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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Inferno The Divine Comedy - part 1 CD (album) cover

INFERNO THE DIVINE COMEDY - PART 1

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

 

Various Genres

4.22 | 82 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
4 stars What a delight are these progrock projects by Finnish progrock magazine Colossus and French progrock label Musea. First it's a boost for lesser known and unknown new progressive rocks bands. And second it's an unique chance for progheads to check out these bands. So a big hand for Colossus and Musea,

The box set Dante's Inferno - The Divine Comedy - Part 1 delivers 34 (!) progrock bands from all over the world on 4 CD's and a 80 page booklet with information about the line-ups, the vintage instruments and websites, embellished with lots of pictures and paintings.

CD-1 : What a pleasure this CD starts with Nuova Era, in my opinion their instrumental contribution is the best this acclaimed Nineties rooted Italian formation ever made: a melodic and dynamic sound between ELP and Ars Nova featuring wonderful keyboard work (Hammond, church-organ, synthesizers and Mellotron) and in the final part powerful saxophone play. By the way, it was a prelude for more beautiful things to come (in 2010 and 2016).

I am also delighted about Little Tragedies (ultra-bombastic progrock with flashy guitar and keyboards and an energetic rhythm-section), Lady Lake (varied sound between Focus and Camel with beautiful Mellotron and Hammond waves and exciting electric violin play), Nemo (from compelling to bombastic outbursts, topped by strong theatrical vocals and tasteful work on Hammond, Mellotron and wah-wah guitar), Nexus (a bit more dubdued with an important role for the emotional vocals and synthesizer flights) and Flamborough Head with Trion (very melodic and varied with wonderful keyboard colouring along tasteful work on guitar and flute). The other bands are also worth listening: pleasant progfolk with warm female vocals, flute, acoustic guitar and halfway a surprising Korg synthesizer solo by Yesterdays, an unique, bit experimental sound with opera-like duo vocals by Greenwall, a strong build-up with emotional vocals and powerful Hammond and electric guitar by Atlantis 1001 and Colossus Project featuring an obvious Seventies sound with lots of Hammond waves and sparkling Minimoog runs.

CD-2 : A blend of known and unknown bands with strong appearances by Count (bombastic neo-symphonic sound with good duo-guitarwork (including a long moving solo), Willowglass (wonderful, from mellow with soaring Hammond, flute and warm 12-string guitar to bombastic with mighty Hammond and Mellotron), Wicked Minds (sensational Uriah Heep inspired sound with lots of breaks delivering swirling Hammond, fiery and biting wah-wah electric guitar and a Minimoog-Hammond duel), Ars Nova (great musical ideas and exciting, bombastic work on keyboards and heavy guitarplay by 3 guitarplayers) and Matthijs Herder (from Holland): between dreamy and compelling with a beautiful Mellotron sound and sensitive electric guitar that reminds me of fellow Dutchman Jan Akkerman. The other tracks are all on a decent level: a sound between The Flower Kings and Gentle Giant with the distinctive clavinet and strong solo on synthesizer and guitar by Brighteye Brison, an experimental sound with a wide range of instruments, including bombastic choir-Mellotron in the end by Garamond, pleasant symphonic rock with violin, piano, church organ, guitar and synthesizers by Il Castello Di Atlante and finally varied progfolk (between dreamy with flute, acoustic guitar and warm vocals and bombastic with Hammond, howling electric guitar and a synthesizer solo) by Groovector.

CD-3 : This disc delivers a lot of variety and a wide range of atmospheres: heavy and bombastic with blistering guitar, spectacular synthesizer flights and emotional Spanish vocals by Entrance, experimental with a flamenco guitar intro and a wide range of instruments by Advent, a sparkling solo on the Grand piano by the Contrappunto Project, between mellow with flute/mandoline and sumptuous with Moog/choir-Mellotron by CAP and ELP-inspired by Ozone Player. My favorite moments are the tracks by Sinkadus (compelling, typical Skandinavian climate with bombastic Hammond and Mellotron, a wonderful part with volume pedal guitar and flute Mellotron and a conclusion featuring howling guitar with lush Hammond and Mellotron), Nota Bene (jazzy undertone because of the Fender Rhodes electric piano and guitar sound and an exciting break delivering swinging piano and moving guitar) and Viima (wonderful duo-keyboards and sensitive electric guitar).

CD-4 : After more than 3 hours listening to this huge box set, I was very curious or this final disc would succeed to keep my attention. Well, it did! The first two bands were unknown but very promising formations from Italy: Armalite alternates between Seventies Genesis and early Marillion with warm native vocals, a lush keyboard sound (lots of Trons) and fiery electric guitar and Corte Aulica delivers a dynamic, alternating and melodic sound with sensitive electric guitar and exciting Minimoog work. Then multi-instrumentalist Raimundo Rudolfo (plus guest musicians), I love his blend of classical (violin, cello, guitar) and bombastic symphonic rock (Mellotron, church-organ, Minimoog and powerful electric guitar), embellished with pleasant Spanish vocals. Next is an interesting duo: keyboardplayer De Rossi (using an array of vintage keyboards) and former Rustichelli/Bordini and PFM member drummer Carlo Bordini, we can enjoy inventive keyboard-driven prog, from swinging clavinet to a great final part with the choir-section of a Memotron and a fat Minimoog sound, goose bumps! Tempano their music is a kind of avant-garde sound collage, very atmospheric with propulsive drum beats and lots of instruments. Nathan Mahl presents a very strongly build-up contribution, from dreamy with tender piano and a slow rhtyhm with Camel-inspired guitar and Mellotron to a bombastic part with Hammond organ and fiery guitar. Finally the acclaimed Swedish band Simon Says, for me their composition turns out to be one of the highlights on this 4-CD box: lots of shifting moods (from tender piano with warm vocals to intense bombastic eruptions with Mellotron and bass pedals), captivating musical ideas (with the vocoder and a sitar), exciting breaks and solos (flashy synthesizer with pitchbend) and a mindblowing final part with a strongly build-up guitar solo and sparkling piano, again goose bumps!

My conclusion: a very pleasant and loaded Pandora's progrock box of surprises (part one)!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |

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