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AD MAIORA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Ad Maiora biography
AD MAIORA were formed in Milan, Italy in January 2009. The first five years would see the band contribute the track `Whaling Stories' to a Procol Harum tribute album on Mellow Records, as well as supporting other progressive acts such as Italian bands Ubi Maior and Shylock. They spent 2009 through to November 2013 writing their own compositions, all of which would end up on the debut self-titled album `Ad Maiora!', finally released on January 14th 2014.

The band describes their music as `originals - in every sense', and one listen to their debut album certainly proves that. Predominantly instrumental, with thick upfront bass, dazzling keyboard displays, confident drumming, thrilling acoustic/electric guitar performances and occasional superior English vocals, the amount of variety on display is instantly noticeable. AD MAIORA are not simply tied down to traditional R.P.I characteristics (despite a run of tracks in the second half of the disc such as `Menate' and `Corolla' showcasing that classical grandiosity and wild keyboard bombast), they incorporate a wide range of worldwide vintage prog influences such as CAMEL, TRION, little traces of E.L.P and GENESIS, as well as Italian bands like PHOENIX AGAIN and LOST TALES that play in numerous styles. Anyone who enjoys varied instrumental displays will adore this album, and it gets the band off to a great start. Highly recommended!

Biography by Michael H (Aussie-Byrd-Brother)

Related artists on PA: HABELARD2 (Sergio Caleca)

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Ad Maiora!Ad Maiora!
www.oltrelamusica.net 2014
Audio CD$13.46
Ad Maiora! by www.oltrelamusica.netAd Maiora! by www.oltrelamusica.net
www.oltrelamusica.net
Audio CD$38.59
Repetita IuvantRepetita Iuvant
Self-Produced 2007
Audio CD$21.05
$12.63 (used)

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AD MAIORA discography


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AD MAIORA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 38 ratings
Ad Maiora!
2014
3.99 | 42 ratings
Repetita Iuvant
2016

AD MAIORA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AD MAIORA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AD MAIORA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AD MAIORA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AD MAIORA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Repetita Iuvant by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.99 | 42 ratings

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Repetita Iuvant
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Ad Maiora is back with a sophomore album, nicely following up their rather spectacular self-titled debut back in 2013. Italian prog has been in a revival mode lately, featuring a slew of new and innovative bands that span the spectrum from young talents like Unreal City, Il Paradiso degli Orchi and Ingranaggi delle Valle, to older seasoned pros like Sezione Frenante and of which Ad Maiora are probably the ideal candidates to point to. All the instrumentalists are obviously first rate technicians, from sleek bass man Moreno Piva, keyboard maestro Sergio Caleca, drum phenom Enzo Giardina, axeman Flavio Carnovali and lastly, the energetic vocalist Paolo Callioni, all unchanged from the previous line-up. These Milanese signori have raised the bar with this thunderous effort, artistically enhanced by terrific cover art that perfectly captures their innate sense of contrast and fire. Wilder, brasher and evidently confident, the tracks reveal a zest for adventure, theatrics, technique, passion and a tad of insanity, after all they are Italians! The clean production is a glorious affair of pristine power and delicacy, shedding powerful light on every note and creating an insightful sense of both density and luxury.

A bouncy, compact and exalted opener in "Molokheya", steered by a stinging synth loop, tectonic drums, bruising bass lineage and a complex main riff, only provides the platform for lead lung Callioni to exalt with the best of them, utilizing English as his 'plat du jour', sounding very much like a typical concert opening statement. "Life" keeps the pedal to the floor, pushing the 'macchina' like some turbo-charged Lancia rally racer, spitting out a deluge of notes wrapped in a variety of moods, the irate Callioni howling as he steers the mike through all kinds of sonic chicanes and Caleca flipping a whistling synth solo that scours the heavens. Guitarist Carnovali is no slouch either, chugging, churning and challenging the arrangement with daredevil twists and turns. Needless to state, the rhythm tandem is rock-solid and lethal in its precision.

