This Italian band, from Genoa, play a hectic mix containing all the correct prog influences, that on the frantic opening mini-epic Athletics sounds like Yes on a potent mix of uppers and Viagra. With its manic twists and turns and displays of complex virtuosity at a furious pace, it certainly lives up to its title, the sheer intensity of the instrumental causing keyboard player and singer Matteo Barisone to let out a tortured yelp three minutes in, and later he ends the thing with triumphant “yeehah!” Italian stlye. I like this, it sure is crazy, like a box of frogs on fire, and as it turns out Athletics will be my favourite track on the album.
This is what I call “kitchen sink prog”. Everything is thrown at this, and when it sticks, as it does on the album opener it is all rather fun. Breathless after the manic charge of that first track, we venture on to Il Secondo Passo where proceedings take a turn into calmer waters, guitarist Gianluca Barisone, who it transpires will be the instrumental star of the album, initially sounding not unlike Be-Bop era Bill Nelson, which is no bad thing. There is also a rather fine and mellifluous sax solo on this little dreamboat of a number.
Following the theme of attempting everything, L’Albero Magico takes a jazz flavoured popsicle out of the freezer, and Roccocò takes a leaf out of the PFM manual, including an odd interruption by farmyard noises in the middle. Understanding the Italian lyrics in the lovely booklet, contained within the usual high standard AltrOck designed lovely tri-fold out CD cover, may have helped with that! The guitarist gets his best Steve Howe solo out for the bridge, but derivative as some of this is, it has more than enough of its own character to pass muster.
The second half album never quite lives up to the high standards set in the first half, but it is pleasant enough, and there are plenty of examples of Stefano Scarella’s fretless bass taking things in a jazzier direction, especially so on Pantera where Gianluca also contributes a nice fusion-lite solo, which is fine. The album does have a slightly schizophrenic quality as a result, this sound palette being completely different from that of Athletics in particular, and you can hear that the band have not quite worked out their intended future direction. It will be interesting finding out, and I look forward to hearing more from this promising outfit.
01. Athletics (10:36)
02. Il Secondo Passo (6:43)
03. L’Albero Magico (4:33)
04. Roccocò (5:47)
05. Kernel (4:18)
06. Pantera (6:47)
07. Crisantemo (7:39)
Total Time – 46:25
Matteo Barisone – Vocals, Keyboard
Gianluca Barisone – Guitars
Stefano Scarella – Bass, Saxophone
Simone Scala – Drums
Record Label: Fading Records
Date of Release: 23rd September 2016