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Inior - Hypnerotomachia CD (album) cover





3.93 | 9 ratings

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4 stars Apple Device were a prog Roman band that had been active with different line ups on the live local scene from 2003 to 2011 but did not have the chance to record anything but a couple of demos. In 2013, on the initiative of multi- instrumentalist Marco Berlenghini and vocalist Flavio Stazi, the band came to a new life as a duo and under a different name, Inior, and in 2014 they finally self-released an interesting debut album of original compositions that was recorded with the help of some guests such as Daniele Pomo (drums, from Ranestrane), Stefano Marzioni (guitars) and Domenico Dante (bass). The album is entitled Hypnerotomachia and, according to the liner notes, it is a conceptual work that tells about the spiritual journey of a man leading him from the disruption of the appearances of the contemporary society to the inner self. As for the title, it probably refers to a peculiar path in the Gardens of Bomarzo that was inspired by a book entitled Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (translated into English as Poliphilo's Strife of Love in a Dream or The Dream of Poliphilus) that presents a mysterious arcane allegory in which the protagonist pursues his sweetheart through a dreamlike landscape...

The dreamy opener "The Paper Ship" sets the atmosphere with a delicate, waltzing instrumental intro where electric guitar and piano perfectly interact backed by the rhythm section. Then the hermetic lyrics theatrically interpreted by the voice of Flavio Stazi draw visionary images and conjure up a vibrating dance of feelings and emotions... Back to the liner notes: "An invocation to a water-Nymph, a propitiatory dance and the journey starts with a huge stone labyrinth pushing you down. No one can save you from the motionless cruelty of a slow dying habit and from the tragedy of not being able to hug anyone else but yourself. And then mirrors, spasms, jumps, understanding, death, seeds and a flower singing you a song of lightness and freedom".

Next comes the beautiful instrumental "Mu.S.E." (Music and Subtle Ensemble) that leads to the dark, nightmarish "Stain of Steel" where the music and words evoke a gloomy scenery and a sense of loss. You can feel the pressure pulsing on your bones and deep shadows cover your thoughts while crimson monsters of stone start coming out from your mind as notes from a musical box. You follow a thread but soon you realize that it is just a false guide that's tying you down to insanity...

The melancholic notes of "Worn-Out" take you in a desperate game of mirrors where the words try to tear apart a veil of solitude and obsolete attitudes. With the following "From Blue To Red" the rhythm rises again and the nightmare continues between lights and shadows, majestic crimson flashes and flat widescreens. The lyrics draw disquieting, confused images while the music every now and again seems to bring the echo of distant voices coming from the eighties. Nonetheless a mighty will is growing...

The ethereal "Starslave" is like a strange sleepwalk towards the sky on a dark, artificial curve. Then, on the following "Resilient", black turns to blue, tension slackens and you begin to float out of control in the empty space, defying the gravity force. On "INI.OR" you crawl into delirium, the rhythm becomes frenzied... Then, suddenly tension melts and the storm calms down on the piano pattern that opens the final track, "Dust". Now you're back to earth with a new awareness and a lighter soul...

All in all, it was just a strange dream. To be honest, the lyrics are not the strength of this album and the concept might be a bit confused but the music is excellent and this work is really worth listening to. Maybe the beautiful art cover by Diego Zura Puntaroni, based on an engraving of Ole Worm's Cabinet of Curiosity, describes the content of the album better than all my words... Have a try and judge by yourselves: you can listen to the complete album on bandcamp.

andrea | 4/5 |


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