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Nuova Era

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Nuova Era Il Passo del Soldato album cover
4.16 | 208 ratings | 23 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. All'ombra di un Conflitto (6:42)
2. Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo (7:28)
3. La Parata dei Simboli (3:00)
4. Il Passo del Soldato (12:13)
5. Armicrazia (7:40)
6. L'Armistizio (4:00)
7. Riflessi di Pace (2:51)
8. Epitaffio (4:36)
9. Nuova Era Atto Secondo (4:50)

Total Time 53:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Claudio Guerrini / vocals
- Walter Pini / keyboards, composer
- Enrico Giordani / bass
- Gianluca Lavacchi / drums

- Ivan Pini / lyrics

Releases information

CD Pick Up Records ‎- PK 1910 (1995, Italy)

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NUOVA ERA Il Passo del Soldato ratings distribution

(208 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NUOVA ERA Il Passo del Soldato reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
5 stars Four NUOVA ERA works are highlights, but this is the pinnacle. Keyboardist Walter Pini composed a conceptual album about the war, taking a lot of elements from the classic Italian bands: high sense of melody and elegance, surprisingly changes and powerful rythms."Il Passo del Soldato" is one of the few prog stuffs without guitar I listened, but nobody will miss guitar sound, because Pini's keyboards arsenal is truly fantastic. There's a new singer, Claudio Guerrini, and his emotive voice adds dramatism to the story.This is the only album I can compare with the most maximum Italian jewel, MUSEO ROSENBACH's "Zarathustra": "Il Passo..." was made 22 years later with the 90's modern sound, and music is quite different, but spirit, power and fortress are the same.Vintage sounds are not recreated, but each time I listen to, I feel the same sensation that any great 70's band gave to me. All tracks are wonderful, conforming a real masterpiece. Highly recommended!
Review by loserboy
5 stars Hold on to your hats kids... we are going on a walk on the wild side! NUOVA ERA are Italy's answer to ANEKDOTEN. NUOVA ERA deliver heavy prog designed to make you sweat as you listen. This is 90's prog but heavily rooted in the classic 70's era. NUOVA ERA are great musicians and this is very fast and complex moving music. Songs are well constructed and have a great degree of feeling.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'Il Passo del Soldato' is not only Nuova Era's most prominent work, but also one of the most outstanding masterpieces of 90s prog. Sadly, it also signalled Nuova Era's farewell... anyway, what a way to go! Now ensembled as a power trio since the band had lost its guitar player, the band manages to take the hardest side of itself out and explode in a colourful fire of colours. This fire is basically provided by Walter Pini's arsenal of keyboards (heavy presence of loud Hammond, thundering synths and dense mellotron layers), though it's also fair to note down the solid foundation laid by the undefatigable rhythm section, energetic and precise. Nuova Era displays its own voice by recycling dinamically the influences of Inferno-era Metamorfosi, Balletto di Bronzo, Darwin-era BMS, as well as ELP. Since the missing guitarist was also the lead singer, he had to be replaced by a vocalist, whose range is very similar to that of Biglietto's lead singer: a very appropiate thing, since the band's direction is decidedly harder. The fact that this album is conceptually construed around the destructive power of war is also a main factor for this hard rocking emphasis. The introductory marching drums and feet at the start of 'All'ombra di un Conflitto' set the overall mood right away, as a strategy of frontal assault: the strategy is fierily continued on bombastic tracks such as 'Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo' and the ambicious title track (the two actually being my fave numbers). 'Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo' states a sense of stylish aggressiveness, with the massive display of organ and synthesizers delivering a ballsy majesty; 'Il Passo del Soldato' is a 12 minute epic that sets a wide array of somber motifs, with a solid power enhanced by the arrangements. 'La Parata dei Simboli' is less incandescent, based on an appealing baroque-like sequence of piano, mellotron and synth chord progressions and textures. After a reflective statement made in 'Riflessi di Pace', 'Epitaffio' concludes as a splendid reprise of motifs from tracks 1, 2 and 4. As a bonus track, we are given an instrumental piece from the band's old repertoire, recorded without the guitarist, of course. I wish this bonus would have been placed somewhere else, since the structure of 'Epitaffio' demanded that it were the exclusive closure. But this is a very very minor factor: the main thing is that this album is a masterpiece, that equals the top-notch creativity and intensity of such classics of Italian hard prog as Metamorfosi's 'Inferno', Balletto' 'Ys' and Museo Rosenbach's 'Zarathustra'.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a TRUE MASTERPIECE prog album! Powerful songwriting and tight composition. The music is very complex but it produces excellent melody and harmony reminiscent of 70s prog music. Yes, the band is really SUCCESSFUL in bringing the 70s prog music alive in 90s! They really produce the sound and souls of 70s music. Their masterpiece is not only on their music but also in the creation of "nuances". Oh my God . this album is really WONDERFUL! Two thumbs UP!

The musical structure of this album is in the vein of Early GENESIS (less Hackett; there is no guitar used in this album) with some passages reminiscing Early KING CRIMSON and ELP. Keyboards dominate almost all tracks - supported by dynamic bass line and drumming. Music-wise this is actually a three-piece band - Walter Pini (keyboards), Enrico Giordani (bass) and Gianluca Lavacchi (drums) plus a lead singer who does not play instrument: Claudio Guerrini and a lyricist: Ivan Pini (words ) who does not play. Ehm . it reminds me to Early King Crimson where Pete Sinfields played a role as lyricist as well.

