Band: Mangala Vallis
Band Website: www.mangalavallis.it
Label: Ma.Ra. Cash Records
Label Website: www.maracash.com/store.htm
Release Date: 2012
So many stories to tellÖso little time. Thatís the feeling I get sometimes reading the background information of many progressive rock bands. Why else would our beloved genre claim so many concept albums? Well hereís yet another to add to the list, and itís a good one. Itís about a time in the future where we lose all manner of technology and have to basically start over. This is the third release from Mangala Vallis and given the long break in between there were the usual personnel upheavals. None-the-less they have taken their time and delivered quite a stunning release entitled Microsolco. This Italian quintet is made up of Gigi Cavalli Cocchi (drums), Mirco Consolini (guitars), Cristiano Roversi (keyboards), Nicola Milazzo (guitars) and Roberto Tiranti (vocals, bass). Be aware this is some fine symphonic prog.
As I say Microsolco is a concept album made up of seven tracks the two longest being around seven minutes in length the others between four and five minutes. And yet in classic Italian fashion they manage to create all manner of musical change-ups within a short space. The music leans decidedly more to the rock side of things rather than an abundance of jazzy or classical influences, although some of that is certainly present. In fact if I had to provide some sonic reference points, think about mixing Genesis with Spockís Beard and leave out all the Gentle Giant influences. Most of these tracks are spaced together quite tightly and itís sometimes was impossible to catch where one went into the other, which gives the impression of longer compositions.Mangala Vallis inject some gorgeous melodies, great guitar hooks, punchy chords and beautiful Mellotron strings and choirs. You would think that given the subject matter the music would be a bit dark and gloomy, but itís quite the opposite as the general tone is very upbeat, even uplifting. All the right elements are here, huge swells of music, sweeping crescendos, stirring climaxes all arranged in such a way that you find yourself signing along.
While itís not as musically complex as some Italian progressive rock from the seventies, Mangala Vallis develop their own level of complexity that still relies heavily on the symphonic nature of classic prog. This is an easy recommendation. If you enjoy the music of Spockís Beard or Mid-period Genesis you will totally loveMicrosolco, itís become one of my favorites. Mangala Vallis easily won me over. You would do well to check them olut.