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TRACK LIST: 1. Fire in the Sky 4:31 2. Mind Control 4:35 3. Sasquatch 4:07 4. Avatar 3:40 5. Ley Line 5:26 6. The Circle 3:38 7. Y2K 4:26 8. Hake 3:50 9. Jadoo 5:28 10. The 4th Dimension 4:20 11. New World Order 5:36 12. First Day on Earth 3:37 All tracks: by Galli. LINE-UP: Gianluca Galli - electric & acoustic guitars, sitar, bass; keyboards Senio Firmati - drums & percussion Andrea Castelli - basses Emilio Sapia - keyboards With: Several additional musicians Engineered by A. Guasconi. Produced by Galli.
Prolusion. Gianluca GALLI is an Italian guitarist and composer whose name is usually associated with the creation of Time Machine and >Mantra. "Back Home" is his second solo effort. The first solo album by Galli, "Rock Religion", was released in 2000, but I haven't heard it.
Synopsis. I believe that under the title of the album, the man implies that he is back to his progressive roots. As I am not acquainted with Time Machine, which, along with >Garden Wall, is regarded as one of Italy's very best Prog-Metal outfits. All I can say for sure is that the music on "Back Home" has little in common with Mantra and is much more progressive than that. The specific character of guitar riffs rather obviously points to the source of their origin, which is Black Sabbath, but I would never say that the album features any direct traces of influences of the most influential Metal band of all time. Quite the contrary, as originality is among the principal virtues of this effort, quite strikingly distinguishing it from those of still the same Mantra, for instance. Another very important aspect of "Back Home" is, in my view, the absence of any vocals. At least at the moment, I can't recall even a single Doom Metal-related album, which would've been fully instrumental, just like in this very case, and the basic stylistics of "Back Home" is Progressive Cathedral Metal. In pure form, it appears in the very beginning of the album and in the middle of it - on Fire in the Sky, Mind Control, Ley Line, The Circle, Y2K, and Hake (1, 2, & 5 to 8), though the second composition is more about the parental genre of Cathedral Metal, which is mentioned above. Each of the said tracks is notable for several different themes, with observance to all the principal progressive laws, and distinct tempo contrasts. Unlike the parts of the other instruments, starting with solos of guitar and keyboards, guitar riffs remain always moderately slow and, simultaneously, pronouncedly heavy. The other six compositions, however, are more diverse compositionally and stylistically alike and are richer in acoustic and symphonic textures, provided here by classical guitar, sitar, piano and string ensemble. Symphonic Art-Rock as such and in confluence with Cathedral Metal is, respectively, the music on Sasquatch and New World Order (3 & 11) and Avatar and First Day on Earth (4 & 12), though the main feature of these four is that they're just filled with the flavor of the Oriental music. By the way, some solos of acoustic guitar on some of these concern exclusively Jazz-Fusion. An unexpected, amazingly original combination of electronically symphonic Art-Rock and Cathedral Metal is presented on Jadoo and The 4th Dimension (9 & 10). Apart from the parts of drums, the latter contains also those of hand percussion instruments and is lushly painted with colors of the music of the East as well.
Conclusion. Unlike some other albums that I have reviewed for this update, the original and very impressive "Back Home" is excellent from any standpoint. It comes highly recommended to anyone whose interests in heavy progressive music extend beyond the borders of traditional Prog-Metal.
VM: June 9, 2004
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