Self-released - [Release date: 20.6.17]
Time was that if it was prog it was British. And the Brits had it more or less all their own way for a good part of the late sixties through to the late eighties.
But this domination has been challenged in more recent times by the upsurge in great progressive music from Scandinavia, the countries of eastern Europe and even South America.
Determined not to be left behind, and following in the footsteps of the likes of Rock Progressivo Italiano pathfinders such as PFM, Le Orme, Celeste and Finisterre come Torino’s Victim Of Illusion with their third album ‘Invisible Light’.
Formed in 2010 by Peter Hamer (guitar/synths/programming) and Paolo Gurlino (vocals), they were subsequently joined by Luca Imerito (bass) and have been joined on this album by Michele Santoleri (drums) a rising star of the Italian music landscape.
Citing influences such as Porcupine Tree (inevitably), Tool and Radiohead (and to which I would add the wonderful Riverside) ‘Invisible Light’ – given that it is self-released, or perhaps because it IS self-released, is a rather fine collection of songs that hang together well and are sufficiently original to unshackle the band from their somewhat predictable inspirations.
Eight tracks in total and hard to find fault if I’m honest.
It’s classic prog in many ways – more time sig changes than you could shake a stick at, soaring synths and guitar solos a-plenty – but it’s the juxtaposition of light and shade that really catches the ear here.
There are passages of almost brutal heaviness but these are inevitably soothed by a chiming guitar here, a delicate piano motif there and an enduring sense that despite these forays into the heavy end of things the band are never going to lose sight of the melody.
Hamer’s guitar work is exemplary throughout and Gurlino’s (accentless) vocals cut through the material in sparkling fashion, which, when set against the rock solid bass of Luca Imerito and the quite sensational drumming of Santoleri (an inspired choice) pushes the musicality to the fore.
The album is both superbly recorded and produced and the band are very assured with the technical complexity of the material.
Many aficionados would tag this ‘heavy prog’ as a genre, and it certainly has a hard edge, but it’s far too subtle for that sweeping epithet as the melodic heart at the core of the album is what really shines through.
Great stuff. ****
Review by Alan Jones
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