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(50:25, Lizard Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. L'Ipnotico Salto 2:17 2. Rane 4:30 3. Stabile 2:57 4. Magnolia 4:31 5. L'Uomo Infinito 5:24 6. HEN 2:55 7. Girotondo 7:02 8. Puzzle 3:52 9. Insonne 4:00 10. Un Amore Chirurgico 2:03 11. L'Amami 6:03 12. I / O 4:53 LINEUP: Esteban Vidoz – vocals Simone Bianco – guitars Matteo Florian – basses Simone Sossai – drums With: Sebastiano Basso – didgeridoo Andrea Ghion – percussion
Prolusion. The Italian band LAMANAIF was formed in 2008 as an art project seeking to combine the traditions of the theater with music. "L'Uomo Infinito" is their debut album, released by the Italian label Lizard Records in 2013.
Analysis. Just where the borders of progressive rock end and the borders of mainstream or experimental rock begin is a question one might encounter if active within communities of fans with an interest in progressive rock. Some bands open such topics up for discussion more readily than others, and I suspect that the Italian band Lamanaif is one more to add to that particular list. It's not that their music is lacking in any trademark features as such: those looking for compositions with multiple alterations in pace, intensity, arrangements and sporting multiple themes should find most, if not all, of those requirements met, and quite nicely too, I might add. That Lamanaif is a quartet able to shift focus and run through a transitional phase in such a smooth manner that it's almost unnoticeable is a fact that merits a mention within this context of course, at least on this album it comes across as a tight and experienced band that is able to play upon their individual and collective strengths with a remarkable ease. The details that might alienate some progressive rock fans reside more in the various styles the band has chosen to include into their musical framework. We're served a nice handful of short, tightly arranged affairs that contain plenty of nods in the direction of punk on this production. Some more than others, and while the punk attitude is present in tight, forceful and compact deliveries, the compositions do tend to reach out much further than any punk band ever did though, up to and including a song like Puzzle that is one of the few punk-flavored songs I've ever heard that has a nature to it that can only be described as whimsical. I do get the impression that this is a band rather fond of Iron Maiden too, and then the Di'Anno era in particular, as plenty of songs contain elements referencing that band and the material they explored in that part of the band's history. As Iron Maiden is a rather influential band these associations might of course be accidental, but especially a track like Rane is one that should bring a smile to the face of most dedicated Iron Maiden fans. These references to early ‘80s UK style rock and metal are blended in with intense passages closer to progressive metal in style and execution, gentler escapades with more of a distinct progressive rock flavor to them, a brief visit to landscapes closer to the likes of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd has found its way in here too, in the shape of Insonne, and there's also some atmospheric and cinematic passages thrown in for good measure. With a select few jazz-tinged elements too, first and foremost by way of drummer Sossai. All of this and a bit more has been packed into a tight, well produced album that is remarkably cohesive, with stellar musicianship on all levels. Drummer Sossai and vocalist Vidoz are perhaps the ones that are most impressive, but the musicianship is excellent on all levels throughout the album.
Conclusion. Progressive rock that incorporates elements from hard rock, punk and metal, arguably even with a brief nod towards grunge, is what Lamanaif provides us with on their debut album "L'Uomo Infinito". A well produced brew of progressive rock with a strong alternative flavor to it, and while not directly comparable in terms of overall style, I'd guess that those who enjoy listening to bands like The Mars Volta might be a likely audience for this band, and an album that merits an inspection by those with an interest in progressive rock that explores this style from an alternative point of view.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 2, 2015
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