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(45:38 / Mellow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Eden 11:22 2. Onirica 11:30 3. Eden-II 1:32 4. Il Gardino di Pietra 9:48 5. Dimensione-4 11:24 LINEUP: Corrado Sardella - piano, keyboards; bass; drums Riccardo Mastantuono - ac. & el. guitars; violin Milton Damia - vocals; el. guitar Maurizio Pace - el. guitar With: Gianna Chilla - vocals Nicola Di Gia - ambient guitar Vincenzo Antonicelli - saxophones
Prolusion. This Italian progressive rock outfit, DORACOR, celebrate their tenth anniversary this year, so some folks already regard them as veterans of the movement. "Onirica" is their fifth studio album, following "Evanescenze" (2005), "Tranzione" (2002), "Antiche Impressioni" (1999) and "Segni Premonitori" (1998). Doracor's lineup was never stable, the founder of the band, Corrado Sardella, being its only permanent member. As it also turned out from the outset, it's still Sardella who is responsible for the entire material on this recording too, both as a composer and a lyricist.
Analysis. Two of the five tracks on this 45-minute recording are instrumental pieces, and one of those is certainly that tiny cut right in the middle of the album that proffers itself as a bridge between the longer pieces. Though titled as Eden-II, it has nothing to do with, well, what otherwise would've been its fellow composition. Despite its brevity, this is a complete piece of music, a refined acoustic guitar passage performed through a delay unit. As to the other compositions, with an average track length approaching eleven minutes all certainly represent quite expanded musical canvases, but don't expect them to be stuffed with progressive features. Besides, the remark "Doracor have no problems with originality", which has been previously applicable to their work, has now lost a major part of its relevance. This album has sonic signposts at once as varied and kindred as Marillion, Citizen Cain and Ezra Winston, but also (perhaps just logically) more than its fill of the characteristic keyboard riffs-driven arrangements pioneered by Genesis while developing their then newly discovered style soon to be labeled as Neo Prog, i.e. from 1978 to 1981. The only time the first track, Eden, will make really happy the listener with a taste in intricate symphonic Art-Rock is in its finale or, to be more precise, during its last two minutes. Otherwise the music is unmistakably Marillion, a cross between That Time of the Night from "Clutching at Straws" and Lady Nina from "B-Sides Themselves". Not surprisingly, lead singer Milton Damia sounds a lot like Derek "Fish" Dick, while Gianna Chilla echoes back Tessa Niles. On the title number Milton sings on his own, quite often imitating Phil Collins, which is no surprise either, since he is forced to adapt his vocals to the music as such, much of which in turn suggests a collage of Genesis's songs, Snowbound, Turn It On Again and Abacab. On the plus side, within the piece's instrumental sections the sound is mostly both original and resourceful, some of the movements bringing to mind the best of quasi Jazz-Fusion, kudos to both Sardella and Vincenzo Antonicelli, the guest saxophone player who also appears on Dimensione-4. Despite the absence of vocals there, Dimensione-4 can be described almost the same way as Onirica, the only reservation concerning its second half, during which the piece develops much in the style of Duke's Travel and Duke's End, the last two tracks on "Duke", with which that album (at long last) reaches its progressive culmination. While only featuring the female singer behind the microphone, the remaining track, Il Gardino di Pietra, finds the band unexpectedly digressing into symphonic Hard Rock. Soon after the song's halfway point however, things sort themselves out, with Duke starting on his regular journey:-).
Conclusion. There are some moments on the disc that will please even the most demanding fans of classic Symphonic Progressive, but most of the music, while being melodically fulfilling and varied emotionally, isn't notable for any particular depths. So if you're mostly into Neo Prog, don't hesitate to check this CD out. If not, you shouldn't have any problems if I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion.
VM: November 22, 2007
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