Switching to Italian on "Fermati" should be no problem as this initially heavy outburst contains some explosive contours, volcanic drum blasts and on-a-dime contortions that will leave the fan shell-shocked at the flawless ability displayed. Callioni gently calms the mood, warbling in his native tongue, floating on charm and elegance, while the athletic Piva rams his bass through some oblique maneuvers that will please the bass guitar fan to no end. The electric guitar does take a hard-jazz approach this time around, a hint of the great Jan Akkerman in the air but unafraid to propel some nasty riffs just in case it may be too mellow.

Mighty mellotron cascades in pure vintage Genesis mode introduce the lavish instrumental "Torba", a swirling symphonic behemoth that takes its merry time to disperse, a lovely piano eventually taking over, aided by a linear guitar phrasing. This is very RPI styled prog, in the Goblin, PFM, Banco tradition, uninhibited grandiosity and pomp, allied with meticulous choices as far as soloing is concerned, giving the virtuosos a stage to perform musical ping- pong, as they sway back and forth. Yes, old school! Fabulous piece of music.

Up next, "Invisible" (perhaps but surely not deaf, I assure you) is another bass fueled masterpiece, offering up a delectable upfront clavinet foundation, and smeared with sublime oboe synth patches, classic mellotron surges and divine rhythmic sustenance. Buzzing guitars, exigent Italian singing and confident delivery all combine for another satisfying track. The guitar wails, sobs, cries and implores like some hysterical mamma who has temporarily misplaced her bambina. Morena Piva really shines in a funkier vein here, an inflexible and grisly furrow that just slaps you across the face each time.

The lugubrious title track "Repetita Iuvant" again hearkens back to the glory years of RPI, a mystery-laden symphonic dirge owned by colossal mellotron winds, medieval-tinged organ flurries paralleled by electric guitars, threatening bass patterns and bold drums. Moody, atmospheric, dense and intense, this is a pure prog of the finest vintage, exuding cinematographic tendencies that inspire the mind. Echoes, trembling, sizzle. "Etereo" encapsulates those sentiments quite perfectly, a glittering prize where Carnovali gets to reign supreme, a prodigious talent who glides over the fret board with impunity, a hard/softness that is difficult to describe. A pastoral Italian vocal mid- section, accompanied by a nostalgic acoustic guitar expanse, with laid-back percussives and ultimately slayed by a killer electric solo, pushed along by more mellotron and that wicked bass.

Bluesy little ditty to finish off? Sure, no problem, we can do that! "Never Mind" is a modern twist to this venerable musical style, led by a fluid guitarist who has studied both his Carlos Santana and his Gary Moore lessons, a jazzy organ solo section that is convincingly relaxed, a springy bass throughout and slick stick work from Giardina. Thoroughly tasty piece of blueberry 'panettone'!

Add a brilliant bonus, one of their very first projects when uniting as band back in 2009, "Whaling Stories" is a track developed for the Mellow Records tribute album to Procol Harum and exudes the theatrical drama associated with that legendary British band, except here the Italians add some deliberate thunder and lightning, doom-laden exuberance and a raspier arrangement, with Paolo Callioni howling into the savage gale. Obviously, Caleca emulates successfully the Brooker/Fisher organ splurges to great effect. The debut was outright terrific, this is a quite definite step up. Ad Maiora is a proud player on the prog scene and needs your immediate attention.

5 repetitive depletions

 Repetita Iuvant by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.99 | 42 ratings

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Repetita Iuvant
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Formed in Milan in 2009 and delivering their first self-titled album back in 2014, Italian group Ad Maiora proved right from the start to be a talented band offering pleasing and intelligent progressive music. But whilst their debut was charming and reliable, the two years since have done wonders for the band, and the follow-up album in 2016 shows Ad Maiora stepping up with a more truly impressive work in so many ways! `Repetita Iuvant' is instantly more dynamic and daring, with greater fire to the playing, catchier song-writing, longer instrumental stretches full of variety, and even better, it sees the band adopting Italian vocals (after the wholly English-sung debut) to great dramatic effect throughout, although there's still English pieces here and there too.

