone to the band". Ultimately however, while these claims are true they are ultimately meaningless and offer little insight to the cohesive power of the fully realized sound this band has managed to create.

There was one reviewer who complained that the main issue with the album is that it follows a formula: softer openings, harder choruses and weirder bridging sections. I feel as though this is partially (though certainly not universally true to the songs in this album as in many cases the harder sections bridge the softer choruses). In any case I don't feel as though there is any problem with blending strong dynamics, constantly changing sounds and a common theme or style, especially when it's YOUR theme and YOUR style.

Nevertheless this is a complaint that I've heard a couple of times from people that I've shown the album to. That despite the obvious daring and adventurous nature of the sound itself the songs do begin to blend together with one another. This is a fair criticism, Calo's voice permeates throughout the record in a (sometimes) similar style -- though how you can say he sounds the same on Khamsin and Tutto Cio Che Avevo era Un'Anima is beyond me. Nevertheless I understand the criticism and recognize the subtle differences in the music isn't always easy to notice and that (often the harder sections) can blend together at first listen.

I mentioned the Cardiacs earlier and I would never dare to compare the two bands in sound (both I feel are wholly unique and instantly recognizable) but I would like to argue that the songs off of this album, to me at least, function in the same way as those in 'A Little Man And A House And The Whole World Window'. On both albums you can't point to a single song and say "that one, this song best describes or is the best example of the band" but on both albums you see a band that have created a unique style and sound that works for them. On top of that, in both cases, the albums feel complete and fully realized, giving us a new style that can't be pigeonholed as one thing or another. In a sense you can't even call these avant-garde or experimental because they're not, the bands have found their sound and delivered it to us on a silver platter. Music like this shouldn't be condemned because the band sounds to much like the band, rather the band should be revered for creating a music so unlike other music that we can only know them as the band. RPI is a distinction (in this case) far more on location than on sound, although there are certainly RPI elements and influences there is so much more. Another way to look at this is through this question, "Is Magma Zeuhl or is Zeuhl Magma?" Because there couldn't be one without the other. Without the bands distinction of themselves as Zeuhl where would they be placed on the prog rock spectrum, again saying avant-prog or experimental doesn't do it justice because above all else it (as well as I'd argue The Cardiacs and Egonon) is a sound that knows itself (far more than we know it).

One reviewer stated that the music would come across as gimmicky if it wasn't played so well and I think that's completely right, it takes elements and ideas and themes that, had they not been constructed together so imaginatively would seem completely gimmicky. Heck, at times the sound is gimmicky, but that is played to the bands advantage rather than focusing on the gimmick of something different, instead using it to create the sound that I can only call Egonon. Similarly (not to dwell on this point for longer than its worth) I feel that The Cardiacs and Magma can be seen in the same way, as potentially gimmicky if not fully realized as it was. But what genre has been created that hasn't been seen as gimmicky? Psychedelic music was seen as gimmicky by many music critics, in the Jazz community Fusion was seen as gimmicky for not keeping the jazz tradition, despite the fact that 'Jelly Roll' Morton in his early documentation of jazz described the gimmicky nature as essential to the genre.So I ask, what's wrong with being gimmicky? Because as far as I can tell, modern bands that I see as gimmicky such as A.C.T. and Seven Steps 2 the Green Door can simultaneously be seen as some of the most adventurous bands and that is not coincidence.

I'm bringing forth a lot of issues that extend far beyond the band themselves and perhaps an album review isn't the place to express these thoughts but I'm only doing so because I feel that Egonon so accurately describes what I'm talking about. What we have here is a band that's creative, talented, fully realized and wholly unique (with brilliant song-writing and impressive recording quality to boot).

Conclusion: If you want to skip all of my tangential thoughts and simply read this for my thoughts on the album feel absolutely free.

This album cannot be expressed through words alone, the dark atmosphere the passionate vocals the blending of sounds that transcend genre or style makes this an experience that I feel every prog fan (heck! Every music fan for that matter) should experience.

Vocals: 6/5 Instrumentation: 5/5 Songwriting: 5/5 Production: 5/5 Technicality: 4/5 Diversity within the album: 4/5 Diversity from other bands: 6/5 Freshness: 6/5 (certified Fresh sound)

I've been reluctant to give this album so much praise, feeling as though I must still be in the honeymoon phase. In my experience however the honeymoon phase doesn't last two years and the praise and affection I have for this album will likely remain with me for years to come. There may come a time when I don't wholeheartedly adore this record, and if / when I come to that point I will change my opinions, change my review but I don't see that happening anytime soon... If at all.

I would give this 6 out of 5 stars if I could. A masterpiece like no other.

Report this review (#1151341)
Posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars We all know the story of the turtle and the hare, but when you get older (aka hopefully wiser), one realizes that this classic old school cliche is actually a truism of the highest order. It does not really matter how long to takes to get to a specific place as long as you get there. This is my intro to Egonon, an album I noticed a while back in 2011 that was getting a lot of ink and consideration as a new RPI wonder find. I pay a lot of attention to the reviews as it's my ultimate shopping guide in purchasing 5 star albums! This debut recording finally landed in my mailbox and it does not disappoint, a dark, brooding and exalted offering from main man Fabio Calo, a talented multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist who happens to have a style all his own, classic RPI blended with middle eastern (oud, darbouka) and Indian (sarangi, sitar) tendencies. There is a dark vibe, full of overt passion, rage and fire that gives the arrangements a pulse that is quite intoxicating. In fact, there are some hard guitar blasts, occasional mellotron storms, blistering playing that winks at classic Mel Collins-flavored King Crimson, while coloring Italian folk melodies that tell stories of romance, family, inner search, renaissance and spirit. In other words, the usual prog suspects! The main man is surrounded by a stellar group, namely slick bassist Andrea Ghion and poly-rhythmic master Roberto Parolin, furthered by a brass, string and reed crew of soloists that add a profound sense of spice and aroma. Some pieces like "Khasim" and "Maya" have outright Arabic influences in the chanting female vocals, the charmed cobra guitar breaks and the rhythmic pulsations of a Marrakesh bazaar.