The more I spin this album, my appreciation grows steadily. All tracks in this album were composed beautifully. SUPERB! Oh by the way, you will hear so many passages where the keyboard plays dual sounds each separated clearly in right and left channel of your stereo set.

"All'ombra di un Conflicto" intro reminds me to Genesis "The Battle of Epping Forest" especially on the way drum stools are played. Punchy keyboard sound reminds me to the style of Keith Emerson. I like the part where the voice line starts to enter the music. Excellent composition. Quality of vocal and backing vocals are excellent and I like the Italian lyrics (even though I don't understand at all. IMHO, Italian language is best for prog music). The double keyboard sounds at the interlude of this track is really superb!

"Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo" starts with dual keyboard sound: organ at left channel and keyboard melody at right. It's an excellent opening. Some passages of this song reminds me to "The Knife Edge" of ELP. This track is purely in the vein of ELP. Great melody, harmony and composition. The lead singer demonstrates his powerful vocal through high tone voice. Amazing voice! The interlude part with solo keyboard is really stunning! "La Parata dei Simboli" is a short song with a catchy piano touch and keyboard work. The keyboard sound reminds me to the work of ALFONSO VIDALES of CAST (Mexico). It's a melodic instrumental song.

The classic-influence piano work at the opening of "Il Passo del Soldato" is really excellent. This is the longest track in the album. The lead singer voice has now changed into more theatrical way and sometime in operatic style. A great track with frequent tempo changes through smooth and catchy transition pieces in symphonic mood. The solo synthesizer throughout this track is wonderful.

For my personal taste, all tracks in this album are excellent! It's really hard for me to identify any shortcoming of this album. You will be amazed by this album especially if you observe how stunning the keyboard / organ is. It's a flawless album! Powerful songwriting, tight composition, great musicianship and flawless performance. Perfect! GW, Indonesia.

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you like Italian Progressive Rock it's likely you're going to love this concept album. NUOVA ERA was a band of the 1980s and 1990s that sounds as good as Italian Prog bands of the 1970s but without sounding stuck in the past. In fact there's a hint of neo-Prog in the music too.

There is no guitarist on this album, but the excellent keyboard player Walter Pini does such an amazing job that you don't notice it. Pini uses piano, Hammond Suzuki with a Leslie and distorter, a Yamaha MS20 synthesizer, and a pair of Korg synthesizers to emulate the Mellotron sound. He uses all these keyboards to great effect. No Mellotrons were used on this album; I know this for fact as I asked Walter Pini: he told me he used Korg synthesizers to simulate the Mellotron sound.

The singer is excellent (he reminds me of Alberto Piras of DEUS EX MACHINA), and the drummer and bass player do a fine job too. Pini's brother wrote the lyrics, which are in Italian (thankfully). The music sounds like a fusion of DEUS EX MACHINA, METAMORFOSI, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, LE ORME and MUSEO ROSENBACH. It's quite dark in places (not surprising, as the album's concept is 'war') and reminds me quite a bit of the feel of the latter's "Zarathustra". I suppose I should mention Keith Emerson; yes, there are a few little reminders of the maestro, but I'm not reminded of ELP to be honest.

All of the tracks are excellent and it's difficult to single one out. I like the occasional sound effects that Pini has inserted. The tracks 'Il Passo Del Soldato' and 'Armicrazia' are even more impressive when you know that Pini composed them in 1978 when he was 17 years old.

Easily 4 stars (Excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection).

Review by Menswear
4 stars I had a 'keyboard phase' a year ago. So I bought Trace's two albums, ELP 'Brain Salad Surgery', Par Linhd Project 'Mundus Incompertus', R.D.M. 'Contaminazione', Triumvirat 'Spartacus' and 'Double Dimple', Le Orme 'Felona e Sorona'...all great keyboard records.

And I had more than enough after a while. It's comprehensible, too much too often. Keyboard oriented records sometimes lacks originality and gets repetitive. To compensate those flaws, a record has to be catchy and has to make a good use of the material. Il Passo del Soldato is both, so I don't regret the purchase. Easy to get into plus a wide range of keyboards. When there's no guitars, the keys must make more ruckuss and the drum has to be superior or at least, very competent.

This is the closest band I've seen to the sound of le Orme. In fact, the biggest influences are Le Orme and Rovescio della Medaglia. And boy it is time for this to happen. Both bands are too often overlooked and overshadowed by ELP. To give you a hint on the quality of the product, this record has more 'good/very good' songs than ELP had in all their career. We go from various moods, but the theme about WAR is constent and settles the atmosphere to 'dark', or at least not very light. A very nice feeling of 'Felona e Sorona' is evaporating along the way, with more majestic and rythmic moments a la 'Contaminazione'.

Nice vocals also. The singer gives us a powerful performance and some pretty nasty high pitch moments that reminds me Geddy Lee or Freddy Mercury. The whole thing wrapped up in darkish keyboards and good drumming...this will please Le Orme fans for sure.

