Three Monks — The Legend of the Holy Circle
(Black Widow BWRCD 159-2 / BWR 159, 2013, CD / LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-05-04
The Legend of the Holy Circle is the second all instrumental release by this Italian trio of Paolo “Julius” Lazzeri (neogothic organ & synths), Maurizio “Bozorius” Bozzi (bass), and Claudio “Ursinius” Cuseri (drums on tracks 1, 2, and 5) and Roberto “Placidus” Bichi (drums on tracks 3, 6, and 7). Given this combination, you might immediately think of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, which would not be that far off the mark. The difference here is that a grandiose church pipe organ is front and center, with the synths so well integrated into the background that you hardly notice them. The seven tracks are heavily influenced by baroque music, though it is Julius’ artistry on the keyboard that stands out with his multiple keyboard runs and shear energy. Listening to the opening track “The Holy Circle” you can easily picture this track performed live and whipping the audience to a frenzy. Julius’ playing also calls to mind Gianni Leone’s keyboard chops. Even though there is not much variation in the instrumentation, Julius and bandmates are able run through a range of emotions within and across the seven tracks, from dark gothic atmospheres to spiritual hymns. “The Rest of the Sacred Swarm” particularly pays homage to Bach and a vague reference to Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale,” as well as the closing track “Toccata Neogotica n5” that immediately calls to mind Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue.” Another stand out track is “Rieger” with its heavy progressive arrangements and martial pipe organ. The Three Monks are a unique band. As far as I know, no one else is composing music like this today. And The Legend of the Holy Circle will appeal to all lovers of heavy progressive organ dominated rock. It is certainly in my top ten albums I have recently discovered!
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more