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Old Rock City Orchestra - 2018 - "The Magic Park of Dark Roses"

(37:21, Avanguardia Convention)



1. Stand Up 2:17
2. Another Flower 5:00
3. Black Hand in the Sky 3:28
4. Ufo 3:10
5. This Is the Last Day 6:03
6. Once Upon a Time Rock 'N' Roll 4:19
7. I Want to Keep On Dancing 4:01
8. Tonight With You 3:43
9. Swan of the Lake 5:20

Cinzia Catalucci - vocals, keyboards, percussion
Raffaele Spanetta - guitars, bass, vocals, keyboards
Michele Capriolo - drums, percussion, synthesizer, vocals
Laurence Cocchiara - violin
Chiara Dragoni - flute

Prolusion. Italian band OLD ROCK CITY ORCHESTRA was formed back in 2009, and following an initial EP in 2011 they released their debut album in 2012. A further album came in 2015, and three years on their third and most recent studio production "The Magic Park of Dark Roses" appeared in 2018.

Analysis. When you choose a name like this band have done, you rather expect them to explore the sounds of yesteryear. And those fond of retro-oriented progressive rock won't be disappointed by this album as far as that point is concerned. That being said, at least on this album the band isn't attempting to explore the sounds of the giants from yesteryear, but are rather honing in on material with arguably a bit more of a niche character to it. Aiming for the darker and harder aspects of 70's progressive rock. As a matter of fact, I rather think many fans of 70's hard rock might well feel quite at home with this album as well. Atomic Rooster a name that does come to mind in this particular context. The reason for this being the liberal amounts of dark, brooding organ that is a major part of this album. But unlike the old rooster, guitars are just as central here, the two instruments often combining in dark and enthralling manners, beautifully contrasted by the powerful lead vocals of Cinzia Catalucci. Old Rock City Orchestra isn't a one trick pony though, and spread out to cover other sounds and atmospheres as well. Some closer to more regular progressive rock, others with more of a folkier touch. Some Latin rhythms find their way into this album, and it probably needs to be stated that the band know their way around a few more keyboard instruments than the organ when it comes to that. On occasion the band will hit out on more of a Uriah Heep flavored tangent as well, while they also find space and room for some elegant funky guitar licks elsewhere. But while the band does play upon more than a few strings this time around, for my sake it is the darker and more brooding compositions on this album that made the strongest impact for me. With a good quality production to boot, this third album from the band strikes me as being their possibly strongest achievement to date. A solid, high quality production on all levels.

Conclusion. Classic era hard rock and progressive rock combine on this fine album by Italians Old Rock City Orchestra. Those who know and treasure the harder edged varieties of progressive rock from the 1970's should spend a few minutes of their time to investigate this CD, and beyond that crowd I'd suggest fans of Atomic Rooster and, at least to a certain degree, fans of Uriah Heep to seek out this one for inspection.

Progmessor: February 1st, 2019
The Rating Room

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