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(55 min, Altrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. La Citta di Dite 6:46 2. Sensitiva 12:22 3. Tenue 3:31 4. Chiusa 1915 7:04 5. Tensegrita 7:19 6. Puavre Misere 7:49 7. La Temperanza 10:39 LINEUP: Alessio Calandriello – vocals Gabriele Colombi – bass Andrea Orlando – drums Luca Scherani – keyboards; bouzouki Stefano Agnini – keyboards, orchestrator Davide Serpico – el., ac. & classical guitars With: Joanne Roan – flute Sylvia Trabucco – violin Melissa Del Lucchese – cello Rosano Villa – Mellotron
Prolusion. “Sensitivita” is the second full-length CD by the Italian band LA COSCIENZA DI ZENO (CDZ hereinafter), following its self-titled debut outing from two years ago, which I haven’t heard.
Analysis. On this 55-minute album CDZ appears as one of the most interesting new Italian sympho-prog groups, from time to time wearing the Genesis influence, while most of their music refers to their native school of Progressive. To be more precise, the wide palate of instrumentation, including many vintage analog keyboards, gives the overall feel, reminiscently, of bands like Banco and PFM besides the said one, the spirit of 70’s Art-Rock at times revived with classical-like themes. There are seven tracks here, all featuring vocals (excellently delivered by Alessio Calandriello), although most of them contain more purely instrumental arrangements than mixed ones. At times atmospheric and moody, at times heavy and jazzy, the music on pieces like title one, La Temperanza (the album’s longest items, these two run for 23 minutes), Puavre Misere and La Citta di Dite has lots of diversity. All of them are multi-sectional, highly intricate compositions, full of hard-edged arrangements most of which are performed up-tempo. Often part changes involve switching the focus between the electric and acoustic instruments, a classical guitar and piano in particular. The title track goes from sounding like a peaceful symphonic piece to a fast-paced Threshold-style move with a distinct symphonic doom-metal feel to it. On a few of the compositions the basic septet is augmented with a chamber trio, featuring a violinist, cellist and flautist. Those guest musicians contribute a lot to La Temperanza, which very often takes advantage of the natural orchestral element. Generally, this number frequently goes beyond the art-rock idiom, at times sounding like a classical piece for a rock group and a chamber ensemble, occasionally leaning toward Jazz-Fusion, even entering the prog-metal realm at one point. The most contrasting and diverse in both structure and style, this largely instrumental composition is my favorite track on the album. Chiusa 1915 and Tensegrita both reveal an intense, bombastic sympho-prog sound during the first two minutes of their length, but then turn to a more measured version of the style, reminiscent of Ripples from Genesis’ “A Trick of the Tail”. Finally, Tenue is a slow-paced art-rock ballad somewhere in the vein of the title track of the album named in the previous sentence. The mood here is serene and romantic – in contrast to the bombastic compositions where it is almost exclusively dramatic. All in all, the band doesn’t really have any weak links. Luca Scherani and Stefano Agnini’s rich, often classically-influenced keyboard work anchors the album through its seven tracks, most of which are quite long and brimming over with moods and colors. While many of their acoustic piano parts bring Tony Banks’ ones to mind, the men don’t sound exactly like the Genesis keyboardist, but recall that same mood. All of the musicians are on about the same musical level, and their compositions and arrangements reflect this balance nicely, normally representing a strong group effort.
Conclusion. The album stands out as a mature creation that ranks along the best in contemporary symphonic Art-Rock. That being said, this is a rich musical research that simply awaits your listening – and full stop.
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