Sakura De Prog!

プログレ(伊)などの日本未公開記事のインタビュー, オフィシャル情報をご紹介します。無断転載・複製を禁止します。

広告

※このエリアは、60日間投稿が無い場合に表示されます。記事を投稿すると、表示されなくなります。

Il Volto Verde (Il Segno del Comando) A Japanese Review

2014-03-10 | Il Segno del Comando

No copy or reuse of this article is permitted without the written consent of H. Aoki and Rockprogresso (c) All rights reserved

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Il Volto Verde (Il Segno del Comando) A Japanese Review 

A review by H. Aoki / Text translated by Rockprogresso

An introduction

Il Volto Verde was released in 2013 by Il Segno del Comando as their third album. Guest appearance includes Gianni Leone (Il Balletto di Bronzo), Claudio Simonetti (Goblin), Sophya Baccini (Presence, Aradia), Martin Grice (Delirium), and Freddy Delirio (Death SS).

The album overall sounds very much suited for their label, Black Widow; evil and occult. However, the sound is not that of the typical Black Widow sound of thirteen years ago. Much sophisticated and not emphasizing too much on the occult side. Rather, the sound much leaned to the artistic side, added by esoteric touch and resulted in heavy prog rock as the result.

The enthusiasts would compare this album with the schools such as Devil doll, but should note that the concept and music are very original of Il Segno del Comando. Neither is this album similar to their predecessor Jacula (Anthony Barteccetti). Neither categorizing as ‘dark symphonic’ should be appropriate to this album.

Each guest was successful in reproducing the sound of their original home bands. In this regard, I am confident in saying that no other country would be able to produce this type of album other than the prog inherited Italy. In other words, this is an album of tremendous high standard.

I would not suggest the listeners to listen to this album as a mere dark sound album, neither should not expect the darkness in this album. Though you might feel some occultism, but not that simple horror sound. To authentically review this album, you need to deeply analyze the music and grasp the intention of the creators; otherwise you might fall into misled assessment.

This album would surely deserve as ‘the masterpiece of the century’ if it were released forty years ago; but such easy praise is not required for this album. Because all the legendary prog figures are actually taking part in the production of this album. The legends create a new legend by themselves in this album, and threaten the past glory that they have made by themselves.

Note 1

First of all, the mixing balance matches the compositions. Generally, sound of this sort emphasizes power and distorted guitar, but not in this album.

The album opens with a tune written by the guest, Freddy Delirio. Very Goblin-like sound; fretless bass and the jingle-like keyboard start the music. The flow from Echi dall’Ignoto to La Bottega delle Meraviglie is typically that of the authentic Italian prog. Many listeners might be attracted to the music with only the first one minute of this album.

The typical Italian prog sound could be heard here: Guitar shredding (much fuzzy) in La Bottega delle Meraviglie matches greatly with the female voice; the emphatic lead synthesizer PWM (probably Korg Phase Synth) and the bold bass guitar. The drums could be more dramatic, in my opinion. (Personally, more fill in and more toms variations should improve the rythm are much desirable; or I may only hear so due to the simple rhythm keeping with the hi-hat. Maethelya’s vocal is presented maximally in this song.

Chidher il Verde opens with ominous sounding arpeggio. The song develops quite Italian proggishly along with the mezzo soprano voice and the drumming. The rappelling rhythm reminds me of the Il Balletto di Bronzo sound. This song would improve much if more subtle reverb effect is processed on the vocals.

Note 2

You can enjoy Sophya Baccini’s vocal along with the acoustic guitar arpeggio. Her voice is full of presence and matches well with the Il Segno del Comando music. The direction of the label BlackWidows is perfect here with the matching. The chromatic progression is one of the feature, which produced an artistic impression, and not just emphasizing the darkness. The excellent keyboards sound also contributed to the thick and the broadening space. The ‘kick drum ‘sound is typical as that of the BlackWidows artists. The recording level of some part of the Sophya’s vocal part was nearly clipping, so needs caution when you listen with high volume.

Il Rituale has impressive bass with thick chorus effect. A cool instrumental number where you can enjoy bass improvisation in a minute and a half music.

La Congrega dello Zee Dyk carries a Sabbath-like mood featuring David Krieg’s vocal. Don’t misjudge the band by just listening to this number. This song follows the early Black Widow’s heritage sound.

