Album: The Legend Of The Holy Circle
Label: Black Widow Records
Review: Kev Rowland
Thoughts: The first time I played this I had a huge smile on my face, and the more I have played it the bigger it has got. Three Monks are comprised of Paolo Lazzeri (pipe organ), Maurizio Bozzi (bass) and Roberto Bichi (drums) and together they are channelling bombastic Wakeman with some of the finer elements of Emerson. The use of a pipe organ throughout definitely provides an additional element of power and majesty, almost Wagnerian in it's concept.
When I started listening to it I was listening for similarities between this and ELP/Wakeman, but while this has obviously been influenced by the darker side of those bands, this is very much a band in it's own right. Both Keith and Rick have employed pipe organs (and synthesised versions of the same) to great effect throughout their career; and when I saw The Nice some years ago at the Royal Festival Hall the show commenced with Keith playing that establishment's organ (with plenty of the stops pulled out), so there are bound to be some similarities, but Paolo doesn't use any other keyboards at all and Maurizio and Roberto are here in a supporting role. There are no vocals, and no overt flashiness from anyone, just a concentration on producing the best neo-Gothic Romantic progressive classical rock that they can.
This is very much a band, all pulling together in the same direction, showing just how powerful a pipe organ can be in the hands of someone who really knows what he is doing. Apparently Paolo is heavily influenced by the music of composer Julius Reubke (1824-1858), as well as his love of progressive rock, but that is yet another composer I have never heard of so can't say if it comes through into the album.
What I do know is that this is an incredible example of keyboard based progressive rock, and fans of this style definitely need to seek this out.
The band was included in our Podcast #31 and you can listen 'The Holy Circle' HERE.