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a Studio release
Barock Project

Release Year: 2009

Date Label Catalog # Comments
2009 Mellow Records MMP 509
Mellow Records (MMP 509)
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 9/29/2009 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 10/31/2015 10:17:00 PM by: DBSilver
  1. Corsa Elettronica (6:06)
  2. Don Giovanni (7:11)
  3. Save Your Soul (6:14)
  4. Akery (10:31)
  5. Polvere di Stelle (6:38)
  6. Duellum (8:35)
  7. My Enemy (4:16)
  8. Veleno (8:52)
  9. Orione (4:00)
  10. Nostradamus (11:19)

Luca Pancaldi

Luca Zabbini
keyboards, backing vocals

G.B. Giorgi

Giacomo Calabria

Max Scarcia

Reviewed by Nuno on 05 Aug 2010

By their second album this Italian band has broadened (widely to say the least) their scope and especially improved (also widely) on their delivery. Rebus is not a first listen impacting release, but like good old progressive (or prog related) albums, it surely grows on you after repeated listens. It has its small sins, yet largely surpassed by its many great moments, resulting in a swell listening experience of an album.

Barock Project is increasingly placing themselves as one of the finest outfits of contemporary Italian Progressive Rock. It is noticeable that there is a deep fascination for the classics, but there is also the will to innovate and mix things in a refreshing and many times completely new way and/or approach. In many ways it reminds me of another great recent Italian band - Baroque, especially on the attitude and healthy aggressiveness.

Therefore the many references that can be done to legendary bands from Italy but also from other prolific countries (especially from the Anglo-Saxon ones), while at the same time those reminiscences are inbreeded inside a very strong own signature; One that absorbs the influences within the bands structural compositions in a way that makes them natural and autochthony to the presented tracks. This is one of the purest and more subtle ways in which this band presents their brilliant concept: All sounds entwined in a way that the (sometimes) evident references feel completely encrusted in the band’s own musicality.

The sonic voyage that is proposed here takes many turns and shifts, as there is enough experimentation on different approaches. The second big win seems, therefore, the ability that the band has to successfully display different faces for the same coin, framing in a competent and even arousing way, a gamut of different architectures, majorly vivid, lively and dynamic, played with power in an optimistic tone. But let me be more specific on what I am talking about, by giving you some in-depth thoughts on most tracks :

-      Don Giovanni (probably the most brilliantly achieved track in this album) takes the listener to classical fields by introducing Mozart meets Tchaikovsky inspired musicality, played Little Tragedies style, perfectly combined with Queen vocals, guitars and vocal-games circa A Night at the Opera. It simply rocks and amazes the listener and works as the pinnacle of this album, in my opinion.

-      Save Your Soul starts in a very Eastern European folksy way until it surprisingly turns into something that is somehow drawing tangents to more hard-prog venues, with a guitar riffage that may remind you of Deep Purple and a flute that is typically reminiscent of Jethro Tull, then the naïf classically/folksy keyboards make an entrance to abstract and deviate the listeners attention into something else, uncharted, enchanting. It is one of those tracks that clearly state the band as motivated, competent and completely refreshing.

-      Akery brings the band to more mellow paths, as a symphonic ballad so much characteristic of Italian sympho-school. In its 10+ minutes there is also time to present Latimer inspired guitar soloing and baroque stylized tabs that are quickly hidden behind the vocalized parts.

-      Polvere di Stelle presents a more neo-progged band, on a more accessible note, like a progressively tingled Italian pop song; orchestrated and enriched, but with a noticeable pop oriented vocal melody.

-      But it is Duellum that makes me really start believing that Barock Project can easily turn into the Italian Little Tragedies (just notice that Little Tragedies is one of my fav contemporary sympho bands). The quirky and fast playing, as much classically inspired as 70’s symphonic reminiscent, this is a fast paced track that will totally blow away the prog symphonic lover, especially in the keyboard driven instrumental part.

-      My Enemy is perhaps the heavier and more rockier track in the album, showing a new face to the band, but one that, be fair, is not as challenging and satisfying as the one shown in the rest of the album. The semi-hard arena rock may not be the best path for this band to follow, as easily proved here.

-      Veleno has great bass lines and slightly middle-eastern guitar and keyboard soloing tunes, placed inside a typical Italian prog structure. Yet another proof of this bands widened approach and unbounded/free thinking musicality.

-      Nostradamus is a piano/guitar/(great) percussion driven music that ends the album (or almost ends, as there is a hidden cookie ballad after some silence) in a positive and complex tone, resuming the brilliance that the band has presented throughout the album and that has placed the band in a new level.

Taking into consideration that this bands debut has not impressed me at all, their sophomore is a giant leap ahead, and comes to show that Barock project has found their macadam road. Now it is only proper recognition and success within the progressive community that is laking, something that is clearly unfair as they deserve full attention.

For long time fans of Italian progressive school and especially for those who have been enjoying the latest developments and evolution of that particular style, this Rebus comes as mandatory.

For me, after listening to La Fiaba della Buonanotte by Baroque and now this Rebus by Barock Project, I have no doubt that Italian prog is well alive, willing to evolve and continuing presenting us with great bands and great music.