After a 13-year gap, Logos return with their frankly terrific new album, L’enigma della Vita (The Enigma of Life). The line-up includes two keyboard players, Luca Zerman and Claudio Antolini, along with Fabio Gaspari (drums, bass, backing vocals), Massimo Maoli (guitars), and a few other guest musicians. This is Italian progressive rock at its best, both symphonic and rocking.
This release combines the best of classic Italian prog (Le Orme, PFM) with the melodic sensibilities of Camel and Genesis. Though keyboards feature heavily in this release, unsurprising given the line-up, this is well balanced by the superb rhythm section (which plays precise and often very funky) and the hard-edged, Hackett-style guitar. In fact, the solo guitar often steals the show, which is no mean feat. It cuts over swathes of organ, mellotron, piano and synths, whenever the melodies and arrangements require.
Every time I have listened to this album, I find new things to praise. I keep waiting for the moment when I go ‘Uhmm!, that doesn’t quite work’, but I haven’t found it yet. Luca Zerman’s lead vocal is also a treat. Perfectly placed in the mix, he has a dark, charismatic and caramel-rich tone. The obvious subtlety in his singing, makes me want to learn Italian, so I can appreciate those subtleties better.
I could not honestly choose a standout track. They all work so well in themselves, and thematically across the album. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Combined with the superb production, this disc repays close listening.
All the tracks have killer moments, be it the guitar solo in In Principio; the King Crimson-like maelstrom of N.A.S.; the medieval, madrigal-like melody of In Fuga; the piano interlude of In Quale Luogo si Fermò Il mio Tempo, or the keyboard fireworks of Pioggia in Campagna. The tracks work in an organic way; full of grandeur, mixing light and shade, moving from the pastoral to the powerful and back again.
Now we can all play the ‘…well that bit reminds me of…’ to its pointless and reductive conclusion. However, this album mixes a mature love of classic prog, with up-to-date influences and production. It reminds me in that respect of Big Big Train’s English Electric: Full Power. In both albums, the love of the prog classics just shines through, without being at all derivative. Had I heard this sooner, this would have been in my top 3 of 2014!
Logos have produced an album that is packed with grandiose, loveable, warmly energetic, deep and beautiful, time-honoured and matchless progressive music.