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(73:05 / Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. L'Antefatto 4:50 2. Lo Specchia 7:40 3. La Contes dei Cento Castagni 4:40 4. La Foresta degli Elfi Alati 9:12 5. L'Incontro 4:45 6. Il Sogno 4:36 7. La Piana dei Temoli del Livenza 9:44 8. Lo Scontro 7:43 9. Danza di Messer Reale e Madonna Fantasia 4:21 10. Leggenda della Foglia della Bita e del Bento 4:46 11. Noerinascimento 5:31 12. La Strada Ni Confini Di 5:08 LINEUP: Giancarlo Nicorelli - keyboards Consuela Marcon - violin Adriano Durighetto - bass Paolo Coltro - drums Franco Violo - vocals Gianluca Tassi - guitar Alessandro Bonotto - guitar With: Luca Boldrin - flute Nicola Durighetto - flute Tiziana Carraro - vocals
Prolusion. "La Contea Dei Cento Castagni" is the debut album by FAVERAVOLA, from Italy, although most of the band members are veterans of their native prog rock movement, with more than 30 years experience behind them. The names of two participants are familiar to me: Franco Violo is a former singer of Asgard, and Gianluca Tassi played with Black Jester back in the '90s.
Analysis. As if following the proverb "Everything new is just the long-ago-forgotten past", Faveravola offers something that sounds at once refreshing and retrospective. There are no instrumentals among the twelve tracks on this 73-minute album, all the songs being homogenous in terms of composition, structure and arrangement all alike. Besides, since the music is exclusively symphonic in nature and is either slow or moderately slow everywhere on the recording, the songs would have generally been very similar to each other if some (half of them to be precise) hadn't featured a strong folk element. La Foresta degli Elfi Alati, L'Incontro, Lo Scontro, Danza di Messer Reale e Madonna Fantasia, Leggenda della Foglia della Bita e del Bento and Noerinascimento are all filled with a medieval aura and are generally very picturesque compositions, instantly arousing associations with the minstrelsy. It also needs to be said that only these six find the group from time to time making an attempt at sounding more powerful and therefore are all in places notable for contrasts between louder passages and softer, delicate ones. Otherwise, i.e. on the remaining six songs, namely L'Antefatto, Lo Specchia, La Contes dei Cento Castagni, Il Sogno, La Piana dei Temoli del Livenza and La Strada Ni Confini Di, the music, while still following most of the canons of Symphonic Progressive, evolves unhurriedly and is ballad-like, reflective, at times even dreamy in character. L'Antefatto and La Piana dei Temoli del Livenza are the only two tracks that, apart from sung vocals, feature spoken words, which are delivered in a storytelling, rather histrionic manner. L'Incontro and Danza di Messer Reale e Madonna Fantasia both find Franco Violo sharing the leads with a guest female singer, the latter tune being the sole track with a harpsichord involved, but then that instrument really is a dominant force there. Unlike all the other tracks, the concluding one, La Strada Ni Confini Di, has for the most part only piano, violin and vocals in its arrangement, rarely revealing a full-band sound. Back to the recording's overall appearance: Keyboards (mainly organ and string ensemble), bass and drums are the three most consistent components throughout the album. The flute appears as a fourth voice about as frequently as the guitar, from time to time giving room to violin patterns, though there are not too many moments where more than two instruments contribute their solos simultaneously, since the rhythm section is usually focused on building a bottom line. Hints of Le Orme, The Moody Blues and Camel (at their most delicate) abound, but on the other hand it's clear that all influences are processed through the group's unique perspective.
Conclusion. The arrangements are done in conformity with classic progressive traditions everywhere on "La Contea Dei Cento Castagni", which however doesn't automatically imply they are intricate. In other words, the group always tends to ornament their music rather than drive it. Anyway, while being instantly accessible, the music is very beautiful, besides which it possesses a certain charm. I think most sympho-prog lovers would find this album a satisfying listen.
VM: May 17, 2007
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