Do you like classic Italian progressive rock ala Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and La Locanda Della Fate? Then you may really enjoy Germinale. Like those two legendary bands, Germinale produce a big, dramatic sound with walls of keyboards, nice flute solos and passionate vocals, all sung in their native tongue, perhaps the most beautiful of all languages.
Cielo & Terra appears to be some kind of concept album; as I do not speak Italian, any semblance of a storyline or theme is beyond my comprehension. My instinct tells me it's spiritual in nature. To confuse matters, the booklet layout is one of the least helpful I've ever seen. First of all, the credits list several guests in addition to the group quintet and unless one constantly flips to the credits page, it's difficult to know who's playing what and on which track. The printed lyrics are occasionally out of sequence with the tracks on the CD and all the band photos appearing on adjacent pages to the lyrics make flipping through it all to figure the whole thing out mighty frustrating.
The good news is that the music is very lush and romantic and a very respectable descendant of all those classic Italian progressive bands as well as a nod to Genesis and Camel here and there. I'm sure one's appreciation for Germinale would multiply tenfold with a decent command of the Italian language. That fact is really brought to the fore on the title track. Most of the song consists of lots and lots of vocals and as soon as I expected Germinale to get down to some soloing on "Cielo & Terra", the track ends very abruptly; if I didn't know better, I'd say that someone had wandered into the studio and decided to play a cruel joke on the band by editing out the solo and inserting an operatic aria because that is exactly what replaces the end of the song! I guess it's suppose to serve as some kind of interlude to the rest of the album and thankfully nothing this strange happens again. In fact, the CD concludes with an excellent trio of songs including a folk-y instrumental called "Balera". "La Danza Del Velo" develops nicely the way mid period Genesis compositions did, but unfortunately ends much too soon. The best track is saved for last in "Lucciole Per Lanterne". This track is very reminiscent of the Italian classic band La Locanda Della Fate. Pretty flutes, intricate keyboards and guitars intermingle with the vocals.
Germinale have lots of good stuff to offer here. If they stretched out the instrumental bits a bit more on their next offering I think it would be to their advantage. Recommended.