Happy to see that the Italian band Barock Project of keyboard Maestro Luca Zabbini is still developing into a fixed value in the progressive rock scene. But Barock Project is so much more. However Luca is still a big fan of the late Keith Emerson and Progressive music in general, he is always thinking out of that box (the true meaning of progressive). He is following his heart and is not afraid to astray from the progressive path and it’s boundaries. This path was deployed with the predecessor “Detachment”. For more info about the history of the band I refer you to my review of that album or the website and social media channels of the band. Let’s concentrate now on the new album “Seven Seas” that has been released on Immaginifica a sub label of Aerostella.
Luca Zabbini - keyboards, lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, string arrangements, bass on Chemnitz Girl; Alex Mari - lead and backing vocals; Francesco Caliendo - electric bass; Eric Ombelli - drums & percussion, mandolin, sample programming; Marco Mazzuoccolo - electric guitars
Featuring Durga Mc Broom - backing vocals on The Ones
Francesco Cinti - saxophones on Moving On
You will find eleven new songs on “Seven Seas” each with a duration between three and a half and eleven and a half minutes. The album opens with the title track “Seven Seas”. This song is more rock oriented but halfway beautiful and classical oriented keyboard orchestrations are finding it’s way to your ears. “I Call Your Name” with it’s a capella opening and polyphonic vocal refrains is more Pop oriented. The following song “Ashes” is more my cup of tea with it’s beautiful piano melodies and delicate sung vocals. The melodies of this song are very strong. Those delicate piano parts sometimes remind me of the romantic piano playing of the Greek keyboardist/composer Yanni. Halfway the song the pace is increased and we can enjoy lovely synth and Hammond organ parts before the slow piano melodies and soaring guitar parts are returning. “Ashes” develops into my first personal highlight. For the song “Cold Fog” Peter Jones wrote the lyrics. Together with the tracks “Hamburg” and “Brain Damage” this are the three long tracks of this fine album. Love the integration of the classical piano and keyboard orchestrations in this song which has a big diversity. Besides the slow vocal melodies that are accompanied by piano, acoustic guitars and fine electric guitar parts there are also several uptempo parts with a lot of power. After these two highlights the band slows down with the ballad “A Mirror Trick”. Beautiful vocal melodies accompanied by acoustic guitar and piano. There are also some classical Barock influences seeping in. The longest track of the album is called “Hamburg”. It has a beautiful classical opening with atmospheres I would expect earlier on a release of the Narada label. This is followed by great melodic guitar work of Marco Mazzuoccolo. This song has it all, great vocal melodies and wonderful contributions from the band members. As a composer Luca Zabbini is still developing. The classical influences are shining through his beautiful piano melodies. The last of the three long tracks is called “Brain Damage”. Also a song of great diversity. It has a slow opening with delicate vocals and Anthony Phillips like acoustic guitars. But slowly the tension of the music is rising. The middle section of the song has some Steven Wilson influences and the freaky synth solo’s are great. After all this musical violence the Luca slows down with the beautiful acoustic ballad “Chemnitz Girl”. The acoustic guitars and the piano are providing the melodies in this song that has nice (keyboard)string arrangements. “I Should Have Learned To” is a song with more Pop and African influences. “Moving On” is a more Rock and AOR oriented song. Your reviewer has mixed feelings about this track. In it’s genre it is a fine song but if it fits very well on this album? The album comes to an end with the song “The Ones”. This song is in my humble opinion more typical Barock Project. In the second part Durga Mc Broom is contributing with some backing vocals.
The album “Seven Seas” of the Barock Project is an album with great diversity in musical styles. My personal favorites are the three long pieces “Cold Fog”, “Hamburg” and “Brain Damage” and the song “Ashes”. This are probably also the songs that are the most compelling to the Prog fans. Luca Zabbini is thinking out of the (progressive) box and I am not surprised that I can hear some Steven Wilson influences in one of the songs. Personally I love the classical influences in Luca’s piano playing and Keith Emerson is always by his side when he plays his synth and Hammond organ. This said Barock Project has developed an own musical style over the years. “Seven Seas” an album that is packed in a beautiful digipak with artwork of Amanda Carden, is a consistent album also quality wise. A must buy for the Barock Project fans and highly recommended for the open minded Prog fan.