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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Decameron - Ten Days In 100 Novellas (Part 1) CD (album) cover


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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Although the Colossus Projects was begun at the turn of the millennium with the intent to promote outstanding Finnish progressive rock which began with the first installment 'Tuonen tyt'r: A Tribute to Finnish Progressive,' the collaboration with Musea Records has become quite ambitious in its output with one various artist compilation after another tackling all kinds of esoteric history from well beyond the land of where the Suomi and Saami coincide with reindeer and Nokia! In 2011, the ambitiousness continued with the first installment of the DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART I, which isn't remotely Finnish but rather a collection of Italian tales excavated from the 14th century. The word DECAMERON is a neologism of the Greek words deca (ten) and mera (days) and THE DECAMERON which is subtitled Prince Galehaut is a collection of novellas written by the author Giovanni Baccaccio (1313- 1375) and is structured as a frame story that contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men who were sheltered in a secluded villa outside of Firenze (Florence), Italy in order to escape the black death plague that was rampant at the time. Seemingly intent to represent each novella with a prog track from a different band, PART I tackles a staggering 35 of them alone with as many bands contributing their sonic forces to unleash a whopping 4-CD symphonic prog extravaganza that takes on each novella in musical form. While most of these musical expressions are purely instrumental, a scant few actually contribute a significant lyrical storyline and focus on the lyrical delivery rather than the usual instrumental prog wankery. These Colossus Projects seemed to have made a career for many of the artists involved as they tend to utilize the talents of the same bands for each of these! Once again i'm treated to the side-project tracks of some of my favorite modern symphonic prog heroes such as Nexus, Roz Vitalis, The Samarai Of Prog and Daal but mostly i am pleased to have discovered many more with whom i have not been familiarized and eagerly awaiting to check out further explorations.

Thematically the subject matter adheres strictly to the subject of the DECAMERON but musically it evokes a classic Rick Wakeman sophistication as heard on similar period pieces on his famous 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII' or 'The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table.' However, with 35 bands contributing to a single theme, it's quite an interesting listen to hear as many interpretations of the period and eisegeses in a modern 20th to 21st century context. While the theme may be the same, there is ample wiggle room for deciphering and DECAMERON - TEN DAYS IN 100 NOVELLAS - PART I is unbelievably packed with one addictive melodic symphonic prog track after another. It's almost too good to be true actually. The quality of the 4 discs is surprisingly consistent and each one could easily hold up on its own as a single release. There are, of course, highlights and a few turkeys that while not bad per se simply sound a tad lackluster in the mix of great company.

Throughout the 4 discs, the general rule of thumb is that the music composed is instrumental and focuses on rather catchy traditional symphonic prog melodies based on Western classical music with jazz and rock interminglings and develop and deviate where each band sees fit. Although in a way it's like checking off all the boxes on the 'prog for dummies' checklist, there is a lot of creative input interspersed throughout this release as well. Those few bands that didn't get the rules-and-regulations memos and went above and beyond the call of duty include the following excellent tracks: 'Sixth Tale' by the USA band Resistor on disc one is perhaps my favorite track on the album (although that's a tall statement since everything is good and above.) This track is perfectly constructed with a prog folk guitar build up that turns into an Irish jig type of groove but provides an excellent lyrical delivery with an Ian Anderson type of vocal style only as much more sophisticated offering vocally and instrumentally than most Jethro Tull albums. It mixes folk, hard rock and progressive elements and lets them dance together in the most satisfying ways with time signatures and dynamics changing it up in all the right places. Also on the 'fish out of water' list is track 4 on disc 4 by Ozone from Finland which sort of has a James Bond theme melody but has an ample supply of male vocal spoken word narration with female sung parts and a rather explorative trade-off type of delivery. Quite the stand out in the mix of great quality. Also on my love list: Index provides a stellar keyboard solo action with their 'Lauretta's Tale,' love the exquisite harmonica laden grooves that build on Serdimontana's 'Campaign' and although there are many others, i should also mention that i'm quite smitten with the Ars Ephemara track 'DECAMERON 3:7' with its incessant prog slaps in the face as well as

With 4 discs of prog music one would obviously expect a few lackluster performances and i have to say i have pigeonholed a few tracks to make my least pleasurable list but they are a mere very good in the sea of great on this one. Tracks that displease me are the unfortunate opener by La Conscienza Di Zeno as well as those by Kate (can't seem to relate to this band), Jinetes Negro (same), Safar' also has a rather ho hum performance. But let me state that no tracks are bad on here. There are precious few releases that take up a staggering 4 CDs of real estate that can keep my interest but THIS ONE can!!!! Not only am i highly impressed with this album in not only in its ability to adhere to the script delivered but also for the fact that 35 progressive rock bands were corralled into the same pen for the same purpose and delivered the goods. Musea Records is truly the masters of prog talent control for all these wonderful Colossus Projects that have been released. This compilation is intended for the truest sense of prog lover as no one else could possibly appreciate it. Prog addicts will salivate over this one and those who don't should not venture into these territories and will find it quite outside their musical realities. If you take it for what it was meant to be then it's an utterly brilliant collection of music, if you feel otherwise then don't even bother. This is classic sounding symphonic prog with the extra bonus of production perfection and every band has contributed a unique sound to a series of novellas from the past. This is truly my favorite edition of the Colossus Projects so far!

In case you're wondering here is the whole list of Colossus Projects released so far:

Tuonen Tytar: A Tribute To Finnish Progressive (2000)

Kalevala - Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (2003)

The Spaghetti Epic - Six Modern Prog Bands For Six Seventies Prog Suites (2004)                 Odyssey - The Greatest Tale (2005)

The Colossus of Rhodes (2006)

The 7 Samurai - The Ultimate Epic (2006)

The Spaghetti Epic 2 - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly (2007)

Treasure Island (2007)

Giallo! One Suite for the Murderer (2008)

The Empire and The Rebellion (2008)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part I - Dante's Inferno (2009)

Dante's Divine Comedy Part II ? Purgatorio (2009)

Rökstenen - a Tribute to Swedish Progressive Rock of the 70's (2009)

The Spaghetti Epic 3 - The Great Silence (2009)

Tuonen Tytar-A Tribute To Finnish Progressive Rock Of The Seventies - Volume Two (2009)

Iliad: A Grand Piano Extravaganza (2010)

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: A SyNphonic Collection (2010)


The Stories Of H.P. Lovecraft: A SyNphonic Collection (2012)

Decameron - Ten days in 100 novellas - Part II (2014)

4.5 but rounded down

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Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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