[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Sea Memories 11:26 2. Who's Wrong 9:47 3. Sonya in the Search of the Moon I 1:26 4. Gun Child 8:29 5. Is His Mommy Little Monster 3:39 6. Sonya in the Search of the Moon II 3:17 7. Chrome Heart 9:30 8. Sonya in the Search of the Moon III 1:54 9. Sherylin's Mistake 8:45 10. Sonya in the Search of the Moon IV 8:13 11. The Losing Down 5:02 All music: by Roversi, except 4: Roversi / Cremoni, & 5: S. Rachmaninov (arranged by Roversi). All lyrics & vocal lines: by Tonco. LINE-UP: Cristiano Roversi - - Mellotron, organ, piano, & synthesizers; - 5-string bass, bass pedals David Cremoni - lead acoustic & electric guitars Dimitri Sardini - rhythm electric guitars Massimiliano Sorrentini - acoustic drums & percussion Riccardo Tonco - vocals; tambourine With: Marco Olivotto - viola (on 11) Produced by Moongarden. Engineered by Olivotto at "Sonica". Artwork: by Tonco.
Prolusion. MOONGARDEN's "Brainstorm of Emptiness" is a full concept album with lyrics in English and is dedicated to Andy Latimer, who got a lot of pleasing epithets in the CD booklet. I wasn't acquainted with the creation of this Italian band before, so consequently, my first supposition was these are the followers of Camel.
Synopsis. Of course, the first two songs on the album: Sad Memories and Who's Wrong have immediately dispelled all my prior delusions. Heavily influenced by classic Genesis and, partly, Marillion and Pink Floyd, these two are the representatives of a traditional Neo Progressive with only some touches of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, lots of cliches, and very little original ideas. After listening to these, I've become sure that the entire album is done in the same direction, and yet, once again erred. All the further contents of "Brainstorm of Emptiness" turned out to be radically different, completely original, and not only! Besides, the total playing time of remaining nine tracks (3 to 11) is about 50 minutes, which is certainly more than enough for a full-length album. Although the Hammond organ, Mellotron, and piano are still among the main soloing instruments here, and Tonco's singing is still mostly theatrically dramatic in character, there are no shades of Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel behind the parts of keyboards and, respectively, those of vocals. Cremoni's style of playing a guitar is original everywhere on the album, but on the first two tracks David was mostly walking in (keyboardist) Roversi's shadow. Starting with the third one, passages of acoustic guitar and solos of electric guitar play a very significant and, sometimes, the most important role in the arrangements. Four out of the remaining nine tracks, and these are the four parts of Sonya in the Search of the Moon (3, 6, 9, & 10) are instrumental pieces. In the basis of the first two of them lie amazingly diverse and beautiful passages of classical guitar, and the third one is above all notable for classically influenced passages of piano. The last instrumental is long and, as well as the songs Gun Child, Chrome Heart, and Sherylin's Mistake (4, 7, & 9), represents a truly classic, highly diverse and intriguing Symphonic Art-Rock with lots of elements of Prog-Metal. To be more precise, about one third of each of these four tracks consists of fast, intensive, and very original arrangements of a definite Classic Prog-Metal nature. The other parts include the mild and dense, but always variable Symphonic Art-Rock structures, the latter of which are sometimes notable for heavy guitar riffs going along with soft passages of keyboards and those of acoustic guitar (!) to the accompaniment of powerful rhythm-section! (I love contrasts in music.) The remaining two songs: the rendition of Sergey Rachmaninov's Is His Mommy Little Monster and The Losing Down (5 & 10) are also masterpieces. Both of them are mostly based on the parts of varied keyboards, including piano and string ensemble, and feature no drums (only cymbals and some light percussion). The style is a highly original blend of Symphonic Art-Rock and Classical Music with very unique vocals.
Conclusion. With the inclusion of Sad Memories and Who's Wrong in the album and, what's central, placing them at the very beginning of it, the band has probably intended to get as many of potential fans as possible, but such a 'strategy' works only in the world of mainstream. Well, it is unimportant in this very case. All of the other tracks here are so wonderful that I won't dare to take away more than a half of the star from the album's overall rating. Bravely get "Brainstorm of Emptiness" if you don't have it.
VM: January 8, 2004
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]