Band: Alessandro Farinella
Band Website: www.maracash.com/store.htm
Label: Ma.Ra. Cash Records
Release Date: 2012
With so many new influences shaping modern progressive rock music it’s comforting sometimes to put on a disc and know immediately that you are listening to what could best be described as classic symphonic prog. You know what I mean, the kind where you are reminded of the music of Rick Wakeman, Genesis, Anthony Phillips and so on. Well that’s the feeling I got listening to Road to Damascus from keyboardist Alessandro Farinela. This is his second release and here he’s assisted by Roberto Gualdi (drums), Guido Mock (guitar) and Pietro Foi (bass). The music on Road to Damascus is instantly recognizable for its classic seventies influences and yet still manages to come across as totally modern.
Road to Damascus is made up of six tracks almost all six minutes or longer amounting to a total of 46-minutes of music. The lyrical theme of the CD as you might have surmised from the title revolves around the crusades and the first sounds you hear include the sounds of battle before the start of the song proper. On the surface “The Battle” [5:55] would appear to be a straight forward rock tune until it changes time and tempo at the 2:00 minute mark, and then again at the 2:30 mark and yet again a number of time further still over its length. In fact musical change-up seem to come quite naturally to the music Farinella creates. He takes a musical theme or riff and works it a number of different ways in every composition here. Rolling tympani’s climax in a cinematic piano run and a backdrop of symphonic strings all providing an appropriate conclusion to the opening track’s panoramic sweep. Track two, “The Brave” [14:00] the longest on the disc, starts with a hesitant, choppy rock-styled introduction which twists and turns as it changes over a lengthy instrumental introduction. Vocals are in both Italian and English with only a hint of any accent. To my ears the Italian symphonic prog influence comes to the fore in the way Farinella and company are willing to interject so many musical change-ups that tie in with the core melodies. So while the tune is always changing, doing a short riff here, a new motif there, it never detracts from the melody.
While it’s not as musically complex as some Italian progressive rock, fans of Italian styled symphonic prog will appreciate the music on display on Road to Damascus. At the same time fans of symphonic prog will also find much to enjoy from the music created by Alessandro Farinella. It is the best of both worlds. Full of some great keyboard solos and sounds and guitar interaction, I found it thoroughly enjoyable.