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FEM Prog Band - 2014 - "Sulla Bolla Di Sapone"

(60:15, Fading/Altrock Records)


1.  Il Giardino delle Consuetudini 5:12
2.  Microgen 2:47
3.  Microgen Parte 2 3:05
4.  Il Mondo Bianco Opaco 2:32
5.  Consapevolezza 2:41
6.  Incontro con i Saponiani 2:06
7.  Nella Citta 6:15
8.  Il Signore dei Pensanti 5:25
9.  Processo alla Verita 5:18
10. Riflessioni 2:55
11. Il Peso della Conoscenza 4:56
12. Un Viaggio Lungo un Istante 4:02
13. Reviviscenza 2:51
14. Ritorno al Giardino 5:57
15. E il Mondo Scoppiera 4:13


Alberto Citterio – keyboards; vocals
Paolo Colombo – guitars; vocals
Massimo Sabbatini – vocals 
Marco Buzzi – bass; vocals
Emanuele Borsati – drums; vocals

Prolusion. The Italian combo FEM PROG BAND started out as La Forza Elettro Motrice back in 2007. Following an initial phase of members coming and going they solidified into a steady unit in 2010, and work then commenced on the creation of their debut album. Following an initial EP in 2012 their full-length debut album followed in 2014, released through the Italian label Altrock Records’ "Fading" imprint.

Analysis. FEM Prog Band is another addition to the ranks of artists exploring the landscapes of yesteryear, honing in on the early-to-mid 70's, at least as far as sound, mood and atmosphere are concerned. As far as possible inspirations go, I'd namedrop Genesis and Camel, possibly with a slight touch of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep, and I kind of take it for granted that those with a detailed knowledge about vintage progressive rock bands hailing from Italy should be able to add quite a few artists that are even likelier sources of inspiration to this description. Vintage-sounding keyboards are a key ingredient throughout this album, unsurprisingly enough. Surging and swirling keyboard textures are found aplenty, gentler piano notes add a softer touch to the proceedings here and there, and a rich and often fairly dominant organ is, of course, just about an ever present feature. Those fond of the Mellotron will get their fill too, both used to enrich sequences with more of a careful intensity as well as to be used as the icing on the cake, whenever the band hits on the many richly layered, majestic arrangements that are recurring features on this disc. As indicated, this is a band that enjoys a bit of variety, and while they do alternate between the more atmospheric, Camel-style symphonic progressive rock and the somewhat more dramatic and intense variety of the same that is closer to the likes of Genesis, FEM does have a tendency to shift to a harder edged expression as well. Not similar to bands like Deep Purple as such, but moving towards the sound they explored at the most intense. Much the same can be said for the earlier name dropping of Uriah Heep, FEM doesn't ever sound like them, but at times they do navigate towards a sound oriented in that direction. On a token few occasions they will also shift to a more jazz-rock inspired style, further increasing the size of the stylistic palette used. Besides the variety in style, the individual compositions do tend to alternate in both structure and intensity as well, as one would expect from a symphonic progressive rock band. Sudden shifts and transitional phases are both smoothly executed, and while there's plenty of details to enjoy along the way, the songs tend to be fairly accessible in nature too. The themes and dominant motifs are compelling, captivating and fairly easygoing, so there's no need to listen with full focus to be able to enjoy this album, but when you do, there's plenty of ear candy of a more delicate nature to enjoy. Details that you won't immediately hear when listening on a more superficial level. An impressive debut album on a number of different levels, well performed and produced, by a band that appears to be secure in what they want to achieve and what needs to be done to reach those goals.

Conclusion. FEM Prog Band is a quality addition to the ranks of bands exploring a vintage-oriented variety of symphonic art rock. There's plenty of keyboards throughout, lots of organ and a fair amount of Mellotron, used in compositions that first and foremost appear to revolve around a style that points back to the likes of Genesis and Camel, but with some harder edged excursions and a touch of jazz-rock here and there for additional flavoring. The compositions come across as vibrant and energetic, and fairly accessible in nature and expression too, and come with a general recommendation to those who treasure vintage-oriented symphonic progressive rock.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 15, 2014
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Altrock Records
FEM Prog Band


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