Opener `Molokheya' bristles with danger and intensity, all slinking electronics and Flavio Carnovali's twisting-turning mantra- like electric guitar runs, Paolo Callioni's voice more boisterous and urgent than at any point on the debut! `Life' takes the form of an unexpectedly angry protest song, where Moreno Piva's slinking bass pulses with subtle grooves and Sergio Caleca's colourful synths take flight to bring some balance to the biting lyric and raging vocal, and the guitars move between grand fluid Pink Floyd-like soloing and grinding chords. `Fermati' is the first piece to adopt Italian lyrics, a gutsy heavy blast of stop- start maniacal riffing book-ending dreamy and thoughtful passages sung with dignity to perfectly convey a reflective lyric. `Torba' brings us to the half-way point and is the first of three purely instrumental pieces, an adventurous Banco del Mutuo Soccorso-like ride of pure RPI classical/orchestral-like synth grandiosity, tip-toeing piano, tasty Hammond organ and eerie Mellotron choirs (with just a touch of Rick Wakeman-esque fanfare pomp!) over majestic guitar themes and creeping bass purrs.

Despite being another Italian vocal piece, `Invisible' is predominantly instrumental-based and constantly fuelled by Mellotron veils and Hammond organ around the introspective atmosphere and stirring passionate vocal, with even a few moments bouncing with a grooving energy! The keyboard-heavy title track `Repetita Iuvant' is another darker-tinged instrumental full of mystery, airy flute dancing around heavier guitars and rich symphonic synths another reminder of the RPI classics of old with a touch of vintage-era Genesis. There's feint echoes of Pink Floyd again to the hazy electric guitar wailing and gentle electronic trickles throughout `Etereo', Paolo powerfully offering a dignified vocal to perfectly convey the hopeful balance of fantastical and realistic words, but sadly the piece simply stops when it feels like it's building to a grand finale - a bit of a missed opportunity! But final instrumental piece `Never Mind' closes the disc with extended slow-burn bluesy soloing, Enzo Giardina's lively drumming and cheeky electric piano trills, and there's a playful upbeat quality that will leave the listener in a great mood!

So the band like to offer many different styles as opposed to a clear focused direction, but, along with the use of both English and Italian vocals, perhaps these all mean that Ad Maiora make for an ideal gateway band for new listeners wanting to explore Italian prog for the first time? There's no denying this is their strongest work to date, where not only the musicians display a fire and determination to impress in the constant instrumental flourishes, but the songwriting itself is stronger than ever, and Paolo's charismatic vocals are heavier and more passionate, bringing the group that step closer to the proper RPI sound of old. Also, discounting a bonus Procol Harum cover track at the very end of the disk, the vinyl-length running time of about fifty minutes works to the benefit of the album here, so there's rarely much chance for filler to slip in.

Ad Maiora should be absolutely proud of this addictive disc that hints at so much potential for further albums, with their instrumental and melodic skills firmly on display, and it makes `Repetita Iuvant' one of the most welcome and surprising releases in Italian prog for 2016!

Four stars.

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by maryes

3 stars 3,5 stars !!! In terms of Italian Progressive Rock , this is a slightly unusual album, because the music is different in relation of the main stream style of the genre and I can't perceive a great influence of the masters of the style, such as P F M , Le Orme, etc... Another singular characteristic is the outstanding repetition in large scale of musical parts inside the majority of tracks ( sometimes in melodies and others in rhythm or still in both cases) which creates a certain type of riffs as a main theme, so that creates an approach to hard-rock style, however the proposition continue essentially prog ! My favorite tracks as : Track 1 "Diatriba", Track 7 "Menate", Track 9 " Corolla" amd their medieval atmosphere. In a general way, although isn't a masterpiece is good work ! My Rate is 3 stars !However, I want emphasize which the album deserve a place in my collection !
 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ad Maiora began life in Milan in 2009 on the initiative of a bunch of experienced musicians with a different background but with the common goal of playing their own original compositions influenced by bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Yes, Pink Floyd, Premiata Forneria Marconi or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, just to name but a few. After some line up changes and some live experiences on the local scene, in 2014 they self-released an interesting debut album, Ad Maiora!, with a line up featuring Enzo Giardina (drums), Flavio Carnovali (electric guitar), Moreno Piva (bass, classical guitar), Paolo Callioni (vocals) and Sergio Caleca (keyboards). The name of the band comes from a Latin expression that means to greater things and in some way describes the band's attitude and their wish to find a new way by combining vintage and modern sounds. The result of their efforts is very good and their first album is absolutely worth listening to.

