Big Hairy Monster!
(All Album Reviews by Big Hairy Monster!)
I wish that it had not taken me so long to come across this recording. Few and far between are the discs that simply blow me away on first listen, and Il Balletto Di Bronzo's YS was one of them. I could sum up an entire review for this with one word..."WOW!"; however...
YS starts off with the fifteen-minute "Introduzione", a song which leads the listener quickly into Balletto's dark world. Disjointed ghostly vocals meld into some elegent organ work. I have heard many complaints about the harshness of the vocals on this recording, but I don't see the problem. The vocals melody line floats nicely around organ chords and vibes for a while before the band finally kicks in...minimoog and organ in a baroque Pictures at an Exhibition fashion, jazzy drumming, etc. And although a little repetitious after a while, the repetition stops just at the right time. I could only describe this piece as frenzied in a very-ELP/Crimsonish way. Odd italian scat singing, jazzy piano/hammond solos, tasteful bass lines, even space whispers a'la Gong...a great way to start the CD off. The last minute or so of this piece even reminds me a little of one of the Fripp sections from VDGG's Pawnhearts!
"Primo Incontro" feels more like a continuation of the last four or five minutes of "Introduzione"...nice harpsichord intermingled with wicked guitar. My one complaint with this CD is that the guitar tone is not really to my liking. Ho hum. Anyway, the drumming is very reminiscent of Carl Palmer's work, especially the snare work. This piece closes with a short harpsichord melody that sounds as if it would have fit perfectly on a Gracious album.
"Secondo Incontro" sounds like it was probably the beginning of the second side of the original album. Having never heard the original, I couldn't say for sure. Once again some excellent piano work.
"Terzo Incontro" has a really jazzy feel to it, with some very nice walking bass lines dancing around under heavily modulated synth work and more ghostly scat singing.
"Epilogo" is my favorite cut on this disc...the interplay between the musicians is simply amazing here. To me, this song is on par with some of the greatest prog songs of all time! I have to wonder how much time they spent in pre-production trying to nail the intro here...this is tightness on par with Yes' "Sound Chaser". The intro is followed by a nice vocal verse section in 6/8...followed by several minutes of the most spooky music I've heard in prog (except maybe for Goblin or Univers Zero). A very tasty repetitive bass line sets the mood, with dripping piano, mellotron, echoed guitar effects...ahh, bliss and heaven! Scare your neighbors at Halloween with this one! Finally, the blistering intro is reintroduced, and the album closes with disembodied voices which recall the very beginning of the CD.
Track 6 is a bonus cut which, although nice, just doesn't sound like it belongs here. I don't know why but this song reminds me for some reason (except for the vocals) of a cross between an early U.K. rehearsal tape and Starcastle...but that could just be my brain short circuiting after listening CD.
Dynamic, dark, intense, difficult, aggressive, dissonant and thoroughly entertaining...this is a disk that would impress even a few metalheads. I love this one! I highly recommend this as a requirement in any serious prog fans collection.