Alberto Rigoni
Three Wise Monkeys
Style: Progressive Rock / Fusion
Release date: 1 October, 2012
Playing time: 46:33

I love Italy, end of story. First of all, it’s one of the most gorgeous countries on our blue planet, with landscapes that have captivated the minds of people for many years. Secondly, I have witnessed many wonderful and epic contributions from its blooming rock & metal scene centered within the borders of the boot shaped country. This year my ears have become saturated with delicious candies from the craftsmanship’s delivered by Italian acts mostly known as Ascent, Docker’s Guild and Daniele Liverani, just to name a few, but yet another gifted star is shining brighter than ever before in the sky above of the Italian prog rock scene, and it’s named Alberto Rigoni.

The musical adventure of Alberto already began many years ago, and it all started when he was about 16 years old, and felt in love with the instrument…the bass. He then became, as a young aspiring musician, the co-founder of the progressive metal cover act called “Ascra, covering mostly songs from the legendary prog mammoths “Dream Theater”. Some years later, in 2003 to be precise, he teamed up with his fellow compatriot, the talented poli-instrumentist Daniele Liverani (ex-Empty Tremor, Genius Rock Opera and Khymera) in the prog rock & metal act “TwinSpirits”. Four years later and my thirsty prog metal mind were for the very first time introduced to the quintet and their debut album ‘The Music that will Heal the World’. Since then I have been closely followed the group’s next move on the prog rock/metal scene as well as some of the individual musician’s solo careers, one of them by the name of Alberto Rigoni…

Mr. Rigoni started his solo career in 2005 and delivered three years later his prog rock fusion debut contribution ‘Something Different’, and in 2011 it was followed up by his highly acclaimed sophomore release ‘Rebirth’, which again proved him as one of this world most gifted and talented bass virtuosos. He is also the creative mastermind of the pop-electro project called ‘Lady & THE BASS’ and co-founded another project called ‘the BASStards’, so he is a very busy bass player and composer with many irons in the fire, and can’t be claimed for resting on his laurels these days. After the successful release of ‘Rebirth’, he has returned to earth with his latest and third effort entitled ‘Three Wise Monkeys’, and allied himself with some already well established and legendary musicians to deliver one of his most unforgettable musical moments in his career. Keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater. OSI, Chroma Key), vocalist Göran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), guitarist Tommy Ermolli (TwinSpirits), drummer Mark Cross (ex-Helloween, Firewind, Outloud) and many more, are all adding their own ingredients to spice up the prog rock soup served by Alberto. With so much talent on board is Alberto & Co. able to live up to the hype?

As the artwork illustrates perfectly, the concept of this album is inspired by the Japanese folk legend of the “Three Wise Monkeys”. It is beautifully told by Alberto and his impressive bass slapping moves through out the rich landscape of sounds delivered to our ears by the ten prog rock songs included on the track list. It’s a mix of half instrumentals and the remaining fifty percent mixed with vocals on top of it.

The story is starting out with the first instrumental intro song ‘Toshogu Shrine’. Try close your eyes and imagine yourself walking in one of the “hidden” sacred places of Japan, the “Toshogu Shrine”, with the bells ringing in your ears from the bell tower perfectly complemented by Kevin Moore’s keyboard melodies. That’s the atmosphere created on the first song, and it will continue through the other instrumental songs presented to us, the second song ‘Mizaru’, ‘Kikazaru’ and ‘Iwazaru’. Each one of them representing one of the three mystic apes embodying the principle to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’. The third and the title track of the album ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ delivers a hard rock tune with some progressive touches added to its layers, and it’s the only song featuring the unique soaring pipes of Göran Edman, a very groovy and powerful song indeed. Let’s skip to the three highlights of the album beginning with the instrumental song ‘Iwazaru’, with its numerous weird rhythm changes and its complex drumming patterns well performed by Sebastian Persini. It’s followed up by ‘Free Falling’, a perfect balance of groove and melody, played with a very bluesy rock sound. Last but not least, the third homerun by Alberto & Co. is the soft and mellow instrumental track ‘Between Space and Time’. It’s one of those songs that will put tears in your eyes, and really makes you forget “time and space” by its beautiful journey sung with emotion and feelings from the fingers of Alberto on his bass and Mistheria on keyboard. The last two songs to end our musical journey are again featuring, like most of the other songs with vox, vocalist Jonas Erixon’s melodic and soaring pipes, and he perfectly closes the curtain of this progressive rock-fusion project.

The bass virtuoso Alberto is never trying to outshine any of the other contributing musicians. He provides them enough room to breathe on their own, and allows them bringing fresh ideas and their unique skills to the table to complement elegantly his own impressive bass lines. This is not a one-man show by Alberto, who insists on grabbing the spotlight, but more like the Alberto Rigoni’s Project.

Alberto has definitely proven to himself and the rest of the world that he is able to stand on his own two feet, and with his three monkeys on board, he has stepped out of his own comfort zone, and carved his finest and most polished craftsmanship to date. The bells of the sacred “Toshogu Shrine” in Japan will soon be singing the beautifully melodies created by the talented Mr. Rigoni.

01. Toshogu Shrine
02. Mizaru
03. Three Wise Monkeys
04. Kikazaru
05. Blackened Tornado
06. Iwazaru
07. Free Falling
08. Between space and time
09. Coming Home
10. Believe
Label: Any And All Records
Distribution: Nightmare Records
Artwork rating: 83/100
Reviewed by: Tommy Skøtt
Date: 27 December, 2012