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Maschera Di Cera - 2004 - "In Concerto"
TRACK LIST: 1. Il Canto del l'Inverno 2:04 2. Il Grande Labirinto 8:59 3. Ai Confini del Mondo 13:05 4. Il Viaggio Nel l'Oceano Capovolto-I 10:37 5. La Maschera Di Cera 19:21 6. Del Mio Mondo che Crolla 6:15 7. Del Mio Abisso e Del Mio Volo 18:17 All tracks: by Zuffanti & Macor. Produced by Maschera Di Cera. Engineered by G Francis. LINE-UP: Agostino Macor - organ & synthesizers Fabio Zuffanti - bass; backing vocals Alessandro Corvaglia - vocals; acoustic guitar Maurizio Di Tollo - drums Andrea Monetti - flute
Prolusion. Not counting the "Live at Gouveia Artrock" split DVD, "In Concerto" is the third official release by MASCHERA DI CERA (MDC hereafter) following two studio outings: the eponymous debut (2002) and "Il Grande Labirinto" (2003). Already the first album brought a cult status to MDC, and now, this is probably the most popular contemporary Italian Prog act. Related reviews: Zaal, Finisterre, La Zona.
Analysis. A lot of contemporary progressive bands don't play live at all, and I really appreciate all those that manage to do live shows, the heroes of this review included, of course. However, I would have called in question the necessity of making a live album just after a few years after the band's formation if only these guys weren't so hugely popular. So, here is "In Concerto", and as usual, the band's live performance is full of fresh urgency and energy. The album includes eight songs, by four from each of the band's studio outings, though Del Mio Abisso e Del Vuolo and Del Mio Volo were played as one monolithic piece and, consequently, were placed on one track. The first four compositions are from "Il Grande Labirinto", and the first two sound nearly identical to their original studio versions. These are a bit more accessible than the others. It seems the band decided to open the show this way so as to inflame the audience before intoxicating it with waterfalls of highly intricate and, in addition, jazz-infected arrangements that all the following compositions are filled with. So if the first two songs represent classic Symphonic Art-Rock with some Neo tendencies, the further ones are totally free of the latter component, and instead, are very rich in varied manifestations of Jazz-Fusion. Here, the guys, first of all Monetti and Macor, gave really free reign to their imagination and the related (read: improvisational) fantasies. At times, the band is jamming with so much enthusiasm that they often stray from the basic themes. Of course, they can allow themselves freedom during a show, but I doubt that they would've been as popular as they are now if they were doing the same when recorded their studio albums. But then, this 'live' document clearly displays the real mightiness of MDC.
Conclusion. Consisting of the present and former members of Finisterre, Zaal, La Zona and a few other bands, each of whom has many years experience in the job:-), MDC is just a supergroup. So there is nothing much that 'in concertos' they can easily widen the framework of their music by working miracles in the performance. Just like Titans.
VM: January 4, 2005
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