Review: Erik Neuteboom
Raven Sad started as a solo project by guitarist Samuele Santanna in 2005 but gradually turned in a four piece formation, making the albums Quoth (2008), We Are Not Alone (2009), Layers Of Stratosphere
(2011) and recently, after a hiatus of 10 years, the new album The Leaf And The Wing (January 2021), all at the prolific Italian prog label Lizard Records.
is my first encounter with Raven Sad its music, during the listening sessions I got more and more delighted, what a wonderful tastefully arranged progressive rock, very melodic and accessible, like Eighties Neo-Prog. The 8 mostly mid-long compositions alternate
between dreamy parts, slow rhythms and bombastic eruptions. It sounds very flowing with the focus on the excellent, often moving guitar work, with obvious hints from Andy Latimer, Steve Rothery and Nick Barrett. The keyboard play is pleasant with lots of (Hammond)
organ, along piano, Fender electric piano, Mellotron and Minimoog synthesizer. The English vocals feature a slight accent but I like the emotional overtones, matching with the often sensitive electric guitar. The rhythm section does a good job, with strong
interplay in the more dynamic parts. Despite the long running time (close to 70 minutes) Raven Sad succeeds to keep my attention. My highlights.
City Lights And Desert Dark (9-53)
is a very dynamic and varied track, between dreamy and swinging, pretty funky rhythms, blended with inspired vocals and outstanding guitar work, from howling to heavy, wow!
epic Colorbox (13:00) starts with tender vocals and piano, then an accellaration with fiery guitar and organ and a bombastic part with moving guitar, soaring organ and emotional vocals. Halfway a slow rhythm with again moving guitar, powerful drums and waves
of organ. Then a break with Mellotron choir and spoken words. The final part delivers a slow rhythm with organ and emotional vocals, topped with howling guitar, the asset on this new album.
Approaching The Chaos (8:50) begins with a dreamy climate featuring a catchy guitar riff and the distinctive electric piano sound (like Riders On The Storm from The Doors). Then a bombastic eruption, the contrast between the heavy guitar and tender
piano and choir sound creates a captivating tension. The music turns into a tight beat with moving guitar runs and sparkling piano work. Now the mighty Hammond joins, blended with fiery guitar, the interplay by the band is awesome. Back to a slow and compelling
rhythm with soaring Hammond and moving guitar, this is a Raven Sad trademark, I love it. In this dynamic second part a surprising break with jazzy piano and spoken words, one of the many interesting musical ideas. Finally again those wonderful sensitive guitar
runs, Prog Heaven!
The other epic composition is Ride the Tempest (11:55), first dreamy with warm vocals, tender piano, then a slow rhythm, gradually the music becomes
more bombastic with fiery guitar and emotional vocals, but returns to the dreamy sound in the first part. Again the music slowly builds, culminating in sumptuous climate, embellished with Hammond, powerful vocals and howling guitar runs, wow. The final part
is mellow featuring piano and a melancholical Mellotron violin sound, a beautiful conclusion.
My first encounter with this promising Italian band has turned into a very pleasant