Il Manoscritto is a typical Italian prog number. This type of music was frequently heard after the 1990s Heavy Prog uprising. The rhythm changes were blended with the traditional Italian style of the early 1970s, and created a unique sound. Particularly, the bass notes and the drum fills were typically Italian. The guitar is nicely distorted and not successfully ended up in a death metal sound. The vocals are very theatrical and good. There are many female singers who sing in the gothic rock metal style, but listen! This is the original Italian vocal singing in the Italian language! No one can imitate this.

Note 3

In Italian progressive rock album, the composition and development of the songs are sometimes suddenly confusing the listeners. But that is not the case with this album.

The instrumental L’Evocazione di Eva has the chaos of the 1970s Italian progressive rock. The overlap of saxophone, Mellotron and the Moog solo all were reminiscent of the glorious 1970s time. No wonder, because Claudio Simonetti and Martin Grice are playing here. The inserted phrase of the flute is typically Italian. The unison part of the flute and the bass guitar so much reminded me of the 1970s Italian progressive rock. The out-of-tuned synthesizer and the use of portamento were excellent.

The vocal line in Retrospettiva di un Amore is so melancholic; however, all of sudden, Il Balletto di Bronzo mood bursts. The absolute difference of the Italian rock is heard here, which no other country can imitate in terms of musical culture. Without overemphasizing this aspect, this song was successful in bringing the full appreciation. An electric piano backing was played here, but I would prefer an acoustic piano instead.

By listening to this album, I can assure you that the Italian rock is still holding a high position in terms of techniques. Most of the songs here does not overly display the super technique (expect L’Apocalisse). If any Asian band would try to play their music, they would never express the cultural vein and the deep appreciation of music. I was reminded of this fact when I listened to this Retrospettiva di un Amore.

Note 4

Usibepu starts the music with the panned synthesizer sound in thick layers. The organ sound is adjusted with the bars straight set, and the sequenced synthesizer sound so fresh that remind me of the S/H (sample&hold). The backing chorus is also very nice, so may need to be focused on this, if I may ask.

Keeping up the simple rhythm, the keyboard layers and the guitar solo are well balanced.  Being not flashy, but the bass guitar and the drums collaboration is worth mentioning under this simple rhythm.

Having listened to this album so far, you realize the consistency in the album concept and style, and feel as if you are listening to some sound track music. Though not cinematic, but this album is fairly successful in being dramatic.

 L'Apocalisse

If you listen to L’Apocalisse, all of sudden, the level of the band sky rockets, perhaps owing to Gianni Leone’s collaboration and his outstanding performance. This is a nice piece of music, dominated by Gianni Leone. You hear some composition close to Ys ‘Secondo Incontro’ and a part of ‘Terzo Incontro’. As always, fingering of Gianni Leone’s playing is inscrutable, particularly from E to F, which is an enigma. The harmony created with masterful skills are only for Gianni Leone. No one can create such originality as heard in the unique combination of on chord and suspension chord. Just this L’Apocalisse is of the premium level, and a proof of ingenuity of Gianni Leone. Not many musicians should be able to work with Gianni Leone, speaking of the caliber, I guess. Gianni Leone’s talent is absolutely very special; even on guest appearance level, his talent cannot be hidden. Quite exquisite.

The final track Epilogo sounds retrospective, reminding us of Goblin. The refrains went on and closes creepily. This closing is the must for the Italian progressive rock; this is how an epilogue should be. 

Coda

Diego Banchiero’s talent and wit are fully demonstrated in this album. His presence is undoubtedly big in the current Italian music scene. Probably some prog fans would call him as ‘the follower of Italian prog’, but I disagree with this. Labelling is simply unnecessary for Diego such as ‘Italian prog’ or ‘Heavy prog’ and so on, because Diego himself IS the ‘Italian music’ himself.

It will be a shame if only the gorgeous guest players are focused for this album, because the overall quality is very high. I prefer fans would not label this album as merely Biglietto per l’inferno or Antonius Rex follower. Labelling this band as ‘the reincarnation of Il Balletto di Bronzo’ is totally incorrect. Certainly, some parts do sound like Il Balletto di Bronzo, but the Il Segno del Comando’s music has different aspect than that of Il Balletto di Bronzo. 

Keyboards:

Generally, the keyboards consist of the modern digital synthesizer and the retrospective synthesizers. The retrospective synthesizers put an emphasis on the square and ramp waves, producing a typical early 1970s Moog-like sound. Very original sound was used for the digital synthesizers in the ensemble part, but arranged as barely noticeable. Theremin and Mellotron were widely employed in this album in order to add some flares.

