The Bodhisattva Beat
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La Maschera di Cera: Petali di Fuoco

Petali di Fuoco: 2010

After being introduced to La Maschera di Cera through the highly praised “LuxAde” and seeing them in concert soon after, the bar was set pretty high. It stands to reason that I was very excited to hear their latest release. I must have set my expectations a bit too high, because the first time through “Petali di Fuoco” didn’t leave much of an impression. It’s not as if I disliked it, but the music just failed to capture my attention. So I set the album aside for a while. In looking over the offerings of 2010 again it seemed appropriate to give “Petali” another go, and I am glad I did.

The initial problem may have been that “LuxAde” was so right up front and in your face, anything less would have recognition issues. This album is more reserved and has less of the big mellotron sound. It still harkens back to the classic 70’s Italian prog sound, just not as much. This time out it may be a little less Museo Rosenbach, more Locanda della Fate and a bit more contemporary (for those that don’t know these references, I suggest you school yourself on classic Italian prog). So because the different approach, a bit more attention must be paid.

This is a very talented group of musicians, so I don’t think they could make a bad album even if they tried. Sometimes the sledgehammer over the head approach is great, but so is finesse. La Maschera di Cera handles both very well. They compose wonderful symphonic pieces, true to the Italian legacy. The blending of acoustic and electronic instruments, swelling crescendos, delicate interludes, and passionate vocals (sung in Italian of course) are all there.

Even with all the elements in place, something seems missing. That something is inspiration. Since the beginning the fire burned brighter with each album, reaching the melting point on “Luxe Ade.” “Petali di Fuoco” seems more like the embers that follow. It’s still very good but feels like a let down. The decision to go more subdued this time out was not a bad one. This album still could have rivaled its predecessor had the same spark been present.

With all that said, I still highly recommend “Petali di Fuoco.” The best thing to do is, listen as if you have never heard La Maschera di Cera before. If you actually haven’t, this may be a good place to start. It is an album that has already grown on me, and I expect it to continue to do so.

Alessandro Corvaglia – voice
Fabio Zuffanti – bass
Agostino Macor – keyboards
Andrea Monetti – flute and sax
Matteo Nahum – guitar
Maurizio Di Tollo – drums

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3 Responses to “La Maschera di Cera: Petali di Fuoco”

  1. Great review, HT.
    Now I have to check this one, which will be my second from Maschera. 🙂

    Best & prog-on,

  2. I definitely agree about judging this one on its own merit. I had this issue with other albums following a fantastic release, which seemed to many people as a disappointment. While some of them were to my taste, not that good on their own merit, others, like the present album, is in fact worthy of praise, much like you say in your last paragraph.
    I too, was expecting a flamboyant “retro” extravaganza but was surprised to find a different tone. Quite a different beast this album from Luxade as you point out and the best way to enjoy it, is to treat it on its own and not let Luxade come in the way, sort of speak :-).
    Kudos on the review!

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