[Review] Vincenzo Ricca The Rome Pro(g)Ject – Compendium OF A Lifetime

The Rome Pro(g)Ject celebrates 10 years in business, although it was originally conceived with the intention of releasing only one studio album in 2012. Things have changed over the years, leading the project to release March 15, 2022 the fifth chapter of the saga entitled “TRP V – Compendium Of A Lifetime” which contains 8 tracks plus a Bonus. The inspiration of this album is threefold: on the one hand the reflections on the harsh military discipline, on the other the dramatic events of the eruption of Vesuvius and finally the intuitions of Julius Caesar as well as the Roman emperors opposed to the bloody events of the gladiators. As usual in previous albums, even in this new work the lineup is no different, enriched by top-level names from the historical and modern Prog scene. The first track “V” is an intro that opens with a pompous organ, and then transforms into an elaborate Prog theme with refined intertwining of guitar and keyboards. The title track “Compendium of a Lifetime” is also the longest in duration and begins with the flute leading the melodies, leaving room for a succession of keyboard inserts. The intensity increases with the passage of the piece and the instruments communicate perfectly with each other, giving the right space to all the artists involved. The duets between guitar and keyboards are excellent, to which sax and flute are inserted, giving the sound numerous solutions. The vocal is warm and expressive and dynamically interprets the lyrics of the track, carving out the right space for the long instrumental plots. The rhythmic session is elaborate and enriched with continuous tempo changes in pure Progressive style and with supporting bass lines. Many ideas contained within this long track, well composed and executed, enhancing the individual technique of the artists involved and showing a cohesive and well blended sound. Songs like this in my opinion can only be defined with one word: masterpiece. An intro with the orchestrations opens “Vesuvius” to which the intense guitar of Paolo Ricca is inserted, to give life to a solid track with a dramatic theme. It is precisely the eruption of the volcano that buried the city of Pompeii and destroyed it. A track full of pathos that combines a pompous sound of orchestrations with melancholic plots that perfectly convey those sad and dramatic sensations. “The Last Night in the World” opens with Tony Patterson‘s warm and expressive vocals and keyboards in the background, then the guitar is inserted. Nick Magnus‘ piano gives body to the melodies on which a valuable lead by Steve Hackett is inserted. The drumming is intricate and technical and the track alternates more atmospheric passages with symphonic openings with the guitar in evidence, touching and passionate. The next four tracks form a kind of suite starting with “Have Caesar!” characterized by a background of organ and orchestrations and excellent electric guitar works. The bass lines are intricate and load-bearing and the solid drumming is enhanced by continuous tempo changes. In the central part the keyboards with intertwining synths are highlighted, which continue throughout the second part giving life to an instrumental section with intertwining solos and orchestrations. “Morituri te Salutant” connects to the previous one starting with a good organ and synth duet to which the flute joins, creating a succession of valuable intertwining between the instruments. Each of the artists involved brings their own style and technique to best enhance the sought-after textures of the track. Flute, keyboards and guitar create atmospheric sounds in the intro of “Gladiatores,” which is developed with Tony Levin’s powerful bass line. In continuous evolution, passing from more rhythmic parts and harder strokes, to symphonic openings, with continuous changes of tempo and intricate plots. The feeling that the gladiators are entering the arena to fight is palpable and also the ‘fury’ of the battle between them is felt in the second part, and then closed with a flute that left us with a somewhat maliconic omen. “Have Caesar! (Reprise)” concludes the album by returning and developing the theme of the track of the same name in the center of the album, with the synth guiding the melodies. The rhythm session is solid and elaborate and the track very intense, closing with a soft final section of keyboards. In addition to the album there is also the bonus track “Exegi Monvmentum 2021” which moves slowly with sweet melodies of flute and guitar that intertwine. A long instrumental focused on a succession of guitar and keyboard solos that accompany us for over 8 minutes, leaving us with excellent sensations after listening to the record. This fifth chapter, which continues on issues related to ancient Rome, is another excellent record release, full of ideas and high-level Progressive cues. Long instrumental sections, phrasing between the different instruments and refined and elaborate sounds make this new album a masterpiece in my opinion. The artists involved create a good blend between the various generations of Progressive music, amalgamating at best and creating an excellent union and a very high profile musical quality. A must-listening for all lovers of the purest and most classic sounds of Progressive Rock, rich in textures of keyboards and guitar inserts, a solid rhythmic session and driving bass lines, with dynamic, warm and expressive vocals. A confirmation for this project and an album that carries on the musical discourse undertaken in the previous works, in my opinion a real masterpiece.

Tracklist

01. V (2:41)
02. Compendium of a Lifetime (13:43)
03. Vesuvius (3:12)
04. The Last Night in the World (5:17)
05. Have Caesar! (5:31)
06. Morituri te Salutant (3:40)
07. Gladiatores (5:15)
08. Have Caesar! (reprise) (3:28)
09. Exegi Monvmentum 2021 (bonus track) (8:23)

Lineup

Vincenzo Ricca / Keyboards, Composer, Arranger, Producer
Steve Hackett / Electric & Classical Guitars
Nick Magnus / Piano
David Jackson / Saxophone, Flute
John Hackett / Flute
Bernardo Lanzetti / Vocals
Tony Levin / Bass, Chapman Stick

Guests:
Franck Carducci / 12-String Guitar, Bass
Paolo Ricca / Electric Guitar
Roberto Vitelli / Bass
Daniele Pomo / Drums
Tony Patterson / Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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