The organ sound is used in contrast of the guitar sound, that is to say, a well-balanced contrast of aggressive part and the harmonious part. The deep organ sound matches the musical orientation of the band. The most distinctive part of being an Italian music, unlike that of the UK, is heard here. The core of this album is undoubtedly keyboards, but they are not overly exaggerated, and nice to the ears.

Guitars:

Though the musical orientation of this band is ‘gothic’, the guitar sound is not that of the modern gothic metal, but more or less retrospective. Maybe this is the preference of the record label. The stereo effect is not deeply put to the chorus and the various effects, but has more ‘edge’. Again, this looks like the label preference.

The release time for reverberation is not lengthy and avoids excessive mixture of the sound. No wall is created for the side cutting, and simple sound is constructed. The guitar is used as an instrument to create ensemble in this album, and no sharp or overly distorted sound are used. Some numbers will improve if an acoustic guitar was introduced. 

Bass:

Many excellent music leaders who are bass players are eminent in the latest Italian progressive music scene. Diego Banchero is no doubt the outstanding musician there. Like Diego, most of such musicians are multi-instrument players. No hyper technique is demonstrated in this album. The bass lines are in perfect harmony with the music. The chorus effect is very unique and deep. The sound core is mainly very convex, thus enhancing the sound with ‘strong core’ with the guitar.

Due to the wide-range pitch, some part might not be reproduced with the ordinary woofer. There many parts in which strong kick drum sound with punchy attack is liaisoned. In conclusion, the bass sound in this album is positioned as significant rhythm section.

I suggest the listeners to play this album as loud as possible, preferably with some device with dynamic ranges. This would sound the best. This album demonstrates ‘something acquired through rock generated in Italy’. No analysis or theory is required to appreciate this. If you think of putting some analysis to this album, you have to start your thesis from the Italian composers in the 17th century. I believe only competent musicologists with Italian heritage can do that.

The Italian prog enthusiasts would surely dance with joy with this album. This album proved that younger generation should inherit this blood of Italian prog. This album was released in 2013, however, music created by talented and competent musicians has eternal value. Even the sound is that of the ‘dark’ world, the sound undoubted glitters; that is the magic of the music.

Il Segno del Comando are magicians skilled in arty craft of such magical power.

Dr & Percussion Sound

Very particular sound; largely depends of the playback equipment what type of sound you get. The most special is the snare and crash drums. The snares are intentionally muffled or cleared. The intentional lifted snare of 10KHz should be accurately reproduced to appreciate the original recording setting; otherwise only 50% of the originally defined sound is reproduced. Attention should be given to the kick drum, as strong attack has been made to the original sound. These effects made their made absolute difference between their peers. Some part of the rhythm is muffled, so the mixing was done considering each music orientation. Toms are not standing out, and flams are sparingly used. This is why the drum tone sometimes sounds plain. The somewhat muffled drum tone matches their sound very well, so no problem with this muffled sound. 

Voice

Generally, gothic rock should have female singers in their front; this is the standard, and Il Segno del Comando is of no exception to this standard. The singer sings well and has a nice mezzo voice with unique atmosphere. Perhaps this voice is particular to Italian voices. Some parts are sung in operatic style, but overall dark and haunted but with solid technical background. The backup chorus are also neatly arranged, so the overall chorus is very tight. In particular, the whispering overdub is good. The guest singers are nice and added enhancing effect to the band’s original sound, with various voices. Some vocal lines are repeatedly used and the rhythm simplified; this is THE Black Widow style. 

Overall sound

L’Apocalisse is exquisitely outstanding; however, this is not the highlight of this album. The album is well organized in total. Rather than the sound resolution approach, this album took the atmospheric approach in sound. This is THE ITALIAN sound.

This album made me realize that Italian prog is FAR ahead of that of other countries; of course it has its advantages and disadvantages. Italy has the ability to produce an album like this without grandiose theories.

I recommend the listeners to listen to this album through appropriate speakers, otherwise you don’t get the proper sound. That is to say, the sound ‘cluster’ [middle to high tone in which frequencies overlap] has high sound pressure. You might damage our hearing capability if you listen with inappropriate portable players in a loud volume.

This album certainly will cause a stir to the prog scene, which is becoming diversified.

February 2014

H. Aoki

(Translation Rockprogresso)

Follow Rockprogresso on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RockprogressoItalianprog



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

『音楽(レビュー感想)』 ジャンルのランキング
この記事についてブログを書く
« Fabio Zuffanti ファビオ・ズ... | TOP | Daniele Sollo ダニエレ・ソ... »
最近の画像もっと見る

Recent Entries | Il Segno del Comando