The opener "Diatriba" (Argument) is a tantalizing instrumental piece filled with dark energy. Every now and again I'm reminded of Goblin and in my opinion this track might be a perfect score for a thriller movie. Then comes another charming instrumental, "Sugo Dance", a lively track with a strong Mediterranean flavour and a joyful pace.

The darker "Dream" is the third instrumental in a row and features some aggressive electric guitar riffs and sparse exotic touches that take you on a musical journey under the stars for one thousand and one Arabian Nights, along the Silk Road. It leads to "Eclissi Orientale" (Oriental Eclipse) where the music and lyrics depict the atmosphere and the colours of the bazaar in the city of Aqaba, a sunrise by the Red Sea and a sunset in the desert. Then you get lost in your dreams when the moon meets the sun and lies like a bride on him... By the way, despite the Italian title the track is sung in English and it's a real pity that the band didn't exploit more their native language.

Goblin's influence looms large also over the following "Nulla intenso" (Intense naught), another thrilling instrumental track that evokes nightmarish atmospheres and restless nights. It leads to the apparent calm of "Strange", a reflective, melancholic ballad where the music and lyrics depict a man haunted by crazy dreams and ghosts from his past that make difficult, even painful to him decide to change his way of life.

Next comes the long, complex instrumental "Menate" (the title could be approximately translated as little, silly problems), a nice mix of different moods and atmospheres that leads to the jazzy "Summertime", inspired by George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and featuring heartfelt vocals and a good electric guitar solo.

"Corolla" is another excellent instrumental track blending rock and classical influences. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla... Well, in my opinion this piece evokes a joyful, colourful Celebration of springtime and makes me think of light birds with red feathers dancing a playful tarantella in the sky.

The conclusive "No More War" brings back Middle-Eastern atmospheres. Here the music and lyrics depict a sunny winter morning on the Cheekha Dar and a hot sunny afternoon by the Lake Hammar with children playing and nice green parrots flying. Then comes a quiet, starry night on the desert and you can see the children sleeping and forget for a moment the threatening shadows of the never ending war that still ravages the enchanted Iraqi landscapes...

On the whole, I think that this is a very interesting work. Anyway, have a try and judge by yourselves: you can listen in streaming to the complete album on bandcamp!

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tmay102436

4 stars Very nice first album from yet another impressive Italian band. The music is derivative of other groups, only in that it is a culmination of years of listening, observing and absorbing the progressive rock genre. Some slight ELP/Genesis influences for sure, but only in that the main stream of Italian prog comes from those fountains. And this is very romantically progressive Italian music at its best.

The overall recording is quite good, again especially for a freshman offering. The vocals (if I recall correctly) are sung in English, and although not very much vocals, quite good. In fact, if I had a complaint, I wish there was more singing. But, I fall into the minority, as I really like vocals in progland.

The keyboards are the highlight here, and they are (at least to my ears) all original, analogue keys. There might be a touch of Yamaha DX7, but for the most part, the Hammond, synth stuff seems quite "golden era" keyboards.

Possibly the only slight let down, is the song "Summertime" as it's the jazz standard, but even here we are offered a quite unique, totally proggy rendition of the classic piece. The rest of the music is all original, and all very well executed with real emotion.

The Italian prog scene continues to pour out quite impressive, original works of art, and this first gift from Ad Maiora is a wonderful example of the wonderful, continual expansion on the traditional progressive rock from such a rich landscape of art.

