It is once again time to give some attention to the recent releases of the Italian label Black Widow Records. On this label you can find besides some obscure titles also a selection of the finest RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) bands from Italy. We kick off with the third studio album of the band Il Tempio delle Clessidre. The band was started in the year 2006 by a keyboardist from Genova, Elisa Montaldo. Their self-titled debut album was released on the Black Widow Records label in the year 2010. This was followed by a second studio album entitled “alieNatura” and a live DVD which was recorded in Seoul. In the year 2016 there was an important change in personal. Mattias Olsson, drummer from the well known Swedish prog band Änglagård joined the band. On May 14th 2017 the band released their third solo album “il- ludere” which includes a more balanced group sound.
Francesco Ciapica - main vocals; Giulio Canepa - electric guitar, classical guitar, backing vocals; Elisa Montaldo - keyboards, backing vocals; Fabio Gremo - bass guitar, classical guitar, backing vocals; Mattias Olsson - drums, percussion, keyboards, processed sounds
Guest musician: Andrea Montaldo - percussion on Gnaffe
The album opens with the short and funny instrumental piece “Le Regole Del Gioco” in which a voice explains the concept of stereo music. Hearing all the different keyboard and processed sounds I suspect a collaboration between Elisa Montaldo and Mattias Olsson. The first real track is called “La Parola Magica”. It is an up-tempo piece with jazzy guitars and keyboards and passionate sung vocals by singer Francesco Ciapica. Halfway the track you can find an interesting instrumental part before the catchy vocal refrains are returning. “Come Nelle Favole” is also a song with typical RPI vocals that are sung with a lot of passion. The sound of the band is more Rock oriented then on their previous albums on which the sound was build around the fabulous keyboard parts of Elisa Montaldo. That sound can be heard in the end of this song when a electric guitar solo introduces a nice synth solo. In the more ballad like song “Dentro La Mia Mente” you can hear that Mattias beside being an excellent drummer is also contributing with keyboard and sound processing. You can also find a nice guitar solo in this song. In “Spectrometer Del Palco” the first vocal lines are combined with classical guitar. You can find beautiful vocal melodies and lovely keyboard orchestrations on this track. The keyboards of Elisa are often not in front of the mix but in the second part of this song her magic shines through the music. Another highlight of the album is the next song “Prospettive”. The acoustic guitar is joined by delicate keyboard work before we can hear the first soaring electric guitar solo. The melodies and passionate vocals are great. The melodic vocal refrains on a bed of full keyboard orchestrations are blissful. A personal favorite of mine. Also in the next track “Manitou” you will find the most beautiful vocal melodies. Francesco is shining in this track. “Nuova Alchimia” has maybe more rock elements but you can find delicious keyboard strings and synth parts in this song. The longest track of the album is called “La Spiralle Del Venlo” and opens with a beautiful classical piano part. The song develops into another highlight of the album. You can find excellent drumming, delicate and soaring electric guitar parts, diverse keyboard work and passionate sung vocals in this track. Would love to hear this great song in a live setting. The album comes to an end with the song “Gnaffe”. It has some influences from the classical world and some folklore elements. I feel that the (Italian) lyrics are important in this song. On this level your reviewer fails ... but I am happy that the band uses their own language for their lyrics. By now, you will know my opinion of singing in your own native language ... the music retains it’s authentic atmosphere.
The second part of this third studio album from Il Tempio delle Clessidre is very strong. The band has developed a more balanced group sound on this album. The music is not completely build around the keyboard wizardry of Elisa Montaldo. But if you listen a couple of times to this excellent RPI album you will hear all those delicate keyboard parts. They are more refined and interwoven with the music. Just listen to my personal favorites “Prospettive” and “La Spirale Del Vento” and you will know what to do. Must buy for the lovers of RPI.
author - date - rating - label