Equiseti - Il Rito

Year of Release: 2001
Label: AB Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:13:00

Italy's Equiseti are an unusual progressive metal band, mainly because they aren't strictly a metal band. In fact, I wouldn't really call them a metal band, more a hard rock band with metal elements. Take away the driving drums and percussion from drummer Maurizio De Palo, and the occasionally, mildly chugging guitars (Fabrizio Bonanno), and you'd be very hard pressed to use the word metal. That would leave guitar, of which you hear plenty, and keys (present but not dominant, Bonanno again). Vocals are next prominent instrument behind the guitar, and there are two vocalists here. Simone Carabba carries the bulk, but he is often joined by guest Daniela Tessore. Their voices work well together, though it gives the music a psychedelic folk feel. As a side note, Bonanno features in all five of the bands on the AB label (AB is for Aldo Bonanno), and De Palo is in all but one of those five.

One of the highlights of Il Rito (The Ritual) is the instrumental "Wind Of Freedom," which puts guitar and piano right up front, with keys providing a string backing. In the middle we get a passage that has a salsa like feel. It is here we can hear the ethnic instruments that they've added to the mix ? the salterio, which is an 18th Century stringed instrument that is plucked or hammered (see here more info and picture?), and a calimba, which, according to the results of a Google search, can be referred to as a thumb piano? (see here for a picture and smidgen of description). The two pieces don't really fit together, but separately they work (the first motif is repeated after this interlude).

"When A Dog Finds A Home" is a heavier piece with Federica Rubino's bass throbbing right up front in the mix over De Palo's pounding his drums. The theme of the song (one of three in English) is rather disturbing ? told from both the point of view of the dog and the scientists who have possession of him; it is a raw look at animal experimentation. The irony comes in that the rhythm is catchy, even though there aren't any memorable choruses. This and the guitar solo distinguish this piece from a generic 4/4 rock piece. If you take a bit of heavier Jethro Tull, a bit of Yoke Shire, a bit of Led Zeppelin and toss them all together with a dash of Hammond (though it may not be) this is what would result? but a little less dynamic.

"Winter Lake" comes closest to a progressive metal sound. Though the swirling keys and acoustic guitar riffs that precede each heavy "chorus" (it's an instrumental, one of the album's four), add back in that rock element. I thought of Tempest with this track. It contains the dynamics missing from some of the other pieces ? it is one of the other highlights. "La Valli Perdute" (The Lost Valley) is an acoustic piece featuring guitar, piano, and lightly chiming percussion accents. There is a strong classical feel to it ? a vague comparison would be the opening to Rush's "Closer To The Heart" and later, a hint (a very faint hint) to Yes. Though not perfect, it is another highlight of the album -- and yes, I've noticed that the highlights are the instrumentals. It also feels as if it were recorded live ? you almost expect applause at the end.

The animal rights theme is picked up with the fourth instrumental "Hunt The Hunter!," which, after a moment of birds chirping we hear a gun retort, which sets the music in motion. More leads from Bonanno and some dynamic interplay between De Palo and Rubino and this track bounces along. It doesn't quite have a propelling rhythm that echoes the fleeing hunter, but it's trying. It has a just a few too many twists for that, which isn't a bad thing, mind you. And again, this becomes another of the album's highlights.

Equiseti do better when they leave out the "metal" in their self-styled "ethno prog metal" and one would like to hear more of the "ethnic" instruments, but It Rito is not a bad release by any means. If you're looking for metal, then you'll need to look elsewhere, but if you're looking for good Italian prog rock, then you'll probably like Equiseti. There are, of course, bands in the same genre (Italian prog rock) that do it much better. I think if Equiseti focus on what they do best, they could easily be among those bands.

Crystal Square (The Cube) (6:08) / Nerone (4:09) / Wind Of Freedom (5:26) / When A Dog Finds A Home (4:11) / Winter Lake (4:18) / Freak Out (4:01) / Le Valli Perdute (The Lost Valleys) (6:51) / Wayana (7:05) / Hunt The Hunter! (4:43) / Il Bosco (3:41) / bonus: "Il Bosco" video track (3:41)

Fabrizio Bonanno - electric, classic and acoustic guitars, salterio, keyboards and sequencer programming
Federica Rubino - electric and acoustic bass
Simone Carabba ? vocals


Maurizio De Palo - drums, percussion, salterio and calimba
Daniela Tessore - vocals
Massimo "Muppets" Malco ? doublebass
Luca Vignati - acoustic effects
Samoa Raimondo - narrator

Il Rito (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: January 12th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1641
Language: english


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