Clearly a wise purchase. Easy to get into, but lots of stuff to chew on.

Another great discovery if you want ONE keyboard oriented band that does it 'old school'.

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I came to NUOVA ERA with a bias; I like Italian prog a lot, especially the classic 70's era. However, post-70's prog albums as a whole frequently failed to move me, and many of the Italian bands I liked either disappeared from the face of the earth or released disappointing albums from the 80's onward. So if you want to be melodramatic about it (and as a prog fan, you very well may have that tendency!), you could say I first listened to "Il Passo Del Soldato" on the veritable knife-edge between hope and despair.

I was non-plussed by the lack of guitars, sure, as well as the martial and political themes that tend to occur in Italian prog. Luckily, the keyboard playing is rarely overbearing in the traditional Emerson/ Wakeman virtuosity vein, though tonal comparisons are inevitable. The main sound is a heavy, distorted Hammond that begs comparison to early ELP, with threads of analogue synth leads and effects (and the occasional "Watcher"-style Mellotron) weaving in and out of the mix. Additionally, the battlefield atmosphere and Emersonian dissonances sent me running to "Tarkus", though the similarities are actually much fewer than the differences. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying the acoustic piano sections somewhat less than on other keyboard-heavy albums; there's an almost staccato precision and minimalism of expression that reminds me more of a sequencer than an expressive human performer.

The rest of the band is often a supporting player to these keyboard layers; the rhythm section is talented but somewhat uninspired, and the vocals range from competent (his standard voice) to slightly grating (his higher-pitched yelps). Claudio Guerrini's tone and range frequently reminds me of DEUS EX MACHINA's Alberto Piras, but Claudio stays with the band and on-key more often- and oddly achives less distinctiveness and interest doing so. Which sums up the band's appeal nicely; in being less distinctive, they may be more broadly appealing...and in keeping the instrumentation more simple and hard-hitting, they may attract fans of the classic prog sound without giving them much new territory to explore. Are you a fan of ELP, LE ORME, and METAMORFOSI? You'll love this. At best, I score two out of three on that list, and have to withhold two stars for a certain lack of innovation and expressiveness.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOW! This bombastic album was made in 1995, but the style involved is clearly around 1975, somewhere in Italy, where Italian symphonic progressive music was at its best! The band is obviously influenced by Italian progressive bands like Banco and Le Orme. However, they add early Rick Wakeman's elements in their music so that it is just unique and amazing! The style of the music cannot be completely described without mentioning the obvious ELP's influence of the 70's, especially taken from the genius of Keith Emerson.

This record is really vintage keyboards oriented: there are TONS of extremely dirty organ and crazy mini-moog, clearly reminding Rick Wakeman's "White Rock" and ELP's "Brain salad surgery" albums, among others. However, the Italian roots of the musicians is printed on the symphonic textures, on some classical piano parts and on the strong accent of the Italian lead vocals. There are a few parts where a discreet mellotron seems to occupy the background. The music is VERY structured and synchronized: the very elaborated drums and the bass follow well the extravagant keyboards. The last 2 minutes of "Il passo del soldato" is just JAW-DROPPING! A very strong point is the irreproachable sound, which enhances the overall artistic value of this album. This record is one of the best vintage progressive records of the 90's: with time, it should become a classic one at the same level as "Brain salad surgery" or "Banco". I have never seen a better album than this one to show a perfect balance between the Emerson's and the Wakeman's styles! Sincerely, how can I rate this album less than 5 stars? I wonder!


Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Mute is the battlefield, naked weapons over the helmets..."

Wow!, this one is huge italian symphonic prog from the nineties!! What a pity is also Nuova Era's last record...that's strange thing, in my opinion. Il Passo del Soldato (The Soldier's Step) is a wonderful concept album based on war, from degenerated relationship between two great countries to armistice and epitaph. Lyrics were provided by Ivan Pini who wrote them in the vein of a poems' old "raconteur". A sort of epic poem in which the main character (and only winner) is death.

The music and its arrangements are really awesome example of one of the most powerful keyboard driven symphonic prog you can listen to! This is not very representative of the Nuova Era's previous works since this is their only one record to feature the absence of a guitar player. Guitarist and singer Alex Camaiti left the line-up in September of 1993. The singer Claudio Guerrini took his place. Whithout guitar, the band probably reached a more polished and incisive style, in a similar vein to such classic bands as Le Orme, Banco, ELP ...even heard some references from Il Balletto di Bronzo.

At the time the band was free from any contract and, after receiving many offers from the main italian independant labels, signed with Pickuprecords in April 1995...curiously that is a company settled in my town (Bassano del Grappa - Italy). It is the main sorce for my progressive records!

All'Ombra di un Conflitto (In the Shadow of a Conflict) is subtitled La Dichiarazione (Declaration...obviously referred to war). The song opens with the sound of a military march fading into a martial drumming work provided by the superb Gianluca Lavacchi. Then keyboards come well driven by the master hands of Walter Pini. 6,43 mns of pure pleasure. Two great nations who hate each other, the tall generals plan the massacre only by moving pawns over the map.

Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo (Death Throe's Spectre on the Battlefield) is subtitled Costernazione (Consternation). It describes in 7,29 mns, the night that precedes the battle throught he eyes of a simple soldier whose mind refuse to think this is his last hours on earth, hoping that someone or something stop his tremendous destiny. In vain, obviously. Awesome work from the band: real power! Great also the bass player Enrico Giordani.

La Parata dei Simboli (Symbols' Parade) is a shorter instrumental track (about 3,00 mns). The sad march of the battalions towards their emplacements.

Il Passo del Soldato is the centre of gravity of the whole album. It opens with a delicate and classical piano sounding then the it is clear martial power of Nuova Era! The song is subtitled Verso la Battaglia (Towards the Battle) and descibes the battalions' banners being face to face just before the generals give the order "fire!". Then starts the battle and the blood is all around. The band at its best for 12,15 mns!

Armicrazia (Weaponcracy) is subtitled I Pensieri di un Cecchino (Thoughts of a Sniper) is the continuation of the previous one focusing on the single soldier's cold blood in shoting the enemy. More shots, more minutes to live (7,43 mns). Another impressive track. Really that band deserves more attention by any good prog lover!

L'Armistizio(Armistice) is subtitled Le Decisioni dei Generali (The Generals' Decisions). After the swords, it's up to the negotiation. For the soldiers alive it' time to pray. Not more for the terrifying fight.

Riflessi di Pace (Peace's Reflections) is subtitled Oltre il Confine (Beyond the Border). Finally a little bit of muscles' relaxation. Some bells erupt from behind the hill, hope strikes again the hearts of the simple man who took part to the many killings.

Epitaffio (Epitaph) aka La Morale (The Moral) as the title itself demonstrates the crude truth: the only winner is always Death. The soldier sacrified his life between tons of other unknown lives and only there, under the cold murble he finds that peace he felt just before the fight.

The last track is titled Nuova Era Atto Secondo and is another impressive instrumental one that summarizes well the band's musical talent and virtuosism.

This album was a wonderful surprise for my ears, me didn't think italian prog of nowadays was so able to capture vitality and creativity that made the seventies so great! Il Passo del Soldato is not the banal reproduction of someone who preceded, but the modern try of the most harder keyboard driven symphonic prog. Really impressed by what I've listened to, I have to tell all the people there is another mastepiece concept album to buy!!

P.S. Ah, I almost forgot to mention the nice cover: soldiers of all the times moved like puppets by two hands over them.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The fourth chapter in the solid career of Italian heavyweights Nuova Era, here is another example of Walter Pini's considerable keyboard skills within the framework od anti-militarist themes and lyrics, tastefully sung by newcomer Claudio Guerrini, who knows not to hog the spotlight and courteously lets his commanding officer's fingers run rampant over the ivories. A "bombastic" display it is, with wired out , strafing synths dueling with churning Hammond bursts, recalling the flamboyance of the Keith Emerson of yore. Quite evidently a salivating disc for those fans who live and die for insolent, free-wheeling keyboard attacks , with a total lack of acoustic or electric guitars, not a note of flute or sax , no violins, cellos or any other quirky progressive adornment. With only a rythmic duo as a sentinel protecting the flanks, our friend Pini's massive arsenal of pleasure-seeking machines take no prisoners. All in all, a fierce and surefire recording, to be marshalled into a tidy spot between Triumvirat's "Spartacus" and your used and abused copy of ELP's "Tarkus" . No camouflage necessary! 4 silver stars
Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars Well I very much enjoyed their two previous albums, both solid 4 star records that reminded me of CAMEL at times with some good guitar and keyboard work. I wasn't prepared for what I was going to hear on this their final album. First of all they have a new vocalist who is amazing. Secondly they have traded in the guitar for the filthiest sounding organ I have ever heard. I mean it's evil sounding.The music on this record really hearkens back to the Italian greats of the seventies, and that is what's so mindblowing about this album.

"All'ombra Di Un Conflicto" employs everything i've just talked about and more. It opens with the sounds of soldiers marching by. Marching style drums and wonderful sounding keyboard melodies.This goes on for 2 1/2 minutes when the passionate vocals arrive. This is pure pleasure from beginning to end. Check out the nasty organ runs 5 minutes in. "Lo Spettro Dell'Agonia Sul Campo" opens with fast paced keys as drums join in. The organ is powerful and prominant before a minute. Vocals after 2 minutes that are at times theatrical. The organ is fantastic 4 1/2 minutes in and check out the mellotron 2 minutes later during an uptempo section. An explosion ends it. "La Parata Dei Simboli" opens with piano as synths and marching style drums join in. Mellotron and organ follow in this 3 minute instrumental. "Il Passo Del Soldato" opens with some beautiful piano melodies for 1 1/2 minutes before drums and some dirty organ runs take over. Vocals 3 minutes in are incredible. This is the longest track at over 12 minutes. The vocals get theatrical and the synths get crazy. This song is a monster until the gorgeous piano melodies return later. What a ride !

