Nicola Randone is one of many Italian musicians with a lot of experience. After some harder work with Sicilian Grey Owl he has created a new standard with ‘Morte di un amore’. Not that this first solo-album will immediately appeal to all die hard prog-lovers, perhaps because there are too many different musical styles and the language. It’s always difficult to be inventive and original in the music business, but Nicola has at least proven with this album that progressive music is not necessarily a-commercial.
Next to the logical influences of Italian progbands of the seventies (Le Orme, Locanda delle Fate,..) there are certainly elements of pop and AOR. All tracks are sung in Italian, a language that is not always appreciated amongst proggers.
‘Morte di un amore’ is distributed by BTF with nice artwork and a well illustrated booklet, the songs and production have a high quality. Some songs will sound a bit too ‘poppy’ for the real progger, but you have to give it a try : the album will grow on you.
The first track ‘Visioni’ is a perfect illustration of the talents of Nicola: a melodious and symphonic introduction with powerful but emotional vocals, accompanied by a romantic sounding piano, gradually changing into progressive synthesiser sounds with many special effects. Many influences are going through my mind, and yet it’s impossible to put a name on it, or should I say it’s ‘Randone’?
The next tracks are less progressive but contain enough elements to differ it from the regular ‘pop’-song.
‘Il pentimento di Dio’ is based on a reggae rhythm, not immediately expected and related to Italian vocals but very nice, certainly after guitar, keyboards and choirs give the song a totally different direction.
It seems like Italians have the feeling for ballads and you can find one too on this cd ‘Tutte le mie stelle’, a potential hit.
‘L’Infinito’ starts very quietly but tends more to AOR, also by the presence of the uninevitable guitar solo and the symphonic accompaniment. The excellent vocal qualities of Nicola are well illustrated in this song.
A melodic introduction with recordings of World War II (Hitler) on La Giostra feels like having a message. But honestly, my knowledge of Italian is very poor, so I was happy to have the translations of the lyrics directly from Nicola. And then you discover that those lyrics are very poetical, sometimes religiously inspired but you could expect that from an Italian. The madness of war is well described in ‘La Giostra’ and especially the atrocities of Aushwitz.
A beautiful song with an ethereal atmosphere, which can be defined as the trademark of this poet. And at the end you can hear some gothic sounds too, is this a coincidence? The track ends with accordion sounds : a musical melting pot.
‘Un Cieco’ surprises me in a different way, again a song with some splendid guitar solos, sometimes reminding of the virtuosity of Steve Morse
Strananoia sounds a bit poppy with Celtic influences, a song about love but with amazing lyrics: I suggest to read the English translations of the lyrics on internet, it’s worthwhile! ‘Amore bianco’ seems to be a quiet ballad, but has also a rhythm change in it
The title track ‘Morte di Un Amore’ is an epic song, a masterpiece that will be appreciated by every progressive fan. Pure Italian rock, with some heavy guitars, excellent vocals. Again some gothic influences, I could enumerate a few bands, but this cd is really very original. At the end a track with surprising special effects: a heartbeat, storm, and an ambient atmosphere like Jean-Michel Jarre.
Some tracks will be too soft for certain people, but the level of the tracks is always very high, so this is really not a negative point. I would prefer some more prog influences on the next album, but ‘Morte di un Amore’ is truly a heart-warming and original cd. A new style has been discovered : the ‘progressive singer-songwriter’.