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Pholas Dactylus

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Pholas Dactylus Hieros Gamos album cover
3.04 | 9 ratings | 1 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Part 1 - Hieros Gamos
1. Hieros Gamos (21:22)
- Part 2 - Ognuno da Lande Diverse :
2. A Personal Gift (3:44)
3. Yellow and Blue (3:12)
4. I Don't Want... (3:05)
5. Ogni Volta che Tocco il Tuo Viso (2:01)
6. Ninna Nanna per Gianluca (2:29)
7. Une Valse pour Nous (2:17)
8. Ballata di un Mercante di Sogni (5:31)

Total Time: 43:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Paolo Carelli / vocals
- Tobias Winter / guitars
- Maurizio Pancotti / piano, organ
- Rinaldo Linati / bass
- Csaba Papp / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Tiziano Crisanti

LP AMSLP150 (2019, Italy)

CD AMS305CD (2019, Italy)

FLAC download -

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to TCat for the last updates
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PHOLAS DACTYLUS Hieros Gamos ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (78%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PHOLAS DACTYLUS Hieros Gamos reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
3 stars "Pholas Dactylus" is another Rock Progressive Italiano band that released an album in June 2019 that hasn't released an album for quite some time (the other being the band""Gli Alluminogeni"). The band was formed in 1972 and only released one album called "Concerto Delle Menti", a single track divided into 2 parts. There were several people that wondered why this band only released one album and then disappeared. Well, they regrouped in 2018 and now have released their 2nd album "Hieros Gamos" (Greek for Sacred Wedding). The original line-up had 6 members, and out of those six, 3 have returned for this long awaited album, namely Paolo Carelli on vocals, Maurizio Pancotti on piano and organ, and Rinaldo Linati on bass. The other two "newer" members that make up the now 5-person group are Tobias Winter on guitars and Csaba Papp on drums.

Where the first album was made up of one track, this album is made up of 8 with a run time of over 43 minutes. The album is divided up into 2 parts, however. The first part is the 21 minute title track "Heiros Gamos". The 2nd part of the album is made up of the 7 remaining shorter tracks and is called "Ognuno da Lande Diverse" (Each One From a Different Land).

The title track is written by the group's keyboardist Maurizio. As stated before, it is a 21 minute piece, actually a suite that uses a concept of tying together the past with the present. The track starts with a beautifully played piano solo which sounds inspired by the romantic era of classical music. Before the 2 minute mark, the band kicks in with a definite progressive sound. The vocalist comes in just before 3 minutes. Something to note about this vocalist, he doesn't sing, but uses a poetic spoken word in expressing the lyrics. This was also the case with their other album, so this will come as no surprise to those familiar with the music. This is the thing that separates this band from other RPI bands, the music is great Italian progressive, but the words are all spoken (in Italian on this track). The music, on the other hand, can be quite expressive. It is mostly led by piano, but there is still plenty of heavy guitars which also improvise in places and percussion, and the music can go from simple to complex quite quickly. Another thing to note here is that the music doesn't sound like an old band trying to sound up to date. It sounds like a current progressive band with a romantic and neo-prog edge that happens to use spoken word vocals. After 14 minutes, the main instrument changes from piano to organ for a heavy solo, but soon switches back to peaceful piano when the vocals come back in. Tempos, style and meters change throughout the track, but the music really does grow on you and it always stays interesting.

After this track, we go into the 2nd part of the album with shorter tracks, beginning with "A Personal Gift". This is a pastoral style with acoustic and soft electric guitars only and some minimal percussion. "Yellow and Blue" continues with the acoustic guitars, but with jazz and dissonant chord progressions, again with light percussion and bass. "I Don't Want . . ." uses piano with an old time-y flair. Vocals return on this track, again with a combination of English and Italian spoken word and even though there is no other vocalist credited, it sounds like a much lighter voice this time. There is also light percussion added to this track. "Ogni Volta che Tocco it tuo Viso" (Everytime That I Touch Your Face) returns to the romantic piano style, but is led more by the spoken vocals with the piano being more reserved.

"Ninna Nanna per Gianluca" (Lullaby for Gianluca) begins with vibe-like (in a music box style) keys playing and baby sounds. The sound is quite lullaby-like as suggested by the title, soft and gentle. "Une Valse Pour Nous" (French for "A Waltz for Noua") is only a piano playing a nice soft waltz. "Ballata di un Mercante di Sogni" (Ballad for a Merchant of Dreams) returns to the deeper, masculine spoken vocalist (all in Italian again). The spoken word is the main component of this track with an atmospheric background from the synths, almost drone-like. The toll of a bell stops the vocal and a lone piano starts to play. The vocals start again as the piano continues softly playing. There is the sound of footsteps, and sudden dramatic synth sound is cut short and then there is nothing but vocals. After, there is a sudden roll of drums and then more spoken word to the end.

This is definitely a unique recording with the best track being the long title track with the most complex and progressive music. The 2nd half, by contrast, is simple, more minimalist, and concentrates on singular instruments or voice. The three original musicians from the band have provided these tracks to show their diverse paths that they have taken over the past 45 years as individual artists and it shows how different they are, but also, how alike they are also. Anyway, it is an interesting album, but the first part is going to have the best impact on most listeners as it is the most progressive. The second half, while lovely, might drag for many. I felt it was nice to listen to once, but might not be appealing enough to put on rotation for playing, where the first part definitely does merit hearing several times. So, the first part could easily get 4 stars, but the 2nd half would get by with 3. Overall, the album gets 3 stars, but just know that if it continued in the style of the first track, it would have been 4 stars.

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