"Armicrazia" is my favourite of the so many great tracks on this album. Mellotron to open as it floods the soundscape for 1 1/2 minutes, and then the tempo picks up as organ comes in powerfully with drums. Synths come in before it calms down 4 minutes in as vocals, mellotron and piano create a glimpse of heaven. Crushing organ sounds 5 minutes in as the tempo picks up before calming down again 7 minutes in to a solemn soundscape to end it. "L'armistizio" opens with some more great organ runs as the tempo speeds up. Piano and a calm including mellotron and vocals arrive. Nice. It concludes with an uptempo melody of more powerful organ. "Riflessi Di Pace" is a brighter more hopeful song with vocals, synths and drums. "Epitaffio" features drums and synths for 2 minutes at which time it fades out into silence. Then a more powerful soundscape takes over consisting of organ and eventually spoken words. Waves of mellotron as well. "Nuova Era Atto Secondo" has some drums and mellotron in the intro before some nasty organ riffs take over. Synths join in as well.

This is one of the best Italian records I have ever heard, an instant classic in my opinion.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars Nuova Era is one of my favourite Italian bands (but there are many of them). Unlike many of the genre, they have released more than one album of which ''Il Passo.'' is the fourth one. It is a bit a pity that they didn't last for longer because their second and third efforts were extremely interesting. It seems that the band leader (Walter Pini-keyboards) has a project to release an album with a Tamproban musician. It will be a CD around the theme of Dante's Hell. Wait and see.

Needless to say that this work won't disappoint you if you are into the vintage keyboards/synthesizers sounds of the glorious seventies: mellotron, organ are just phenomenal and as often the case; the lead singer has a passionate and moving style (thanks Claudio).

This album is moderately lengthen (just under fifty five minutes) which is absolutely perfect. There is no moment of relief during this excellent offering. Maybe that ''Lo Spettro Dell'Agonia Sul Campo'' shines a little more, but frankly: there are no weak parts in here. Each song needs to be tasted accordingly (''L' Armistizio'' is another fave of mine).

Bombastic freaks: I highly recommend the short instrumental ''La Parata Dei Simboli''. An orgical symphony fully reminiscent of ELP. If you prefer the delicacy of some ''Renaissance'' style, you can go ahead with the long title track. A wonderful piano intro leads to a darker and heavier section which again is linked to some Emerson phantasmagoria. The heavy sounds also have to be noticed.

The only minor point if I may, would be that the whole of this work might sound borrowed and too much uniform. This is what costs the fifth star to this very pleasant album who should please all the symphonic music lovers (and not only from the Italian branch since it is mostly instrumental).

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Thinking. Thinking. Still thinking. OK, I think I like it.

Precious keyboard work as someone mentioned here. But it's understandable, as it's something that everyone will realize when listening this. As for new RPI, it stands as one of the best albums that you can find. Of course, different from "golden" era of 70's, but also good, both in different ways. And I like it because it's original, there are new elements, that I didn't even heard before, while a lot of them relates to keyboard work. Which, even sounding quite new (no mellotron clearly to heard), it's perfectly mastered. And vocals are pleasant (as long as you get used to whole RPI genre, which of course have specific elements, like type of vocals, or already mentioned keyboards/synths), so what more I can ask for ? But still,

4(+), just 4 stars for now. Maybe I'll change my mind after some time of listening more (just few listens now)

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Nobody denies that Italian Symphonic as a genre reached the peak in the early/mid 70's, bands as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, PFM or LE ORME are only the tip of the iceberg, because almost any album of those days presents us an impeccable style, great musicianship and that unique characteristic that made of this country the second home of Progressive Rock.

It's also truth that in the 80's, 90's and even 00's we can find great Italian bands, but the case of NUOVA ERA is unmatched, they present us an immaculate 70's sound in the late 80's/early 90's, but without sounding derivative at all, their approach is simply unparalleled but at the same time familiar enough for the Prog Fan used to the early Italian sound, and one of the few bands that is able to resist any comparison with the early 70's monsters.

"Il Passo del Soldato" (The March of the Soldier) is the last release by this fantastic band and a concept album about all the stages of a war, which starts with the declaration and ends with an epitaph as usual in every conflict.

Even when NUOVA ERA suffered the loss of Alex Camaiti (guitars and vocals) who left the band, they manage to release an impressive album without guitar and recruiting Claudio Guerrini, who does an absolutely dramatic vocal work with his impressive voice that allows him to sing comfortably the lowest ranges and reach the most acute ones without any problem.

Probably any other band would have terrible problems performing without a guitar, but in this case Walter Pini does such an impressive job with the keyboards that covers any other problem, something impressive when we're talking of a musician who confessed in an interview with "La Caja de Música" not having formal musical education, but who plays piano, Moog, Organ and Mellotron with equal skills.

The album starts with "All'ombra di un Conflitto (La Dichiriazone)" A military march that announces the beginning of a war, in this track Claudio Guerrini takes the lead role proving his skills as vocalist, specially in the sections in which he reaches incredibly high ranges adding pure drama.

While Gianluca Lavacchi keeps the military march mood with his syncopated drumming, Walter Pini does an amazing job with the Hammond and Moog, pure Progressive Rock of the best quality from start to end.

"Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo (Consternazione)" begins with a lush keyboard solo that reminds me a bit of Jurgen Fritz fron TRIUMVIRAT, but with a delicate feeling that's so unique in Italian bands, until the organ in the vein of PAR LIND appears in the scenario, pure strength, even the vocals are far more aggressive than in the previous track and lead to a passage that reminds me of ELP, a phenomenal performance from start to end.

