The Italian band Ubi Maior was formed in the year 1999 and started as a unit that performed compositions of Italian bands like Un Biglietto per I'inferno, Le Orme, PFM, Balletto Di Bronzo and Banco feel Mutuo Soccorso. But soon the band started to write their own compositions. After some changes in the line-up the band released in the year 2005 their debut album “Nostos”. In 2009 the opus “Senza Tempo” was released. At the end of 2013 the recording sessions began for their third CD which saw the light on February 12th 2015. The album is entitled “Incanti Bio Meccanici”.
Mario Moi - vocals, violin, trumpet; Marcella Arganese - electric guitars, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, classical guitar, sitar; Gabriele Manzini - piano, organ, Mellotron, mini-Moog, synths; Walter Gorreri - bass; Alessandro Di Caprio - drums
For me this album is the introduction to the music of Ubi Maior. The album has four tracks. Two long suites “Teodora” and “Lo specchio di Mogano” (“The Mahogany Mirror”) which open and close the album, and the two tracks in between “Alchemico Fiammingo” (“Alchemical Flemish”) and “I cancelli del tempo” (“The gates of time”). Singer Mario Moi which is also playing violin and trumpet performs his own lyrics based on books of imaginary cities.
The opener and first of the long suites, entitled “Teodora” (20:44), is food for the lovers of RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) who like the many references to the Italian prog of the seventies. Don't get me wrong, the band sounds fresh and modern at the same time. Passionate sung lyrics, delicious violin, piano and guitar parts on a bed of keyboard strings. You will find beautiful melodies in this diverse and exciting piece of music. The violin is important in the music of Ubi Maior but you can find also beautiful piano parts and melodic guitar solo's in this strong opener.
“Alchemico Fiammingo” (12:59) opens as an up tempo piece but after four minutes a beautiful violin part is accompanied by acoustic guitar and a pounding bass that slowly brings the composition back to a kind of climax in which the several members of the band has their own solo parts. Great synth solo's flowing into beautiful violin parts. There is so much happening in this track! In “I Cancelli del Tempo” (9:02) the sound of the synth solo's remember me of the early Marillion work of Mark Kelly. Then follows a slow and beautiful middle section with delicate sung vocals and a great melodic guitar solo. This piece has some of the best melodies of the album.
Also the slow opening of the second long suite “Lo Specchio Di Mogano” (18:46) is very beautiful. This composition is a diverse piece of music with some jazzy influences but you can also enjoy nice Hammond parts, acoustic guitars with an old school Genesis reference and always those passionate sung Italian lyrics. First I had to get used to the voice of singer Mario Moi but he does a wonderful job ... and I love his violin. And as a surprise there is the trumpet. This brings a more jazzy feeling to the music.
“Incanti bio Meccanici” the third album of Ubi Maior is an album for the lovers of RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano). With some references to the Italian bands of the seventies the band is searching for their own voice in the progressive scene and is not afraid to experiment and use an unusual instrument like the trumpet in their music ... this is progressive rock in the true meaning of that word progressive. If you like the violin in your prog this album is for you. Sometimes the music of Ubi Maior with the beautiful violin parts also reminds me of Marcus Viana's Sagrado Coracao da Terra, one of the progressive rock bands from Brasil. But that counts only for the slow parts with the beautiful violin. It are great times for the lovers of Italian Progressive Rock!