[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(56:19, Galileo Records / Gonzo MM)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Persistence of Memories 6:31 2. Bad Dreams 8:01 3. A Second 8.12 4. Burning Ashes 3.50 5. Ecce Homo 6.01 6. In Circle 8.44 7. Dark Earth 4.59 8. Deep Air 7.27 9. Final Rush 2.56 LINEUP: Valerio Rizzotti – guitars; vocals Christian Moro – keyboards Francesco Fabris – drums Nicolo Colombo – bass
Prolusion. The Italian band ATTO IV has existed since 2003, but “Shattered Lines” is only its second full-length release to date, following “A Parte” from 2005. There are nine tracks on the album, of which the first seven contain vocals, while the last two, Deep Air and Final Rush, are free of those: please keep this in mind when reading the below paragraph.
Analysis. Atto IV plays for the most part symphonic Prog-Metal, and their vision of the genre is quite comparable to that of other modern outfits, featuring a dramatic heavy metal-inspired symphonic sound, drawing on bands like Dream Theater in addition to the usual array of progressive influences. Here, however, the music has also a certain doom-y feeling, due to the specific riff constructions, and is closer to Threshold’s rather than that of the above band. On the other hand, it also displays ample hints of an affection for (and understanding of) Italy’s own prog-metal history, the work of Garden Wall and Imaginaria in particular, albeit, in some occasions, I was also reminded of Eloy. All of that, combined with the quartet’s own musical discoveries, along with its – thoughtful – approach to the arrangement, leaves any possible mainstream, alternative, etc. designations far behind. Overall, six of the compositions, The Persistence of Memories, A Second, Ecce Homo, Bad Dreams, In Circle and Final Rush, fully suit the above idiom (along with the text that follows it), and while some of the guitar riffs on the latter three are delivered in a thrash-y manner, they’re of the same, fairly high, complexity as the others are. Anyhow, the main bulk of the music is in all cases driven by creative guitars-plus-keyboards approach, which eschews the flashy soloing and mindless riffing of many other contemporary bands, instead focusing on en ensemble sound, utilizing contrapuntal textures and timbral variety to very good effect. The heavy elements or, say, darker colorations of the band’s sonic palette are skillfully balanced with more delicate sympho-prog moves, those deploying piano and acoustic guitar in particular. The talented instrumental performance is equally effective at providing a compelling dynamic backdrop for a powerful (as well as rather distinctive) vocal performance and at realizing the full potential of the well-written instrumental sections. Let’s move further. Dark Earth and Deep Air, both of which feature some truly remarkable acoustic guitar and piano work, are particularly noteworthy compositions. Much of the music is full-blown symphonic Art-Rock, quite quirky in places, but the elements of the album’s primary style are here too, besides which there are also a flamenco-inspired move and a jazz-fusion-evoking one on the former and the later piece respectively – a wealth of musical ideas is in fact incorporated into each of these. The remaining track, Burning Ashes, is basically slow-paced, but is not a ballad, at least in the traditional sense of the term. Containing comparatively few vocals, it rather frequently changes in theme, instrumentation and structure alike, and therefore progresses.
Conclusion. Although the music is not completely original, this album is definitely one of the best things (if not the very best one) I’ve heard from the Italian heavy-prog scene this year. Recommended!
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]