Greg Northrup    3-November-2001 Apotoesi

Apoteosi is one of those Italian bands that one would tend to gloss over in light of the slew of excellent releases from that country and understandably so. The band plays symphonic progressive rock with many of the usual characteristics: piano, flute, beautiful melodies, and a tendency to sound like PFM at times. The album came out in progressive rock's downswing, 1975, and is really not as highly touted as, say, the Quella Vecchia Locanda or PFM albums. A conclusion could be drawn that a certain wannabe connoisseur of Italian prog (read: me) might have overlooked this album until just recently. Not surprisingly, it's actually really damn good.

Thankfully, this Italian one shot has enough distinguishing qualities to make it a necessary purchase for any serious collector. Most obviously, Apoteosi features a full-time female vocalist, who is quite good, although her vocals certainly don't make or break the album. More importantly, the band has a slight hard rock/psych sound at times with fuzzed out electric guitar solos, plenty of organ and moog, as well as thick, consistently intriguing basslines that tie the proceedings together nicely. Of course, these portions are always set against other, quieter segments that are more typically Italian, for better or worse. Piano and flute melodies create beautiful backdrops for the female vocalist, who generally chimes in when things settle down, allowing the instruments to carry the melodies when the band chooses to crank up the intensity.

The best cut on here is probably the 14-minute, two-part, second piece "Prima Realta/Frammentaria Rivolta" which features some absolutely sizzling moog lines over a driving rhythm section that will stick in your head for days. I remember back when I had only heard the album a few times, having the main theme from this piece in my head and being maddeningly unable to place it. The other highlight is the three-part, third track, which again exhibits some absolutely extraordinary melodies and powerful playing, especially with regard to the hard rockish guitar riffs. "Dimensione da Sogno" is uninteresting, basically a ballad over which the female vocals actually sound pretty cheesy, but at about four minutes long, it is no matter. The album closes with what is perhaps the most atypical track on here. "Apoteosi" sounds vaguely improvised, built up around a repetitive bass groove as other instruments fall into place around it, building and releasing tension cyclically.

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