As stated so boldly on their website bio, Egonon is not a band but an impulse.

Obscure, murky and dissonant, "Phosforo" sets the tone for the album to be, with tinny trumpet details, rash guitars, mellotron blasts and hysteric rhythmic work. The hushed vocals reveal a deep pain, merging both English and Italian lyrics (now, THAT is cool!), ending with an appropriate phosphorescent Frippoid axe sliding into second with studs showing!

"Lacrime di Luce" is a highlight track here, a melancholic mellotron-driven piece that could be an Italian version of an Anekdoten tune. The same misty mood pervades the forlorn sadness, with aggressive rhythmic guitars allied to acoustic soloing and Calo singing his heart out. A percussion laden mid-section straight out of classic KC redirects the mood into a dreamier plane, sweeping mellotron and an explosive chorus , full of pomp and emotion. How can this not impress?

The sitar introduces the title track with sweltering efficiency, suddenly augmented by a harsh and repetitive guitar blast, bubbling bass guitar and both male and female voices howling in the wind to the highest effect. Its companion piece is "Alma Senza Vertu", an ethnically challenged Italian prog song, full of longing, passion and pain, shattered by a searing saxophone and a heart stopping chorus. Calo really knows how to emote and it helps when the melody is so well focused and constructed to please.

The highlight piece is most definitely "L'Uomo Libero" , a breathtaking track constructed out of a gorgeous melody and immaculate singing , with the expansive mellotron howling in the wind, playful contrasts that blend jazz, folk and rock, augmented by stellar lyrical material about 'having the courage to lose one's battles and find the angels of freedom in the end'. The sheer expression of emotions is heard in the stunning vocals, the blaring of the trumpet and another saturated Frippian solo. The guitar provides the segue almost immediately into the obsessive and almost angry "Voglio Essere Piccolo", once more powerfully shoving the message along, fueled by Roberto Parolin's monster drumming, solid and explosive. There are some possessed chanting that hints at Magma, Calo urging, pleading and crying out madly. Glockenspiel puts this to bed. Phew! What a voyage!

A solo trumpet seems to be playing Taps, appropriate since the song deals with Jesus's first resting place "Golgotha", so it goes without saying that there is a lot on Holy Land influences, wailing Arabic voices, assorted Middle Eastern instruments flailing away atop the mount of Olives, psychotic sax blowouts, hurricane guitar flashes, and manic lead vocals that speed by at a blistering pace.

"Rossa Asfalto" is another heavyweight monster track with booming operatic male voice, castigating guitars, mellotron torrents and an enormous brass outbreak (sax, trumpet), showing admiration for classic Italian prog acts like Area, Deus Ex-Machina and the recent Ingranaggi delle Valle. This is such an inspiring track, a platform for Calo's voice trembling passionately (as well as his choir work) while his guitar madly weeps and the Mach 3 speeding rhythm section plowing crazily. This could easily be a track from one of Universal Totem Orchestra's 2 albums. When the mandolin makes a brief appearance, abeted by some swirling wah-wah guitar, I kneel to the shrine! Bloody brilliant! The piece ends with a long phone conversation. Beep!

"Tra La Notte e L'Alba" is a manic segue, full of sparkling sizzle, magical insanity and dense contrasts. Lots of mellotron here, brassy guitar and startling sax and trumpet work. Brit jazz- rockers Nucleus gone heavy and Italian! Yeah, that good! Its companion piece the deeply disturbing "Tutto Cio che avevo era un'anima " just kicks it up a notch, as the mighty mellotron again plays a major in role in elevating the emotions to near unbearable heights, juicily added at appropriate moments and wholly unexpected within the course of the dissonant madness expressed. Frippoid guitar adds zest and zing to it all, culminating in angry howling vocals that rage and fulminate.

On the colder side of the street, Calo shows off his 'softer' side, a heavy ballad "Sul Lato Caldo della Strada", again tossing in English lyric tidbits, giving this so much universal appeal 'over the rainbow', the saxophone playing another massive and controlling part, pushing the theme in jazzier expanses, pulled back by brief and incendiary rock guitar phrasings and captained by a voice that leads by example and expression.

"L'Abito Bianco" has insanity in its whispered hushes, choir mellotron blazing, acoustic guitar and lonely voice. Tortuous contrasts, heavenly moments wrestling with abysmal plunges, constant and unending variations and unexpected surprises. Magma on speed, with Nucleus influences and healthy blasts of vintage Collins-era King Crimson and current Anekdoten.

I was expecting some confusing miasma of sounds that would somehow astound me and that is exactly what I got! Fabio Calo promises 3 more future revelations and I, among countless others around the globe, await them with open and anxious arms. One word to describe this debut: a Revelation. The foundation here is spot on progressive, pulsating modern versions of old school Italian RPI traditions, sensational vocal work, intense instrumentation from the core players, a fabulous drummer and playfully intelligent arranging. The dictatorial presence of the heavenly mellotron is the ultimate clincher.

5 Awakenings

Report this review (#1165862)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2014 | Review Permalink

EGONON Risveglio ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of EGONON Risveglio

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.