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ifsounds: Apeirophobia

People let me introduce to you the following personnel Elena Ricci (vocals), Enzo Bellocchio (drums and percussions), Franco Bussoli (bass), Claudio Lapenna (piano, keyboards, synth and vocals) and Dario Lastella (guitar, synth and vocals). These are the people responsible for this rather interesting and intriguing release. Collectively they go by the name of ifsounds. Ifsounds are a band that originally formed in 1993 having already recorded four albums under the moniker of if before adding the sounds.

They have created something special here with their album which is called Apeirophobia that is slightly abstract in its presentation; a conceptual album about the conscience of man; about the end, not the fear of death but the fear of the infinity after death. This all sounds very heavy and deep, (this is what prog should be about), so welcome to the world of Italian proggers ifsounds. A world you will enjoy from beginning to the end, which is light and dark, challenging and rewarding, emotional and thought provoking, which takes in modern elements as well as some of the more traditional approaches.

Ifsounds travels from up tempo rhythms, ballads and rock numbers to the twenty seven minute plus suite all in a fifty five minute slot. I love the way Elena approaches her vocal stance, the accentuation of her voice alone makes the whole affair very interesting and somewhat intriguing, sounding off kilter, especially on album opener Anima Mundi, which is juxtaposed with male vocals. Anima Mundi maybe about humanity trying to control the earth unsuccessfully, which is something that the band doesn't struggle with controlling during the song.

Summer Breeze takes a left turn offering a sad ballad, an interlude of acoustic passion, piano runs to die for, before it rocks out, a story of hope and fears that are realised, that ends as its starts.

Last Minutes takes a more basic rock approach, with the technical endeavour being the subject matter, a duet about the last 5 minutes of a woman on death row and a man dying of a terminal disease. Cheery stuff indeed which is handled with a modicum of respect and pity. Dario provides some rather stunning rhythmic and lead guitar work.

The essence and beauty that is Aprile a song built on a piano passage, being supported by cello and violin; tugging at the heart strings, its tones weave in and out of the cerebral cortex build stunning images. A master stroke, being a fitting instrumental piece prior to the epic nine piece Apeirophobia. The previous songs have all been solid building blocks, the foundations for the album closer.

Apeirophobia has a somewhat Floydian approach as it gathers momentum on its journey salivating its listener's taste buds before it presents its own unique and fascinating individuality. The beauty and exquisite layered vocals adds depth, whilst the band works their magic throughout, dragging the listener on a merry go round of musical emotion, different musical styles that have been cleverly combined as one, a marriage, a gateway from what has been created previously, making the whole piece stunning. Lots of bands would love to be able to write competent songs like this. The whole piece tries to explain how differing religions and philosophies try to explain the sense of life, a dark and foreboding approach, which will leave you both gobsmacked and discussing the subject matter for a time. Kant, Hegel, Foscolo, Bruno, Atheism, Materialism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity; with the outcome of overcoming the fear is to feel and see ourselves as part of something bigger, the human race as opposed to being an individual, the realisation that we are all part of the human race in some way shape or form.

The whole depth and beauty of the album is absolutely stunning. The cross reference of topics broached really makes the listener sit up and listen. The band has offered a psychological approach as opposed to a sociological point of view in its subject matter. Putting that to one side, what the band has really offered is a strong album that is certainly worth investing time in. You will be richly rewarded for your effort if you so choose to do so. What I need to do now is to locate some other recordings by this band as they have caught my attention hook line and sinker. For me this is what prog is all about, intriguing, challenging thought provoking and reactionary music? This is a band that has really done it for me, a stunning find and a stunning album, one which I will be playing for quite some time to come.

Track Listing
1 Anima Mundi
2 Summer Breeze
3 Last Minutes
4 Aprile
5 Apeirophobia

Added: February 15th 2011
Reviewer: John OBoyle
Related Link:
Hits: 3317
Language: english

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