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TRACK LIST: 1. Il Giuramento 8:37 2. A Gerusalemme 9:48 3. Il Tempio di Ferro 5:02 4. Gadio a Te 3:27 5. Deus Vult (inst.) 3:12 6. Verso Notre Dame 5:22 7. Il Giudizio 5:53 8. Le Catere di Chinon 8:35 9. Condanna 2:22 All music & lyrics: by Nicolini. LINE-UP: Enio "Akron" Nicolini - bass; synthesizer Eugenio Mucci - lead & backing vocals Fabio Barraco - organ & piano Lea Palmieri - drums Gabriela Saia - backing vocals With: Gabriele Di Monte - keyboards (on 2, 3, 5, 7, & 8) Antonio De Angelis - keyboards (on 1, 2, & 9) Engineered by Di Monte at his studio.
Prolusion. "Il Tempio di Ferro" is the second album by the Italian band Akron. The first one: "La Signora del Buio" was released in 1999 (also by Black Widow Records).
Synopsis. Already while listening to the album, I have found that the band's style (at least the basis of it) is nothing else but Cathedral Symphonic Art-Rock, and I think any other definitions of Akron's music would be incorrect. No, I didn't forget that with the term Cathedral Metal I used to call the more progressive and less dark manifestations of Doom Metal. But while there are neither guitar riffs nor even an electric guitar itself on this album, which, moreover, is almost entirely woven of symphonic textures, it is just filled with a 'cathedral' spirit, which will be immediately recognized by anyone "in the know" and is certainly not the same as a 'doom' spirit. However, there are only three tracks on "Il Tempio di Ferro" representing Cathedral Symphonic Art-Rock in a pure form. These are the songs: Il Giuramento and Gadio a Te (1 & 4) and the only instrumental piece on the album: Deus Vult (5). While being mainly keyboard-based, very symphonic, and 'classically' diverse as on the other Symphonic Art-Rock related tracks here, the music on these three, with wonderful, almost operatic, vocals, is always slow, and only the fast solos of Hammond Organ 'fall out' of the overall picture, freely crossing the length and breadth of it. Even here, the music is dramatic rather than dark and doesn't contain those pronouncedly depressive moods typical for Classic Doom Metal, and by the way, Mucci's singing reminds me of preaching. Amazingly original and impressive stuff! Both of the last songs on the album: Le Catere di Chinon and Condanna (8 & 9) have something in common with the described compositions, but being performed mainly without drums, these two sound less rich than any of the other tracks here and represent somewhat of a cathedral space music. The album's title track and Il Giudizio (3 & 7) consist of mixed structures related to both of the cathedral and classic forms of Symphonic Art-Rock. Sudden turns from slow arrangements to fast and intricate ones and vice versa are typical for both of them. However, the band's craving for playing an extremely complex Progressive has twice gained a victory over the arguable necessity to keep to the chosen stylistics. A Gerusalemme and Verse Notre Dame (2 & 6) are ones of the brightest examples of how to play a contemporary Symphonic Progressive, which would be done in the best traditions of the genre and, simultaneously, would be highly original. To be more precise, the music on both of these tracks is Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with pronounced tunes of Classical Music (done masterfully on an acoustic piano) and some elements of Cathedral Rock. The solos of bass guitar, Hammond organ, and drums and passages of piano and string ensemble are always different in tempo, and yet, just marvelously interlace with each other forming such amazingly intricate and intriguing arrangements that even Titans would be proud of.
Conclusion. I can't be sure about you dear readers, but I haven't heard anything that would be similar to such a unique music as is presented on Akron's "Il Tempio di Ferro" (with the exception of the last two tracks). Overall, the album is highly recommended to all the lovers of Symphonic Progressive, except those from a Neo camp.
VM: September 24, 2003
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