Artist: L'Albero Del Veleno
Album: Le Radici Del Male
Release date: 2013
Label: Lizard Records
2. ...E Resta Il Respiro - 5'58
3. Presenze Dal Pasato - 3'47
4. Un Altro Giorno Di Terrore - 5'02
5. Due Anime Nella Notte - 5'50
6. Al Di La Del Sogno... L'Incubo Riaffiora - 12'08
Artwork by Silvia Brullato.
Review by Michael H Rating:
Thoughts: The debut album by the horror soundtrack influenced band L'Albero del Veleno (The Poison Tree) sure was a long time coming! After the project was initially announced, members of the Prog Archives RPI team were checking the band's website every few months, with little in the way of updates save for a single piece accompanied by a stylish and dark video `Un Altro Giorno Di Terrore'. But with the finally completed first album `Le Radici Del Male' (`The Roots of Evil'), the band has crafted some moody Goblin-styled pieces with a grand sophistication that avoids heavy metal/gothic cliches, and most surprising of all, Nadin Petricelli's classical piano, Francesco Catoni's viola and Marco Brenzini's flute bring that defining proper 70's Italian prog to their sound. Whether this was on purpose or not is unclear (discussions with drummer Claudio Miniati suggest that not all the band members were directly influenced by progressive rock), but it's definitely given the band an individual sound that makes them stand out from similar artists. The band also creates original screenplays that they use as the basis for how they write their music, with the intention of creating videos for the same, so this is clearly an ambitious group of talented artists with more than just music on their minds.
Focusing on the album itself, opener `Dove Danzamo Le Streghe' starts with somber low piano notes and creeping pulsing electronic whirring, a driving plodding beat soon kicks in with slightly-off violin and gently heavy guitar riffing from Lorenzo Picchi that made me briefly think of UK doom band My Dying Bride. But the ghostly piano and flute outro is the first hint that this band may offer something a little deeper than typical horror soundtrack cliches, confirmed by the circus-like disorientating intro to the next piece `...E Resta Il Respiro'. Child-like and innocent with a creeping unease, before wailing guitar staccato stabs and thick imposing synths assault the listener. Some brief lovely flute is our only respite from the approaching sense of doom and maddening tension here, especially when the track picks up in tempo with bashing drums in the second half. Both of these pieces recall classic Goblin, so fans of that band will really go for these two.
`Presenze Dal Pasato' is very special and my personal favourite here, a lovely and darkly romantic piano/violin/synth piece that calls to mind the sadder moments of classically minded Italian prog. After the occasional bombast of the opening two numbers, this is a nice way to slow things down, though there's still enough to put you on edge. I really hope the band gets to make a video for this one.
Coming back to proper 70's Italian prog, both `Un Altro Giorno Di Terrore' and `Due Anime Nella Notte' have the wild and ferocious unhinged energy of Biglietto Per L'Inferno, with darting flute, smashing drums and dirty guitar stomp! Flute player Marco Brenzini also plays in RPI band Le Porte Non Aperte, and their album definitely had it's Biglietto-like influences too. There's some truly beautiful gothic drama throughout the first piece, Nadin's piano sparkling with spectral beauty over Francesco's stirring viola. Michele Andreuccetti's chunky bass playing punches through the latter, with weeping viola, jazzy drumming and very loopy synth effects to create a rather sinister and deranged sound.
The band wraps the album on an ambitious medley of interpretations from the soundtracks of one of their favourite film-makers', Italian horror/thriller director Lucio Fulci. The band weaves through a variety of deep synth melodies, Mellotron bursts, sparkling tip-toeing spectral piano, complex varied percussion from Claudio and imperial gothic classical majesty. Fans of dark Swedish project Morte Macabre will certainly recognize one of the musical themes covered here too! This grand and ambitious medley will surely be the favourite track for many listeners, and full credit to the musicians for making the pieces blend and weave together so seamlessly. I have no doubt that as the band perfect their craft and develop their own already strong material, they could achieve the same incredible quality arrangements as displayed on this cover piece.
L'Albero del Velono now joins the company of artists like Jacula/Antonius Rex, Devil Doll, Il Segno del Comando, and of course the mighty Goblin that inhabit the darker corners of the Italian progressive genre. Short but darkly sweet, their debut release gets them off to a fine start, and the sheer talent on display from the band, not only in their playing, but in the grand arrangements and their ambitions of creating films to complement and enhance their work suggests a band with many great ideas, that will see them further mature and develop their sound in the future. For now, `Le Radici del Male' is a perfect introduction, and surely just the beginning of a distinctive and promising new project.
Listen to L'Alberto Del Veleno on our Podcast #37 HERE.
Buy it here