Italy is one of the progressive factories that has always made us know big bands that are part of the history of the progressive of all times. Many years passed since bands like P.F.M. or Banco moved our souls with a music full with feeling. But it seems that there are still new energies that will last for many years, as bands like UTO, Finisterre or Devil Doll want to show us that the azurra team has not still thrown the towel. Atto II is another of those Italian bands that seek to maintain the musical flame of that beautiful country.
Atto II is formed by Giancarlo Mattrei to the voices, Gio Gamberini to the guitars, Daniele Biffi to the bass and Marco Anderlini to the keyboards. For this "Il Buyo" they have chosen 8 songs that show the musical capacities of the quartet. What surprises us more when beginning to listen to this album is that we don't find any reference to the Italian classic bands, although they maintain the texts in Italian, which we love as that language is tremendously colourful and musical. The technical capacity of the band is wide in spite of their limitations, that is to say, they know their limits, adjust to them and the group works as a mechanism of precision, highlighting the work of Anderlini to the keyboards and of Biffi to the bass. The production is impeccable and the musical arrangements are surprising for such an unknown band. To conclude, Atto II were close to sign for the label Lucretia Records (record label of their famous countrymen Time Machine).
Already into the review, a mysterious intro in the style of Il segno del Comando, "Il se fait nuit" (0:31) is the prelude of "Il buio" (6:55) whose initial guitar arpeggios remembers from "Come as you are" of Nirvana, but it changes to become a song full with vitality, vocal games and sparkling rhythm guitars. The voice of Mattrei possesses certain accents a la Enrique Bumbury of Heroes del Silencio but with a lot more of capacity to change registration, especially in the sharp ones. Special mention should be made to the calm mid section of the piece, in which for the first time, they show slight Italian lyric elements in the form of interventions of keyboards and a voice that adjusts perfectly to the softest moments. "La sconfitta dell´arte" (5:00) is a song-oriented piece with a very dynamic tempo and a chorus that gets in your brain for days. "Atto II" (2:26) is a tremendous instrumental piece that begins with an impressive bass exercise from Biffi that shows a good technique with the "slap", while the developments of keyboards and guitars are close to "YYZ". "Traditore" (5:05) is a moment of tranquillity in which Italian lyricism opens up in a beginning of beautiful pianos that ends i a nice mid-tempo composed and interpreted with a lot of taste and in a very versatile way. They insert epic and lyrical moments with multitude of rhythm changes and leading to an exquisite end full with feeling. Another good piece that deserves to be listened and sensed. "Terra per noi" (3:10) is a very dynamic topic with a guitar work close to pop music and a somewhat forced chorus. Anyway, it is a very nice song. "Graal" (0:40) is an industrial interlude without more importance that ends in "Sogno o condana" (5:46). It begins a la "Killing in the name of..." of Rage Against the Machine, making me shiver. At the end it becomes a very experimental topic that combines very funky and gnarled bass lines, with some progressive metal (Shadow Gallery) and neo-progressive (it is really difficult to combine so much). As you can imagine, the song is unequal in the developments and it combines very good moments with other not so inspired.
In spite of the fact that I have liked the album, I must be sincere and recognise that Atto II can (and should) give a lot more as they have all the necessary elements for it. They should center a little more in the route to follow as they have impressive songs and others that lower the grade of the album. Il buio is a great beginning for this band of which I am sure we will hear about big things in the future. Lucretia Records was not right in rejecting them.