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Il Castello di Atlante - Quintessenza

Il Castello di Atlante - QuintessenzaCan it really be ten years since we last reviewed anything by Il Castello di Atlante?  That was back in the days before we became web-based, and I am pleased that drummer and founder member, Paolo Ferrarotti looked us up on the Net to tell us about the band's latest release, Quintessenza.

As the title would suggest, Quintessenza is ICDA's fifth album.  Though the band was formed in 1974 their first album was released 18 years later in 1992.

Whilst ICDA is Italian, it is easy to forget this fact when listening to Quintessenza.  Four out of the six tracks have some vocals, and yes they are in Italian, but the album is largely instrumental prog of the first order.

Massimo Di Lauro's violin is nearly always present lending a folk/jazz flavour to the prog.  There are many detectable influences in the compositions such as Aldo Bergamini's Hacketty (Ace Of Wands) style guitar intro to the brilliant opening track Non Puoi Fingere, and the medieval hint of Tull's Velvet Green within Ilmarinen Forgia Il Sampo but the originality of the band is at the forefront.

The band's classic symphonic prog sound is cemented firmly in place with the use of Hammond and piano (Roberto Giordano) and archetypal percussion (Paolo Ferrarotti) and bass (Franco Fava) and, of course, the terrific arrangements.

There is nothing not to like on Quintessenza which makes it all the more surprising that Il Castello di Atlante are not more widely known in Europe and the Americas.  As far as I know, they have never performed outside Italy and that is a great shame.  If you are looking for a surprise hit at your prog festival next year, look no further.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Il Castello di Atlante


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