Juglans Regia - Prisma
Self Financed
Progressive Metal
5 songs (32:41)
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Mike

Juglans Regia (latin for “walnut tree”) is a progressive rock / metal band from Italy. The band has recorded several demo albums since its formation in 1994, under several different lineups. The current lineup has been intact since 1999, and Prisma contains five songs that have been written over the past two years.

One word comes to mind when listening to this band: emotion. The band is able to create songs that simply bleed with emotion. The guitar solos almost “sing” for themselves while the keyboard layers carry many wonderful melodies throughout the album. Furthermore, the lead vocals are melodic and very colorful. I should mention that the lyrics are sung entirely in band’s native language of Italian. Please don’t let that turn you away from this band. I do not understand a word of Italian, but that does not detract from the enjoyment of the music whatsoever. In fact, the Italian lyrics give the songs a mild operatic quality which I like quite a lot. I’ve heard several Italian vocalists “force” their English and sound very shaky behind the mic as a result. While I can’t understand the lyrics, the vocals sound very natural and fit the music like a glove.

The songs vary in length from just over five minutes to nearly eight minutes long. However, the band does not make the mistake that many prog bands make: going off on a tangent and endlessly boring the listener. Instead, the songs are well constructed, managing to drawn the listener into the music for the entire duration of the album. The numerous time and tempo changes make sure that no song becomes stagnate, even after 6+ minutes. The guys a talent for establishing a slow, melancholic mood that will crescendo into an uplifting and soaring atmosphere only a few seconds later. On the other hand, the guys can establish a dark and angry mood with heavy riffs and flurry of keyboards that becomes peaceful and relaxing seconds later with the help of a piano lick and the sincere vocal delivery that is so integral to the music. The constant alternating moods on this CD are a treat to the ears and make each of these songs worth repeated listens.

For a self financed CD, I am impressed with the production and mixing of the CD. At times, the keyboards dominate the sound, nearly overpowering the vocals. Other than that, everything else is in nice balance. From a musical standpoint, I would certainly expect Prisma to generate some sort of record deal for this band. Off the top of my head, Italy’s Underground Symphony seems like a nice match for a band like this. Hopefully, the use of Italian lyrics do not severely limit the audience for this band as this is without doubt a quality release. Personally, I find that they enhance the music rather than detract. As the band naturally continues to improve with time, I am sure they will win over reluctant listeners with their emotional and thoughtful music.

Killing Songs :
Pioniere, Respira, Giochi di Luce, Crepe, L'ombra
Mike quoted 75 / 100
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