ALBUM REVIEW: Orlando: Le Forme Dell’Amore – Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO are one of the most iconic progressive rock bands of the 70s. Hailing from the Italian capital of Rome, this unique septet are most definitely one of a kind. With a musical career spanning over 52 years, the band are back after a short three year break and they’ve just released their 16th studio album Orlando: Le Forme Dell’Amore, following on from Transiberiana back in 2019. It has now been 50 years this year since their debut album Darwin was revealed, so there is no more perfect time than now to release Orlando: Le Forme Dell’Amore in celebration.

This record features a total of 15 awe-inspiring progressive rock tracks that definitely push boundaries. It is also clear that the band aren’t willing to compromise on things that are important to them in their music; especially when it comes to whether or not they choose to sing in their native Italian language. The concept behind the new album is said to be focused around a 16th century poem titled Orlando Furioso, making this upcoming release more original than ever.

The first track is Proemio; it starts off slow with a gentle acoustic guitar riff and vocals from Tony D’Alessio, taking you to another world as a result. As the song goes on, it retains a similar vibe with perhaps a bit more of a dramatic nature than before. La Pianura Rossa begins with a prog rock-style riff at the helm, similar to that of AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR with more of a classical feel. However, this song is nowhere near as exciting, unfortunately. It’s just a little bland and could have been so much more. Serve Orlando Adesso contains further calming instrumentals, whilst still exuding their musical talent in spades. Unfortunately, there just isn’t as much progression as you would expect. The song gets stale pretty quickly and you are left wishing that you were only listening to it for a quarter of the time that you were initially subjected to. Non Mi Spaventa Più L’amore has a very similar feel to it, but at least you get to experience something a little different with the Italian-style grooves featured throughout.

Non Serve Tremare contains some interesting instrumentation at the very start, making us wonder what is coming next. However, that is sadly the only interesting thing to say about this track. By the time we reach Le Anime Deserte Del Mondo, we are yearning for more prog-style instrumental sections in this album, as opposed to D’Alessio‘s vocals for the majority of every song; even though they aren’t really anything to complain about. The whispered vocals at the beginning of L’isola Felice add a certain element of intrigue, not to mention the wave crashing sound effects in the midst of it all. The synthesizers used further into the track make you question whether or not you are in outer space, elevated further by the heavy auto-tune used on D’Alessio‘s vocals. This is certainly one of the better songs on the release. La Maldicenza is exactly what we wanted to hear from BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO. The prog rock instrumentals are fantastic, constantly changing to feed our curious mind. Cadere O Volare combines the theatrics of classical music and progressive rock so well, it’s just a shame that D’Alessio‘s vocal delivery isn’t a little more impactful.

Il Paladino‘s frantic piano melodies work so well with the fast-moving guitar riffs from Filippo Marcheggiani and Nicola Di Già. This is something we would love to hear more of as the album progresses. L’Amore Accade breaks the notion that every track on this album is very similar in sound to the last. It is an unexpected yet pleasant surprise to hear a female vocalist here. Non Credere Alla Luna also has an intergalactic feel to it, with the space station inspired spoken words introducing the track. This doesn’t last long though, as the track evolves into an extremely familiar sound that we have heard across pretty much all of the album so far. Moon Suite contains some harmonisation at the start before leaping straight in with some funky, interesting time signatures which are sure to keep us on our toes. Despite this, the song comes in at just over 11 minutes and seems to dragging a little near the end. Come È Successo Che Sei Qui is up next, which is another track that you just wish would come to an end. The finale is nigh as we get to Cosa Vuol Dire Per Sempre. It is a very melancholy song which just doesn’t have any lasting power. It is definitely not what you would expect to close an album of this nature.

Needless to say, the mix of classical themes and prog rock riffs is a weird one to experience. Props to BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO for wanting to try something a little different; we just don’t think it necessarily works as well as it should. Whilst the wacky time signatures could make this a fantastic album, D’Alessio‘s vocal delivery throughout just seems a bit lacklustre in comparison. We really wish that they could have created a full instrumental release; it would have just nailed all their key musical fundamentals in 15 songs. Maybe next time.

Rating: 5/10

Orlando Le Forme dell'Amore - Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Orlando: Le Forme Dell’Amore is out now via InsideOut Music.


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