After "Refugium Peccatorum" y "Apocalipsys", the hard progressive Italian band The Black releases its third conceptual CD based on Christ´s death. The Black´s line up is formed by the drummer Gianluca Bracciale, the bassist Enio Nicolini, and the leader of the band, vocals, guitars, and artist Mario "The Black" Di Donato, who also does the artwork with beautiful paintings. Di Donato has exposed his paints in art halls of countries such as Hong Kong, Germany or Spain.
This trio´s music is very influenced by seventies Italian hard progressive rock. A label leaded by bands such as Il Rosvecio della Medaglia, Il Balleto di Bronzo, etc., and they were the "dark side" of the shiny and positive Italian bands leaded by Banco, Le Orme o P.F.M.
The CD is divided in two chapters. The first one begins with a beautiful keyboards intro -"Momenti ansiosi" (1:52)- followed by "Golgotha" (4:28), where The Black shows us its musical proposal. Music based on guitar riffs and keyboards backgrounds which create mysterious atmospheres with lots of melody and a great sense of "crescendo", 70´s sound, sharpened guitars, heavy basses, and, as all Italian bands do, lots of drama I suppose it is my imagination but this track reminds me to early Marillion with a more distorted guitar. "II Orbis (II vers)" (3:40) begins with a church organ that leads us to a guitar riff close to "Neon knights". A Black Sabbathesque track very original. The third song - "Sospesa a un filo" (3:25) returns to typical Italian hard prog sounds and sounds like Abionegesi. A beautiful and renaissance guitar solo ("Il re melograno" (1:03)) takes us to the last track of the first chapter, "The ultimatum" (3:33), an instrumental track really wonderful. A fat bass surrounds the analog keyboards and an amazing guitar solo in a sort of "canon" which ends in an orgy of 70´s sounds where the power of the drums and guitar fights against the keyboards.
The second chapter also begins with church organ and keyboards intro, "Tormentum" (1:33), followed by "Ivstitita" (5:55), another example of progressive hard rock that it seems to be a mix of Italian progressive, Black Sabbath ("Technical Ecstasy"), Black Widow ("IV"), and Grand Funk Railroad. But the greatest track in this second part is the cover of the classic "Il Giudizio" (10:41) originally composed and performed by Il Rosvecio della Medaglia. This cover is played with a high fidelity and has great changes of rhythm, instrumental developments and an amazing 70´s sound. This is classic and eternal progressive rock. The end of the CD is a short and beautiful piano track titled "Conscientia opprimi" (1:15).
There will be people who think that progressive rock must be comfortable, positive and bright. In my opinion, progressive rock (and related music) is a polygon with different sides. If you like 70´s hard rock and the darkest Italian progressive rock, the name is "Golgotha". A classic.