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ALIGHT

Cellar Noise

Symphonic Prog


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Cellar Noise Alight album cover
3.75 | 77 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dive with me (9:33)
2. Underground Ride (8:03)
3. Embankment (6:29)
4. Temple (8:24)
5. Blackfriars (3:27)
6. Move the Stone (5:45)
7. Monument (8:52)

Total Time 49:13

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Eric Bersan / drums, percussion
- Loris Bersan / bass guitar, classical guitar
- Niccolò Gallani / grand piano, electric piano, organ, Mellotron, synthesizer
- Francesco Lovari / lead and backing vocals, percussion
- Alessandro Palmisano / lead and rhythm electric guitar, acoustic guitar

With
- Chiara Alberti / cello
- Luca Tarantino / oboe
- Giulia Zanardo / flute

Releases information

CD/Digital released February 10, 2017. AMS Records (AMS 279 CD )

Thanks to rdtprog for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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AMS Records
Audio CD$52.81


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CELLAR NOISE Alight ratings distribution


3.75
(77 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

CELLAR NOISE Alight reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Italian band Cellar Noise was formed by keyboardist Niccolò Gallani and guitarist Alessandro Palmisano back in 2013, and despite a few line-up changes since then, the band quickly came to the attention of modern Italian prog-rock icon Fabio Zuffanti, who agreed to produce their debut album. Zuffanti's gut instinct for spotting talent has once again paid off brilliantly, as Cellar Noise's 2016 debut `Alight' is an absolute symphonic knockout beginning to end, lyrically being an observation on the mundanity of modern life but managing both stark and hopeful themes, and a work that perfectly blends vintage prog-rock and current sounds.

On the surface, Cellar Noise often calls to mind the classic Peter Gabriel-fronted Genesis period (instrumentally at least, but not at all vocally) given a modern makeover by way of a younger keyboard-heavy Italian group like Unreal City, and they deliver a rich level of musical precision that reminds of classic Italian band Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. There's a touch here and there of heavier guitar grunt that will appeal to younger listeners, and it frequently has a refreshing vocal-driven melodic approach that will make it instantly accessible, as well as also being one of the better examples of an Italian band utilizing English of recent years.

Like with Promenade's recent debut `Noi al dir di Noi', it's perhaps a gamble that a vocal-driven band open their debut disc with a near ten-minute instrumental, but that's what `Dive with Me' is, and WHAT an instrumental! Think the regal Mellotron veils and organ pomp of Genesis' `Watcher of the Skies' spiced with lonely sax, Eric Bersan's peppy drumming, fancy acoustic guitars and sparkling grand piano, all growing together in carefully building drama. Once Niccolò's whirring keyboard overkill hits, we're instantly reminded of current popular Italian prog-bands like Unreal City and La Coscienza di Zeno, and as stirring violin, soft flute, creaking oboe and elegant cello concoct almost classical-flavoured themes, it definitely takes the band the closest to a pure RPI moment (or even Fabio Zuffanti's own symphonic Hostsonaten project), as well as being one of the loveliest and most exceptional instrumental pieces of the year.

But the vocal pieces don't disappoint either, as singer Francesco Lovari has a soothing and amiable voice, and his use of charmingly accented English here mostly works very well. He swoons and trills around bassist Loris Bersan's placid acoustic guitar strums and colourful keyboards of `Underground Ride', where grandiose Mellotron choir rises, Alessandro Palmisano's soaring Steve Hackett-esque reaching guitar strains and even stream-of-consciousness spoken-word passages intertwine throughout a gorgeous and melodic tune, and the two minute instrumental break from the 4:30 mark will make Genesis fans smile wildly!

