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(48 min, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Il Mio Nome E’ Dedalo 4:53 2. Labirinto 7:13 3. La Promessa 9:03 4. L’Arma Vincente 4:13 5. Una Nuova Realta 7:37 6. Oggi Volero 4:22 7. Il Sogno Spezzato 5:59 8. Icaro: La Fine 5:07 Bonus videos: 1. Ieri Oggi Domani 2. Il Sole Nascera 3. Impressioni and Icaro: La Fine LINEUP: Franco Piccolini – keyboards Giuseppe Terribile – bass, ac. guitar; vocals Roberto Giordana – el. & ac. guitars Piuccio Pradal – ac. guitar; vocals Gino Terribile – drums; vocals Bruno Govone – el. guitar
Prolusion. The Italian band IL CERCHIO D’ORO was formed in distant 1974. They were active right up till the very end of the decade, having released three EPs at the time, but no LPs. Their first full-length album, “Il Viaggio di Colombo”, was issued in 2008, two years after the band’s return to the scene, while “Dedalo E Icaro” is a follow-up to that output. The album is comprised of eight tracks ranging in length from four to nine minutes.
Analysis. The sound of this sextet is often heavily keyboard based, which somewhat surprises me, considering that three of its members play guitars. That’s not to say there are few guitars riffs or solos here, but, anyhow, one axeman could have done the job fine. Two of the tracks, L’Arma Vincente and Icaro: La Fine, although featuring more purely instrumental arrangements than vocals-based ones, are both ballads in the final analysis, the last of them strongly inspired by Pink Floyd, at times sounding much like ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ from “Dark Side of the Moon”. The style of the songs Il Mio Nome E’ Dedalo and Oggi Volero is formally a blend of Hard-n-Art and Symphonic Progressive. The instrumental and vocal sections of both of them are split up evenly, so that doesn’t seem to be sections of either that last too long. On the other hand, while the sound is vintage-like, often fairly heavy, the songs are constructed in the Neo manner, featuring numerous repetitions of the same themes, instrumental ones included. La Promessa and Una Nuova Realta both alternate the PFM-evoking sympho-prog arrangements with Pink Floyd-inspired space rock landscapes and some standard hard rock moves, suffering from the same problem as the previously described tracks do, albeit to a lesser degree than those. Fortunately, although there are plenty of neo-proggish constructions on the recording, there are also moments of genuine excellence. The seventh piece in the set, Il Sogno Spezzato, displays broad stretches of inspired writing and playing, in its middle part dissolving into haunting, enigmatic and often beautiful landscapes that have a seeming evocation of Pink Floyd, again. The best is Labirinto, though, the sole instrumental here – a wide-screen sympho-prog tour de force in the style of Jethro Tull-meets-Space Rock of the Eloy variety, with keyboardist Franco Piccolini and guitarist Roberto Giordana blazing a trail for the rest of the band. Both of the tracks have a very symphonic sound (even when the heavy guitar riffs are part of the arrangements, as is in the case of the first of them), with Hammond and mini-Moog sounds galore. Signor Piccolini especially shines throughout the compositions and is arguably one of the best keyboardists on Italy’s contemporary art-rock scene. Finally, it must be noted that the album is enhanced with three videos – of songs from the band’s earlier repertoire, as I suppose.
Conclusion. Many of the arrangements on the disc are reminiscent of the greats of the past, but Il Cerchio D’Oro rarely achieves those bands’ impact, emotion and high level of drama. While the work of the main soloing musicians is good (excellent in the case of the keyboardist), the rhythm section doesn’t really shine with resourcefulness, especially the drummer. As a result, quite a few of the tracks on the album seem to go along at the same speed. Some more dynamic range in the mood and feel of the songs would help a lot.
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