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(55:40, Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Echi dall'Ignoto 2:08 2. La Bottega delle Meraviglie 3:41 3. Chidher il Verde 6:06 4. Trenodia delle Dolci Parole 6:40 5. Il Rituale 1:32 6. La Congrega dello Zee Dyk 8:02 7. Il Manoscritto 6:16 8. L'Evocazione di Eva 4:27 9. Retrospettiva di un Amore 4:37 10. Usibepu 6:16 11. L'Apocalisse 4:08 12. Epilogo 1:47 LINEUP: Diego Banchero – bass; keyboards; theremin Maurizio Pustianaz – keyboards; organ Maethelyiah – vocals Fernando Cherchi – drums Roberto Lucanato – guitars Giorgio Cesare Neri – guitars With: Claudio Simonetti – organ, moog, Mellotron Gianni Leone – keyboards, organ; vocals Martin Grice – flute, saxophone Sophya Baccini – vocals &: A few more musicians
Prolusion. The Italian band IL SEGNO DEL COMANDO has been around in one form or another since 1995, as a studio based project with more or less fluid personnel as far as permanent members go. They released their self-titled debut album in 1997, which was followed by "Der Golem" in 2002. A spell of inactivity followed this production, but in 2010 the project became active again, and towards the end of 2013 their third full length album "Il Volto Verde" was released, and as with all their albums so far through the Italian label Black Widow Records.
Analysis. From what I understand one of the main visions of Il Segno Del Comando is to explore and to some extent recreate moods, atmospheres and music of a similar nature to some of the classic Italian progressive rock bands of the 1970's, with bands such as Goblin and Jacula mentioned as sources of inspiration, with an emphasis on fairly dark material as these and similar bands explored back then. As far as this production is concerned, they have managed to achieve that goal fairly well I'd say. The two opening compositions here are dark to the point of having an occult tinge to them, and there's a constant undercurrent of unnerving and ominous moods throughout this album, the concluding items again returning to the occult associations the initial tracks managed to inspire associations towards. That the mix and production create a closed in, claustrophobic feeling is fairly fitting within this context, and also gives the album as such a distinct retro-oriented charm. One of the most important details in the compositions themselves is the bass guitar, especially in the compositions and sequences of a more energetic nature a driving bass guitar is the central element as far as maintaining intensity goes, and the bass guitar tends to be a tad more dominating in the arrangements than in many other bands, and arguably with a more important role in the totality too. But the most striking roles are given to the keyboards and lead vocals. Haunting organ movements with and without guitar support create a rich, majestic presence, and eerie, ghostly sounds are liberally produced by what sounds like vintage keyboards, alongside theremin and Mellotron. Flamboyant keyboard soloing, at times with a distinct classical symphonic orientation, is another distinct presence throughout, as are fairly intricate, layered and interwoven keyboards and guitar constructions. The guitars actually have more of a minor role than what one might expect, a distinct presence and especially for soloing runs, but not as dominating in the mix and production as tends to be the case with many other bands. A far more audible role is given to the vocalists however, the dramatic and at times operatic voice of Maethelyiah a distinct presence and central in terms of establishing mood, atmosphere and tension. The end result is a vital brew that inspires to associations towards darker moods and atmospheres, of the kind where invocations are a natural element and words like occult and esoteric are a part of everyday speech. A tad too hectic at times perhaps, and most certainly not a production that will appeal to those who doesn't have a taste for the almost overly dramatic.
Conclusion. Il Segno Del Comando has made itself a vital album with "Il Volto Verde". A dramatic album both in terms of instruments, vocals and arrangements in general as well as for the compositions as a whole, with a strong emphasis on dark and unnerving moods. Mix and production have by plan or accident given this album a distinct 70's sounding vibe, and alongside the aforementioned elements a recommendation towards those who enjoy the darker side of progressive rock as it was explored by some Italian bands in the 1970's is merited. A strong, high quality production.
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