Vera : Ghiribizzi is the remarkable band moniker of six musicians which have been around for a while in the Belgian scene. In 2000 they released their previous album 'Zep Tepi', but strengthened with two new members they worked hard on this second album, self-released just before the end of the year. This time they entered the ACE studio in Aartselaar (Belgium) to record 'Pan'ta Rhei' with the help of Frank Van Bogaert. Seventy five minutes excellent prog rock is the result.
A number of things may not be left unmentioned. The band has no less than three keyboard players, yet guitar skills on 'Pan'ta Rhei' are prominently present and fortunately mixed in the front. Three vocalists too, though it is founding member Frank Centauri who is most of the time responsible for lead vocals with his very Peter Gabriel alike voice. This progressive rock never loses itself in chill, distant manifestation of their skills - it is obvious that we are dealing with very skilled musicians anyway - but the band did not enter the studio before every composition was served with a proper dose of catchiness or melancholy. The entire album sounds warm and hearty and is inwrought with a semblance of melancholy.
The album kicks off with a song that turned into my favourite track of 'Pan'ta Rhei'. Fourteen minutes long, immediately right to learn where Ghiribizzi stands for during their best moments. The seemingly contrast of a thunderstorm and peaceful Chinese music gradate into a nearly filmic timbre. 'Asian Love' rules by its strong melodies. Introvert excerpts with firm articulated vocals, staggering keyboard parades, some flute interludes, all this is very suggestive of Genesis, particularly their 'Selling England By The Pound' period. A bit medieval, a scent of folk, some heroism, it is all included, but done in a convincing way. The band adds surprising nuances, like an unexpected bluesy part or the use of a trumpet in the flimsy 'Break Down Soon'.
They avoid excessive intricacies. A positive feature for their gigs, where choruses from songs like 'Fires Of Hell' and 'The Light' are easy to sing along. Lighters will lit up during the ballad 'Remember Paris', a quite redundant track which does not really impress me. More glance has the bombastic Queen alike intro from 'Time' which can be a moving live track with an imposing lightshow. The bellicose 'Valleys Of Gold' flirts with a waltz pace and features again the first rate qualities of guitarist Dario Frodo. They occlude with a sad-sounding tune, the quiescent 'Bitter End' is an elegy in the vein of 'When The Crowds Are Gone' of Savatage.
Although Ghiribizzi will most of all appeal to fans of progressive music - especially those who have a soft spot for early Genesis, Musical Box and Fish/Marillion - this album has power enough to please the rock and even metal crowd. Available through their website, at their gigs and in a large numbers of stores.