La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore-La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore
Listen up class. Before we begin today's lesson on the delectable mystery that is La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore (which F.Y.I is more than a mouthful!) a quick word of thanks is in order. I've got my friend Glenn from Minotauro Records to thank for this independently-released album. So yeah, thank you Glenn! This one is most certainly "interesting" my friend! But I'll get to that part in a second. As our faithful readers (yes, I'm talking to you there!) you may or may not recall that I interviewed this band's founder back in late October. Here's the link to that piece. Obviously I had hoped to review this self-titled release shortly thereafter, but honestly I'm TERRIBLE about making deadlines. I could give you all kinds of
First things first then. The band is the brainchild of Alfredo Martinelli and (per my notes) the phrase La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore translates into "Steam-Powered Workshop of Time". If you check out the previously-posted interview you can get a better feel as to the history of this group and the story-line behind this album. Here's the think though. On first listen I thought this was some kind of Spanish rock band! Apparently I wasn't the only person to think that so I don't feel as stupid as I normally would! The truth is this is an Italian band with lyrics that are native to the group's home-country. The reason I thought this might be a Spanish band (as my friend Glenn sent me this with no notes or anything! You rock Glenn!!) was that it has a bit of a Spanish groove going for it in places. Especially with the classical guitar. Otherwise here are some of my notes for this album (which I had actually jotted down after first hearing the CD and before I had set up the interview with the group's founder!). You'll notice how far ranging they are as I just wrote down the first things that came to mind. And really that is exactly why I'm sharing all of it with you. Sometimes spontaneous responses offer the best overview of such unique releases as this one. Simply put this Italian metal band cannot be pigeonholed!
"Symphonic occult metal?"
"The Italian band Goblin meets a Spanish rock version of Rush!"
"There seems to be a lot of tribal percussion going on with this song and those are some very sick bass riffs. That's a win-win situation!"
"This kind of reminds me of European progressive metal meets gutsy garage rock!"
"This band uses a lot of classical guitar. Even so it gets slightly heavier as it goes on with this track...slightly being the key word. And is that sax I hear?"
"What's this? Now this number has all kinds of wicked magic going on! It's deep and thick, but with killer guitar work and sick key/synth work! Righteous!!"
"Piano passages and heavy guitar rock are one thing, but dig that bass again! If it had legs it would walk all over you!"
"Why don't more progressive metal band's utilize rock guitar like this?'.
"All at once this album has an atmospheric vibe going for it while it easily maintains it's metallic hold on the listener. It's rich and textured and yet it's built with steel!"
As stated those were my initial notes as I listen to the album for the first time. More or less when it comes to the band La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore we are talking about a progressive rock/metal outfit that is even more adventurous than usual when it comes to song arrangements! That's kind of the foundation (adventurous progressive metal) upon which this Italian band starts everything. From there things get slightly "twisted". While I could try to go track by track with this one (therefore pulling in all of the little whimsical elements that make up each and every distinct cut) it would prove to be a huge undertaking! Let's just say that this band is eclectic and leave it at that! Mind you it's not in a Mr. Bungle or Primus kind of way. At it's core this is still a very much a (progressive) metal album. As such progressive metal fans in general should appreciate the flight pattern that this band charts. La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore simply shakes things up a bit as it lays down well thought out prog metal. And that's cool in my book. I'll admit that it isn't easy to describe this band. Far from it. That kind of comes with the territory though when you try to talk about the really creative metal bands out there. As such you can probably get a better feel for what I'm talking about by visiting the group's YouTube page. There you'll find a teaser video for this release which I highly recommend.