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Odessa — L'Alba della Civiltà
(Lizard LDV 020, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-04-18

L'Alba della Civiltà Cover art

Odessa is a ‘hard prog’ quartet from Italy, one of the second wave of progressive rock bands from that country, though they can’t be accused of flooding the market with product; their first album Stazione Getsemani appeared on Mellow Records in 1999, an impressive debut, but this is one of those bands that only releases an album every ten or twelve years, L'Alba della Civiltà being their third, though they have remained active throughout that time as a live act, having played at several of the annual Prog Sud festivals in Marseille, Flowes festival in Fano (2005), Baja Prog in 2006, and many more festival and concert appearances through the years. There was plenty of turnover in the ranks in their first ten years, the constants being singer / keyboardist Lorenzo Giovagnoli and bassist / singer Valerio De Angelis, though the lineup on the new album is essentially the same as for their second (2009) album The Final Day - Il Giorno Del Giudizio, with guitarist Giulio Vampa and drummer Marco Fabbri (both share vocals as well), and for this album they are joined by special guest Gianluca Milanese on flute, from Aria Palea, Aurora Lunare, Zaq, and other endeavors. His presence is an important and powerful element in the current edition of Odessa, as it was on their first album. The album opens with an introductory instrumental “La Stanza Vuota,”.a beautiful piece for classical guitar and synthesizer, which leads right into the first vocal track “Invocazione,” a showcase for the entire band’s progressive power, with plenty of changes, interesting arrangements, and superb vocals, clocking in at nearly eight minutes. Odessa sing mostly in their native Italian, and though I’m not sure what all of the lyrics mean (there are english translations on some of the youtube links), the emotion, feeling and spirit come through loud and clear. Other standouts include the extended mostly-instrumental “L’organista del Bosco,” starting with rock power then cutting into a jazzy feel mid way through, highlighting performances on organ and flute, with the band firing on all cylinders; the title track begins with an amazing classical riff on electric guitar, soon to be joined by the entire band for some amazing prog acrobatics and powerful vocals; “Rasoi” exemplifies their ‘hard’ prog sound at its very best, a strong and bouncy rhythm leads the way for crunchy organ blasts, ripping guitar solos and amazing vocals – you’ll need to catch your breath after that one. Interestingly, Odessa’s bandcamp page (one of the links below) has several individual songs from the album but not the entirety of it. If you’re looking for a great progressive rock sound reminiscent of the Italian classics of the 70s, L'Alba della Civiltà is your ticket.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

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