(2021 - SnV - Italy)
[buy this CD at your favorite independent source if possible]
You Tube samples: (for contrast sake)
Always forever, and never a let down, will a new release by Bernardo Lanzetti (or a band with him on vocals) bring new life and a happy jolt of voltage to me. On this 2021 (which was began in 2017 and spread out over the next 4 years) release titled 'Horizontal Rain' the offering of compositions are amazing and trot from one genre to the next, often with a mixture only Lanzetti can make eargasmic.
This is most assuredly his most diverse album, even moving into his most aggressive (title cut brings in a metal element). The many chameleon tones from track to track only entice and excite the long time fan, and might win him quite a few new ones. A check of the two links I provided at header of review will show you the contrast of just how steep a change occurs throughout the beautifully crafted release. Comparisons like Peter Gabriel (due to his vibrato and similar voice) are at this point in time a wash. Gabriel grew old and safe, but Lanzetti seems as ripe with dare and youth as ever. It is a prize for us as long time listeners of his front man lead vocals for classic Italian progressive rock bands Aqua Fragile, PFM, Mangala Vallis, Cantautores (more a pop band), as all are top of the mountain in delivery, dedication, and honesty. This artist is as real as it gets. He is serious with all he creates. Those in doubt or the ones who have never discovered this man, should check out the stunning double disc live DVD 'Forty Years Of Voice Impossible - Vox 40 Live'. It is worth its weight in gold. Features PFM members and plenty more. After first couple of songs, he grabs the light fantastic and is on fire. Unstoppable!!
So more about this solo with a huge dollop of musicians to aid in the delivery of a most magnificent project. Companions are David Cross (King Crimson), Tony Franklin, David Jackson (VDGG). Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Liquid Tension Experiment, Stick Men) Note: check out his bass on 'Heck Jack' for a thrill, Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani, Marillion and GTR), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Planet X, Sons Of Apollo), guitarists Andrea Cervetto and Marco Colombo, Kim Chandler on backing vocals, and many more. Bernardo performs lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, as well as helps with pre-production and programming. All together there are nineteen musicians along with a choir (from Italy, UK, USA and Spain). The man who kept it all together was the producer Dario Mazzoli (he also played bass on 'Genial!'). A few songs were written by Peter Jack Marmot, who Bernardo met in Spain as a vocal coach.
The first cut presents the dramatic and multi-emotional mode we would expect from him. As the platter spins, we get a merry-go-round of Japanese poetry ('Lanzhaiku') to early music, expanse on a whim, and decided curve balls on a muse's suggestion. The album stands up and declares a victory in every sense. A parade of colors, textures, and styles all woven into a creation that if it were to be Lanzetti's last (it is forbidden), surely could be mounted on a wall of superior achievement for the prolific artist. His concept for the cover art (paraphrased from his own words) illustrates any sudden, illogical event catching you by surprise, no matter how well you are trained to defend against it. Oddly enough, the figure is a female at war with a powerful mythological figure. Suggesting being assaulted by media or magnetic rain she does not hesitate to sacrifice her electric guitar to protect herself and proceed forward on. He sings one song in Italian (the beautiful 'Ero un num Ero’). The last cut has a huge ancient chant vibe with choir, and stays powerful to the end, a lasting statement titled 'Different'. His lyrics are as deep and striking as ever, supporting his voice in that unparalleled region.'Time is King' might be the real theme here as he repeats those words on track 4 (of course titled 'Time is King'), and no doubt that Bernardo has made the best of it through the many years and we all hope he makes many more recordings. The music continues to break new ground and allow escapism into a better world, or at least stare down the reality, and appreciate the art for all its multiple births and rebirths, nuances, sprints of radical glee, and broad spectrum of anything can occur. That is Bernardo Lanzetti in a capsule, but never attempt such a small space to define him and his music, as the universe it a much more capable container for him, even so. FANTASTIC AND EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 10 - 3 - 2021