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Juglans Regia: Controluce

I was recently sent two albums by Italian progressive metal band Juglans Regia for review and was surprised to see that Controluce, the band's second album, was released five years ago. I was surprised by this on two counts, firstly because it is slightly unusual to be asked to review a five year old album and secondly because the six songs that make up the CD sound fresh, vibrant and are hard to adequately compare to anyone else. That doesn't mean that Juglans Regia have found a magic new formula that reinvents rock music, however describing them, as I already have, as progressive metal really does the band little justice. Whilst the genre has spread more in recent years the words progressive and metal when blurted out together conjure up images of impossibly hard time signatures, swathes of virtuoso keyboard and guitars and basses played at finger flurrying speed. This group of Italians however have taken a completely different approach and a more apt phrase would be heavy rock prog as first and foremost Juglans Regia play reasonably straight ahead, big riffed, slow paced rock that has slight touches of stoner, grunge and doom without actually being close to falling into any of those boxes. Throw in the odd tempo change and add intricate passages that make little cameo appearances and a progressive element is strongly hinted at too.

Some listeners may be put off by the fact that all the vocals are sung in the band's native tongue, however Alessandro Parigi's voice is hugely expressive and that fact alone allows you to hear the story without knowing its message. David Carretti on drums and Massimiliano Dionigi on bass are a remarkably tight unit, however it's guitarist Antonello Collini who really steals the show with some massive riffs as well as restrained soloing of the highest order.

Controluce is a compelling listen and all six songs are extremely involving, however there are a few moments when you can hear that this is still a band finding their feet and sound. When they nail it, as they do on the driven "L'Ultimo Respiro" or "Magnifica Ossessione" with its spiraling melody and downtuned riff they are a mighty unit. In other places though some unwelcome frailty seeps through into the song's construction and it can sometimes feel a little forced, however as proved on follow up Visioni Parallele (also reviewed elsewhere) this album was a necessary and rewarding step on the band's journey and is in places well worth your time.

Track Listing
1. Il Prossimo Errore
2. Magnifica Ossessione
3. Riflessi
4. Il Vento
5. L'Ultimo Respiro
6. Quel Che Sembra...

Added: March 1st 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 1550
Language: english

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