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(40:44, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Anec Retrorsum 0:22 2. Sorgente Sonora 4:16 3. Misera Venere 5:19 4. Quantocamia 7:36 5. L'Artista 4:30 6. L'Estremo Viaggiatore 4:40 7. La Paura 4:55 8. Misera Venere Reprise 3:34 9. L'Indice e l'Occhio 5:32 LINEUP: Claudio Filippeschi – keyboards; lead vocals Flavio Timpanaro – bass; backing vocals Massimo Dolce – programming; guitars Stefano Magini – drums With: A few additional musicians
Prolusion. The Italian quartet GRAN TURISMO VELOCE (GTV hereinafter) presents “Di Carne di Anima”, which is their first musical brainchild. The CD was released by their homeland label Lizard Records, one of the most noticeable recording companies on the contemporary prog rock map of Europe, Great Britain included.
Analysis. At first it may seem that this 41-minute album bears a passing similarity to some classic Italian bands, in particular PFM on their 1974 international release “The World Became the World”. In fact, however, most of the nine tracks presented are products of the modern symphonic neo prog-metal scene of the British school (no matter that GTV sing in their native language), whose advocates rarely stretch their music beyond the style’s standards. Three of the pieces, L'Artista, L'Estremo Viaggiatore and La Paura, are particularly representative in this respect, approaching a sound that remains basically song-oriented. Within their – not numerous – instrumental sections, all of these explore something halfway between Neo Prog-Metal and the ‘mere’ symphonic one, similar to what Royal Hunt and Epica have been doing all over the years of their activity. The last of them additionally deploys electronics, but those do really add nothing worthwhile to the stuff. Although the vocalist doesn’t follow the riffs or any other main melodic lines, he delivers phrases with assertive determination, imparting an extra dose of ‘mainstream’ feel to the songs. The last two tracks on the album, Misera Venere Reprise and L'Indice e l'Occhio, involve no heavy elements, both being slow-paced throughout, albeit the second half of each is, thankfully, vocal-free, plus it reveals some ‘exotic’ soloing, courtesy of the flute and saxophone respectively. The first two songs on the CD, Sorgente Sonora and Misera Venere, are in turn more adventurous, i.e. than any of the others, and are fairly good pieces of music, overall. I only wonder why the very brief piano passage-cut that the album begins with (appearing in no other way than as a part of the former composition) is used as a separate track, titled Anec Retrorsum. Well, as everywhere on the album, keyboards are primarily pianos and modern synthesizers, using at times orchestral pads, and are somewhat more prominent than guitars, being responsible for much of the album’s progressiveness. On each of these the music features some tight ensemble playing, some fine orchestral arrangements, some blazing synthesizer and guitar leads, as well as refined interplay between these instruments. (There is some nice keyboard/guitar interplay on the above songs too, but overall, those shift more towards melody and ‘stuff’.) Flavio Timpanaro’s guitar attack comparatively frequently moves away from the obvious neo prog-metal standards. Claudio Filippeschi’s sense of dynamics and melody is at times simply great, plus he is quite resourceful when using the possibilities of his orchestral synths. And he sings more diversely here, I must add, showing quite a solid range of emotion. Anyhow, it’s only Quantocamia (7:36, the disc’s longest track) that gladdens the ear throughout, developing almost non-stop, besides which the band does at times really take on its own identity here. I’d wish the guys to follow that direction in their further work. Finally, it needs to be mentioned that the closing tune, the one with sax, contains 3 minutes of silence, which I subtracted from its ‘official’ duration (in the track list above) and the outing’s one as well.
Conclusion. I have a mixing feeling about this album. While showing its own merits, mainly within the neo prog-metal domain, it does not open doors in any really new directions. And why the hell its producer has ‘made’ the five simpler songs follow one another, on its imaginary Side B? One could say his couple of balls isn’t too ballsy, considering the shortcoming.
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