Banda Belzoni – Banda Belzoni

The Italian formation Banda Belzoni is a musical project by Gigi Venegoni on guitar and keyboards (from Classic Italian Prog band Arti+ Mestieri) and Sandro Bellu on guitar, bass and keyboards. The duo is joined by a range of guest musicians, including Lino Vairetti (Classic Italian Prog legend Osanna) and the known and prolific musician of the New Italian Prog Fabio Zuffanti (Finisterre, Hostsonaten). This eponymous debut album from 2019 is a rock opera, inspired by the true story of Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823) who concluded his extraordinary ride along the Nile, after four years of sensational discoveries. More than two meters tall, beard and copper-colored curly hair, the Paduan giant established himself as the first man to have entered the temple of Abu Simbel and in the pyramid of Chefren, a record holder for tombs discovered in the Valley of the Kings, author of the first best seller of Egyptology , and organizer of the first Egyptological exhibition (in London) with a catalog. An exceptional and contagious life, an engine of passions. Now, how about the musical translation? 

Well, most of the 10 melodic and harmonic, very tastefully arranged compositions (between 3 and 7 minutes) shift between mellow atmospheres and slow rhythms. At some moments the climates changes into bombastic eruptions or powerful accellarations. The music is wonderfully embellished with varied work on keyboards and guitars: from swinging piano and pitchben driven synthesizer to soaring Hammond and majestic Mellotron violins, and from tender acoustic guitar runs to sensitive – and fiery rock guitar. I am also very pleased with the vocal contributions of the different singers, all in the beautiful Italian language, a big bonus!

My highlights.

The instrumental Il Gigante Del Nilo. First a slow rhythm featuring moving guitar runs, and a fiery solo (jazzrock inspired). Then sparkling piano play and pleasant synthesizer flights, in the end a dreamy with echo guitar.

Il Sorriso Del Re. The music alternates between dreamy and a slow and compelling rhythm, topped with an awesome Mellotron violins sound (evoking King Crimson and Anekdoten), strong vocals, a moving guitar solo, and a fluent rhythm-section, top notch symphonic rock!

La Curva. A mellow atmosphere delivering tender piano and vocals, gradually the sound turns into more powerful and emotional, with acoustic guitar runs. Halfway a lush and compelling sound with strong vocals, followed by a churchy Hammond, a long and strongly build-up, very moving electric guitar solo, and an acoustic guitar solo with soaring Hammond. In the final part first a slow synthesizer solo with again soaring Hammond, and then acoustic guitar runs, a warm and pleasant variety. Variety rules in this mid-long composition.

And La Città Perduta featuring a dreamy climate with acoustic guitar, then a slow rhythm with moving electric guitar, moving vocals, and powerful guitar leads. Again the band uses very subtle dynamics.

© 2020 Erik Neuteboom