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Gran Torino: grantorinoProg

The Italian band Gran Torino started as a Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple tribute band but decided to follow their own muse in 2009 and began playing their own music. Fast forward to 2011 and the release of their debut CD grantorinoProg. While the name may not be overly imaginative, the band's music is quite adventurous.

In the band are of Cristiano Pallaoro (guitars), Alessio Pieri (keyboards, piano), Gian Maria Roveda (drums) and Fabrizio Visentini Visas (bass). All four musicians are very good and the band has plenty of chops but they don't go overboard with excessive noodling and can slow it down when the need arises. That said, there are lots of tempo changes and stop/starts that demand your attention. Heavy guitar riffs abound and the band's hard rock beginnings shine through often although the music never gets too heavy. You will hear lots of interplay between guitar and keys and both instruments shine throughout. While there are plenty of solos, the band also shows an introspective side, injecting just the right amount of atmosphere in their heavy prog approach. In particular, Pallaoro's guitar work is excellent as he is able to generate different tones and atmospheres, from soaring lead work to heavy riffage, his guitar is central to the band's sound. Likewise, the keyboards of Alessio Pieri are just as important. Whether used as a solo instrument or providing textural layers in the background, the arrangements are tastefully executed and generally well done. And for you '70s aficionados the Hammond does get an occasional workout.

Highlights include the Deep Purple inspired "Fox Box" with tight rhythms, tempo changes and soaring lead guitar and the excellent "Joy" featuring some unexpected twists and turns and more heavenly guitar leads from Pallaoro. The acoustical interlude "Five" is a short number with a nice build up but alas, it is all too short. It could have developed into a great tune as it offers something a little different from the rest of the album.

Nevertheless, grantorinoProg is a fine debut release from a band that should have a bright future as long as they continue to move forward and carve their own niche. Nice stuff indeed…

Track Listing:
1. Sinapsi (5:52)
2. Jack Montorio (5:24)
3. Rock Waters (5:42)
4. Joy (5:34)
5. Miridiana (4:29)
6. Fox Box (4:30)
7. Five (Bonus Track) (1:18)
8. Radio Vox (4:42)
9. Eco (3:59)
10. Zorro (6:44)

Added: September 6th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2299
Language: english

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