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Pholas Dactylus - Concerto Delle Menti CD (album) cover


Pholas Dactylus


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.75 | 53 ratings

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4 stars Pholas Dactylus came from the province of Milan and were formed in the early seventies. The band's name was inspired by the scientific name of a shell and the line up featured Paolo Carelli (vocals), Eleino Colladet (guitar), Valentino Galbusera (keyboards), Maurizio Pancotti (keyboards), Rinaldo Linati (bass) and Giampiero Nava (drums). They had a good live activity and in 1973 they released a very peculiar album for the independent label Magma, "Concerto delle menti" (Concert of the minds), a conceptual work based on a visionary and apocalyptic poem by Paolo Carnelli. Soon after the release of the album the band split up and it's a pity because their experimental verve would have deserved more credit. Pholas Dactylus' sound is challenging, swinging from jazz rock to quiet and pastoral breaks, from hard rock guitar riffs to psychedelic rides. The album is conceived like a long suite and the music flows away without interruptions linking together the spoken parts. Here words are like notes and the music is a perfect background for evocative recitative vocals describing nightmarish landscapes and declaiming ominous prophecies...

The album opens with a spoken introduction that sets the atmosphere... "You are going to take a tramway, in a while you'll be on an old battered tramway-wagon looking like you after a black, empty and paranoiac day... For a while the speed will be the same as usual... You'll touch the shoulder of the passenger on the sit beside you to ask him something... And you'll realize with immense despair that he's nothing but a heap of rags... You'll call the driver and you'll see nothing but the face of the mind's death... Your only way out will run throughout the windows of the wagon but then you'll realize that the usual panorama is slowly changing... Houses, cars and people will take the shapes, the colours and the smells that your mind will suggest... Your tramway will take off and will drive you through dimensional doors... At this point you'll be ready to accept what Pholas Dactylus have already accepted long time ago... We are not alone in the universe!".

Drum rolls, then music starts taking a winding path featuring nervous jazz rock touches and leading to a calm piano pattern from where tense recitative vocals soar describing a world that is turning upside down, where flowers turn into seeds, insects turn into larvae... "The poet digs with iron claws into the sands of a sinking desert... Into the throat of Moses all the words he spoke come back like smoke / Cain's blade leaves the wound and Abel resurrects from the dust / Pilate can't find his tongue / Judas climbs on the tree where he was hanging / Lucifer flies away from the earth roaring / Christ falls back in his death / Adam's rib is back while a woman is crying inside his hip... A melted sun in chains of greedy thirst feeds the first day with the last one".

Then tension rises, rhythm takes off and vocals grow more and more passionate and intense while drawing strong images that seem to come out from a psychedelic trip... "Walking on the roofs of dead houses / I realize that my pockets are full of sand / Blue sand from a desert of amethyst / In my nostrils there are seeds of belladonna and cannabis... You, meaningless little men, half-buried by a rain of black tarantulas / You, who think to be all right over there / Tell me, why shouldn't I travel beyond the doors of another dimension?... What can you understand if I tell you that a stone opens and a flower comes out from it?... I see a long queue of human beings, naked and faceless... I see trees with black leaves... I see buildings swinging on the ground... I see scarlet abysses, golden mountains... From the sea gigantic periscopes are coming up... But I'm feeling good... Yes, I'm fine and nothing else matters!".

After a short instrumental break vocals come back, full of caustic rage... "The idiots are looking at us and they don't know what to do... An enormous terror will grow and gas will spread everywhere... The planets of our galaxy have melted into a single block, into a single cluster of fire...". Music becomes hypnotic, almost mystic featuring frenzy guitar riffs and spacey keyboards... "How many lives cut off, meaningless lives... And in the sky an executioner with his court of pretty women is looking below and laughing at the people who think that is possible to escape just purchasing another brain...".

Then the rhythm calms down while vocals take a prophetical tone and describe the apocalyptical advent of six iron angels coming down from the sky. The angels can't speak, see nor hear because they're without mouth, eyes and ears... The first one will spread his limbs on the ocean that will become black while needles of sun will puncture the breasts of the earth provoking putrefaction and death... The second one will put his roots into desert lands becoming the tree of trees... The third one will go down into the abysmal ditches slaughtering the monsters of an imaginary sea... The fourth one will use a sucker of alabaster and will suck every kind of drugs... The fifth one will prevent the awakening of the colossus with the feet of clay and the sky will be obscured by ships of platinum while millions of animals of every kind will be absorbed by the solar well and each one of them will be sent to a different star... The sixth angel will rebuild the Atlantic tower and finally on earth only one language will be spoken... "Then He will come down like rain on the streets / And there will be peace on earth until the disappearance of the planets... He will rule, that's what I say to you!... And the fate of followers of Baal will be doomed!".

After a calm pastoral instrumental interlude the recitative vocals resume the prophetic tone and tells that what has been told before is nothing but the start of a new walk... "Our goal will be joining forever with the peoples who are already waiting for us / And dipping with them into the universe of the universes, into the dimension of the untouchables / And once arrived we will arise and die again and again in different forms / Since the body could be one, ten, hundred, thousand, billions... but the mind is only one!".

Spacey sounds and hints of a fiery tarantella lead to a spectacular accident... One of the ships of the sands wrecks on the blue dunes and electric guitar and jazzy piano passages describe the scene... Masked men and women drown into the sand and then fade away into an orange cloud that turns black, then the thunder of Death... "A death that is not death because there was no life before".

Music stops for a moment, then a sound of sea waves... Music starts up again and rhythm becomes frenzy... You can listen to people shouting "I buy and sell second-hand brains!", then a new vision comes out from the mist... Tiny sea creatures were looming on your body a soft carpet swarming of life, life that was slowly leaving your limbs and your lungs... when, suddenly, a faint light rose at the bottom of the black maelstrom of fear and a white shining lily blinded the consciousness and someone throw you into a desert of black pearls... "Time and space have disappeared!"

Music flows with sudden changes of mood and rhythm while vocals depict other nightmarish visions... On the shoreline a bearded man collects rubbish while the sea stinks of oil, there's no wind an the sea is full of dirty wrecks and useless objects... A red monk is preaching and a green little girl is dancing at the rhythm of the sea... A little boy of stone with a broken arm tells of a slaughter of white doves and of human skins stretched under the sun to dry... "And in the meantime His eye / Above the cells full of larvae kills! Kills! Kills! Merciless He kills... Then He pick up the corpses and throw them into a burning abyss... Then new lives, new bodies, new minds will fill the earth... Then demons dressed in white will spread a new light, light coming from new worlds... Damned souls of the cosmos, forever impressed on the front of...

The last word is cut off, the vision is suddenly interrupted and the album comes abruptly to an end. Apocalyptic visions dealing with nuclear disasters, pollution, war... Science fiction or poetry? You can like or dislike this work, but it's undeniable that it's a definitively unique and original... An excellent addition for every Italianprog collector.

andrea | 4/5 |


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