Presence - Gold - 2001
Third CD of the Italian band Presence after "The sleeper awakes" and "Black Opera", and a good example of how a bad production could destroy songs which, after several listenings, I couldn´t guess if they´re good or bad. In fact I thought I was listening to the same song during an hour.
reviewPresence´s lineup is formed by Sofia Baccini (vocals), Enrico Iglio (keyboards), Sergio Casamassima (guitars), and T. Moretti / L. Scalisi (drums), and they try to play a sort of epic progressive rock, or mysterious, or spacey, or operatic, or.... In short, they enter in a maze and they don´t know how to go out.
The first song, "Scarlet" contains the longer five minutes forty six seconds of my whole life. Too many instruments, a production too sharp, Sofia´s voice (very good, by the way) singing over millions of guitar and keyboards arrangements, and cymbals threatening my ears. Indeed, I´m sad of being so cruel in a review but I can´t lie.
The quiet intro of "The Conjuration of the Stronghold Lodge" (8:28) shows us the beautiful voice of Sofia accompanied only by keyboards and acoustic guitar. This mirage only lasts one minute and the storm returns. This time the vocal melodies are interesting and there are some instrumental moments with quality thanks to the keyboards. In the middle of the track there is a strange intermezzo with voices, howls, and a nice and melodic guitar solo wrapped up by symphonic keyboards. This part is the best of the CD The following song - "Lightening" (6:16) is an inconsequential and slow track, and I can´t understand how such a slow track can remain me to the first song. I look at the booklet and now it´s time for "Carnival"... 13:08... my God!!. Nice beginning which remains to the ethnic sounds of Angra´s "Holy land" and an endless instrumental part which combines quiet moments with accelerated guitar solos, Sofia´s screams, and some good keyboards here and there, everything sounding like a sort of "soniuc ball". After that, the calm returns and end of the party. "Blockrade runner" (7:45) begins lyrically a la Queen. The rest is the same. The guitar solo and the instrumental part are really unbearable. Fortunately, after all the mess, there is a nice piano/keyboards part. "Gold" (8:07) is a ballad with piano and acoustic guitar not too bad. "If it runs away" (3:38) is the last track of this CD Another inconsequential ballad with some jazzy moments and we can admire without interference's Sofia´s voice.
Shortly, "Gold" is a CD very lineal although it owns some good moments between storm and storm, and I think Presence would be a more successful band if they decide to increase their most lyrical side (pianos, keyboards, acoustic guitars, vocals) instead of trying to create a supposed epic sound. But the good moments are so scarce that they don´t justify a better rating.