Gecko's Tear: Contradiction (2006)
This Naples, Italy-bred quartet initially started as a progressive-metal unit, then subsequently veered towards the headier scheme of rock. Toss in some Zappa-like time signatures, Yes-inspired melodic content and mainstream rock-induced inflections, and you have a group with a proclivity for contemporizing the tried and true.
Guitarist/vocalist Claudio Mirone serves as the primary songsmith on Contradiction, where traditional prog-rock ideologies march into the new millennium with a proverbial vengeance. Featuring knotty time navigations and textural guitar-keys elements, the music relies on the ensemble's limber mode of attack, coupled with a massive and rather authoritative sound. At times these players sound like a lean and mean, musical machine. But with intermittent injections of speed-metal riffs and lush melodies that sometimes elicit notions of Britain's '70s Canterbury scene, the musicians carve out a multihued portraiture. Though gutsy, complex and straightforward, they also engage in warped psychedelic humor, drenched in whirlwind ostinatos.
Mirone is a commanding vocalist, abetted by a multi-octave range. On "Suite: On The WingsUnsaid, his soaring vocals drive home a quirky yet appealing melody line, firmed up by catchy hooks, blaring choruses and surf guitar parts. In other areas the band unleashes a veritable aerial assault, consummating it all with an optimistic and thoroughly hip modus operandi. Recommended.
Track Listing: Agartha; Mental Hygiene; My Own Shelter; SPQA; Belly Botton; Suite: On The Wings--Unsaid; Bourgeois.
Personnel: Claudio Mirone: guitar, vocals; Marco Castaldo: drums; Giovanni Gregorio: keyboards; Aldo Ruggiero: bass.