Artist/ Band: Labirinto Di Specchi
Title: Hanblecheya
Label: Lizard
Year of Release: 2011
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Lizard Records has been putting out some fantastic releases over the years and they seem to never stop. Yet another class act from Italy, the band Labirinto Di Specchi are Gabriele Marroni / guitars, Filippo Menconi / bass, Andrea Valerio / piano, synth, Raffaele Crezzini / drums, percussion, and Diego Armando Samo / keyboards, synth. Contributions are from Paolo Carelli / vocals, narration (who is from Italian band Pholas Dactylus), Michele Sanchini / cello, Matteo Canestri / bass, Lucio Pacchieri / drums, and Giovanni Ferretti / piano, synth. This proves to be a great line up of musicians.

This is their debut and the band uses lots of keyboard effects to create atmosphere and gets right to the meat on the first song with some semi metal guitar (sound familiar?). Not unlike Porcupine Treeís latter releases. The twist is some eastern violin and spoken word. Pretty much all of the lyrics are spoken word in the recording, which might be a turn off to some. Although I would have preferred less of it, it was not obtrusive to me. The music has a unique combination of delicate eastern rhythms, with slow building epics. The music will be going along all fluid and relaxed, then tight chops from guitar change the texture. Overall, the production is very laid back and perhaps too compressed for itís own good, but thatís not really a big issue to most.

After the more trance-like first song, things pick up with a more progressive rock sound with electric guitar up front just a little more. The music is still very soaked in keyboards. Another eastern theme is brought in with guitar towards end of the cut. You definitely hear a 70's Italian progressive rock throughout the CD. That is sometimes mixed with a more modern progressive slant. Nice acoustic guitar is used on the third song with flute and a more gentle PFM echo comes to mind. Over the course of this recording, you have lesser elements of folk, jazz, experimental, and space rock. The MySpace page set up by them has them labeled as Experimental / Psychedelic / Rock, but without question, they go beyond that in terms of styles. The most avant garde song would be song four, which is a seven minute composition. Treated percussion, electronics, and a driving tribal rhythm carry things into the twilight zone. Letís say Residents meet Goblin.

After the exhausting fourth track, things settle down just a tiny bit but still offer another space/freaky jazz fusion/cool progressive jam out. I think a good reference might be Ozric Tentacles meets Heldon and Porcupine Tree with spoken word instead of vocals sung. There is a seamless start into song five from four, and this really gets big. The acoustic piano towards the end is very nice, and lays a bed for the powerful fuzz and glissando guitar lead that brings things to the end. This actually sounds Post Rock the last two minutes and really beautiful. This is one of my favorite songs on the CD. Then song six really shines as well. With heavenly classical guitar and properly mixed electronic effects setting atmosphere, the music makes itís way to another build in suspense. And just as it rises, it falls. Mellow Camel-like music, with one more post rock fused beauty. This is a fantastic tune. You get so many parts. A nice Crimson ĎDisciplineí poly rhythm, then a Richard Pinhas styling workout, a collage of great 70's progressive rock big hooks, and WOW! This one is worth the price of the CD alone. This song is really something! Anyone who doesnít like this one, I pity the fool! The title is ďFolliaĒ and itís a grand 19 minutes and 12 seconds. Rarely does anyone come close to making songs like this anymore. Excuse me while I go change my underwear.

I am continually surprised and overjoyed to find releases like this. Itís tough seeing all my old progressive 70's bands get old and retire. I am just happy to find more great gems like this. It might not be 100% great, but itís good, and then there is a couple of tracks that just blow me away. There was nothing bad on the CD, and I canít wait for the next release from Labirinto Di Specchi. RECOMMENDED and if you really want one of the best progressive extended songs I have heard this year, then get this!

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on November 27th, 2011

Tracks:

01. Eclissi pt. 1 - L'occio e la maschera (8:23)
02. La maschera della visione (5:58)
03. Fantasia (8:58)
04. Nel nulla etereo soggiogato dall'ignoto la mente si espande (7:01)
05. Purpurea (10:00)
06. Follia (19:12)
07. Eclissi pt. 2 - La genesi (9:36)

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