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Il Cerchio D'Oro - Il Fuoco Sotto La Cenere CD (album) cover

IL FUOCO SOTTO LA CENERE

Il Cerchio D'Oro

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.93 | 35 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars - First review for this album -

Il Cerchio d'Oro is an Italian prog band that was founded already in 1974 but which didn't manage to sign a recording deal at the time. To the pleasure of all progheads enjoying the retro-style symphonic Rock Progressivo Italiano, the band re-activated in this millennium and has now released four well-received albums. This latest release is my first acquaintance, and it actually took a while before I really realized how good album it is. Perhaps one could say that they "play safe" and therefor sound more or less like a connoisseur of the genre would expect. But no complaining, as long as it sounds so good. The title of the album (and the opening track) means The Fire Under the Ashes; the lyrics are printed both in Italian and in English. The very dynamic opener serves as a perfect example of the band's strengths. After a nearly four-minute instrumental intro enter the vocals, for the most part done in harmonies. By the way, there is no separate vocalist, and also the composing credits are divided between several members, e.g. keyboardist Franco Piccolini and bassist Giuseppe Terribile. This democratic approach sort of describes the music, which is rather free of the most self-indulgent features but always maintains the power and passion.

The group sound, served with those mentioned vocal harmonies, is warm and retro-ish. Lots of various analog keyboards (organ, Mellotron, etc), electric and acoustic guitars, and a tight rhythm section, all delivered with excellent production. The expectable British vintage influences such as ELP, Genesis, early King Crimson & Yes, and slightly also Uriah Heep, are there, but never in a downright derivative way. The compositions, all between 9 and 5 minutes in length, are both melodic and full of symphonic prog dynamics, without going into distinctive multi-part epic direction or towards fancy drama la Nursery Cryme -era Genesis. This music might be suitable for introducing prog rock to a non-connoisseur, not too demanding in that matter.

The whole 48-minute album is nevertheless pretty strong all the way. None of the seven tracks is weak, but perhaps the music gets slightly closer to mainstream rock on the two final 5-minute songs 'Il Rock e l'Inferno' (Rock and Hell) and 'Fuoco sulla Collina (the only one missing its lyrics in the leaflet), but they still sound proggy and contain some instrumental solos. The fifth song 'Il Fuoco nel Bicchiere' (The Fire in the Glass) is the slowest in tempo, and amidst the lyrics about alcohol-fuelled moarning for a lost love there are beautiful passages for various keyboards.

If there were also special instruments such as flute, violin or whatever to add pastoral ingredients to the sound, I'd enjoy the album even more. I'm very close to give a full rating; maybe this album slightly lacks originality and great surprises, but it's a guaranteed pleasure to the friends of symph-oriented RPI.

Matti | 4/5 |

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