Zenit - Pavritti

Year of Release: 2001
Label: CCD Records
Catalog Number: ZEN7014
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:59:00

Zenit (© Zenit)We may have encountered the first band that could be said to be influenced by The Flower Kings, at least where the title track to Zenit's Pravritti is concerned. Like The Flower Kings, Zenit's style is an amalgam of classic 70s prog bands - mainly Genesis. Some of the vocals are in Italian, some in English. Those English vocals are delivered in a very early Gabriel like manner, with even an occasional Gabriel-like cadence, by vocalist Lorenzo Sonognini. But, this is a band that is also influenced by more recent outfits such as For Absent Friends, Egdon Heath, Pallas, Grey Lady Down, and even early Arena. During "Quello," the second track in, there are keyboard passages that remind me of Saga; at other times, it is Genesis. This all comes as a surprise as I was expecting a classically influenced prog metal band actually. And then, upon opening the booklet, and seeing Italian lyrics, I thought, well, Italian prog. And I suppose there are some elements of that in here, too. Switzerland and Italy do border each other so a cultural influence is not out of the question. It's actually quite good, this release. The title track is a thirteen-plus suite with many moods, most of them upbeat. There are points of high energy that seem just so damn happy you can't help but be infected and affected by it. The arrangement here is perfect for that long live jam -- as if 13-plus minutes aren't enough. Of course, the bit of crowd noise towards the end solidifies that. And the band seems to really lose its mind - in a good way - for the last minute or so of the track. According to the band's website, the term "pravritti" comes from Sanskrit - "derived from the verbal root vrit -- to flow or to turn, plus the preposition pra -- forth, hence the word means 'a flowing forth,' an unfolding of that is within, in other words, evolution."

Like the bands I've mentioned, Zenit employ many of the expected stylistic touches that seem to go hand in hand with this corner of the genre - a mellow passage that explodes into soaring vocals and epic status -- big, broad strokes of sound. The Italian pieces are more interesting than the English pieces, to be honest, though it has nothing to do with how the English lyrics are handled (which is a quite good). But, from an overall musical perspective, "Icarus" is a very ordinary -- in a fashion -- neo-prog piece. Upbeat and poppy, it could serve as the "example" piece for the sub-genre. The Italian pieces are those that were written solely by keyboardist Ivo Bernasconi and make up the bulk of the album. There are a few pieces that were co-written with other members of the band; "Icarus" was co-penned by vocalist Lorenzo Sonognini, "Fragile" and "Pavritti" co-penned by bassist Andy Thommen (these are the three English-language tracks). "Fragile" is a dark track, and is the most of interesting of the two English tracks. There is a hint of familiarity about it, though I can't quite name it. It did, however, make me think of Guy Manning (who, incidentally, I was also listening to today). The Bernasconi penned pieces have classical touches while the co-penned pieces seem to rely mainly on rock figures.

While the vocals aren't bad, they pale in comparison to the instrumentation. Sonognini sings on all the vocal tracks, but one -- "Il Cavaliere Rosso" where lead vocals are from Diana Bernasconi, Bernasconi's daughter, As the voice sound childlike, I'm guessing that she's not an adult, but that is significant of nothing other than what you can expect to hear. The playing itself is quite tight, and this is where Zenit shine. Frank Di Sessa's guitar lines are flowing, though taut, and quite spectacular. Luigi Pedruzzi is one of those kind of drummers that I like - has a big kit and isn't afraid to use it.

The production is very clear, and in some ways, too clear. One can hear each cymbal crash, each guitar note, and each keyboard note... but the sound is so crisp as to be a bit chilly, mainly where the drums are concerned. If I were to assign a color to the sound, it is of highly polished silver. But, it could also be described as a bright and brassy sound.

It's a good album and a good debut. If they warm the production a little bit for their next outing, that will make the music sound that much better.

Placebo (4:30) / Quello (6:14) / Noman's Land (5:58) / Il Cavaliere Rosso (5:47) / Icarus (5:32) / Le Onde Del Tempo (6:37) / Fragile (3:56) / Alone (3:38) / Pravritti (13:47)

Lorenzo Sonognini - voices
Frank Di Sessa - guitars
Ivo Bernasconi - keyboards
Andy Thommen - basses
Luigi Pedruzzi - drums and percussion

Pavritti (2001)
Surrender (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: December 7th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.fragile.net
Hits: 885
Language: english


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