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(54:29, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. 680819DP 3:53 2. Symphony for a Shadow 4:42 3. The Mirror's Room 6:00 4. The Echo of the Dark Side 5:18 5. Nocturnal-I 4:10 6. Promenade avec la nuit 2:45 7. Alter Action 7:05 8. Eclipse 6:17 9. Nocturnal-II 3:47 10. AMIGDALA 10:32 LINEUP: Alfio Costa - piano, Mellotron, Hammond, Moog, Rhodes, synths Roberto Aiolfi – bass Flavio Costa – guitars Paolo Cassago – percussion With Clive Jones – vocals; flute, saxophone (3) Letizia Sperzaga – vocals (1, 6, 10) Hamadi Trabelsi – vocals (5, 9) Helena Biagioni – vocals (4) Sophya Baccini – vocals (2) Lino Vairetti – vocals (8) Irvin Vairetti – vocals (8)
Prolusion. Italian outfit TILION has been active for just over a decade now. In between participating with compositions for various projects, they have released two albums prior to their most recent, "A.M.I.G.D.A.L.A", issued by the French label Musea Records in September 2008. Those familiar with the band from before will probably miss one band member in the given line-up, as vocalist Andrea Ricci had to leave the band for personal reasons prior to the recording of this latest excursion. Rather than replacing him, Tilion has opted for the use of guest vocalists, at least for the time being.
Analysis. The stated aim of the founding members of Tilion when they formed this outfit was to create modern sounding music less influenced by ‘70s prog than their previous band Prowlers. This time around they've hit the bull's eye as far as this is concerned. This is an album of modern, innovative and challenging music, although rarely venturing into avant-garde territories, the compositions are quirky, more experimental in scope than your average progressive rock release (if such an average can be said to exist), and for better or worse most songs are rather unpredictable to boot. Few if any of the excursions on this disc evolve in an expected manner; and the changes in sound, style and pace are more often surprising than the opposite. It's hard to even describe this production in terms of a dominating style, as the compositions venture out into a number of directions throughout. A heavy variety of art rock with symphonic tendencies is a feature throughout, though, and as such may be described as some sort of a musical foundation. But lots of variations are blended in. Another key element in this creation are sound collages where dripping or moving water is the key feature, with various voices and sounds added: this probably to strengthen the lyrical motif of this concept album. Jazzy interludes, folk-inspired passages and harsh segments close to prog metal in expression are other stylistic variations used throughout this whole affair, and to some degree it's the rule rather than the exception that most of them are utilized in each and every composition. Various forms of keyboards dominate the proceedings, dark and ominous sounding ones in particular, with quite a few passages and themes explored with an almost sickly sounding atmosphere created by one or more varieties of tangents. The guitars, whether distorted or not, add to the overall mood, opting for sad, dark and harsh sounding excursions on most occasions throughout, where even the wandering acoustic guitar patterns woven tend to add a sheen of despair rather than hope. There is contrast here though, both from the guitars as well as with the vocals. Contrasts are made on many levels: clean vocals and harsh guitars, lighter sounding guitar passages played out against grim ones provided by keyboards, quirky instrumental explorations contrasting with more stylistically simple vocals or vice versa. There are lots of these kinds of aspects to discover, and most of them come across as well-planned as well as well-executed.
Conclusion. "A.M.I.G.D.A.L.A" is a quirky, innovative and rather challenging production; and although it mostly keeps a safe distance from avant-garde in terms of musical complexities, the ever evolving compositions frequently visiting different stylistic aspects do take a certain amount of concentration to be appreciated, not to mention a broad and eclectic musical taste in any potential listener. Some tracks do come across as slightly flawed, but more often than not the end result is both fascinating and intriguing. Liberal-minded followers of modern progressive rock are advised to check out this disc, especially if dark and ominous moods and atmospheres are of interest.
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