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(51:43, Bloodrock Records / Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Face of Evil 7:32 2. Gentle Season 5:06 3. The Great Deceit 3:11 4. Rain 6:52 5. The Key of the Garden 4:05 6. Share Your Suicide Part III 4:44 7. Angel With No Pain 4:19 8. Better Than Jesus 4:04 9. Requiem 4:44 10. The Sun 7:06 LINEUP: Alejandro Blissett – guitars; theremin Dorian Deminstrel – vocals; guitars Claudio Ferreri – keyboards Zerothehero – bass; flute Caio – drums
Prolusion. The Italian band FUNGUS was formed back in 2002, and following some years of line-up alterations in between the release of two EPs and their initial full-length debut album the band settled with their current line-up in 2007. Since then two more studio albums have been issued from the band. The most recent of these is "Faces of Evil", which was released through Black Widow Records’ partner label Bloodrock Records in 2013.
Analysis. For me, getting familiar with this Italian band was quite the odd experience. The music itself wasn't all that difficult to take in, and in fact, this is a band that probably should have enjoyed a bit more than I did as well. How interesting they are to a progressive rock-oriented audience I'm rather unsure about however, as this production by and large revolves around another type of music first and foremost. The style of music, that Fungus focuses on, is probably best described as retro-oriented hard rock. A meeting of the minds between the UK and US bands of that era that craft their material revolving around the guitar and the organ, with Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and southern rock references that should send your thoughts in the right direction. Fungus tends to open their songs with a delicate arrangement, then alternates between moods of a more careful nature and firmer, harder edged sequences, sporting the classic pumping bass, harde-edged guitar riffs and majestic organ coating fairly often with additional keyboard details added to the mix as well. There's just about always two guitars at hand, one acoustic and one electric, an approach that secures the presence of a more delicate detail in just about all sequences. Piano and vocal intermissions or acoustic guitar and vocal intermissions are not uncommon encounters along the way, although they do tend to be a tad too predictable, which is something of an issue throughout this album. This is a band that has a good retro sound going for them, they do actually structure their compositions in a manner that makes them rather more sophisticated than many other retro-oriented hard rock bands out there, up to and including a harpsichord intro in one place, and even a song where they explore the material in a more whimsical manner that actually brought the Canterbury type of bands to mind. But generally, the developments are expected, the pace tends to be tad pedestrian at times, and there's just not enough of the goosebump moments that are needed to elevate this album on to a higher level. When these compositions work, then it's generally down to the sheer emotion of the songs, and then primarily the lead vocals. In this case these are a double-edged sword really, as the distinct Italian accent is rather detrimental, but the voice and vocals themselves can at best carry an emotional intensity that adds tons of life to the song in question, the ballad-like Rain a good example of the latter. All in all, a bit of a roller-coaster ride this one, how much so something that boils down to personal taste first and foremost.
Conclusion. Retro-oriented ‘70s hard rock with traditional guitar and organ combinations is the foundation for Fungus’ material on their third studio album "The Face of Evil". The compositions tend to alternate between gentler and harder edged sections, and in terms of structure the band arguably relates stronger to progressive rock than a few others due to this aspect as well as some instances of multiple themes and other details of a more sophisticated nature. Still, the end result is one I'd assume will appeal first and foremost to those who love that ‘70s organ-flavored hard rock sound, and then especially those amongst them with an affection for progressive rock as well.
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