Mike McLatchey    4-May-2001 Rings of Earthly Light

Rings Of Earthly Light (Musea FGBG 4048) is quite simply one of the finest modern-styled symphonic rock albums of the 90s. On their debut, Eris Pluvia have created a very dreamy, beautiful and elegant symphonic sound, exquisitely crafted, with a full musical pallette. The quintet consists of Alessandro Serri (vocals, guitars, flute), Paolo Raciti (keys), Edmondo Romano (recorder, sax and backing vocals), Marco Forella (bass, guitar), Martino Murtas (drums), and guests on guitar, violin and vocals. That the band could put together such an elaborate and dynamically sophisticated music with the contemporary technology and in an age where the progressive rock revival had only just gotten started, further puts this release in a favorable perspective.

The album begins with the multi-part title suite, a rich five-parter that includes breaks for recorder, sax and guitar melodies, as well as passionately delivered vocal sections in a, perhaps, barely passable English. The recorder, in particular, gives the group a unique tonal element and its presence, sometimes multi-tracked, is exquisite and tasteful. The guitar solo during the finale is one of the album's high moments, a transcendent, Rothery-esque moment that caps off the suite in grand style.

The album's final six pieces actually often surpass the long suite in quality. "In The Rising Mist" is a beautiful acoustic guitar-led ballad with multiple vocals, recorder and synth strings. "The Broken Path" is a short piece with an annunciative lope and unison melody for guitar and sax that finishes with an inspired sax solo. "Glares of Mind" is another acoustic guitar, synth and recorder spotlight, an ethereal folky air with wisps of celtic nostalgia. "Pushing Together" and "You'll Become Rain" are probably the album's most impressive moments, the former increasing in passionate intensity as it reaches another Rothery-like guitar solo, the latter showing Eris Pluvia's excellence with nostalgia. Finale "The Way Home" finishes off the album with a number of phases, vocal and instrumental, its lyrical imagery reminiscent of Gabriel's mythology-oriented pieces on the early Genesis albums.

A second album related to Eris Pluvia was released later under the moniker Ancient Veil and while it has been considered to be both EP's second album and a new band Ancient Veil, the creators consider it a solo album. A good album, it's not quite the classic Rings of Earthly Light is, one of the best Italian symphonic rock albums of the 90s.

(originally reviewed as part of The New Italian Progressive Rock Scene - Part 2, Exposť #4, p. 10, Revised for Gnosis 4/28/01)

Links for further information