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La Bocca della Verità - Avenoth CD (album) cover


La Bocca della Verità


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.00 | 100 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Taking their name from an ancient stone mask that depicts the face of the sea god Oceanus from Greek mythology, La Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth) are a Roman band formed in 2001, who spent many of their early years performing cover songs of works by well-known progressive rock acts, both Italian and international. Eventually switching to their own compositions was the right choice, however, as the band have delivered a truly exceptional and lengthy concept-work debut with `Avenoth', and it's turned to be one of the true standout releases in Italian progressive music in 2016. With superior group vocal arrangements and frequent long instrumental stretches, it's also probably the best sounding keyboard dominated album of 2016, and right from the opening minutes, it's clear we're dealing with a confident and inspired group setting out to impress.

After an ambient synth and sound-bite collage with grand classical piano and electric guitar introduction, the dreamy `Contro Luna E Luce' properly launches the album and alternates between acoustic/electric passages with a mellow dignity. Fabrizio Marziani's voice holds a commanding, gravelly quality, and once the warm humming Hammond organ (both Jimmy Bax and Massimo Di Paola are credited to keyboards throughout) and Roberto Bucci's majestic guitar themes enter it all reminds of Logos' recent`L'Enigma della Vita'. The band then confidently launches right into `La Suite dei Tre Pianeti', an ambitious four-part epic near-eighteen minutes in length. It moves through everything from Marillion-esque spoken word passages, powerful Genesis-like regal pomp, heavier bursts powered by Guglielmo Mariotti's muscular upfront bass (some of the best to appear on an Italian disc in 2016) and steadily-paced guitar strums over washes of Hammond organ that are deeply indebted to Pink Floyd. The group don't skimp on lovely group harmonies, weary sax, heavy wailing grooves and no shortage of majestic symphonic themes full of whirring keyboards too, but best of all are several frantic Banco del Mutuo Soccorso-like instrumental bursts full of variety and exceptional playing, the first big `wow' moment of the disc, especially during the breathless and twisting/turning final minutes.

Other highlights include the comforting group voices and sublime acoustic guitars of the title track `Avenoth', book-ended with an infectious P.F.M/Genesis-like prance. `La Festa' is a fanciful and uplifting instrumental full of joy, `Antico' a sweet acoustic interlude, and `La Deportazione Degli Avenothiani' is dominated by soaring guitar lines. The heavy grooving guitars, Ivan Marziani's pounding drums and punchy Hammond blasts of `La Rivolta/Il Massacro Dei Terrestri' remind a little of Kansas and Deep Purple, the piece culminating in a soaring electric guitar solo drenched in Mellotron that wouldn't have sounded out of place on an I.Q album. The swooning orchestration and choir voices grafted to introspective prog-rock movements of further instrumental `Perduto Avenoth' remind of the New Trolls and their seminal `Concerto Grosso' works (killer guitar solo from Roberto in the climax too!), and the ten-minute finale `Reprise - (Speranze Distorte)' closes on everything from chiming acoustic prettiness, a battery of keyboard intensity and piano reflection, powerhouse drumming and a final raspy dignified vocal.

Whilst there's not a bad bit of music on the entire disc, there was probably no need to pad the album out for almost 78 minutes, but the confidence of the group is deeply admirable, and admittedly the band show that they have the abilities to achieve their lofty musical ambitions here. Every aspect of the disc - charismatic lead and winning group vocals, skilled melodic compositions and dynamic instrumental prowess (especially the latter!) - are present every step of the way throughout `Avenoth', and La Bocca della Verità should be immensely proud that they have delivered one of the very best Italian progressive works of 2016, made even more impressive considering it's a debut album. Were the group to already fall now to the old Italian Prog curse and only release one album, they could be proud knowing they delivered a defining musical statement to the very best of their skills with `Avenoth', but let's hope this is just the start of a great career for these talented musicians!

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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