If this drawing alone doesn't make you want to listen to the music, then go on and read the review.One thing I was always taken by with the so-called “symphonic progressive rock” is the grander-than-life sound, the explosive and bombastic tunes, the richness of sound, the epic nature of the music. This is also the case with symphonic prog from Italy with past masters such as Le Orme, Alphataurus, Museo Rosenbach, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, PFM, Alusa Fallax, Metamorfosi, Quella Vecchia Locanda and many others.
Since those “golden years” we’ve had newer acts follow in the footsteps: Nuova Era, Il Bacio Della Medusa, Il Castello Di Atlante, Consorzio Acqua Potabile, Cooperativa Del Latte, Nodo Gordiano, Pandora, I Pennelli di Vermeer, Il Ruscello, Ubi Maior and others. We’ve also seen the return of older acts like Delirium, Metamorfosi, Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno, PFM, Il Rovescio Della Medaglia, Paolo Siani (Nuova Idea).
Il Tempio delle Clessidre is a mix of a new act and return of an older act. They were formed by two young musicians in 2006, Elisa Montaldo and Gabriele Guidi Colombi (the lineup has changed somewhat since). They teamed up with veteran vocalist, Stefano "Lupo" Galifi, who sang on Zarathustra by Museo Rosenbach. Moreover, the band is named after a track from that album.
Il Tempio delle Clessidre follows in the footsteps of giants with their music. Indeed, this album is filled with the goodness of a bigger-than-life sound, a jovial spirit, lush and rich sounding music and gorgeous melodies. I have to confess though, that it did take me about 5-6 close listens of the album to fully absorb everything that was on it and then additional listens to just enjoy it after that. Once this album sat well in my mind, every listen became a blissful and invigorating sonic experience.
This is not an album to put in the background. This is a piece you need to, gasp, sit down and listen to it attentively, follow all its turns and curves, digest all its appetizers, entrees and deserts, consume all the goodies it has to offer; and it has a lot to offer. Whether it is a simple and calm tune that Stefano sings to, or a complex instrumental piece that not only is impressively written, but also wonderfully executed and served. The album feels like an uninterrupted multi-section piece and flows by smoothly (some songs are individual songs, while others are interconnected; yet even with the individual songs, there is a feel of a thread that connects them to the rest – hear for instance L'Attesa and Il Centro Sottile).
A particular favourite cycle of tracks here starts from a peaceful and soothing song with Stefano beautiful voice (La Stanza Nascosta) to a roller-coaster ride of high-paced progressive rock extravaganza (Danza Esoterica di Datura) followed by a majestic and dazzling melody (Faldistorium).
The album isn’t devoid of punch and does boasts an aggressive and heavier side, as can be attested on L'Attesa for instance. Elisa keyboards are subtle but powerful and complement wonderfully Stefano voice, the two of them backed by a crunchy sounding guitar and an efficient rhythm section. There is also good balance of song vs. instrumental. Stefano’s singing, while prominent, isn’t overbearing the whole album and the band gets to aptly show their musicianship skills as well as their compositional skills and how they wonderfully create a multi-layered tune.
This album was a slow grower for me, but once it ripened out in my mind, its musical fruits were delicious and they just keep coming with every listen. Highly recommended.