This Italian Progressive Rock Band (from Sicily) is led by singer / main songwriter /acoustic guitarist/ keyboard player / programmer Nicola Randone, who some months ago sent me a private message in the Prog Archives Forums with an announcement of the availability of this, their new album called ‘Ultreia’, which was released in 2014. I could download a digital copy of the album from a link which was included in that private message so I could listen to this album. Fortunately, the downloaded files included scans from the booklet of the album, with some of them having the notes, the credits and the lyrics of the album translated to the Spanish language (and to other languages too, including English). So, it was easier for me to understand the concept and the lyrics of this album because I don`t speak, write or read in the Italian language. The booklet was designed by Nicola Randone himself, and it also has some very good photos taken by him (Nicola Randone is a graphic designer too).
This is the first album that I have listened from this band. The band consists of Nicola Randone , Marco Crispi on electric guitar, Livio Rabito on bass, Maria Modica on vocals, and Riccardo Cascone on drums, plus other four guest musicians.
The full title of this album is “Ultreia (Canzoni Sullavia Atto 1)”. So, as the booklet notes say, this is the First Act of a trilogy.
This First Act is a narration of a Spiritual Journey experienced by Nicola Randone while he was travelling (he did it twice) along the ‘Pilgrim`s Way to Santiago’, a way which takes nearly 1000 kms. and goes from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Nicola Randone narrates with his lyrics and with the music (mostly written by him with some help from some members of the band) his experiences along this journey while having contact with nature and also with other human beings. It seems that this journey leaves in the pilgrims some very good spiritual and personal experiences which makes them grow as persons. The journey took him about three or four weeks until he finally arrived to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The lyrics are mostly written as poems and I liked most of them.
Musically, this album has very clear influences from the Italian Progressive Rock style, with the lyrics being written and sung in the Italian language (but sometimes also including some lyrics written and sung in the Spanish language). It also has some influences from Italian and Spanish Folk music and even some Classical Music influences in some parts, with some ‘Operatic’ vocals. Nicola Randone is not the only lead singer in the band as Maria Modica sings lead vocals in some parts. There are some influences from other Italian Progressive Rock bands like P.F.M. and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, and the electric guitars playing also has some influences from some Heavy Metal bands, with some guitar parts sounding very influenced by artists like Yngwie Malmsteen, sounding very well. The band also uses some vintage keyboards like the Mellotron and maybe also a Moog Synthesiser, giving to the music some influences from the early Progressive Rock of the seventies. Some songs also include the use of some flute, harmonica and jew`s harp. They also include some sounds from nature and some voices in conversations (some in the Spanish language).
I think that the album as a whole is very good, very well produced, recorded and mixed, and it has very good contributions by all the musicians who participated in its creation. I think that the creation of this album really took them a long time and it really was a hard work, as it has a continuity reflected in the presentation of song after song without interruptions. I also have to say that I like the cover and booklet design very much as it illustrates very well the content of the music and of the lyrics of this concept album.