Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
Darwin! is the second album by Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. It was released in 1972 on Ricordi. It is a concept album about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.
The album is highly rated by progressive rock fans as one of the top albums in the genre.
Darwin! will remain Banco del Mutuo Soccorso's masterpiece. This album, the band's second, is the proud equal of Premiata Forneria Marconi's Per Un Amico and Le Orme's Felona e Sorona in the Italian progressive rock hall of fame. In Darwin!, every promise made by Banco's eponymous debut was realized. Vittorio Nocenzi's writing has flourished into complex songs blending Italian songwriting, bel canto, and progressive rock.
The arrival of guitarist Rodolfo Maltese crystallized the band's luxurious sound, all topped by Francesco Di Giacomo's operatic vocals. The majestic "L'Evoluzione" opens the album, providing some of the best moments ever recorded by this band (along with "Canto Nomade per un Prigioniero Politico"). "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" ("The Conquest of the Wrong Position") reproduces the same pattern as "Metamorphosi" from the first album: a frenetic instrumental theme, scaled down toward the end to let room for a very emotional verse. "La Danza de Grandi Rettili" is a rare jazzy number.
This is a fantastic album and is solely responsible for introducing me to Italian symphonic prog. I decided to go out on a limb and challenge myself with something different long ago after hearing great things about this album. It starts off nice and slow with the epic l'evoluzione with some gentle yet ominous sounding synth and then it builds adding guitar and drums and other instruments before ascending to becoming a prog freakout. At this point I was immediately hooked and decided that BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO were a fantastic band and as the song went on I was amazed I had delayed for so long in listening to this and I was enthralled as the song traversed emotional and atmospheric landscapes through the dark to the grand to the contemplative to the uplifting and finally to the mellow yet fitting ending, a very underrated prog epic and the perfect song to start the album with although unfortunately not all the songs are as good.
Next up is la conquista della posizione eretta which is another great song, which within the confines of symphonic prog is a remarkably heavy piece with driving rythmn similar to zeuhl in a lot of ways and a brooding atmosphere (and great use of tympani) before near the end tapering off and becoming more mellow and melodic. From here the album lose a lot of steam unfortunately and it's mostly downhill from here to the jazzy laid back la danza dei grandi rettili to the more typical Italian prog of cento mani cento occhi to the emotive lamenting piano driven 750.000 anni fa...l'amore. The next song Miserere alla storia is another highlight of the album with more of the dark tones featured earlier on in the albums with some fantastic memorable melodies, unfortunately once again the album loses steam into the final song which is fairly uneventful. The good part though is that even though there is a fairly big disparity between the decent songs and the great songs the less prominent tracks all have some great bit in them and are fairly memorable
I like the instrumentation on this album a lot, the album is heavily reliant on synths, they the main meat and potatoes of the music and they are used very effectively from heavy distorted organ sounds to sawtooth sounds to vibraphone sounds to straight up piano with all kinds of different sounds in between, my favourite being during the middle quieter part of l'evoluzione. The guitar is fantastic, it's not dominant at all but it comes in at all the right times with a furious fuzz tone and there are several parts with some amazing harmonised guitar passages a lot of the time though it's well down in the mix and it's hard to know it's there - not that this is a particularly bad thing as this approach is perfectly suited to the music. The bass has a pretty good tone but I tended not to notice it much to be honest. The vocals are okay, I don't like the guy's voice very much but he suits the music and sings in tune and that's all I can ask for really it doesn't detract from the experience at all.[Source: Wikipedia, AMG, progarchives.com]
♦ Gianni Nocenzi - clarinet, piano, keyboards
♦ Pier Luigi Calderoni - drums, tympani
♦ Renato D'Angelo - bass, guitar, guitar (bass)
♦ Francesco DiGiacomo - vocals
♦ Vittorio Nocenzi - organ, synthesizer, keyboards, clavinet
♦ Marcello Todaro - guitar (acoustic), guitar, guitar (electric), vocals
01. L'Evoluzione (13:59)
02. La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta (8:42)
03. Danza Dei Grandi Rettili (3:42)
04. Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (5:22)
05. 750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore? (5:38)
06. Miserere Alla Storia (5:58)
07. Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho! (3:29)