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Tracklist: 1. Fickle: a) Self Destruction (inst.) 0:31 b) Fickle 8:11 2. Leave It To Nature 8:41 3. Island Lake 7:39 4. Shooting Star 3:46 5. Gethsemane (inst.) 4:53 6. Last Inhabited Planet 6:58 7. To Be On Fire 8:59 8. Rebuilding 4:16 All music by PROLOUD & all lyrics by G. Mattei, Except 5 & 9 - music & lyrics by C. Zezza. Line-up: Giancarlo Mattei - vocals Christian Zizza - guitars Marco Donello - keyboards Mikele Zanni - basses Emi Pterro - drums Guest vocals - by Serena Ghinazzi (on 8) Guest narration - by Ketty Degli Esposti (on 8) Produced by Pino Dieni & Andrea Sancini. Engineered by Lorenzo Confetta at "Stranisuoni" studios.
Prologue. The first 24-minute demo Mini-CD "Fickle" by the Italian band Proloud, which was formed in 1996, was released in 1999 and received many fabulous reviews, including those in such famous magazines as "Metal Hammer" and "Metal Shock". "Rebuilding" is the debut full-length album by the band.
The Album. Well, many wonderful digipacks I saw, but this one is simply fantastic. It looks like a box made of the obsidian and encased with precious stones (kind of a black agate), which, apart from a small book of lyrics, contains a wide variety of wonderful miniature paintings. The music on this album is also rather outstanding, so this edition presents the Trinity of the most important Arts - Music, Literature (and Lyrics are part of it), and Painting - in all its glory. Musically, "Rebuilding" is one of the brightest representatives of a traditionally classic Prog-Metal where the presence of elements of Symphonic Art-Rock is just inevitable. Originally complex and diverse, beginning with the album's opening track, this music is getting more and more intricate with each of the following tracks here, with the exception of a resting-stop on track 4 and the weakening after a (great) job was done on track 8. Certainly, the 30-second Self Destruction that features only a few of the earthquake- and thunderclap-like effects, can't be regarded differently than just as an intro to Fickle, despite the fact that the CD player indicates it as a separate track (why?). Well, now, after a successful fight against the Destruction's 'separatism', I can start my work on describing "Rebuilding". Shooting Star (4) and the album's title track (8) are the only compositions on the album that are out of its predominant stylistics. The contents of the album's last track are hardly conform to its title - Rebuilding. The guys at Proloud should have called it just After Rebuilding, which would've been correct by all means. As a last resort, Hymn to Rebuilding would've also been an appropriate title for it. This bright ballad with light instrumental arrangements accompanied by claps instead of drums is the only track here that can't be rated highly than "good". Shooting Star, which is a wonderful Classic Art-Rock ballad, is close to the status of masterpiece. Apart from the tasty vocals, it consists mostly of soft, yet, very diverse interplay between 'classical' passages of acoustic guitar, lush strings-like passages of synthesizer and inventive solos of bass guitar and organ. All five of the remaining songs and the only instrumental composition on the album: Fickle, Leave It To Nature, Island Lake, Shooting Star, Last Inhabited Planet, To Be On Fire, and Gethsemane respectively (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, & 5), are masterworks. The contents of four of them (1, 3, 6, & 7) completely conform to the album's predominant stylistics that I defined above. While Leave It To Nature (2) contains, in addition, a few of the elements of Jazz-Fusion. The only instrumental on the album, Gethsemane (remember this biblical garden?), is probably the most beautiful track here. Stylistically, this piece represents the same Classic Prog-Metal with quite a few of the parts that were done in the vein of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, which, overall, is typical for all of the harsh compositions on the album. In addition however, Gethsemane is filled with wonderful flavors of music of East, which makes it my favorite track on "Rebuilding" despite the fact that the following two songs are more intricate. Nevertheless, all six of the tracks that consist mostly of harsh and hard-edged arrangements are both complex and very intriguing. All of them are marked with truly kaleidoscopic changes of musical dimensions (along with tempos and moods, of course) and feature continuous stop-to-play movements, all of which were done exclusively with the use of complex time signatures.
Summary. Already on their debut album, Proloud reached the high level of musical mastery and by all means. There are not that many bands on the contemporary Prog-Metal scene, the music of which would be both profound and highly virtuosi (or vice versa) as that of Proloud. Though, using the term of Prog-Metal with regard to this album, I should always mention that there are not that little of the purely Symphonic Art-Rock arrangements on it as well, to say nothing of mixed ones. Overall, "Rebuilding" is one of the strongest debut albums in this genre that I've heard in the new millennium.
VM. October 15, 2002
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