COLISSEUM: Adventus (2018)
“Adventus is an excellent surprise and a brilliant album rather unexpected coming from the ambient vision of Perceptual Defence”
1 Voices from the Tyrrhenian Sea 9:36 2 Dances along the River 8:28 3 Forum 6:32 4 Aeterno Convivium 4:28 5 A.D. LXXII 8:19 6 Fasti Triumphales 9:48 7 In seventh Heaven 5:10 8 Tribute to the roman Ancestors 8:03 Colisseum Music
(CD/DDL 60:27) (V.F.) (Theatrical e-rock & Berlin School)
This is what I call an excellent surprise. I would say even more; a brilliant album quite unexpected for those who know the ambient theatrical style of Gabriele Quirici, aka Perceptual Defence, who this time team up with another Italian musician, Alessandro Ghera, aka Alexynth Project, a musician very at ease in his Electronica signature. Thus, ADVENTUS marks the birth of a new duo of Italian synthesists who pulls out an electro-ambient style from their analog as well as digital equipment. The main idea behind Colisseum is to offer an EM inspired by the roots of the old city of Rome. And if the genre is melting Tangerine Dream elements from the 70's to progressive Italian music with a slight hint of Electronica, the goal reaches us straight in the ears with a quite unexpected freshness.
Winds of tones and breezes of voices encircle our ears at the opening of Voices from the Tyrrhenian Sea. The stereo effect is almost authentic, and the sound envelope is more than realistic. It's in this level of excellence that a synth scatters its breaths of flutes on a parterre oozing of tones of an organic radiance. The sequencer projects the vision of this calm duck on the water and whose legs get activated in a lively static and flickering ballet, while the charm of the Mellotron operates more and more. Motionless, this rhythmic structure staggers while storing up an intensity from an eager sequencer while the synths inject Vangelis tunes on an interlacing of two lines of sequences. This staging unlocks on these ambient rocks of the Berlin School style with sequencers and lines of hybrid rhythms which hover with momentums of intensity before landing on a mattress of ambient elements rich in textures and in tonal colors. What pops to the ears once Voices from the Tyrrhenian Sea is ending is this rhythmic physiognomy stimulated in Chris Franke's influences as the atmospheres are carefully woven into a vision of ruins and decrepitude. Each title in ADVENTUS projects an independent vision, even if a dark envelope encircles its dimensions. The sequencer and percussive effects in Dances along the River are just delightful to my ears. They are nervous and rely on a bass pulsation, structuring these rhythms that make us tap the fingers while being absorbed by the tonal texture which exploits the scents of TD, especially at the level of the voice riffs, and Vangelis in the synths' tunes. The dimension of the ambiances borrows a dark approach whose twinning with the rhythmic progression brings us into the territories of Near Dark. Intense, my ears are still vibrating, Forum lays down its emotions with the help of a piano which hammers its notes with strength, sometimes on a bed of mist and sometimes on a conveyor for active and static sequences. In seventh Heaven is much in the same genre, except that his progression is very TD style!
Aeterno Convivium is a heavy track which exploits the ascending rotations of its rhythm lines in a well calculated velocity level. The music here spits harmonies woven in the shadows of Tangram whose apparent fright is whistled by spectra rooted in a heavy structure. I'm totally blown away by this album and it's not over yet because A.D. LXXII does things very differently. From its introduction one feels that the music will take a path that will be in close collaboration with a mix of Synth-pop and Electronica, genre Propaganda with the Jewel track, whose essences embalm a heavy electronic rock and its symphonic coat. But before, it's big rock with a guitar dragging its strata in a swirl of rhythm blown in the adrenaline of the sequencer. The rhythm borrows a stationary approach with a helicopter propeller effect which bickers with the winds, the symphonic coat points at these horizons, before resuming its frantic race. A superb title with a second part even more soaked with thirst for rhythm with a guitar that still rages, a bit like if Thorsten Quaeschning was at the controls of this fat and juicy theatrical rock. After an introduction of atmospheres sewn in uncertainty, Fasti Triumphales lights up its Blues lanterns with a very ethereal guitar on a nest of motionless sequences and percussions. The ambience warms up and the intensity progresses to barter its first 4 minutes relatively without rhythms for a second part as much intense than wild. The sequencer, and its taste for a sneaky approach, and the effects of percussion-clappers add to the charms of this title that we will learn to love even more after a few listening. When reading the review, you don't expect me to write that Tribute to the roman Ancestors is the most intense track in ADVENTUS. A bit like its predecessor, it demands some additional listening and it swarms of a rhythmic intensity that makes me think of some good Picture Palace Music or yet Tangerine Dream of its recent period of Sonic Poem Series.
I often put my involvement in the world of EM in question. I'm a bit tired and I wrote so many reviews in the past years. This is album like ADVENTUS that revives the flames of my passion. Colisseum gives us an intense album with a series of titles that surprises and charms in a heavy style that nevertheless leaves room for a vision of Italian poetry unique to the progressive music of this country. A huge surprise which lands in my Top 10 of 2018!
Sylvain Lupari (October 23rd, 2018) ****½*
Available at Colisseum's Bandcamp