(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Sometimes I just feel like I’m out of the loop, or perhaps I’m just in a different loop. I had never heard of this Italian band before and yet they’ve been around for several years, releasing their first album in 1999 and also appearing on a unique King Crimson tribute album called The Letters. I was sent their latest CD Flektogon and while playing it for the first time, my initial thought was “why wasn’t I sent the memo about these guys?” They have an excellent dynamic style that is obviously progressive rock but take a path that’s different than just about anything else out there.
While there have been several lineup changes, the core is now just two guys. Founding member Andrea De Luca plays a wide variety of instruments including basses, guitars, keyboards, violin, percussion, theremin and sax…just about everything, I guess. He is joined by percussionist Carlo Fattorini, who had previously been in a band called Magog. There are also two guest musicians on the CD - Franco "Tatanka" Terralavoro plays saxes and flutes and Silvia Scozzi lends her gorgeous alto voice to the first track.
Speaking of that, the disc begins in an almost typical prog fashion with “Theatro di Memoria”, a grandiose track that features some very nice choral voices to start things off, going into intense heavy jamming inspired by King Crimson. Silvia’s stunning vocals really elevate this piece. The rest of the album sounds nothing like this, and not just because this is the only one with vocals.
“Ozymandias” parts 1 and 2 are percussion movements. The first part is mellower, concentrating on gongs and chimes, while the second part rocks with a powerful full kit sound.
“Avventure di mastarna” is one of the few album centerpieces that I’ve seen that actually appears in the center of the album. The band really goes all out on this one. Thirty minutes just seem to fly by as if it was nothing. A couple bands they remind me of slightly are the Mexican group Cabezas de Cera and the Canadian band Talisma – great modern energetic progressive rock. There are also more crimson sections that include some really badass bass playing that makes me think of John Wetton at his very heaviest. It’s really cool to see a band that isn’t afraid to go far out into the deep end. There is some nice sax and flute playing on this track as well.
The disc closes with “Zeitgeist”, a guitar dominated piece with a strange middle section consisting of electronic drums and lots of tremolo on a fuzzed out bass.
The CD comes in a beautiful heavy gatefold sleeve with some amazing pictures and drawings. When I first looked at it, I thought that there was no way the music could be as cool as the pictures were. Turns out, it was better! I have to admit that I just can’t stop listening to this one. I am really surprised that nobody every mentioned this band to me before. Maybe they’re really not that well known yet. In any case, I would highly recommend this one. This could very well become my favorite album of the year. It’s that good.