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(53 min, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. L’Alba dei Morti Viventi 6:16 2. Zombi 4:32 3. At the Safari 3:43 4. Torte in Faccia 1:51 5. Zaratozom 3:21 6. La Caccia 3:43 7. Trassegno 2:52 8. Oblio 5:41 9. Risveglio 1:05 10. Zombi Sexy 2:21 11. Supermarket 3:15 12. Roller (b/t) 5:05 13. Toccata E Fuga (b/t) 5:11 14. Il Cartaio (b/t) 4:31 LINEUP: Claudio Simonetti – vintage keyboards Giuseppe Previtali – guitars Federico Amorosi – bass Titta Tani – drums
Prolusion. Formed in 2009, DAEMONIA is a young Italian band which, however, is led by a highly experienced keyboardist and songwriter Claudio Simonetti (of Goblin fame). Much of the outfit’s live repertoire consists of themes from various horror movies, ones directed by Dario Argento in particular. The 53-minute “Zombi: Dawn of the Dead” is their debut studio album and, as I suppose, is inspired by the US film of the same name, released in 2005. There are fourteen instrumental tracks here, all of which – save Toccata E Fuga (by Johannes Sebastian Bach) – are composed by Simonetti along with his bandmates.
Analysis. Full of dark and hypnotic arrangements, the first two tracks on the album, L’Alba dei Morti Viventi and Zombi, best of all suit its concept in terms of mood. The music is in both cases a blend of vintage/classic symphonic Art-Rock and – still lushly symphonic – Doom Metal. The first of them additionally involves some orchestral-like moves, and also uses synth pads of a virtual choir, while the latter has a section with multiple percussion solos at its fore. Then follows At the Safari: the only track here that bummed me out. It represents a drum solo which, while varied and impressive in its own right, is a typical concert number, not blending very well with the rest of the material. The music on Zaratozom is intense and heavy almost throughout, a fast-paced (often organ-driven) romp bringing to mind both early Black Sabbath and Hawkwind circa “Levitation”. Then, however, we get seven sympho-prog and related tunes, Supermarket, Zombi Sexy, Oblio, Risveglio, La Caccia, Trassegno and Torte in Faccia, all of which are in mood surprisingly jovial, happy, sunny and so on. While conflicting with the emotional message that the concept of the album seems to suggest, all of them are excellent musically – be it a funk-tinged quasi-improvisational piece, as is the first of them, or classic sympho-prog numbers, such as the latter three compositions, et cetera. Even the fact that the remaining three pieces from the set, Zombi Sexy, Oblio and Risveglio, are ballad-like in nature, following one another, doesn’t mar the overall impression at all, as these are exquisite ballads, created with a taste and an elegance few other young bands are capable of. Closer to the end of the recording the band returns to the style of the first two tracks, bringing together symphonic Art-Rock and (highly) progressive Doom Metal, doing so in a more complicated and, at the same time, effective manner. The implied compositions, nemely Roller, Il Cartaio and Toccata E Fuga, are all gems of the genre, the latter one of the very best prog-rock interpretations of classical music I’ve ever met with.
Conclusion. This is a challenging, but engaging album – very contrasting in mood, but extremely interesting. The musicianship is brilliant, and the production is top notch. The aura of the album is only associated with the term of progressiveness and doesn’t evoke anything dreadful – which is really good for me. Highly recommended!
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