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I know I keep on saying it but Maracash Records just keep on producing great prog rock albums. You read the hype and think – they’re not really as good as that, are they? But the proof is…as the say!

So, what do we have here? The opener is a fine overture of sorts, but the best is yet to come. When the organ and synth (Jack Bram) enter on ‘Hymn’ the band notches up a gear in an instantly recognisable “vintage melodic rock with cascading prog elements” (their words), a sound close to GENESIS, but reflecting bands from the revivalist era such as IQ and MARILLION. The hook-laden ‘Come Pesi’ increases the intensity, a basic flute melody prefacing a swaggering JETHRO TULL stylised track with a distinctive Italian style (PFM etc.), sung in their native language of course (Paolo Lazzerini, who is also the flautist) as the band trade licks. There are incisive guitar breaks (Pierenzo Alessandria), classical stylisations on piano (e.g. on ‘Downtown’ where sax also appears), rocking bass lines, and drama and melodrama in spades. The bass (Vito Aprile) /synth interchange, synth break and stirring guitar work (Nice melody line too), after a quiet start, on ’15 Secondi’, are particular highlights. The sudden intermezzo on ‘La Tela del Tempo’ to a more CAMEL-like focus was a nice surprise. ‘La Notte è Mia’ also ‘ticks all the boxes’: I loved the wah-wah guitar here! The album ends quite atmospherically, with ANGE a good approximation for the style and impact of final track ‘Se Il Vento’.

All the essential ingredients for an accomplished prog album are here: instrumental variation, twists and turns, strong composition and vocals, lots of light and shade, hooks and breaks; I have already noted this album as a ‘shoe-in’ for the next quarter’s DISS ‘best of’. (And I nearly forgot to mention the contributions of drummer Federico Silva and second guitarist Max Incento).

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