Shortly after their 2006 release, One Piece Puzzle, with tensions increasing within the camp, the Italy based progressive rock band Profusion was on the verge of collapse. After replacing a few members, the band decided to continue, and started work on another album. Even after this, there were more problems, with the original guitarist leaving, and the lead vocalist being replaced in the middle of the recording sessions. It is amazing to me that through all of these trying experiences, an album even got made. The fact that it is an incredible album that spans all the various sub-genres of progressive rock is simply a testament to the talent of the individuals involved. RewoToweR is a wonderful example of a musical fire that just refuses to be extinguished.
When the dust settled on all the myriad personal changes, the line up for Profusion included Vladimer Sichinava on drums, Luca Cambi on bass, Thomas Laguzzi on guitar, Gionatan Cardonna on keyboards, and Luca Latini taking over the lead vocals. Together these gentlemen create an album that will challenge even the most ardent and educated of prog fans.
Starting centered in the arena of hard progressive rock, RewoToweR spans out to so many other sub genres of progressive music and even to many outside of rock in general that it is dizzying to try and keep track. To the credit of the band, they make it work beginning to end. The opener, Ghost House, has a barely gritty edge, with a pop overtone to it. This is a catchy song, you will find yourself humming it hours later. From here, the gloves are taken off, and Profusion is running.
The band’s name is a mash up of “progressive” and “fusion”, and the album lives up to it. The next song, Taste of Colours, one that is done in two parts, hits on many of the various progressive elements. It courses from the soft piano to forceful and almost aggressive without skipping a beat, or confusing the listener, the transitions are nearly seamless. From this, they move into Treasure Island, which is a fairly hard edged song with some brilliant instrumental work and wonderful vocals, though the thematic element of the pirate’s tale is shockingly out of place. Next comes So Close but Alone, which opens as a soft romantic ballad, but runs in a direction completely unexpected and delightful. This is the song where I figured out the element that Profusion is bringing to the progressive game, one that is rarely seen in the genres of prog in general, this song is sexy. Bringing in some strong jazz elements, a bit of hard scatting, and Latini’s pop influenced vocals, Profusion makes sexy OK on a prog album. Once I saw it here, I noticed it throughout most of the album, it is a wonderful addition, and really brings something fresh and lively to progressive rock in general.
This mashed up style of theirs shines most brightly in the other two part song, The Tower. Opening with some delicate, jazzy piano, they go right into a few chords that nearly knock the listener over, and then settle back into the jazzy elements, with Lutani in firm control of the tone of the song. Laguzzi’s guitar is so capable no matter what style he is playing in, be it the hard crashing metal chords or the more sultry, sexy tones, he carries all of them expertly. The progressive rock basis is so present in this piece. The other elements, be it pop, jazz, or metal, dance around that base sound, giving the song an unimaginable fluidity, especially in the three plus minute instrumental that opens up the second half of the song. I think it is this part where the band shines best.
That could be challenged though with the opening of Dedalus Rising, the final track of the album. This is probably the heaviest of the songs, but that unique fusion sound never leaves here either. I feel that no matter where the capable musicians take the song, the vocals tend to keep them grounded and tied together; it is one of the more impressive vocal performances I have heard in a long time.
I credit with Profusion for challenging me. I had to think outside my fixed box of accepted musical stylings to try and capture the music long enough to describe it, and when that failed, I flew my white flag of surrender high, and just enjoyed the album.