The darkly romantic `Embankment' is book-ended with a vivid lyric aided splendidly by softly melancholic yet pretty piano, but the piece also unexpectedly breaks into dirtier heavy guitar tantrums and manic keyboard outbursts in the middle. `Temple' is highlighted by Loris Bersan's ravishing classical guitar, and the complex vocal arrangement offers great variety and easily met challenges for Francesco. But a darker searing heaviness is lurking just below the surface, and quickly glistening electric piano tiptoes, bubbling Moog trills and intimidating Mellotron strings and choirs burn the middle of the piece with hellish fire before an exquisite classic Genesis-styled three-minute instrumental climax.

A nice shorter break, the buoyant and brisk `Blackfriars' is Genesis given a heavier guitar snarl and a biting social commentary lyric, and `Move the Stone' is a welcome stripped-back ballad mostly carried by restrained piano, cello and flute touches but effortlessly still manages to work in some subdued powerful moments that never overwhelm. Darker album closer `Monument' holds a constant peppy momentum and breathless urgency, and even finds time for some moments of booming gothic intensity! Loris gets plenty of bass soloing spots to shine, and while the piece presents a confronting lyric about crippling social anxiety, it all builds to a hopeful and defiant finale - just an amazing end to a superb album.

There's endless things to recommended about this disc - incredible arrangements, vocals full of character, intelligent lyrics and top-notch playing (which includes probably the best piano playing on an Italian disc so far this year), and even better the whole album runs a nice vinyl length of forty-nine minutes which means it's easier to approach and will be replayed much more frequently (none of this packed-to-the-gills, 79-80 minutes CD limit nonsense here, thank you very much!). Mr Zuffanti might have a keen eye and great ear for big potential when he sees it, but the skill and talent of Cellar Noise is already all theirs, and this cracking debut album is one of the standout Italian works of the year well deserving of plenty more attention, and one that should also hold a great crossover appeal for English speaking prog-rock listeners.

Four and a half stars, but let's round it up to five for one of the best prog-rock releases of 2017!

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. CELLAR NOISE are a young band out of Italy forming in 2013 and this is their debut released this year(2017). Fabio Zuffanti became a fan after hearing some of their music and offered himself to help them out with the recording process, and they of course welcomed his help and so he became the Artistic Director. The vocals are in English and there's a strong GENESIS vibe especially with the keyboards but also beyond that. We get three guests helping out with oboe, flute and cello.

"Dive With Me" is the 9 1/2 minute instrumental to get us started. It opens with the sounds of a subway train(see album cover) then the atmosphere slowly pulses. Piano only takes over after 1 1/2 minutes as the oboe joins in. It's building as the drums, bass and synths arrive. This sure sounds like GENESIS with those pulsating synths. It kicks in a minute later, mellotron too. It becomes uptempo and synth driven 4 minutes in. I'm not into this but I like when it returns to that GENESIS sound as contrasts continue. Piano only 5 1/2 minutes in as it slowly winds down and cello joins in. Oboe is back then mellotron and piano a minute later. It kicks back in after 8 minutes then piano only ends it.

"Underground" again brings GENESIS to mind right away with the acoustic guitar and gentle vocals. Mellotron joins in along with synths. The vocals stop before 2 minutes as the drums, organ and guitar lead the way but vocals are back quickly. Organ and spoken words 4 minutes in then fast paced acoustic guitar takes over as drums, bass, organ and more help out. Synths lead before 5 minutes in this uptempo section. A calm before 6 1/2 minutes with strummed guitar and almost spoken words, piano too then it kicks back in.

"Embankment" along with the next track "Temple" are my favourites from this album. "Embankment" opens with piano as reserved vocals join in. I like this a lot. Some emotion here. The mellotron rolls in around a minute followed by drums. It then turns fuller before 2 1/2 minutes before becoming heavier with guitar before 3 minutes. Nice. The synths are very GENESIS-like 4 minutes in then the vocals return.

"Temple" opens with picked guitar before it turns dark. It's building as some powerful organ joins in. A change before 1 1/2 minutes as vocals and a lighter sound take over. That darker and heavier sound will come and go. Check out the mellotron that storms in before 4 minutes during a heavy section. Picked guitar and vocals are back before 5 minutes like the intro. It starts to build then the guitar starts to solo over top around 6 minutes in, oboe too.

