Greg Northrup    15-August-2002 Corte Dei Miracoli - s/t

Corte dei Miracoli is another Italian great that falls into the realm of traditional, keyboard-based symphonic. This one seems to be pretty obscure, but is really just about at the level of the more reknowned Italian classics, with (relatively) great production to boot. Corte Dei Miracoli features two keyboardists, and their sound is based around intense, melodic keyboard duels. The usual suspects, like moog, hammond, piano and synthesizers, build into awesome climaxes and dance around each other with powerful melodic interplay. Corte Dei Miracoli has that distinct Italian sense of melody, often recalling the legendary Le Orme, but the music is, perhaps, more intricate due to the dual-keyboard attack. The best thing about all this is the band manages to pull it off without being 'wanky' at all. Just about every solo manages to become eventually applied towards distinct harmonic interplay, pure power, or delicate melody. The vocals have been criticized in some reviews, but I have absolutely no problem with them. The guy sings some phenomenal melodies and manages to carry his voice well to my ears. He's not the best technical vocalist in the world, but the material is strong, and he seems to pull it off.

The opener, "...E Verro l'Uomo" is one of the downright best Italian progressive songs ever, utterly fantastic with a rousing and addictively catchy vocal part. The beginning features some extremely intense and driving keyboard riffs that set the tone perfectly for the rest of the album. The other real highlight, and perhaps another all-time favorite track, is "Una Storia Fiabesca," another beautiful tune that builds into an up-beat and aggressive section with more great vocal parts. "I Due Amanti" is a great 13 minute epic that closes the album in grand fashion, utilizing a somewhat softer, and grander, compositional touch, but another extraordinary track.

Overall, I was extremely pleased with this album, and found it to be another severely underrated Italian gem. Don't even think about closing the book on the Italian symphonic scene without hearing this album.

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