The new Italian band Quel Che Disse Il Tuono is a progressive rock project of guitarist and Mellotron player Francesca Zanetta (ex Unreal City) and keyboardist Niccolò Gallani (Cellar Noise). Together with Roberto “Berna” Bernasconi (bass guitar, lead vocals) and Alessio Del Ben (drums, add. keyboards, add. vocals) they recorded their debut album “Il Velo dei Riflessi”. Influenced from the symphonic rock from the seventies they worked together during the year 2019 to work to define their own distinctive sound. In that same year I met this bunch of enthusiastic young musicians at the Prog Festival in Veruno, Italy. They were already promoting their music and were meeting all their contacts in the Prog scene. I would like to thank their label AMS Records and especially Donato Zoppo of Synpress44 to provide progVisions with a physical promo of the album. An album that has been released with beautiful artwork of Elisa Legramandi. As a graphic designer myself, I understand the importance of album cover art and the many hours of hard work that it is involved. Most of the time the designers are not mentioned in the reviews.
Francesca Zanetta - guitars, add. keyboards; Niccolò Gallani - keyboards, flute, backing vocals; Roberto Berna Bernasconi - bass, lead vocals; Alessio Del Ben - drums, add. keyboards, backing vocals.
Claudio Falcone - vocal harmonization; Claudia Mangano - choirs; Giulia Zanardo - flute
"The band's name (Quel Che Disse Il Tuono) is an homage to the late T.S.Eliot, one of the most important poets of the past century, while “Il Velo Dei Riflessi” is a wider concept that, still addressing some themes that are dear to Eliot's poetry, is not directly inspired by the “The Waste Land” poem itself. “The Waste Land”, (“The barren land”) is a poem by T.S. Eliot from 1922. This modernist work, which expresses in many ways the decline of civilization and the hopelessness of existence, has become one of the most famous poems in the English language of the 20th century. “Il Velo dei Riflessi” is a concept album that, through a mirrors metaphor, deals with the themes of latent schizophrenia in the human being, the repulsion of one's personalities that are considered as deviations, and their acceptance as an essential part of the individual himself”.
So “Il Velo dei Riflessi” (“The Veil Of Reflections”) is a concept album. An album that consists out of four mirrors (Specchio) and a catharsis (Catarsi).
The album opens with “Il paradigma dello specchio (Primo Specchio)”. It has a beautiful melodic opening with Mellotron and flute. When the organ and synths parts also reaching your ears it becomes immediately clear that however Niccolò Gallani was the last person to join the band, his excellent keyboard work is playing an important role in the music of Quel Che Disse Il Tuono. And with a another strings and Mellotron lover/player in the band (Francesca Zanetta), keyboard lovers and lovers of RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) in general will love this fine album. I am happy that the band decided to use Italian vocals on this album. You will know my preference with that by now. In my opinion it helps to maintain the typical Italian atmosphere of RPI music. A fine opener of the album.
Will this mean that I have not a single critical remark about this fine debut album? Readers of progressive rock reviews will have noticed that some of the reviewers have tabled down this album and others have praised it. As is often the case, as a reviewer it is very difficult to write an objective and unbiased review because we are often also fans. My solution to this problem is to listen to a new album a couple of times to form a first impression and then I will put it aside and after a while start listening to the album again. In this way my first opinion of the album has changed.
After my first listening sessions I was not so positive about the second mirror “Figlio dell'uomo (Secondo Specchio)”. Especially about the used sound of some of the guitar solo's of Francesca. But that has to do with personal preferences of the reviewer and on the other hand the personal preferences in sound of the musician. Another thing what struck me was the sound of the drums. My first impression was that the drums sounded as if they were recorded in the basement. It sounded not transparent enough in my opinion. I still have a little problem with this. But it could also be a choice because of the sometimes dark atmosphere of the concept of the album. Well just listen often to this album to form your own opinion. This is an album that is only revealing it's beauty after several listening sessions.
The third mirror “Chi ti cammina accanto? (Terzo Specchio)” has a lot of beautiful melodies. This more ballad like song has beautiful keyboard parts, lovely flute and synth solo's and melodic guitar parts with a more cleaner sound. Also the fourth mirror “Il bastone e il serpento (Quarto Specchio)” has great keyboard parts. A classical sounding piano next to the typical symphonic synth solo. And Francesca is playing the most melodic guitar parts of the album. Love the contrast of the classical atmospheres with the piano and the flute and the more mysterious atmospheres. This long track is developing towards one of the absolute highlights of this fine album.
The album closes with a catharsis “Loro sono me (Catarsi)”. This long and heavily keyboard dominated song is another personal highlight for me. It seems that Francesca has saved the best guitar work for the last songs. But the absolute star of the album is keyboard player Niccolò Gallani. He is a very talented young player which I did see performing on a live stage in Italy with his other band Cellar Noise. You can find delicious Mellotron string parts in this strong and diverse song.
With “Il Velo dei Riflessi”, the new Italian band Quel Che Disse Il Tuono made a strong debut album. The music can be described as typical RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) with a modern sound. The music on this album is often keyboard dominated. Without compromising the other (still very young) musicians, keyboardist and co-composer Niccolò Gallani (most of the songs are composed by the duo Zanetta / Gallani) is the star of this fine album. The album is highly recommended by progVisions. This said, please take your time with this album ... it will only reveal it's beauty after several listening sessions. Just enjoy the music and support these fine young musicians from Italy.