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(44:14, 'Eris Pluvia')
TRACK LIST: 1. Third Eye Light 6:32 2. Rain Street 19 6:09 3. The Darkness Gleams 4:28 4. Someone Care for Us 3:21 5. Fixed Course 2:45 6. Peggy 6:01 7. Shades 5:02 8. Fellow of Trip 5:22 9. Sing the Sound of My Fears 4:30 LINEUP: Alessandro Cavatorti – el. & ac. guitars Matteo Noli – vocals; el. & ac. guitars Paolo Raciti – piano, keyboards Daviano Rotella – drums Marco Forella – bass With: Roberta Piras – flute (1, 2, 4, 6); vocals (1) Max Mantorana – classical guitar (1, 9) Diana Dalliera – vocals (1, 6)
Prolusion. Italy’s ERIS PLUVIA has been widely recognized as a fine progressive rock act since the release of its remarkable debut album “Rings of Earthly Light” in 1991. It took almost 20 years for the band to part with its ‘one-shot’ status, although its sophomore outing, “Third Eye Light”, only features two musicians from its original lineup, namely keyboardist Paolo Raciti and bassist Marco Forella. The other founding members of the ensemble, vocalist/guitarist Alessandro Serri and woodwind/brass player Edmondo Romano (both of whom were its main masterminds back then in the early ‘90s), have dropped out of my sight after their new combo, The Ancient Veil, had issued an album in 1997.
Analysis. Prior to taking on “Third Eye Light” I have once again listened to “Rings of Earthly Light”, which still sounds as refreshing as it did many years ago, and is a classic art-rock album with elements of Jazz-Fusion and Italian folk and renaissance music, lavishly seasoned with chamber and related colorations. The new Eris Pluvia output, while retaining the melodiousness of its predecessor, is quite strongly inferior to that in complexity as well as some other aspects (such as a stylistic saturation for instance), and it would be a stretch to call it a classic prog rock affair. Of the disc’s eight compositions, only the instrumental Fixed Course really challenges the ear. Something new to the band’s sound, this is a prog-metal-evoking piece, full of turns and twists. The heavy guitar riffs-driven arrangements appear also on The Darkness Gleams, Fellow of Trip, the title track, Rain Street 19 and (another instrumental) Shades, but either occasionally or, well, not for long, as is on the former piece. Overall, the music represents lush Neo Prog very much in the manner of Pendragon, as each of these tracks has a lot of Nick Barrett-like – or rather David Gilmour-style – solos, courtesy of Alessandro Cavatorti and Matteo Noli, whose singing, in turn, is in delivery reminiscent of Nick’s. However, the men’s approach to playing an acoustic guitar is much more original, and I slightly regret that the instrument – as well as the flute – is properly deployed only on four of the disc’s tracks. Paolo Raciti’s keyboard playing has much identity to it throughout. There is a fine balance between his and the guitarists’ leads everywhere on the album, save its (largely instrumental) title track, where Alessandro is in control, at least most of the time. The remaining three tracks, Peggy, Someone Care for Us and Sing the Sound of My Fears, are all expert ballads, so to speak, and please the ear almost as much as the above Fixed Course does. Only the first of these has a full-band sound, all the vocals there being provided by (a guest) Diana Dalliera, whose singing is very soulful and beautiful alike. The other two pieces stand out for their remarkable acoustic guitar patterns, combined with orchestral arrangements.
Conclusion. Eris Pluvia’s “Third Eye Light” provides the right amount of listening room for any fan into good Neo Progressive. Instantly accessible for comprehension, the album should attract a comparatively large audience and, at the same time, renovate interest in its predecessor. However, those who aren’t on friendly terms with the said style might be disappointed.
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