Review by: Francelino Prazeres de Azevedo Filho
Album assigned by: Joseph Middleton-Welling
Italian prog and communism! The best combination since guava and cheese! In the foreboding acoustic opener, Stormy Six already show what they came for: “on its frozen path, the Swastika knows / that from now on, Stalingrad awaits in every city”. Lovely lyrics! Lovely strings! And the rest of the songs just keep up with the style. Too bad I’ve only been able to find translations for the lyrics to three of these, because this blood-pumping leftist themes are exactly what I need to help me face these grim times of neo-fascism. I could at least understand a bit from every track. Have I mentioned the strings? They’re not attempting to be “classical” like those common progressive acts, no sir. They incarnate Italian / Mediterranean folk music, instead, and I welcome this. Instrumentation is folky throughout the record; I don’t think I’ve listened to anything electric save for the bass, which is pretty good. On the other hand, a large diversity of acoustic guitar-like instruments brings variety, always exchanging the spotlight with violins, always catching my attention. The voice is just as good, a strong baritone that brings the right amounts of intonation and feeling. The album is emotional, alternating between ominously melancholic and sombrely blood-pumping. There’s a preponderance of the former, however, so the songs where the latter appears, for example the opener “Stalingrado” and the homage to Italian anti-fascist partisan Gianfranco Mattei, are the strongest. The other tracks sort of blend with each other, but are very pleasant nonetheless. This review was made on-the-go on my first listen of this record, so maybe further listens might show me hidden depths. I don’t need any more, though, to say that this is excellent, and stands on its own amongst all the greats of Italian prog.