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars "Ad Maiola" is a modern Italian prog band from Milano which this year has released its first album with the name "Ad Maiora!". I listened to it because I am interested in to see and hear how this year's music sounds and also becuase I am especially fond of Italian prog. I like the cover picture which seems like it's written on an anciant ruin or something. There are five men in the band Ad Maiora which play drums, guitar, bass and keyboards.

The band has only vocals or four track, I think I remember, so the main memory of this is an instrumental band. There's a lot of jazz in this music. Not pure jazz but in fusion with other styles so this band is absolutely eclectic. I though thought that it often sounded like the music didn't know its direction and I didn't noticed its specific patterns really. Ad Maiola is more of jazz than symphonic themes. My favourite song on the album is a fine example of symphonic prog though: "Corolla" which is both joyfull and melancholic. I also hear glimpses of Genesis there(8/10). The closing track "No more war" is also very touching with a clear bass(8/10).

I must say I miss the Italian lyrics but some times the English are good here. "Summertime" is an interesting and pleasant piece, close to the Louis Armstrong' "Summertime" but still another song. "Eclessi orientale" and "Diatriba" are two other interesting tracks which I recommend(7/10). I liked what I heard on this record, the music is well performed but I miss the real golden hits here. I doesn't touch me deepest feelings but I do enjoy it a lot. I will give the record three stars of five and I recommend it for fanatic fans of the subgenre.

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Formed back in 2009, Ad Maiora, a five piece band from Milan, have delivered a knockout debut self-titled album - just with an added `!' on the end! A bunch of seasoned gentlemen, these musicians play with a precision and skill that shows the years they've all spent honing their craft, and they've delivered one of the most varied and unpredictable progressive albums to emerge from Italy in quite some time. In some ways, they can be compared to another Italian band, Phoenix Again, who choose to play in a number of various progressive styles to keep the listener guessing! Ad Maiora work in everything from symphonic prog, jazz, heavy rock, blues, the romantic prog styling of Camel, and even some of the classical sophistication of the proper RPI/Italian prog bands. All are revealed through a mix of tasteful instrumentals, with a few superior English vocal pieces as well.

`Diatriba' is a furious and confident opener, all spiraling vintage keyboards, Moreno Piva's thick upfront plucking bass and Flavio Carnovali's driving electric guitar soloing worked into an E.L.P- styled grand urgency, especially during the particularly frantic final minute. Enzo Giardina's stomping drums push the skipping Genesis-like Moog runs of the jaunty `Sugo Dance' along nicely, quite a joyous repeated instrumental melody before dueling warping synths and fiery lead guitars race through to an unexpected heavy finish. The aggressive `Dream' is overloaded with burning Bolero rhythms powered by hypnotic relentless bass. Slow-burner `Ecclissi Orientale' is the first vocal piece on the album, singer Paolo Callioni's stirring voice weaves around droning eastern mysticism and scorching hot extended electric guitar runs. After an introduction of sedate electric piano and laid-back guitars complimenting each-other perfectly, instrumental `Nulla Intenso' kicks up in tempo with a grandly symphonic build thanks to emotional pulsing synths and electric guitar solos filled with purpose. `Strange' is a sadly romantic piano driven ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on any of the modern Steve Hackett solo discs, or perhaps the late 80's onwards Camel albums, with Paolo's voice almost echoing Andy Latimar in a few spots as well. It climaxes in a heart-wrenching electric guitar solo over the warmest of humming Hammond organ courtesy of Sergio Caleca.

Then we finally reach some proper vintage Italian prog with the almost 11-minute instrumental `Menate'. Here the band deliver a manic extended piece in the manner of a band like Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, even little traces that remind of P.F.M and very briefly Triade. Searing Mellotron, classical piano drama, twisting guitars and deranged synths tear through a range of tempo changes and surprising moods, everything perfectly intertwining. Next is a surprise reworking of George Gershwin's `Summertime' that sees the band offering some tasty rapid-fire guitar licks, aggressive bass and jazzy piano. `Corolla' offers even more classical RPI beauty, the flute dancing majestically throughout a romantic piece that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the classic Locanda Della Fate debut. There's unease bubbling under on album closer, the vocal track `No More War', which mixes intimidating bluesy guitar wailing and biting vocals with moody symphonic synths, plus a soaring mellotron build to end on.

