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Il Segno Del Comando: Il Volto Verde

Album Review

A crazy slice of Italian genius – brave or foolhardy?

Because only the brave or the foolhardy would attempt an album such as this! Based on the Gustav Meyrink novel of the same name, Il Volto Verde (‘The Green Face’) tells a tale of surreal mysticism and spirituality in post-World War I Amsterdam. It’s dense and shocking, sad and haunting, funny and a little bonkers.

The Genoa band favour ambitious and multi-layered instrumentation, with wildly varied keyboard and guitar sounds and diverse voices. This can border on musical madness – edgy, aggressive, raw and downright noisy in places without ever morphing into metal. 

They’re bold – experimental in places, resonant of classic Italian prog bands in others. They’re good players (check out the bass in Il rituale) and give good unhinged opera (Il manoscritt_o), and they’re diverse too, blending space rock and scary chanting (_La congrega dello zee dyk) while unafraid of their gentle side (Tremodia della dolci parole). 

Il Segno del Comando has taken around a decade to return with this, their third album, but hopefully it won’t be so long before the next one. It’s an album no ‘mainstream’ prog band (if that isn’t an oxymoron?) would ever make, and is, ultimately, brilliant.

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