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(64:25; Andromeda Relix)
As I write this, ‘Sadako e Le Mille Gru Di Carta’ (Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes) is #2 on the ProgArchives chart for best albums of 2020, based on 196 ratings and reviews. While popularity on any chart is no real indication of musical worth, just look at the Top 20 in any country, I do give these a little more credence than many given that by its very nature, the site itself is only of interest to those who enjoy a certain style of music. Although I would not personally place this above Pendragon (at #3), I can certainly understand why it has reached those lofty heights. Originally formed in 1996 as a trio by Luca Zerman (lead vocals, keyboards), Fabio Gaspari (bass, guitars, mandolin, vocals) and Alessandro Perbellini (drums), they soon became a quartet, and this is their first album with new keyboard player Claudio Antolini. This album tells the story of Sadako Sasakil, who was just two years old and living in Hiroshima when the bomb went off. She survived the initial blast but was later diagnosed with leukaemia and was taken to hospital, where she was told of an ancient Japanese legend which says that anyone who makes 1000 origami cranes will have their wish granted, which became her goal. Sadako not only reached her target but exceeded it by some 300, and sadly died when she was just 12 years old. In 1958, a statue of Sasaki holding a golden crane was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and the cover of the album is obviously unfolded origami. It is a fascinating story, one which I was happy to research, but I cannot tell you exactly how the story unfolds on the album, as it is all in Italian! Logo are an RPI band (Rock Progressivo Italiano), which not only means there are complex keyboard-dominated passages with classical and Seventies influences, but lyrics are in Italian. This means that for the non-Italian speaker (I personally have enough trouble with my native English), it is a case of treating the vocals as another element of the overall arrangement, something I have no issue with whatsoever as the combination of all of the elements together is something quite special indeed. Although there is a great deal of keyboards on the album, this is very much a rock album with guitars pushing through the layers to take control, or often providing a harder rocky backing, so much so that at times the band move somewhat away from RPI and more into the realms of neo prog. It is a very polished album, with melodic vocals and long instrumental passages, and anyone into the sub-genre known as RPI really does need to seek this out.
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