1994 (The Labyrinth)
Neo-prog. Some prog lovers, especially those longing for authentic symfo, should have nothing of it, even give it a sneer. That has to change. The Italian one-day fly from the 90s Il Trono Dei Ricordi could just be a bridge builder in that respect. Their self-titled debut album from ’94 shows the best of both worlds in all its opulence. What a special album.
Beautiful passages á la Genesis, Yes and especially ELP go hand in hand with moments of Pendragon, Arena and IQ. Everything has a rather complex structure. For example, this almost one hour-long disc contains only four songs, three big epics and a short track.
The album has a large number of tempo and atmosphere changes. You can bet that these are perfectly timed and show brilliant play. The gentlemen are extremely virtuoso and although the music is dominated by keys, no one has played hide and seek.
Who really stands out is singer Alberto Mugnaini. With his Peter Gabriel/Fish-like voice, he proves once again that you don’t have to be a great singer to achieve an excellent performance. His texts are based on the work of the English writer William Blake and appeal to the imagination enormously .
Opener The King Of Memories asks to be listened to very often. Although this epic (like all others, by the way) is not split into various subtitles, there are still clearly some parts perceptible. For example, the first minutes are quite majestic, not at least because of the delicious brass theme that pops up several times as a guideline in the song. In this phase it is often to do the soloing and suddenly there is a classic passage. Another part that makes sense is the sizzling piece with the rhythmic electric guitar that is ingeniously framed by a bouzouki. The gentlemen continue to make their symfo undisturbed.
After the short A Memorable Fancy, which is rather riff-oriented, On The Rising Sun follows. The thirteen minutes will fly by. Once again we hear triumphant brass sounds and a splitting guitar solo. There are also sparkling piano pieces and there is deep dark playing on the sax. What makes this song unforgettable is the catchy theme that the bass guitar introduces halfway through. It has something Pete Trewavas-like, resurgent to old Marillion times. The closing Visions Of The Daughters Of Albion is again unmistakably Il Trono Dei Ricordi, although this time some mainstream moments appear in the dynamic composition. I’m talking about the Deep Purple-like organ playing and the somewhat sharp guitar. It didn’t spoil the fun.
All in all, it is such an incredible pity that it has remained with this one CD and that the band has since then vanished.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022