"Blackfriars" is one I'm just not into at all. Mostly because of the vocals. It's uptempo with lots of vocals. More GENESIS-like synths and a calm with mellotron ends it. "Move The Stone" is a relaxed tune starting out with piano and reserved vocals. Cello will join in as well. Laid back guitar, oboe, piano and mellotron after 3 minutes. It ends as it began with vocals and piano.

"Monument" is not a cover of that amazing FATES WARNING track unfortunately. It opens with acoustic guitar as drums join in followed by a fuller sound. This is fairly heavy until a calm with bass and mellotron arrives. Vocals 3 minutes in during a calm then it builds. Mellotron follows then we get another calm after 4 minutes. It does build again then we get a guitar solo after 7 minutes and it continues for about a minute.

A good album for sure but for various reasons I can't offer the fourth star.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
3 stars A Fabio Zuffanti find, this young Italian band is making very nice neo-GENESIS prog. Poor sound production (a consistent Zuffanti trait, in my opinion), the band members have a great sense of melody and drama and are truly on their way to mastering the challenging shifts and turns of symphonic prog. The music reminds me of BABYLON's eponymous 1980 album with less noticeable drums. Nice incorporation of classical instrumentation into their mixes. They will certainly be a band to watch in the future.

1. "Dive with me" (9:32) modernized "Watcher of the Skies" opening. Too derivative. Piano and acoustic guitar duet section that follows is awesome--soon joined, slowly, by the rest of the band. A little too bombastic and simple-- though nice keyboard/synth work. Again, too much like a study in mid-70s GENESIS music. (8/10)

2. "Underground Ride" (8:03) opening section of acoustic guitar and voice, later joined by Mellotron, is nice. Electric guitar solo is sufficient. Vocal suffers in next verse. Melodic sophistication and harmonic support are rather simple, one-dimensional. Charlie Chaplin-like spoken section in fifth minute is nice. Following Genesis build and Tony Banksian solo are good. Best guitar solo on album screams right after. Poor ending. A top three song for me. (8.5/10)

3. "Embankment" (6:29) nice slow, soft opening section. It's the bigger, fuller, electronic sections that gets oversimplified. Too much senseless meandering. (7.5/10)

4. "Temple" (8:24) inviting acoustic guitar opening followed by slow-build of heavy organ. Song then resets into slow, calm storytelling mode. A little RUSH-like but the instrumental bridges and codas are quite simple--like Prog 101. Acoustic guitar return is quite welcomed. Nice singing here and succeeding use of oboe. (8/10)

5. "Blackfriars" (3:27) kind of "Get 'em out by Friday" opening with theatric vocal. Competent instrumental performances and better than average composition. (8/10)

6. "Move the Stone" (5:45) nice piano and voice NeoProg opening with awesome use of bassoon (too low for oboe, nicht wahr?) Another vocal over piano section with oboe solo following. Enter soloing electric guitar just after the three minute mark. Nice key change at 3:40. Sensitive and engaging. Best song on the album. (9/10)

7. "Monument" (8:52) has a true GENESIS sound and feel to it--kind of like Nursery Cryme's "Fountain of Salamacis." The piano and voice section is nice--vocal reminding me of Doroccas from 1970s Ft. Lauderdale band BABYLON. Followng section is nice GENESIS/GLASS HAMMER section using formula from Prog 102 class. (8/10)

High three stars album; nice addition to prog world. A band who is working hard to emulate the basic sounds and structures of 1970s GENESIS but whose gifts really lie in their most simple, acoustic supported vocal arrangements. A band to watch!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am becoming very happy and excited when I discover new - high quality - bands, like the Italian Cellar Noise for example. The Milan-based quintet is a very promising new band, and their debut album Alight was a pleasant surprise to me. It includes 9 tracks and all of them worth the listener's ... (read more)

Report this review (#1731406) | Posted by The Jester | Thursday, June 8, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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