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Lanzetti, Bernardo: Horizontal Rain

A long respected member of the prog rock fraternity, Italian singer (and much more) Bernardo Lanzetti is undoubtedly best known for his ongoing tenure fronting prog-legends PFM. Something the enigmatic vocalist has done now since the mid-seventies. Throughout that time Lanzetti has often trodden the solo path, with his latest stand alone outing coming in the shape of Horizontal Rain, a phenomenon that as a Scotsman, I’m well aware of… unfortunately. Hence the question really needs to be, is this nine-track affair just like being pelted in the face with stinging shards of precipitation? Well, no, not at all, and yet, as you would expect from this uncompromising figure, neither is it a simple straight up offering, with a host of styles and attacks employed. The fact that most of them arrive far flung from the progressive situation that Lanzetti is known for in PFM terms should both frustrate and delight, because the darting from avant to pop via prog and opera-lite may be discombobulating, but then, what’s the point in a solo album that apes the band the artist comes from?

It’s long been established that you either like this singer’s voice or you don’t, and while I do err into the second category, it’s not to the extent that I can’t enjoy his music and for the large part that’s the same here. Admittedly, I could do without the diversion into budget Pavarotti territory that is “Conventional” and I’ll be surprised if the near metal of the album’s title track doesn’t catch a few by unwelcome surprise. However, when balanced against the pop Peter Gabriel alike “Hey Jack”, which features Tony Levin, no less, or the similarly positioned, but with a pinch of accessible Bowie, “Lanzhaiku”, you either have to marvel at the variety on show, or simply scratch your head - especially when held up against the more fusion-like “Genial!”.

Impressive though it is, the guest list features those names that you kind of expect to show up on this type of release, with presence of the likes of David Cross (violin), Tony Franklin (bass), David Jackson (sax & flutes) and Derek Sherinian (keys) almost obligatory on prog projects these days. Although the inclusion of drummer Jonathan Mover is slightly less usual. That said, Horizontal Rain stands or falls on the strength of its songs, and in truth, it’s not a clear cut thing either way. Some of the material here being vibrant and exciting, while some falls reasonably far from either of those plaudits. In many ways that's an excellent summation of the solo work of Bernardo Lanzetti, so if you’re a fan, then this will, I guess, be right up your street.

Track Listing
1. Walk Away
2. Heck Jack
3. Lanzhaiku
4. Time Is King
5. Genial!
6. Conventional
7. Ero Un Num Ero
8. Horizontal Rain
9. Different

Added: April 2nd 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bernardo Lanzetti on facebook
Hits: 452
Language: english

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