Another release from Italy. This time the debut album “The Circle” from keyboardist Dante Roberto. To be honest I don't know very much about this man. He is a classical trained musician and he teaches piano in Conservatorio Paisiello (Taranto, Apulia - Southern Italy). Listening to his debut album I presume that the guy is a lover of Emerson Lake and Palmer's (the late Keith Emerson) progressive rock music and the more metal influenced progressive rock music. So we will just listen to the music of this keyboard dominated trio formations (there are three guitarists performing on this album).
Dante Roberto - piano, keyboards; Salvatore Amali - bass; Alessandro Napolitano - drums and percussion; Luca Nappo - guitars on tracks 3,5,6,7,9; Salvatore Russo - guitars on tracks 1,2; Alex Milella - guitars on tracks 4,8
The album consists out of the following seven tracks; “Dante Suite” (including the parts “Preludio”, “Processionale” and “Speedy”), “All Change”, “Tra Fuoco E Fiamme”, “Open Your Heart”, “Lisea”, “Funky Disco” and “Tocatta”.
The album starts with the “Dante Suite”. “Preludio” opens with a classical piano theme before the electric guitar is supported by keyboard orchestrations. In the end the piano is returning. “Processionale” has the right atmosphere and you can find some nice classical guitars in the music. I like the last part of the song when the melodies are kicking in. The last part “Speedy” is more rock oriented. Musical skills are shown on electric guitar but for me the keyboard orchestrations are more interesting.
The next track “All Change” opens with Keith Emerson like organ opening that is followed by a jazz fusion oriented electric guitar part. The jazzy atmospheres are combined with a nice synth solo, organ and piano parts. With more than ten minutes the next piece is also the longest one of the album. it is called “Tra Fuocco E Fiamme”. It opens with a synth solo and nice organ parts. You can find some nice melodies in this track. I love the synth solo's in this piece. The electric guitar and the rhythm section are providing a somewhat jazzy atmosphere. It is a long display of musical skills of the musicians. I love the delicate and jazzy piano part in the end.
The next song “Open Your Heart” is probably the most beautiful composition of this album. The classical keyboard orchestrations are very beautiful. This ballad like composition with delicate piano parts is a rest point in the album. Yes this is my favorite track indeed. “Lisea” is more guitar oriented but you can also find some nice synth parts in this track. The title “Funky Disco” says it all. To be honest ... it is not my cup of tea. For me it just not fits on this album. In the last minute the piano and the melodies are returning. The last piece is called “Toccata”. But this is also a mixture of atmospheres. The classical opening is rudely disturbed by some Brazilian rhythms.
To be honest I am not convinced by this debut album of Dante Roberto. He is a good composer and fine keyboard player and the other musicians have their musical skills. But the album is not in balance and is not consistent. Maybe too many ideas from previous years to put on a single album. The album has its moments for me. But if you read on the web (like I did) that this is one of the best progressive rock releases of 2017 so far. Well I recommend that you first have a listen to this album before you decide to buy it. This said I am curious about the development of this fine composer and keyboardist.