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TRACK LIST: 1. A Day Among Four Walls 12:04 2. Wasted Time 5:40 3. Down 10:29 4. Season of Death 8:43 5. Boredom 8:34 6. Grain of Sand Lost in the Sea 8:56 All music & lyrics: by Epifani. LINE-UP: Michele Epifani - vocals; organ, electric piano, - Mellotron, harpsichord, synthesizer; - electric & acoustic guitar; recorder Mino Vitelli - drums, Arabian Tabla, Djembe Piero Ranalli - fretted bass With: Stefano Colombi - lead electric guitar (on 5) Produced by Areknames. Engineered by Epifani at "Lentofumo".
Prolusion. The eponymous Areknames album is the debut of this Italian band.
Synopsis. Unlike Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator can't pretend:-) to be considered the most influential progressive band. Which, in my honest opinion, is just for the better, because the number of their followers is just tiny in comparison to the enormous amount of Genesis-derived bands, though, not only because of that. Generally, it may be an arguable point, but personally, I never did meet Neo bands, whose music is influenced by VDGG, not to mention blind imitators of their style. The guys of Areknames prove their devotion by forging into familiar, but still viable creative realm, and nevertheless, the album is free of any distinct cliches, which, though, is by no means the only virtue therein. They have very successfully mixed classic VDGG (1970 to 1976) with their own vision on A Day Among Four Walls, Down, and Season of Death (1, 3, & 4), though the VDGG factor is vastly evident only on the first two of them (equally in vocals and instrumental parts). The other three songs: Wasted Time, Boredom, and Grain of Sand Lost in the Sea (2, 5, & 6) are original enough to avoid any comparisons. Besides, they are full of clearly innovative ideas, which are so striking that they just cannot go unnoticed, especially those within the purely instrumental arrangements. Please note that with saying so, I don't imply the heavy guitar riffs that are present on each of the songs here, though they are among the distinguishing features of the album, too. The style is Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with either some (on 1, 3, & 4) or pronounced elements of Doom-Metal, though the said genre exists here exclusively in the form of guitar riffs. The music has a distinctive "seventies'" sound with the parts of organ and Mellotron playing a prominent soloing role in the arrangements. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Michele Epifani is a very talented musician. Well, he does Banton-like keyboard solos here and there, but not everywhere, and he just shines with inventiveness on the second half of the album.
Conclusion. Just like >Discipline and Parallel Or 90 Degrees, Areknames is a striking example of the band, which, while being influenced by VDGG, is able not to only to avoid any distinct derivatives, but also to develop the familiar style in a new and, often, very unexpected direction. The connoisseurs of profound Symphonic Progressive, not to mention the lovers of a classic VDGG, shouldn't disregard this release, to say the least.
VM: February 21, 2004
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