"La Parata del Simboli (La Truppa)", as the name implies, the song starts with another military march that reminds us of the soldiers going to the front, but a dramatic keyboard adds the sense of nostalgia and feat that arises in the middle of the sense of patriotism, again NUOVA ERA hits the nail precisely in the head transmitting several feelings in an instrumental.

"Il Passo del Soldato (Verso la Battaglia)" is a 12 minutes epic that's opened with a delightful piano solo, that leads after a couple of minutes to an "Emersonian" section with reminiscences of "Pictures at a Exhibition" but with much more feeling and passion than the excellent British band, if Italians are strong in something is precisely in powerful emotions, and this is where NUOVA ERA makes the difference.

But this is only the beginning, after several frenetic passages with radical changes and notable performance the grand finale reaches with absolute naturally, nothing is forced, nothing is out of place, everything is just perfect, something only the great musicians achieve.

"Armicrazia (I Pensieri di Cecchino)" is one of the most mysterious and striking pieces of music, the band manages to present us several passages all "in crescendo" as leading to an explosion that never reaches, creating a perfect sense of transit from one section to another, The vocal part is simply breathtaking. One of the most complex but at the same time emotional tracks I ever listened.

"L'armistizio (Le Decisioni del Generalli)" After an aggressive and almost brutal organ intro a soft piano performance clearly reflects a cease of hostilities as in armistice, but at the end the opening is repeated as to reflect that this is only temporal.

Again Claudio Guerrini gives us a superb rendition capable to move the less sensible listener, just brilliant.

"Riflessi di Pace (Ottre il Fronte)" is a softer track that gives us a sensation of hope, as if peace was reaching at last, the incredibly beautiful organ and vocals are perfectly supported by the rhythm section that maintains a military mood in the background, another overwhelming song, this time with Pini playing in the style of Rick Wakeman.

The album ends with "Epitaffio (La morale)" and "Nuova Era Atto Secondo", two tracks that I comment together because they seem to summarize the whole album and both present us absolutely amazing Mellotron and organ performances, "Il Passo del Soldato" ends as strong as it started.

The rating is no problem for me, anything bellow 5 stars would be unfair, a perfect masterpiece for any Progressive Rock listener, absolutely essential.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nuova Era's Il Passo Del Soldato is one of the most beloved RPI titles outside the early 70's peak and it's got everything that RPI fans will be enchanted about. But after being astounded by discovering one Italian gem after the other in the last half year, I've felt somewhat disappointed with this release.

Nuova Era play a heavily ELP influenced type of symphonic rock. Plenty of crunchy Hammond organs and vintage synths complement the solid rhythm section. The sound of the album is entirely pleasing and successful. This could easily pass for a 1975 release. No complaints about the musicianship and compositions neither. The sound is bombastic of course, but it's the sort of bombast we like. The musicians don't show off unnecessarily and every instrumental bit is functional and contributes to the songs. The title track is a fine example and together with track 2, it forms the highlight of the album.

If anything must be brought up it is that the album fails to surprise me. I had expected to be knocked off my feet again, but I never had that sensation with this one. Somehow it doesn't sparkle with the creative imagination of a real RPI masterpiece, the sympho stylings userd are quite cliché and the vocal lines are a bit too poppy. Even from the first time I heard it, it sounded like an album I've known for 20 years. You could probably say the band plays their type of prog a bit too safe.

I admit I have to be in the mood for this one but when I am it sure strikes me as a decent release that is certainly recommended to symphonic fans and RPI beginners.

Review by andrea
5 stars Nuova Era were formed in 1985 in Firenze, on the initiative of keyboardist Walter Pini. Their music was heavily influenced by Seventies prog and, going against the stream in a period when prog was completely out of fashion, the band managed to release some very interesting albums. Their fourth one, "Il passo del soldato", released in 1995 for the independent label Pick Up Records, is usually considered their best work. The line up here features Wlater Pini (keyboards), Enrico Giordani (bass), Gianluca Lavacchi (drums) and Claudio Guerrini (vocals). Claudio Guerrini took the place of former singer and guitarist Alex Camaiti but only on vocals so, on this album there's no room for guitars and the overall sound is extremely keyboards driven. Nonetheless the result is excellent. "Il passo del sodato" (The soldier's step) is a concept album about war, every war in every time. Lyrics were written by Ivan Pini, poet and brother of the keyboardist and yhe excellent art work by Riccardo Di Stasi tries to describe their content, showing soldiers of every era fighting each other like marionettes, manipulated by the hands of power... As you can read in the booklet as an introduction to the concept, "weapons always play the only role they know from the script of hatred, the audience will be always formed only by winners and losers, but no one but the Death will applaud".

The opener "All'ombra di un conflitto (La dichiarazione)" (In the shade of a conflict ? the declaration) begins with an insistent and obsessive military marching beat, then music and intense high pitched vocals express the anxiety for the impending drama. Lyrics describe two great nations that are divided by hate while powerful men are sharing out death... "White hands upon Destiny / Draw wars like in a play / Ancient songs will be anthems / And the strained blood will be violated... Today's dawn, please do not ever rise!".

