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Ache - De Homine Urbano CD (album) cover

DE HOMINE URBANO

Ache

 

Symphonic Prog

3.45 | 53 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `De Homine Urbano' is the debut work from vintage progressive rock related band Ache, hailing from Denmark. Originally recorded as a soundtrack to an experimental rock-opera in 1970, it should come as no surprise that the music here has numerous lengthy flowing instrumental sections, as well as little in the way of vocals to distract from that. Split into two side long pieces, the band present a rough-around-the-edges take on symphonic prog, somewhat along the lines of early classical influenced bands such as The Nice, but never as fancy or sophisticated. Instead the band charges through a frequently heavy, wild and more reckless extended work, with just a slightly sloppier and dirtier edge to the sound, and it's all the more addictive for it. With plenty of fuzzy organ workouts, delicate piano moments and varied ragged percussion, it's a fascinating work that reveals its strengths over repeated plays.

Considered a ten-part suite, the eighteen plus minute title-track offers a colourful range of instrumental passages with just a few vocal moments thrown in as well. Spiralling organ that grows and retreats back and forth in urgency, delicate bass, snapping drumming and dirty distorted lead guitar introduces the piece. Admittedly the band let themselves down a little when one of their main repeated guitar/vocal melodies throughout this piece is ripped straight off the Beatles track `Every Little Thing', or more accurately the Yes cover take that appeared on their debut album, but it only shows up in one or two spots, with other brief nonsensical lyrics taking on a freeform rambling quality. Piano is gentle one second, jagged and psychedelic the next, the cascading electric guitar driving and bluesy one moment, jazzy guitar licks soon after. The Hammond organ is constantly deliciously scratchy, sometimes along the lines of the early Eloy and ELP albums, and the drumming is always sprightly and full of spontaneity. All of these are worked through a range of tempo changes back and forth, with an effective use of grandious reprises for dramatic build. Especially nice is the subdued finale with tinkling ambient chimes, droning organ and soft hand percussion with a victorious electric guitar solo (sounding very much along the lines of early Genesis!) is especially pretty.

The nineteen minute flip-side `Little Things' might just be even better! Full of confidence and tasteful playing, it constrasts beautiful passages with more intense and suspensful emotional moments. There's a darkness and creeping unease throughout the piece that makes for even more of a statement of intent and a display of the band's abilities. It opens with marching drums over prancing organ that brings some lovely fanfare pomp, with some lovely fleeting blissful acoustic guitar moments too. The piece suddenly heads in a darker direction, with unexpected nightmarish stalking piano and somber organ drones, the bass thicker and more menacing throughout. Fiery jazz fusion electric guitar runs spliced with hypnotic middle-eastern ambience burst forth, the entire band playing with rambuctious and thrashing power, but listen carefully to the expertly executed build with creeping piano, punching repetitive bass and chiming guitars over rising and falling Hammond crescendos in the final minutes. Powerful drumming drives the melodic and more upbeat finale home, the band breaking in and out of a tornado of swirling noise.

Initially somewhat underwhelming on first impression, the debut Ache album quickly wins over listeners with it's energetic playing and ambitious arrangements. Although a rarer LP, it can now be easily purchased on an affordable CD backed with the also superb second album `Green Man'. Fans of early Hammond heavy albums by bands like Eloy, Grobshcnitt and Jane, as well as those curious of a dirtier take on music similar to The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer should investigate this one right away. It's an addictive album in need of a little more exposure and more listeners to enjoy it!

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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