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Celeste - Il Principe del Regno Perduto CD (album) cover



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3 stars This Italian band was founded in 1972 and released its highly acclaimed debut LP entitled Principe Di Un Giorno in 1976. The music is often described as pastoral prog: very mellow, embellished with a lush instrumentation, including lots of wonderful Mellotron layers, like early King Crimson and The Moody Blues. In 1991 Mellow Records released Celeste II (with songs written just before the band call it a day in 1977) and in 1992 I Suoni In Una Sfera (1974 material, meant as a soundtrack). In 2016 Celeste was refounded as a four piece formation, featuring multi- instrumentalist Ciro Perrino as the only original member. In 2019 this line-up released a new album entitled Il Risveglio Del Principe, still pastoral prog, but superior to its Seventies music, more elaborate and varied. I am sure fans of Anthony Phillips, Gandalf and the mellow side of early Genesis and The Moody Blues will be pleased with this very tasteful prog featuring pleasant Italian vocals and an omnipresent Mellotron. One year later Celeste releases the successor entitled Il Principe Del Regno Perduto, as a six-piece formation with additional guest musicians. The prime mover is keyboard player Ciro Perrino with an impressive array of analogue keyboards: the unsurpassed Mellotron, a Solina - and Elka string-ensemble, the Farfisa - and Hammond organ, and Minimoog, ARP 2600 and ARP Odyssey synthesizers.

The sound on this new Celeste album is similar to the previous effort from 2019, but the saxophone has a more important role. Most of the 7 compositions deliver the distinctive Celeste pastoral prog: very melodic and harmonic, dreamy atmospheres and slow rhythm, warm male and female vocals, and wonderfully coloured by often the flute, acoustic guitar, Mellotron violins, spacey synthesizer flights and tender piano. Some tracks contain a folky flavour, due to the use of the duduk and tin-whistle, a pleasant variety. The most dynamic track is Il Passaggio Di Un Gigante Gentile: it starts with classical piano, then a slow rhtyhm with mellow saxophone and the duduk, gradually the music turns into more lush featuring a fluent rhythm-section. The highlight on this new album is the epic L'Ultimo Viaggio del Principe (close to 25 minutes), it contains a wide range of instruments. From twanging acoustic guitar, flute, piano, string-ensemble, Mellotron violins and the duduk to a sparkling violin solo, a male choir singing in Latin, a female opera voice, saxophone and violin. In the final part soft synthesizer drops and acoustic guitar, the soaring string-ensemble sound, and in the end intense Mellotron violin work, simply wonderful.

If you are into laidback prog (like the mellow side of early Genesis and Camel) this new album is a pleasant musical experience.

My rating: 3,5 star.

Report this review (#2586068)
Posted Saturday, August 14, 2021 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Il Principe del Regno Perduto" is the 5th full-length studio album by Italian progressive rock act Celeste. The album was released through Mellow Records in December 2020. Itīs the successor to "Il Risveglio Del Principe" from 2019, and marks the bandīs second album after their comeback in 2016 (after disbanding in 1977).

Stylistically "Il Principe del Regno Perduto" pretty much continue the mellow and pleasant sounding progressive rock style of "Il Risveglio Del Principe" (2019). Itīs an ambient, soft, and atmospheric type of progressive rock, featuring flute, saxophone, piano, loads of vintage keyboards/synths (mellotron in particular play a dominant role), subdued Italian language vocals, violin, and acoustic and electric guitars. Itīs all well composed, well performed, and "Il Principe del Regno Perduto" is a well produced affair too. Unfortunately it has the same issue as "Il Risveglio Del Principe" (2019) had, and thatīs a relatively lifeless rhythm section. There are a few moments where the drums are a little more lively here than on the preceding album, but they have a tendency to just plod along to the music without leaving much impact, and itīs a bit of a shame and it becomes a minor issue along the way.

"Il Principe del Regno Perduto" is a relatively lengthy release, featuring 7 tracks and a total playing time of 62:44 minutes, which includes the 24:28 minutes long "L'Ultimo Viaggio del Principe". Itīs an album loaded with pleasant and tranquill moments of velvet sounds and atmospheres, and it is overall a smooth listen. Sometimes itīs almost a bit too pleasant though and lacking attitude, which means that it sometimes ends up being pleasant background music instead of an album they you pay attention to. Some of the saxophone parts for example have a tendency to sound like something out of a cheap 80s movie soundtrack.

So upon conclusion "Il Principe del Regno Perduto" is an album featuring both great elements, but unfortunately also elements which arenīt that interesting and if I have to compare it to the predecessor, Iīd say itīs a step down in quality in terms of intriguing songwriting and memorable moments. Itīs not a bad release by any means, but I hope for a more stripped down and conscise release next time. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#2636974)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2021 | Review Permalink

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