"Lo spettro dell'agonia sul campo (Costernazione)" (The spectre of the agony on the field ? consternation) begins with a frenzy rhythm where you can imagine the Dark Lady dance foretasting her harvest, then the atmosphere becomes darker and heavier. Time is running out but some people can't stand the change and are scared by the gloomy clouds of war that are gathering on the horizon... "In my contracted body a fear shines through / The purity of the dreams lies in a background never seen before / My life floats in the wind with a sword into the soul...". Then there's a touching comparison between the war games that children play and the cruelty of a real war underlined by music before the final explosion...

"La parata del simboli (La truppa)" (The parade of the symbols ? the troop) is a beautiful short instrumental evoking troops manoeuvring and marching to the front that leads to the long and complex epic "Il passo del soldato (Verso la battaglia)" (The soldier's step ? towards the battle), more than twelve minutes where the battle rages on leaving death and destruction behind... "Armed ghosts defeated by Fate / Slow agony on the buried faces / Nobody seems to see the dying soldiers... And now they look just as deadly relics...". The void erases forever dull banners while the instrumental finale evokes a ghost dance...

"Armicrazia (I pensieri di un cecchino)" (Weaponcracy ? The thoughts of a sniper) describes the thoughts of a sniper wondering about the thin thread of one man's life. "I was ordered to kill / And I have many hours left to die...". The middle section features a delicate and intense passage with piano and vocals.

Next comes "L'armistizio (Le decisioni dei generali)" (The armistice ? the decisions of the generals) that after a thundering start becomes melancholic and describes a silent battlefield... "Harmless eyes in a truce / Hands up towards the sky to pray...". The survived infantrymen invoke peace...

"Riflessi di Pace (Oltre il fronte)" (Reflections of peace ? beyond the front) begins with a joyful sound of bells and keyboards, light starts to shine through the dark clouds... "When peace will grow along the days / Like a sincere tear / Springtime will come back on the first steps / And everywhere you'll go / You'll find true looks... The sky is not so dark after all...".

"Epitaffio (La morale)" (Epitaph ? the moral) sounds like an ominous warning and is dedicated to memory of an unknown soldier that sacrificed his life fighting at the front among other unknown men. Recitative vocals tell that only behind the marble of his grave he could find back the peace that he had before...

"Nuova Era atto secondo" (New Era Act Two) is a beautiful instrumental finale that tries to evoke a new era where peace can rule overdubbing hate and incomprehension. Well, an excellent conclusion for an outstanding album. I'm sure that if you like bands like Le Orme or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso you'll love it as well...

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the 90s best RPI titles, a gut-wrenching keys/drum sound

Nuova Era were one of the more beloved "bridge" bands, bands connecting the classic 1970s era to the more fruitful RPI renaissance of the later 2000s. They were keeping alive a flame during a period not particularly friendly to the cause. I'm not a big fan of this era because I don't like the influence of neo-prog on many of the Italian prog bands of the 1990s. This album avoids the weak English vocals, predictable structures, and cheesy keyboard sound that some of those 90s Italian bands had. It dealt with themes of war and would unfortunately be their last project for many years.

Walter Pini summed up the album as follows in his PA interview: "there is a great keyboards work in the arrangements. Although there's no guitar I think it sounds very rock and certainly very progressive. "Il passo del soldato" is a conceptual work about war and features old and new compositions following a thread. It's not the usual album dealing with pacifism or politics but a collection of pieces about the eternal subject of war, every war in history, even if musically it could evoke the ninetieth century since the title track could remind of a Napoleonic campaign. This album sounds like I would have liked the others to sound." He notes his influences as Emerson, Minnear, and favorite albums as Paese dei Balocchi, Banco's "Darwin" and Orme's "Felona e Serona."

The music sounds as if it could have hailed from 1978 and I'm attracted most to the Orme references I hear. It's incredible since there is no guitar, but they manage to create a completely rocking, tight, muscular sound with an almost constricting tension built into it. I attribute this to the tightly fused mix of the keyboards with amazing, Orme-like drumming. It's powerful at its most dense and rocking, then it quite frequently releases the tension with softer sections, and especially with some wonderfully, pure RPI melodic piano passages. The vocals are quite good and capable of getting up there in the high registers to enhance dramatic effect. The keys come in many delicious flavors and are way-up-front and heavy in every track. From thick, hanging organs to wild Moog and gorgeous piano, the album is a keyboard lovers delight.

A very solid album from a period of time where there was not much low hanging fruit. Possibly essential for RPI fans and keyboard fanatics.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Whilst the lingering ghost of Emerson, Lake and Palmer still haunts Nuova Era on this album, I detect a wider range of influences on their music this time around than I did with the preceding albums. Which is not to say that this is not still Walter Pini's show - as others have pointed out, this is very much a keyboard-focused album - but his playing this time spends significantly less time in Keith Emerson's turf and spends more time exploring the territories staked out by great RPI keyboardists in bands such as Le Orme and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso in the past. A decent enough album, but I find it struggles to hold my interest personally.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One year after ''Io e il tempo'' things did not seem to go the right way for Nuova Era.Guitarist/singer Alex Camaiti decided to leave the band and the contract with Contempo Records expired.However Walter Pini was determined to move on.The band found a new home in Pick Up Records and recruited singer Claudio Guerrini.Despite the absence of guitars Nuova Era entered the studio to record their fourth full-legth release ''Il passo del soldato'', eventually released in 1995.

