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La Maschera di Cera — La Maschera di Cera
(Mellow MMP 428, 2002, CD)
by Jim Chokey, Published 2002-09-01
When this CD first started spinning in my player I thought there had been some mistake. I was expecting to hear La Maschera di Cera, the new project by Finisterre’s Fabio Zuffanti; this, however, was clearly some long-lost Italian classic. In fact, the mistake was mine: I simply was not prepared for how completely La Maschera di Cera would resurrect that 70s Italian sound. Even the instrumentation reflects the era. Keyboardist Agostino Macor only plays period instruments like Mellotron, piano, organ, Moog, and the old VCS3 synth. With a gruff yet passionate voice, singer Alessandro Corvaglia is no less evocative of the vocals found in classic Italian prog. The same is true for Andrea Monetti (flute), Marco Cavani (drums, percussion), and Zuffanti himself (bass, acoustic guitar) — all play in a thoroughly convincing retro style. There are four tracks on this LP-length album. The sidelong piece that shares the album’s name is perhaps the most impressive, but all are excellent. Loaded with classic keyboard sounds, powerful and passionate vocals, and lots of flute and acoustic guitar, the whole CD exemplifies the same combination of romantic melodicism and driving energy that made 70s Italian symphonic so great. Stylistically, I’m most reminded of Biglietto per l’Inferno, Museo Rosenbach, and Metamorfosi. Some may argue that this album is backwards-looking and stuck in the past — but, when that past itself is so good — and when a band does such an outstanding job of bringing it to life again — why complain? My highest recommendation!
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