L’IMPERO DELLE OMBRE: “I Compagni di Baal” LP |

£15.00 + Postage TBC

Having laid down such a strong self-titled record and a ripping out take by the name of “Dr. Franky” as a split single it begged the question where the band would go next. Well, the long years of silence gave birth to a strange concept album based on the late ’60s French TV Series “Les Compagnons de Baal.” This dark tale of conspiracy, corruption and intrigue is ushered in by creepy synths and eerie narration. The heavy guitar tones and catchy vocal arrangements by Cardellino are immediately recognisable. But as “Diogene” unfolds, the progressive synths glide to the fore. This fluid and frequent shift in lead between guitar, synths and voice brings depth, masterful strokes, which are peppered throughout the album to the benefit of each given song. The plot thickens, “Divoratori Della Notte” rocks hard and the sense of story is propelled forward. The beautiful lament “Ballata Per Liliana” slows the pace down again as the excellent A-side draws to a close. Hammond heavy “L’Oscura Persecuzione” is rooted deeply in Italian Progressive Rock although morphs somehow into a “Master of the Universe” themed riff before synth solos go berserk! Rolling out of that, “Cosmochronos” is the heaviest song on the album albeit quite flat and repetitive. But the guitar solo in the middle is classic Cardellino and surely would have been a more fitting bridge to the song sampled from the old TV series. “Sogni di Dominio” strikes gold again, on a par with the best of the reverse, as guitar, synths and voice collide. Then “La Caduta Del Conte di St. Germain” and “Tutti I Colori del Buio” flow together as an extended and understated finale. The CD edition comes with a straight and superfluous rendition of “Snowblind” by Black Sabbath. The vinyl version has been spared the distraction due to lack of space thus providing ample time to reflect, to absorb the artwork and lyrics in translation, before flipping back to the beginning. (Pariah Child – Masters of the Pit)

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