Nathan- Era (2018) – review
Era (2018 – AMS RECORDS – ITALY)
This is an Italian progressive rock group who began as a tribute band of music from Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Supertramp. Their 2016 debut `Nebulosa’ featured original songs all sung in Italian, and in the vintage progressive world of Le Orme and similar bands. Now in 2018, their second release is happily in the Aqua Fragile/Genesis sphere, with strong similarities in both the instrumentation and Lanzetti/Gabriel-like lead vocals (thanks to Bruno Lugaro). The sound quality is excellent with balanced solos between keyboards (Piergiorgio Abba) and some Holdsworth/Hackett guitar work (Daniele Ferro). The rest of the band is very strong as well, which includes Fabio Sanfilippo on drums and Mauro Brunzu on bass. Monica Giovannini, who also appeared on their debut, does an amazing job on choirs and backing vocals.
The first few songs have a more classic progressive Italian form but touches of a slightly more heavy progressive rock is worked in. Not overbearing whatsoever, the symmetry of these elements is also maintained. Very closely associated with all time favorites PFM/Acqua Fragile, this will thrill fans of those two bands. ‘Le vie dei Canti’ (track 3) begins as a beautiful mellow ballad and works up as a powerful piece to rival the best of the old school gems. All of the album will draw lovers of the 1970’s Italian progressive rock bands to a big smile. Not a copy band anymore, Nathan has arrived with upper level musicianship, grand arrangements, and tasteful compositions. With a variety of tempos, textures, amd timing, the enticing songs carry their weight to a higher region than ever before. The keyboards (synths, piano, organ, strings, mellotron) support the seasoned pieces extremely well. The multiple vocals with Monica and Bruno are at times stunningly gorgeous. From haunting passages to energetic jewels, the whole package just gets better as the minutes tick. Some mixing in of flute, violin, and acoustic guitar gives even further delight to the senses. ‘Indaco’ (track 6) is so provocative it makes one cry. Bringing to mind a mix of Celeste, Riccardo Cocciante, and Bernardo Lanzetti, this song is worth the price alone.
‘Maschere’ (track 7) carries on the framework of ‘Indaco’, but contains a more aggressive mood, some spitfire lead guitar, grandiose sounds of Genesis and more. Nathan stay smooth, moving effortlessly from one place to another, not letting a dull moment occur. They leave space to create beauty and interest. And with the last track ‘Esistono Ore Perfette’, things begin with a high pulse rhythmic spirit, sliding into a forceful alternating swirl of specialness. The drummer lets it all out with some double bass and burning rubber. A fine way to bring this great release to a grand finale. In the styles I have compared this to, it ranks a 10 out of 10. A KEEPER! And recommended!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson 7 – 12 – 2018