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(51:01, Musea Parallele Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Overture 1:26 2. Batracomiomachia 4:25 3. Memento 3:50 4. Nera 3:19 5. Scherzo No 1 In Re-Minore 4:05 6. La Corte Degli Scontenti 3:18 7. Santa Pazienza 4:48 8. Cenere 4:17 9. Operetta No 1 La Demoniaca 3:39 10. La Regina Nera 4:41 11. La Carie 5:26 12. Oniricausto 4:53 13. Boris Bestiarius 2:54 LINEUP: Stefano Tiozzo Ц keyboards; guitars; vocals Matteo Tambussi Ц lead vocals; guitar Alberto Ghigo Ц bass; vocals Alessandro Ghigo Ц drums
Prolusion. BAROQUE is an Italian band, formed in 2004 in Torino, if I understand matters correctly. They released an EP a few years ago, but "La Fiaba Della Buonanotte" is their first full length disc and it was released in the summer of 2008 on the Musea label.
Analysis. On the band's MySpace page, Queen, Louis Armstrong, Tchaikovsky and Rammstein are among the artists listed as influences, and the song titles are on the dark and mysterious side to boot. Track 9 for instance: translated this one becomes Operetta No-1 Daemonic. And although many of the stated influences on this band's output are misleading, Baroque most certainly has managed to create an innovative and compelling disc. The dominant instruments are guitars and bass. Slightly gritty, harsh and often staccato guitar bursts and riff patterns are key elements in all the compositions, and in this case stoner rock and punk seem to have been major inspirations for the guitar sound as well as how it is used on this creation. A dark, slightly ominous atmosphere is pretty much hammered out by the aggressive, energetic guitar patterns served up. Some solo guitar passages are added, usually of the atmospheric variety, adding melody and mood rather than showcasing technical ability or mastery of one or more specific technique. When the guitar isn't present, or in the instances where it has been toned down in the mix, a heavy, driving bass theme will usually appear, in a few select instances taking on an almost brutally distorted sound. The guitars and bass are toned down in the vocal segments of the compositions though, replaced by less distorted and dominating aspects of these instruments or even taken away on occasion. Instead, the vocals are given the central spot in most all of the vocal parts on this album. Tambussi has a good strong voice, carrying melodies with ease and adding a fair bit of extra energy into the songs as well. And inventive use of backing vocals adds an extra dimension to the proceedings too; especially in the chorus segments. The songs themselves are a compelling affair. Within the framework of more energetic instrumental sections and slightly mellower passages, when the vocals come in they are rich in mood, rarely evolving in predictable manners. Not surprisingly from an Italian act there's a bit of melodrama happening on a few occasions, some operatic passages pop up now and then, but in this case this enriches rather than distracts from the proceedings. There's really not too much on the negative side here at all; this is a splendid creation through and through.
Conclusion. Italian act Baroque has made a real gem of an album with "La Fiaba Della Buonanutte", where the limiting factors in its appeal will be the Italian language vocals and the punk-tinged aggressive guitar antics. Those who don't mind these facets, and who would like an album of innovative music that probably can be said to belong somewhere in the heavier parts of the art rock department, should really consider getting this disc: Highly recommended of course.
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