Time ago Enio “Akron” Nicolini surprised us with “La Signora del Buio”, a first solo album that, although can´t be compared to The Black´s albums, showed his interest about darkest classic progressive rock. While The Black is a band oriented to hard prog plenty of hammond's and inheritor of bands like Rovescio della Medaglia, Nicolini´s solo albums are closer to occultist sympho of bands like Jacula.
In “Il templo di ferro”, a conceptual album about Templar's, Akron´s music is definitely more mature and is hypnotic, captivating, macabre but plenty of amazing beauty. The absence of a guitar player is fulfilled by the pianist and keyboard player Fabio Barraco and Antonio De Angelis and Gabriele Di Monte´s Hammond's.Gabriella Saia´s female vocals, Lea Palmieri´s drums, and Eugenio Mucci´s lead vocals complete the line up.
As you can imagine, the sound is plenty of vintage keyboards, Hammond's attacks, beautiful piano interludes and an atmosphere that takes us by the hand transporting us to ambient sometimes gloomy and sometimes lyrical, but always with a symphonic main pattern.
It´s difficult to stand out tracks because all of them are very varied. Anyway I´ll emphasize the hypnotic rhythm of “Il Templo di Ferro” (5:02), the ending piano of “A Gerusalemme” (9:48), the elegant Hammond played over a dark rhythm section of the instrumental “Deus Vult” (3:12) or the esoteric “La Catene de Chinon” (8:35).
Perhaps Mucci´s vocals is the most difficult thing to assimilate by newcomers of this kind of prog. He has a sort of tenor voice very “italian”. But once you get the knack of the voice, you´ll notice that it perfectly fits in the music.
I admit that this gloomy kind of prog rock is not everybody´s cup of tea, mainly those who prefer a “brighter” sympho/prog. Those who already know The Black you´ll enjoy with this Akron´s second album, as well as fans of artists such as Antoninus Rex, Metamorfosi or Il Segno del Comando. If you´re interested in 70´s underground progressive rock, mainly italian or french, you´ll love this macabre Hammond trip to the history of Templar's.
This album has been also released in LP format with a 90 pages book entitled “Il Labirinto Ottagonale”, written by Mucci himself