The album was a concept around the states of war and marked a very dark-sounding and lyrically intense effort by Nuova Era.Never denying their 70's firmly rooted sound, the new work of Nuova Era sees an even greater E.L.P. and LE ORME influence due to the total lack of guitar parts and the constant use of keyboards by Walter Pini.His playing is based on organs, Mellotron, bells and synths, delivering nice piano interludes, organ solos, Mellotron-led orchestral passages and a fair amount of virtuosic offerings.The style remains highly symphonic with strong Classical influences and new singer Claudio Guerrini sounds a lot better than Camaiti, having a controled and very expressive voice.Plenty of dramatic both instrumental and lyrical sections give a nice flow to the whole concept, the overall performance of the band is great and my only complaint comes from the heavy EMERSON-ian virtuosic keyboard jams.

Another strong effort by Nuova Era, not better than their debut to my ears, but great enough to make them maybe the most consistent Italian band of the 80's/90's.Strongly recommended, especially if you are a fan of keyboard-driven prog albums...3.5 stars.

Review by lazland
4 stars I must confess to not having listened to much RPI over the years, aside from the rather obvious and somewhat stereotypical PFM and Banco "standards". Indeed, quite some time ago, I was absolutely rightly castigated by my friend Finnforest for disparaging comments I made about all RPI being was essentially Italian Symphonic Prog.

My interest was piqued recently when, as part of my Birthday Thread, I commented on Walter Pini, the keyboardist and major composer for Nuova Era. He is at the heart of everything on this album.

In listening to this remarkable work which discusses war, I have put aside all of the all too obvious prejudices. Firstly, this album sounds absolutely nothing like classic Genesis. For a start, there are no guitars here whatsoever, and given that Phillips and Hackett were integral to the sound of Genesis, that is a pretty big clue. There are definite shades of ELP/Emerson influence in Pini's keys work, but this album cannot be described as anything other than rather unique in this veteran's listening experience.

The vocals by Claudio Guerrini are relentlessly strong throughout, and the rhythm section of Enrico Giordani on bass and Gianluca Lavacchi on drums is thunderous.

The opening track, All'ombra di un Conflitto, in all its grandeur, sets the scene perfectly. There are many highlights, but I especially appreciate the quirkiness of the short instrumental piece, La Parata dei Simboli, and the brass on Epitaffio, both of which really sound like nothing I have heard before, always a huge plus for me. I thrive on new music, and this sounds as fresh to me as I am sure long-standing fans of this band must have thought when they first heard it 16 years ago.

The title track itself is the longest, weighing in at over 12 minutes, and starts with a delightful piano piece, before the main section commences what can only really be described as a rather dark and menacing operatic story. Full of mood, key, and signature changes, it grips the listener from start to finish. The closing section makes you imagine vividly the march of soldiers to battle. Similar feelings are wrought on the truly atmospheric Armicrazia which details the thoughts of a sniper, an extremely foreboding piece which, in a state of contrast, has an altogether lovely vocal section mid-track before the dark keys and relentless pushing of bass and drum take centre stage, before ceding to a far more thoughtful reflective synth.

Throughout this album there is intelligence, playing and singing of the highest order, and a story which you really do not have to be able to understand Italian to appreciate (take Riflessi di Pace, or Reflections of Peace. You know from the sunshine and lifting beauty of the song that this is different from the battlefield songs without really needing to be told). It makes you visualise, as, of course, the finer operas will do. Clearly, the album and its composer has its influences, not least of which is a classic 70's feel, but these are transposed into a definite 90's production and some really lovely passages of music.

If, like me, you have shied away from the Italian scene, then you really could do a lot worse than have a pop at this excellent album, and use it as a springboard to not only explore this fine outfit, but others to be found on PA.

There, after nearly 13 years as a contributor to this wonderful site, my first RPI review. It will not be the last. A highly recommended, wonderful, album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars PROUD TO BE ITALIAN(whit this album :-) The entire discography of NUOVA ERA are masterpieces,some more and other less,but "Il Passo del Soldato" is the apotheosis,the pinnacle of creation that this five guys can done.A superhuman Walter Pini(and i have the honor to know it eheheh..) composed ... (read more)

Report this review (#115225) | Posted by Kill Fede | Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars IMHO the best album by Nuova Era, in this case not despite but because of the lack of guitar. This gives even more room for walter Pini's great keyboard playing and in contrast to the 3 earlier albums he put more emphasis on the hammond organ. ... (read more)

Report this review (#48595) | Posted by ekaton | Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What I can say? A great album with the classic and unique Italian Prog style a little bit harder... Walter Pini keyboards sounds like a real march of soldiers going to a prog war, specially on the songs "Lo Spettro dell'Agonia sul Campo", "La Parata dei Simboli", "Il Passo del Soldato" and "Ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#40657) | Posted by progadicto | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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