Métronhomme - 4

Posted 010221 

Review by Erik Neuteboom

The Italian 5 piece formation Métronhomme was formed in the summer of 2003. About the band name: is a pun with the French language, that mix the sense of rhythm, of measures (Métronome), with the idea of human beings (homme). The idea of the members was that of ​​developing an unusual project, based on original music compositions, open to a wide type of sounds and experimentations. The first Metronhomme’s work was characterized by the form of the "concept": not single pieces for the sake of themselves, but a single conceptual composition divided into several moments; the purpose was to represente the work in a theatrical context. The band, represented its first work in numerous theaters; the performances were welcomed by the critics and in 2005 Metronhomme decided to create a CD of the musical part of the show entitled L’Ultimo Canto Di Orfeo. In 2010, the group was involved in a new project: Bar Panopticon. Proceeding along the path of interference between music, theater and video, the Métronhomme give life to a multimedia show with live performances and a dream-like music style. The band is the author of the music and also of the tale; videos of the projections were made with the collaboration of professional actors of the Piccolo Teatro of Milan. In 2019 the band releases its fourth effort, simply entitled 4. For the band it was the result of a long period of separation from the "live" scenes, passed in the rehearsal room and dedicated exclusively to composition and musical exploration, with the subsequent studio recording final moment.

Listening to this instrumental album I am impressed by Métronhomme, because the band features outstanding musicians, and the music is an interesting and varied journey, with lots of own muscial ideas. The music is hard to pigeonhole, ok, to me it sounds as an eclectic progressive blend of several styles, with the focus on fusion, and rock. The strong points in the 11 compositions (between 1 and 5 minutes) are the interplay between the musicians, and the elements dynamics, variety and tension. The music often builds from mellow to a mid-tempo and back to mellow, fuelled by an inventive and powerful rhythm-section, and embellished with excellent, very refined and tasteful work on keyboards and guitar.

A catchy beat, fiery guitar work, concluded with delicate piano and fine synthesizer solo in I Treni Di Gabo. Shifting between up-tempo and mellow, and between heavy guitar and tender piano and fragile guitar in L'Uomo Ombra. It evokes Anekdoten without Mellotron, but with lots of dynamics and tension. The short track Chiuso Per Gatti delivers a dreamy sound with tender piano and electric guitar, very atmospheric, simply wonderful. Then Blowup - Automatic Chiodi with its slow rhythm, wonderful interplay and varied keyboards. The climate is pretty hypnotizing, due to the strong and propulsive drum beats. A nice musical idea is the organ that joins in the second part, it turns the music into a compelling  experience. Rip Brian DIY is another very short piece but it sounds like 4 or 5 minutes, so much to enjoy: sparkling piano and jazzy guitar, soaring organ, a dynamic rhythm-section, swinging electric piano and fiery guitar, and what an awesome interplay! Quattro Pesci Rossi contains a slow rhythm, the sensitive electric guitar reminds me of Steve Hackett, topped with tender piano and inventive drums. The track Ortega is the most dynamic and powerful one on this album. It starts with a tight beat, electric piano, raw distorted fiery guitar and powerful drums, I notice elements of King Crimson. Then the music turns into swinging fusion, with powerful and dynamic drums. In the final part a more bombastic sound with organ waves and howling guitar runs, again excellent interplay. A more jazzy musical approach in Salt, I love the swinging piano and the vivid interplay between the rhythm-section, keyboards and guitar. The moods are shifting between mellow and more lush, topped with a fiery and howling guitar, and sparkling piano. Hapax starts mellow with tender piano, then the music becomes gradually more dynamic, a powerful guitar joins, then again mellow, with a very atmospheric part. One of my favorites on this album is the next track Uccideresti L'Uomo Grasso? First dreamy with hypnotizing guitar work, then a swinging mid-tempo, embellished with powerful drums and sensitive electric guitar leads. Halfway an energetic build-up to a furious mid-tempo, the inventive play on keyboards and guitar is trademark! The final composition is the longest one entitled Acrobazie, it epitomizes this band its adventurous and dynamic fusion-friendly sound, and inventive work on keyboards and guitar. The music alternates between a mid-tempo with rock guitar, a swinging rhythm with electric piano and organ, and dreamy with tender piano, backed by a splendid rhythm-section.

An interesting musical journey, especially for those who are into instrumental, more fusion-oriented prog.