Mike McLatchey    13-May-2001 first three albums

Nuova Era were one of the first in the new wave of Italian progressives and also one of the most highly regarded. They are a symphonic quartet (or a quintet if you count the lyricist or album cover of Dopo L'Infinito) with a style influenced by the 70's masters but performed with contemporary technology. On L'Ultimo Viaggio (Contempo 122, LP), the band comes across as being a cross between a modern digital symphonic rock band with fairly complex arrangements and a classic Italian group with romantic melodies and poetic lyrics. Aside for the 50's sounding ballad towards the end, it's not a bad debut.

The band took a big step up with Dopo L'Infinito (Contempo 136, CD) which contains two excellent side-long suites. The tracks are very nicely composed with varied keyboard sounds and blazing guitar that seem well-integrated in the incredibly dynamic music. The band's tendency towards, dramatic, romantic symphonic rock is even more pronounced, and even the presentation tends strongly towards the band's musical forefathers. As on the debut, the vocals are in Italian and, for the most part, work well within the context of the music. From spacey ballads to fiery jams, this album probably has something for everyone.

Their third release, Io e Il Tempo (Contempo 181,CD), is very similar to the previous album, in fact there is very little development at all from Dopo L'Infinito and these side-long suites seem to me to be maybe lacking just a bit due to their familiarity. The band is perhaps a bit more assured and professional, but stylistically there aren't any surprises this time around. The two albums are so similar that had I heard the new one first, I may have liked it better.

(Originally published in Exposť #3, p. 8, Edited for Gnosis 3/15/01)

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