Look out carefully to this band, as if I am not wrong, we have here one of those bands whose career will be worthwhile to seek because of their tremendous technical potential, originality and quality. Standarte is another Black Widow’s spoiled child and they deserve to be well taken care of. A beautiful artwork, with images of the band on stage that seem to be taken out of a book of the 70´s, warn us about the musical content. Daniele Caputo with his 70’s look, extracts from his drums all kind of sounds, long haired Davide Nicolini, with his flower shirt and flares plays guitar, Michele Profeti plays an arsenal of keyboards, piano, moogs and mellotrón, and Stefano Gabbani uses his bass with attitude. These Italians are direct disciples of the hard progressive rock of the end of the 60´s and beginnings of the 70´s, a very interesting mixture of Atomic Rooster (the clearest influence) with other bands of the genre in their first phase (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly), touches of classic progressive bands (King Crimson, E.L.P.) and psych sounds close to Grateful Dead or The Doors. The sound is simply brutal, treated, as Abiogenesi, as if they were a band from the 70´. In consequence, this CD is a masterpiece to keep well in mind.
A very heavy "Intro" (2:17) in which mellotrons finally take control, introduce us to "(We want) to peaceful village", the first track of the CD. It begins with moog and hammond sounds by Profeti, and that becomes a furious discharge of guitar riffs, over which keyboards don't stop for a single moment (in fact, Profeti doesn't pause for the whole CD). A track much indebted to the sound of the first Jethro Tull blended with Atomic Rooster´s power. The second track, "Kankweezler" (4:57) mixes hypnotic Doors-like vocal melodies with the first King Crimson mellotron sound and keyboards close to the "Brain Salad Surgery" style, everything played with a tremendous spontaneity, and with an impressive Nicolini´s solo. Towards the end of the song there is an amazing keyboard orgy. "Stimmung" (3:20) is a short but intense and direct track, seemingly without instrumental pyrotechnics, but if we listen to it carefully, keyboards and drums control the situation. "Sonnermensch" (4:42) recreates the magic of the hammond organ played by masters such as Vincent Crane and Jon Lord. An instrumental track with lots of nuances and with a flavor to the Island of Wright. Standarte also show us that they are not just a great studio band, so we can share the sensations felt by the audience to their Stockholm´s Folkoperan´s show in the next tracks. The instrumental "Moon in Cancer" (5:34) begins like a King Crimson nightmare on which gradually a harmful hammond takes the leading role until the end, with all kinds of moogs unleashed and varied keyboards. "Dark Satanic Mill" (4:36) mixes again the best Atomic Rooster with the less annoying Doors, with tremendous keyboard power and instrumental developments from the whole band. The traditional "In my Time of dying" (8:26) is the typical rhythm & blues track, perfect as a base to develop all kind of improvisations over its structure. The vocal moments are only an excuse for the instrumental developments of the different musicians. To finish the CD, two tracks recorded alive in a radio broadcast session. The short "Yellow Cave Woman" (3:48), in my opinion the worst track of the CD -maybe because it is a version-, and the amazing "I won´t start another song" (9:08), a masterful hard prog textbook that could have been penned by the primitive Uriah Heep or Iron Butterfly. 10 minutes are enough for these musicians to teach and delight us with their riffs, moogs, hammonds, etc. Without a doubt a great end for a great CD.
I am absolutely certain that Standarte will be a band to keep in mind for the first years of the new millennium. A band that recreates the magic of the mythical bands that contributed to create the progressive sound in its most technical, imaginative and crazy side. If you are interested on the musical references that I have indicated you, Standarte is a band that passes the quality control with a high grade. If you are not into this kind of bands, I would recommend you to begin with Standarte to discover another kind of progressive rock with 24-carat diamonds and enough improvisation and technique to make 90% of the current bands turn pale. Vincent Crane must be very happy in heaven.