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Ad Maiora - Ad Maiora! CD (album) cover

AD MAIORA!

Ad Maiora

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.76 | 37 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Formed back in 2009, Ad Maiora, a five piece band from Milan, have delivered a knockout debut self-titled album - just with an added `!' on the end! A bunch of seasoned gentlemen, these musicians play with a precision and skill that shows the years they've all spent honing their craft, and they've delivered one of the most varied and unpredictable progressive albums to emerge from Italy in quite some time. In some ways, they can be compared to another Italian band, Phoenix Again, who choose to play in a number of various progressive styles to keep the listener guessing! Ad Maiora work in everything from symphonic prog, jazz, heavy rock, blues, the romantic prog styling of Camel, and even some of the classical sophistication of the proper RPI/Italian prog bands. All are revealed through a mix of tasteful instrumentals, with a few superior English vocal pieces as well.

`Diatriba' is a furious and confident opener, all spiraling vintage keyboards, Moreno Piva's thick upfront plucking bass and Flavio Carnovali's driving electric guitar soloing worked into an E.L.P- styled grand urgency, especially during the particularly frantic final minute. Enzo Giardina's stomping drums push the skipping Genesis-like Moog runs of the jaunty `Sugo Dance' along nicely, quite a joyous repeated instrumental melody before dueling warping synths and fiery lead guitars race through to an unexpected heavy finish. The aggressive `Dream' is overloaded with burning Bolero rhythms powered by hypnotic relentless bass. Slow-burner `Ecclissi Orientale' is the first vocal piece on the album, singer Paolo Callioni's stirring voice weaves around droning eastern mysticism and scorching hot extended electric guitar runs. After an introduction of sedate electric piano and laid-back guitars complimenting each-other perfectly, instrumental `Nulla Intenso' kicks up in tempo with a grandly symphonic build thanks to emotional pulsing synths and electric guitar solos filled with purpose. `Strange' is a sadly romantic piano driven ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on any of the modern Steve Hackett solo discs, or perhaps the late 80's onwards Camel albums, with Paolo's voice almost echoing Andy Latimar in a few spots as well. It climaxes in a heart-wrenching electric guitar solo over the warmest of humming Hammond organ courtesy of Sergio Caleca.

Then we finally reach some proper vintage Italian prog with the almost 11-minute instrumental `Menate'. Here the band deliver a manic extended piece in the manner of a band like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, even little traces that remind of P.F.M and very briefly Triade. Searing Mellotron, classical piano drama, twisting guitars and deranged synths tear through a range of tempo changes and surprising moods, everything perfectly intertwining. Next is a surprise reworking of George Gershwin's `Summertime' that sees the band offering some tasty rapid-fire guitar licks, aggressive bass and jazzy piano. `Corolla' offers even more classical RPI beauty, the flute dancing majestically throughout a romantic piece that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the classic Locanda Della Fate debut. There's unease bubbling under on album closer, the vocal track `No More War', which mixes intimidating bluesy guitar wailing and biting vocals with moody symphonic synths, plus a soaring mellotron build to end on.

(PS - Dont forget to check out the hidden 1 minute Moog-tastic `bonus' track `Postscript' at the very end of the CD!)

Before being added to the site, there was already a buzz around the band from different Prog Archives members, keen to be able to post positive reviews and give these talented musicians and their wonderful debut album some high praise. Upon learning of the addition of the band to the site, Paolo even said "I can't believe we're on the Prog Archives, our hobby has actually been worth it!" This is the sort of excitement and passion for the progressive rock genre that should be praised, and it's our pleasure to have this great band on the site now. I'm pretty sure the complimentary reviews will keep coming, and `Ad Maiora!' gets the band off to a great start, already setting the bar very high for their future works. Ad Maiora - a mature, talented band who showcase supreme and refined progressive musical taste.

Bravo, gentlemen, four stars!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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