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Showing posts from June, 2014

Pandora, Italy

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Pandora - Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco. 2008 BTF. Mini-LP
Pandora - Sempre e Ovunque Oltre il Sogno. 2011 BTF. Mini-LP
Pandora - Alibi Filosofico. 2013 BTF. Mini-LP

Pandora are yet another Italian band to have released a very fine album in 2013. I've been wanting to get them into the UTR for some months now, but it took time for me to revisit their past works - all of which I bought real time as they were released.

Pandora's debut "Dramma di un Poeta Ubriaco" seems like the group's own personal chronological trajectory. The album starts off in the standard prog metal zone with modern synthesizers - similar to other Italian bands like Eldritch or Pathosray. While they are good at this style, they are by no means exemplary. By track 3 "Cosi come sei", the band begins to become ever more complex. The metal guitars are still prevalent, but the keyboards are moving towards an analog sound. This along with some insane counterpoint musicianship, a…

Fjodor, Croatia

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Fjodor - St. Anthony's Fire. 2014 Cosmic Eye (Greece) LP

Fjodor are yet another great new discovery from Cosmic Eye. Like most on the label, Fjodor's focus is on instrumental space rock. Whereas a band like The Space Spectrum prefer to soak in the static intensity of psychedelia, Fjodor are much more kinetic. Great attention is applied to moving the instrumental jams forward, with frequent shifts in time and dynamics, so that the listen becomes a journey to another land rather than just staying home and meditating. As with most space rock bands, the guitarist gets the lion's share of the attention, and he owns up to his responsibility with an electric performance. Synthesizers also play a prominent role, and get more to do than tweet-tweet-tweet thus giving the band two strong protagonists. Meanwhile the rhythm section proves more than apt at keeping it all within the rails, and moving the proceedings forward in an exciting way. If looking for comparisons, …

The Space Spectrum, Germany

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The Space Spectrum - The Red Eyed Queen. 2014 Cosmic Eye (Greece) LP

Another great find from our Greek friends Cosmic Eye, The Space Spectrum are amongst the new crop of instrumental German bands following in the footsteps of the 70's Kosmiche Kouriers. Like most modern bands, The Space Spectrum are more about the hypnotic experience of the overall psychedelic sound. Guitars and 70's era synthesizers provide the leads while the rhythm section keeps the steady - at times pounding - beat. This is not about jazzy improvisation, wild solos, and constant shifts in time. This is music that takes awhile to cook, turning ever so slowly over an intense fire underneath. Psychedelic to the extreme, but never unpleasant or atonal. Similar to Scotland's The Cosmic Dead, though less metronomic and more spacious. A very fine debut.

The album is housed in a thick single sleeve cover with an informational inner sleeve. Fantastic job as always from Cosmic Eye!

For my taste…

Distillerie di Malto, Italy

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Samples

Distillerie di Malto - Il Manuale dei Piccoli Discorsi. 2001 private (CD-R)
Distillerie di Malto - Suono! 2013 Musea (France)

About a dozen years ago, Distillerie di Malto released a fine classic Italian progressive album, and then disappeared without a trace. Unfortunately it was only a CD-R, and as such I never purchased it (though a friend had a copy so that's how I heard it) - and I'm still awaiting a factory pressed CD.

But the good news is Distillerie di Malto is back! And on Musea no less - a label that seems to have forgotten their past, and have amongst their midst a stable of mainly modern neo, alt-progressive, or prog metal acts. Distillerie di Malto is anything but - and once again have adorned us with a retro Italian progressive rock classic similar to their 2001 effort. As we look back on 2013, "Suono!" represents the final bookend for this most incredible year when talking Italian progressive rock.

There are a few distinct individual qualit…