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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Come In Un'Ultima Cena CD (album) cover

COME IN UN'ULTIMA CENA

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.01 | 218 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars One of the most ground-breaking Italian progressive groups of the Seventies (actually, of all time), Banco del Mutuo Soccorso had an interesting first few years of releases. Three landmark RPI works (the self-titled debut, `Darwin!' and `Io Sono Nato Libero'), an English language remake disc and an all-instrumental soundtrack work `Garofano Rosso' arrived within the five years covering 1972-1976, and the group also delivered a further work `Come in Un'Ultima Cena' (`As In a Last Supper') in both Italian and English versions. While it's not quite up to the genre-setting standard of their first three releases, it's still a hugely impressive, intelligent and varied work that more than ever before showcases the charismatic vocals of frontman Francesco Di Giacomo, more than ably backed up by dazzling instrumental prowess of the musicians around him.

Unsurprisingly, a work inspired by the spiritual themes and symbolism of one of Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous paintings `L'ultima Cena' proves to give the music a bombastic and rich drama, and opener `...a cena, per esempio' sets things up nicely, with brash keyboard bursts, ripples of doomy and ravishing cascading piano, a jazzy swing in amongst electric guitar bite, melting Moog runs and Francesco's melancholic croon purring away with dignity. `Il Ragno' has a bass-powered funky grooving saunter that perhaps brings the album the closest to a more accessible commercial piece, but it's far from radio- friendly and still full of Banco's trademark twitching instrumental bursts. The melody of ` cos buono Giovanni, ma...' is deeply stirring thanks to Francesco's warm and sweet vocal over pretty synth trills, breezy flute, warm acoustic guitar flecks and effective sparse orchestration, and `Slogan' takes the album in a nightmarish direction with serrated buzzsaw-like cuttingelectric guitar splinters over gloomy piano and ballistic hair-tearing up-tempo symphonic bursts, a fanfare of blaring horns and thrashing drum spasms.

After a tense introduction, `Si Dice' is a frequently introspective piece that rises for a more boisterous chorus within its more compact framing, `Voil Mida' arrives like a delirious call-to-arms with its runaway dark-jazz piano and creeping organ bristles, a malevolent bounce to its histrionic bursts and stop/start snapping twists before Francesco's voice arrives with a joyful and lighter swoon. `Quando la buona gente dice' is a spirited and lively vocal-led interlude with rapid little instrumental fills,`La notte piena' a gorgeous ruminative recorder and gentle classical guitar ballad and `Fino alla mia porta' a wonderful final race of instrumental flourishes and symphonic pomp.

`Come in Un'Ultima Cena' remains a very underrated work with something of an ill-conceived lesser reputation from this important Italian group. The only problem is that they perhaps set their personal standard so impossibly high with their first three works (that remain benchmark Italian progressive discs to this very day), but close inspection and repeated plays reveals `Come in...' retains all the same vocally rich, lyrically thoughtful and instrumentally flamboyant work as those others, just crafted to a more melodic and focused work that stands proudly with great dignity on its own merits.

A disappointment? Not even slightly...

Four and half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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