(PS - Dont forget to check out the hidden 1 minute Moog-tastic `bonus' track `Postscript' at the very end of the CD!)

Before being added to the site, there was already a buzz around the band from different Prog Archives members, keen to be able to post positive reviews and give these talented musicians and their wonderful debut album some high praise. Upon learning of the addition of the band to the site, Paolo even said "I can't believe we're on the Prog Archives, our hobby has actually been worth it!" This is the sort of excitement and passion for the progressive rock genre that should be praised, and it's our pleasure to have this great band on the site now. I'm pretty sure the complimentary reviews will keep coming, and `Ad Maiora!' gets the band off to a great start, already setting the bar very high for their future works. Ad Maiora - a mature, talented band who showcase supreme and refined progressive musical taste.

Bravo, gentlemen, four stars!

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Italian prog scene never stoping to amaze me for long long time, each year bursting new and new bands each one better then other. One of the most intresting new acts from this field is Ad Maiora , formed in Milan in 2009 with the debut released this year 2014 self titled.

Well I must confess I was hooked from first spin, this is the type of prog I can listen every day, complicated arrangements, flowing keyboards, intresting guitar chops and an awesome warm pleasent vocal parts makes from Ad Maiora e definetly worth checking out band. Primerly the album is instrumetal but has aswell 3 pieces as far as I remeber with vocals, the most great one is for sure Eclissi Orientale where Paolo Callioni simply shines, strong as can get instrumental parts aswell. The instrumental tunes display a very solid musicianship, all musicians are playing with a clear pleasure and dynamism, lots of breaks and up tempo parts, but aswell melted very well with more calmer ones. Pieces like opening Diatriba or Menante showing big potential in this band, the music is generous with a lot to offer, no boring moments here, the listner is conected full time to the music. All in all a fairly great debut that worth checking out, fans of Trion, even Goblin or ELP, Camel, etc must give a try. For me for sure one of the better albums of this year and a good candidate for top 5 at the end of 2014. 4 stars easy and recommended.

 Ad Maiora! by AD MAIORA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 38 ratings

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Ad Maiora!
Ad Maiora Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Ad Maiora proves that the ever progressing Italian scene keeps on giving, perhaps even going through a boom stage as recent releases have undoubtedly proven, acts like Il Giardino Onirico, Aurora Lunare, Laviantica, Progenesi, Unreal City, Nodo Gordiano, Fabio Zuffanti, Mad Fellaz and many others. The Italian scene always seems to produce copious amounts in spurts that are then followed by quiet spells where nothing much happens until the next eruption! Hey between Etna and Vesuvius, the ragazzi know their volcanoes! These older Milanese gentlemen like to lather up a thick mousse of delectable sounds , showcasing genre bending styles , going from Neo, to Symphonic and then RPI with little hesitation , making the PA pigeonholing experience another game of pinging the pong from one group of collabs to another and then back! The players are all exceptional craftsmen, guitarist Flavio Carnovali carves a mean trail, as well as providing wicked solos, while keyboardist Sergio Caleca unleashes an arsenal of classic keyboards including some delightful clavinet and electric piano, amid the slippery synth work and the occasional brilliant piano and organ. The tight rhythm section bruises nicely, keeping the beat propulsive and purposeful, as both Moreno Piva and drummer Enzo Giardina show off some stellar chops.

"Diatriba" is a 5 minute+ rocking appetizer, a curtain rising instrumental antipasto full of perky sounds and rousing melodies, yet really has that 'opening statement 'feel to it, a perfect overture. Booming bass, roaming organ messaging and swirling synths permit the raging guitar to stamp its brooding grace over the main theme.

