Without doubt Italian rock musicians have always had a propensity and a deep rooted feeling for constructing extremely well-considered and beautifully assembled symphonic progressive rock music. And here with this self-titled album from ‘Hollowscene’ we have a majestic opus built with layer upon layer of skillfully crafted multi keyboard and guitar movements that combine, sway and dance together like a scattering of dust in a shaft of morning sunlight. The impact of the music is further embellished with many injections of sparkling flute, carefully controlled percussion and dreamy melodic bass guitar lines anchoring down both the timing and pattern of musical flow.
The album is divided into three unequally timed sections, the first being lyrically inspired by William Shakespeare and the second by Edgar Alan Poe. The third a cover of a ‘Gentile Giant’ track. An enjoyable feature attributed to the various compositions is the way that the individual segments knit together so seamlessly. The many time changes here being a subtle fusing together of the individual pieces rather than a climatic build up culminating with a distinct interchange of lead instrument. Throughout the entire project “Hollowscene’s” musical arrangements tend to take a more classical approach to progression with the facilitation of subtle shifts in either keyboard tempo or with the integration of wonderfully executed melodic guitar. The point I am making here is that such moments of music climax are never in opposition between lead instruments but purely complimentary to the overall sound. Listen to the end segment of the epic ‘Rage and Sorrow’ track where at the point (11.0 mins) there is a beautiful shift from a progressive rock foundation to the most exhilarating classical contribution and you will know exactly what I mean.
Yet another feature of the compositional make up which only comes to your attention after several plays is the underlying keyboard work with stunning tinkling piano, oodles of synthesizer somersaults, busy flute and acoustic guitar proliferations. The background to the whole affair is jam packed with wonderment.
But I do admit to an air of confusion, which hit me with this album of progressive rock heaven. The reason why is that I was not at all sure, at first, about the quality of the vocals. On first play I came to the conclusion that they sounded slightly off-key and somewhat flat? But on further plays I started to question myself about whether such an ever so slight discordance was actually planned as part of the overall assembly of the music. In other words a kind of intended oppositional descant to the finely worked instrumental melodies. Rather similar in fact to the vocal stylisations of ‘Peter Nicholls’ the lead singer of the progressive rock band IQ. Actually the more I immersed myself with the music the more I found myself drawn to the intended impurity of the vocal projection sung in opposition to a perfectly combined overall instrumental delivery from the rest of the musicians.
Summary: Black Widow Records certainly have a fine stable of excellent progressive bands with Hollowscene being no exception.
Artwork: Rather somber artwork but forming a nice digipak with insert booklet.
Andrea Massimo, voice, guitar
Lino Cicala, keyboards
Andrea Zani, keyboards
Demetra Fogazza, flute, backing vocals
Elton Novara, guitar
Tony Alemanno, bass
Matteo Paparazzo, drums
Broken Coriolanus (2018) is a concept based on the W. Shakespeare’s
tragedy Coriolanus. It features five tracks:
1. Welcome To Rome
2. A Brave Fellow
4. Slippery Turns
5. Rage & Sorrow
6. The Worm (1990), lyrics by E.A. Poe, first-prize winner song by Banaau, but re-arranged for the new ‘Hollowscene’line up.
7. The Moon is Down (Gentle Giant cover)