“The whole Earth and the wide space produce only and always for you, o Death. And suddenly you have taken our little boy away from us. Even if he got old he would never have been yours?”
Warning: this is a Rock Opera,
a (stunning) BA-ROCK OPERA!!!
Hybla is the ancient name of the city of Ragusa, Sicily. That’s where this contemporary italian band comes from. What a beautiful gift they’ve made to their hometown. A concept album about the millenarian history of Ragusa, passing through passions, deaths of beloved childs, hard fights and wars, invasions of foreigners kingdoms and terrible destructions. From the ancient times, through medieval age up to the baroque period. “Act First” ends in 1693 when the great (sadly well remembered) earthquake (Il Terremoto, track no- 24) destroyed Hybla. After that tragedy, in the following decades and centuries, Ragusa rising from its own ruins (Crevit Ragusia Hyblae Ruinis, track no. 25 – Epilogo). And still nowadays the older part of Ragusa in named Ragusa Ibla.
What an astonishing concept for an album! The music is in pure italian symphonic style with some “sparkling” mediterranean and traditional influence, very well written and performed. Violin, tenor sax and jaw harp often whispering or shouting loud between all these digital pianos, moogs, minimoogs and, above all, mellotron. Special guest is, between the many, Beppe Crovella who was part of the famous classic italian prog band of the seventies Arti e Mestieri. A strong rythm section and a very well played electric guitar, from the more aggressive and fiery parts to the more quieter and soft interludes. All you love of the italian prog is here. A great element is also the variety of vocals: apart Nicola’s good lead vocals, you can listen to amazing female voices and to a baritone singer! This was a great surprise for me and it’s very interesting because I cannot remember another italian prog album with such a vocal richness! The general mood of the opus goes from magnificient and pompous to intimate, from symphonic to folk. They’ve worked hardly, helped also by the mayor of Ragusa! The results are so well evident: masterpiece status!
This is a real a gem, a feast for any good prog lover!