But "Sugo Dance" really shines brightly, a romping slab of shimmering masculine prog, no hint of vocals anywhere, only blasting notes, hard and well, thank you! Little Beethoven influence is elevated with some solid propulsion, as well a playful predilection for mood and atmosphere. Caleca spreads a wide variety of layers, hint of glittering harpsichord one moment, a fluttering of e-piano and explosive synth warbling the next. The fret board also provides serious input, shrieking nicely along, toying with his synth partner when needed. A wholly satisfying and highlight track.

The moody "Dream" envisions a slightly more experimental elegance, lots of technical paralleling notes between the organ, the axe and the bass, as the drums slams hard, inviting a clean guitar solo from the guitar man. Five minutes of adventure and technical prowess that will inspire the musicians out there, looking for a stormy fix.

Things veer into a more symphonic realm, with little dabs of electronica (the bubbling synth syndrome) a voracious bass and the introduction of vocalist Paolo Callioni, who has an accent that is entirely palatable. Thus, "Eclissi Orientale" has a Saharan feel, with axe man Carnevali giving a splendid account for himself on the extended solo spot, a mirage of sinuous themes reflect from the gleaming sunny arrangement.

The intense "Nulla Intenso" has some jazz-rock leanings, seasoned with some devilish piano motifs and some slight dissonance in the guitar playing, very cool and highly addictive stylings that do not hesitate to explore beyond the mundane and strive to create new adventures in progland. A double tracked guitar solo hints at a Wishbone Ash-styled dual attack that elicits immediate mental applause.

Mellower fields of interest appear on the bluesier "Strange", which has a delectable classic groove, as if a combination of Traffic, Wishbone Ash and Trion decided to invite Callioni to sing as an invited guest. Upon repeated spins, this song really took on a life of its own, a successful modern blues tune that has charm and a superb guitar solo that searches out and screams for attention. Nothing overtly technical, just very, very well done.

The nearly 11 minute RPI epic "Menate" again seeks to torture the formulaic mind into submission by constructing a mesmerizing epic that is both dark and technically aggressive a la Goblin, the snarly bass front, center, obsessive and deranged as the other instruments jump on board and hammer away at the opportunity, a glittering organ rampage escorts weird synth screeches, while the wide guitar crashes into darkness and the most somber reflections. This is the creative zenith of this debut album, a colossal slice of well-performed prog, with stratospheric imagery and volatile, risk-taking interplay. The final 3 minutes in particular have this 'wow' stamp all over it, powerful, intrepid and chivalrous.

A reworking of the classic George Gershwin "Summertime" throws the listener for a loop, such a well-known lullaby , redone with Italian bravado and a race car mentality, as Carnovali scours that fretboard with tremendous appeal , Piva bopping like some mad jazz bassist and Callioni adding the voice to the famed lyrics.

The 8 minute "Corolla" seeks out more traditional RPI design, a possessed bass searing the road ahead, synths bubbling like some volcanic lava, playful soloing from the entire crew, dabs of violin and flute (all from the keys) simply adds to the fascination.

The exhilarating finale is no shabby filler, "No More War" proposes a rebelling rhythm, scathing lyrics about the futility of man-made conflict, a musical platform for bassist Piva to really sparkle here, hints of Tony Reeves in keeping it darn simple and texturally fluid, thus giving the free reins for Caleca and Carnovali to let their hair down (err.. they are balding 50 year olds, Thomas!). This is not technical math prog, just damn effective prog of the highest caliber, devastating and notable. I can't help of thinking of Manfred Mann's "Father of Day, Father of Night", sharing a common intense bass theme that pummels the mind. Spectacular !

This is a dazzling debut album, full of master craftsmanship, thematic creativity, totally memorable melodies and backing rhythms that once again prove vividly that Italian prog is fine and healthy, unlike their plodding economy, piss-poor politics and neurotic soccer team. The art work is so-so, could have been a tad more appropriately design conscious but hey, the music reigns supreme!

4.5 Banchettos

Thanks to aussie-byrd-brother for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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