One quick listen to the opening instrumental scorcher "Ouverture", and it's apparent that Italian prog rock legends PFM are back making music that matters to the prog community. After spending many years toiling about in commercial and world music waters, Dracula-Opera Rock is a pretty fresh take on the prog genre, by a band that did it pretty damn well 30 plus years ago. Sung all in Italian, the new CD is inspired by the legend of Dracula, but since I don't read or speak a lick of Italian (my ancestors would not be happy to hear that!) I can't comment on the story for you. The music though is real solid, as are the vocals, as the band runs through plenty of symphonic and rocking progressive rock passages over the entire album.
There's many highlights, like the churning and complex rocker "Non č un Incubo č Realtą", the dreamy and atmospheric "Il Mio Nome č Dracula ", and the Gentle Giant inspired "Ho Mangiato gli Uccelli", featuring some great guitar and keyboard interplay from Franco Mussida and Flavio Premoli. Mussida lays down some tasty nylon string on the romantic "Terra Madre", which also features a stunning vocal from drummer Franz Di Cioccio. The 11-minute "Un Destino di Rondine" is a spooky yet emotional number, with Premoli's ethereal keyboards, Cioccio's understated drums, and Mussida's yearning guitar fills, plus some strong female vocals. This one then morphs into a harder edged prog number with crunchy guitars, layers of male and female choral vocals, and stabbing synths, giving the album a grand rock opera finale.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for PFM and their return to progressive rock. While there are a couple of songs here that are sort of "ho-hum", overall this is some pretty strong stuff and a welcome return to the genre that they basically left for many years. There's something about Italian vocals singing over this kind of material that really works, creating that romantic & symphonic feel, plus the stellar guitar work of Mussida and keyboard stylings of Premoli are back in full force once again. Welcome back guys!
- Ouverture (5:08)
- Il Confine dell'Amore (1:13)
- Non č un Incubo č Realtą (5:38)
- Il Mio Nome č Dracula (7:16)
- Il Castello dei Perchč (4:03)
- Non Guardarmi (4:11)
- Ho Mangiato gli Uccelli (3:57)
- Terra Madre (6:16)
- Male d'Amore (3:59)
- La Morte Non Muore (2:53)
- Un Destino di Rondine (11:07)